The Book of Om: Or, Adventures in Tortoise Keeping, New Zealand edition

Oxalis

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Ha, I was just about to make a post!
There just hasn't been much to report tbh. He has a bath and then eats and then sleeps in his favourite hidey hole and very occasionally goes for a wander. I must weigh him again but he's put on a few g since I got him so I assume all is going well.

Today I added a Coprosma hawera Shrub to his enclosure for food and hiding in. For those overseas, this is a very hardy native plant that my breeder feeds to her tortoises. It's a bit of a risk inasmuch as I don't know the dietary compostion, but I decided to take it as I feel like he could do with more variety in his diet.
So here is Om checking out the new addition (and yes he has had a nibble at it)

View attachment 172085

The plant is actually related to coffee and you can apparently make coffee
from the tiny berries. If it gets to the stage of fruiting I will of course keep a close eye on Om to make sure he isn't eating the berries - they're not poisonous but I don't imagine they'd be particularly good for him either. I'm hoping that he will enjoy having the branches to hide under and it may encourage him to come out from his favourite spot a bit more often.

Yesterday he had his first trip outside, but seemed overwhelmed by it all:

View attachment 172086
He spent most of the time hiding in his shell.
And that's about it really! I've got a heater running on a low setting most of the time in his room to keep the temps up and so far there's no sign of him preparing to hibernate.
And I'm looking into the cost of getting a bag of Mazuri pellets to NZ - so that if I'm ever away the Mr can feed Om safely and I won't be worrying about him picking some inappropriate plant from the lawn for my baby!
Wow, he's looking cuter every post! ;) I think he's really coming around to his new home! Thanks for suggesting Coprosma acerosa 'Hawera'; I will suggest this to The Tortoise Table for other NZ tort keepers. :)
 

Stitchpunk

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Wow, he's looking cuter every post! ;) I think he's really coming around to his new home! Thanks for suggesting Coprosma acerosa 'Hawera'; I will suggest this to The Tortoise Table for other NZ tort keepers. :)
There's actually a big range of plants that are Coprosmas - some of them have regular little glossy leaves rather than the needle like ones. I think when I build his outdoor enclosure I'll put in 2 or 3 different ones and see if he has any preference...he's definitely had a go at eating the one I've put in though.
 

Stitchpunk

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Weighed OM last night, and from 25g when I got him (23 March) he is now up to 31g. So that seems like the kind of slow and steady weight gain I was after :)
In other news, I was quoted US$100 to ship a 6lb/3kg bag of Mazuri to NZ :eek:
This website https://www.mad4rads.com/onestepcheckout/index/ charges US$24.50 to ship a 1lb/500g bag. I haven't found any sellers on Ebay who definitely ship to NZ.
 

Neil fuller

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It's usually cheaper to get stuff sent from the UK. American shipping is all over the place. It was cheaper to buy my mega ray bulb from the UK than Australia or the USA.
 

Stitchpunk

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In the UK it seems to be called "Mazuri exotic leaf eater 1kg tortoise feed", I don't know if that's the same thing. UK$13 plus UK$15 for shipping.
 

Oxalis

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http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mazuri-ex...736477?hash=item3d1899c81d:g:Y5YAAOSwo6lWPItS

I will get some one way or the other, to have on hand for emergencies and treats (seeing as Om has no interest in things like cucumber thus far.)
Mazuri will definitely come in handy! It gets me through the winters here. I can tell my Russian pouts sometimes when he doesn't get it and refuses to eat his greens instead. :rolleyes: I hope you're able to purchase some at a reasonable price!!
 

Stitchpunk

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Mazuri will definitely come in handy! It gets me through the winters here. I can tell my Russian pouts sometimes when he doesn't get it and refuses to eat his greens instead. :rolleyes: I hope you're able to purchase some at a reasonable price!!
I guess I'm lucky that we don't get snow here. TBH I'm beginning to despair of us having a winter at all this year. Warmest autumn on record and there are still mosquitoes around.
 

Oxalis

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I guess I'm lucky that we don't get snow here. TBH I'm beginning to despair of us having a winter at all this year. Warmest autumn on record and there are still mosquitoes around.
Wow, that would be very strange for us in Michigan. Our winter this past year was apparently a mild one for us. o_O How is the little tortie doing? Getting used to the new digs?
 

