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

Oxalis

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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.
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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.

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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.)

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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!
I always forget to move things around in Steve's indoor enclosure to keep things interesting! Om should really appreciate the decorations. :D
 

Stitchpunk

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Hihihihihi!

Sorry it's been so long. I tend to forget...Om so far has been such an easy low maintenance pet that there never seems to be much to report.
We're almost at the end of winter (though in truth it feels like I'm still waiting for winter to start, it has been pretty wet but not very cold.) The muddy soggy back yard has made it a little challenging at times to find good weeds. I've got pellet food (Mazuri) on the way from the UK so hopefully that arrives soon. The spider plants in Om's enclosure are growing HUGE, safe in the knowledge that he will refuse to even nibble them. One of them has a spike full of babies and I mercilessly plucked one yesterday and offered it as a sacrifice to Om, but he still turned his (nose? beak? snout?) up at it.

With the cooler weather Om seems to appreciate baths more, and has also started enjoying a bit of supervised indoor free roaming time (not on the floor though.) here he is investigating my knitting....

knitting1.jpg

And here he is trying to find out if wool is tasty (I didn't let him eat any of course)

knitting2.jpg

I suppose soon it will be time to start researching the building of an outdoor enclosure. I'm undecided....he might be too young to go full time into an outdoor set up yet? But I feel he would benefit from being outside, and I'd quite like to get the section of my room back that's got his enclosure in...
 

Oxalis

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Location (City and/or State)
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Hihihihihi!

Sorry it's been so long. I tend to forget...Om so far has been such an easy low maintenance pet that there never seems to be much to report.
We're almost at the end of winter (though in truth it feels like I'm still waiting for winter to start, it has been pretty wet but not very cold.) The muddy soggy back yard has made it a little challenging at times to find good weeds. I've got pellet food (Mazuri) on the way from the UK so hopefully that arrives soon. The spider plants in Om's enclosure are growing HUGE, safe in the knowledge that he will refuse to even nibble them. One of them has a spike full of babies and I mercilessly plucked one yesterday and offered it as a sacrifice to Om, but he still turned his (nose? beak? snout?) up at it.

With the cooler weather Om seems to appreciate baths more, and has also started enjoying a bit of supervised indoor free roaming time (not on the floor though.) here he is investigating my knitting....

View attachment 183778

And here he is trying to find out if wool is tasty (I didn't let him eat any of course)

View attachment 183779

I suppose soon it will be time to start researching the building of an outdoor enclosure. I'm undecided....he might be too young to go full time into an outdoor set up yet? But I feel he would benefit from being outside, and I'd quite like to get the section of my room back that's got his enclosure in...
He looks SO cute! :D Sounds like everything's going pretty well. I don't think he'd be too young for an outdoor enclosure. I really think the outdoor time in the sunshine/UV is such a great benefit for a tortoise, at any age. I haven't had the experience of caring for a baby tort, but my Russian has really "come out of his shell" ;) so to speak with his backyard garden. I've seen him eventually try new plants on his own and he gets a lot of space to run around and explore. Both my fiance and I think that he's just generally happier with the outdoor time. Of course, he is safely enclosed in that garden, even over the roof, so I would say that safety will likely be your main concern for a baby tort. But otherwise, with lots of delicious plants and places to hide, your tort should really enjoy an outdoor enclosure! :)
 

Stitchpunk

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I have tried those pellets dry, wet, whole, in pieces and crumbled, but Om has as yet refused to accept that they are edible *sigh* I shall persevere! Just now after he had his bath and a walk I put him in my hand and he stuck his head out and rested it on my thumb and we had a wee moment. It was very sweet :<3:
 

Stitchpunk

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Hi,
I'm from NZ too and have decided to get a tortoise too, I'd love to know how Om is doing and I have learnt a lot from this thread!
Thanks,
Tim
:)

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Seems to be doing well enough! I'm a bit ashamed that the outdoor enclosure still hasn't gotten underway, but that's mainly because I need assistance from the bloke and he's been busy fixing his boat... I do get him into the sunshine whenever I can.
Glad the thread has been of use!

Om does seem to have an ability to get into trouble, I have to say. So far S/he has managed to fall off a really big bench (landed shell first on the floor, no harm done thankfully!); attempted to swallow human hair; and just the other day managed to flip upside down while wandering around on our perfectly flat front porch. I'm not sure if I'm a bad/inattentive tortoise parent or if Om is just accident prone! Om also continues to mostly hate baths, but does now let me scratch his/her head sometimes.