Stitchpunk

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Wow, that would be very strange for us in Michigan. Our winter this past year was apparently a mild one for us. o_O How is the little tortie doing? Getting used to the new digs?

coprosma.jpg

tunnel.jpg

Doing fine I think,slow and steady growth and mostly just sleeping and eating. hanging out around the basking lamp more than s/he used to, and still not a big fan of baths!
 

Oxalis

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View attachment 175060

View attachment 175061

Doing fine I think,slow and steady growth and mostly just sleeping and eating. hanging out around the basking lamp more than s/he used to, and still not a big fan of baths!
Woo hoo! Sounds great! And what a little cutie-pie! :<3: It looks like s/he is getting used to his/her new home. I think after almost 8 years with me, my tortoise is finally warming up to me. ;)
 

Oxalis

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Nobody does mournful/indignant quite like a tortoise staring into an empty food bowl. I must get a photo of it sometime!
Awww! What a cutie! I'm glad your tortoise mansion turned out so lovely!
 

Stitchpunk

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Caught Om scratching at the side of his tub just before. I'm not sure whether that means "WHY IS MY BOWL EMPTY, USELESS MINION?" , or ". I MUST BE FREEEEEEEEEEE! BOLD NEW HORIZONS!" All I know is s/he is now eating dinner in a resentful manner. Perhaps it's time to allow the occasional supervised wander on the kitchen bench.... Not outside because it's winter and, as is usual for Auckland, extremely damp. Or is it time to rearrange the enclosure? Thoughts, o wise ones of the forum?

As far as plants go I'm coming to the conclusion that only the spider plants and Christmas cactus are doing well in there. Even the wandering Jew looks unhappy, and the needle-leaved coprosma I put in still looks shrivelled (though Om likes to hide under it sometimes.) I got another coprosma with more standard leaves but I don't think I'll put it in the enclosure...also just got a baby Boston fern today.
 

Oxalis

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Caught Om scratching at the side of his tub just before. I'm not sure whether that means "WHY IS MY BOWL EMPTY, USELESS MINION?" , or ". I MUST BE FREEEEEEEEEEE! BOLD NEW HORIZONS!" All I know is s/he is now eating dinner in a resentful manner. Perhaps it's time to allow the occasional supervised wander on the kitchen bench.... Not outside because it's winter and, as is usual for Auckland, extremely damp. Or is it time to rearrange the enclosure? Thoughts, o wise ones of the forum?

As far as plants go I'm coming to the conclusion that only the spider plants and Christmas cactus are doing well in there. Even the wandering Jew looks unhappy, and the needle-leaved coprosma I put in still looks shrivelled (though Om likes to hide under it sometimes.) I got another coprosma with more standard leaves but I don't think I'll put it in the enclosure...also just got a baby Boston fern today.
Not a bad idea to move things around inside the enclosure every now and then. :)
 

Stitchpunk

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I just finished redoing Om's enclosure and repotting the plants, so I'd thought I'd share the photos. I took out the needle leafed coprosma, it looks pretty dead but maybe it'll revive being outdoors.
image.jpeg

S/he is in that log hide right now and hasn't woken up yet! The spider plants have been doing great so I've put the bigger one in here to replace the coprosma.

image.jpeg

Here's the 2nd spider plant, along with the water bowl and some favourite things of Om's to hide under (the bridge and the fake driftwood are both from aquariums I used to have.)

image.jpeg

In here we have the 2 wee Christmas cacti. Literally all I did to grow these was break a couple of segments off the mother plant and put them straight in the soil. So far Om hasn't been keen on eating the cacti so I'll be interested to see what reaction they get! Also in here is the wandering Jew. It's pretty sickly looking as you can see - it was directly under the main bulb before and now it's not, so it may recover - but if not I can easily get more. Also we have the food bowl, some river rocks from the garden and another old aquarium ornament.

I shall be watching out for Om to wake up and go exploring! Some days after bath time I've been letting him/her wander around on the bathroom bench - when s/he wants to - and I'll be thinking about other safe spots for supervised time outside the enclosure. It it SUPER wet here and the whole yard is just squelchy mud at the moment!
 
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