Oh, and I bought a little crocheted tortoise toy from a craft show because I was curious to see how Om would react when I put it into the indoor enclosure. As far as I can tell Om seems to recognise it as tortoise shaped and treat it as a rival, coz i always find it upended and covered in coco coir! So i don't leave it in there but do let it "visit" now and then to give Om something to do!

I continue to shift the elements of the indoor enclosure about and swap new pieces in from time to time. The only live plants in there are spider plants, which Om refuses to eat unless Desperate. Nothing else has survived the combo of Om's attentions and the lighting!

So whereabouts in NZ are you?
 

Tim McIlroy

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Nelson, New Zealand
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:)

View attachment 197143

Seems to be doing well enough! I'm a bit ashamed that the outdoor enclosure still hasn't gotten underway, but that's mainly because I need assistance from the bloke and he's been busy fixing his boat... I do get him into the sunshine whenever I can.
Glad the thread has been of use!

Om does seem to have an ability to get into trouble, I have to say. So far S/he has managed to fall off a really big bench (landed shell first on the floor, no harm done thankfully!); attempted to swallow human hair; and just the other day managed to flip upside down while wandering around on our perfectly flat front porch. I'm not sure if I'm a bad/inattentive tortoise parent or if Om is just accident prone! Om also continues to mostly hate baths, but does now let me scratch his/her head sometimes.

Oh, and I bought a little crocheted tortoise toy from a craft show because I was curious to see how Om would react when I put it into the indoor enclosure. As far as I can tell Om seems to recognise it as tortoise shaped and treat it as a rival, coz i always find it upended and covered in coco coir! So i don't leave it in there but do let it "visit" now and then to give Om something to do!

I continue to shift the elements of the indoor enclosure about and swap new pieces in from time to time. The only live plants in there are spider plants, which Om refuses to eat unless Desperate. Nothing else has survived the combo of Om's attentions and the lighting!

So whereabouts in NZ are you?
I live in Nelson (top of the South Island). Om is so cute! I can't wait to have a tortoise of my own, hopefully by March and I really like your idea of the three seperate conatainers for Om's enclosure. Also where did you get your lights from? :)
 

Stitchpunk

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The UV tube light you can get on TM I think, though I got mine from Animates pet shop. Finding the right light bulb for the heat lamp part was trickier and will depend on your set up. I ended up with a basic desk lamp from Bunnings, and the bulb I use is about 40 watts. With my set up anything higher than that got too hot (also those lamps generally aren't safe to use more than 50 or 60 watts in).

You must be getting excited! Other than the enclosure building Om has proven to be one of the most low maintenance pets I've had (and quite entertaining as well!)
 

Tim McIlroy

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The UV tube light you can get on TM I think, though I got mine from Animates pet shop. Finding the right light bulb for the heat lamp part was trickier and will depend on your set up. I ended up with a basic desk lamp from Bunnings, and the bulb I use is about 40 watts. With my set up anything higher than that got too hot (also those lamps generally aren't safe to use more than 50 or 60 watts in).

You must be getting excited! Other than the enclosure building Om has proven to be one of the most low maintenance pets I've had (and quite entertaining as well!)
Thanks for the info and sorry to bother you again but there seems to be a lot of tube lights and I'm not sure which one to get. Also what did you use for the thermostat and humidity monitoring? Thanks so much for the help, it's great to have some other Kiwis with info on this as local knowledge is really helpful :)
 

Stitchpunk

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Hmmm, I can't remember exactly which UV bulb i got, I'll have a look at it in the morning. For temperatures I got a temperature gun off TradeMe, similar to this https://trademe.co.nz/1238920580

I did get a humidity monitor but ironically it died when I accidentally sprayed it with water! I didn't bother to replace it because Auckland = humidity anyway! But it was one like this with a probe that you can hang down into the enclosure https://trademe.co.nz/1239767655
 

Tim McIlroy

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Do you think that ReptileZ is a reputable breeder? e.g. from what you know how do they keep their babies?
I'm on their waiting list for my very own Testudo Gracea and I'm thinking of naming the tort Archimedes ;)
Tim :)
 

Stitchpunk

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Do you think that ReptileZ is a reputable breeder? e.g. from what you know how do they keep their babies?
I'm on their waiting list for my very own Testudo Gracea and I'm thinking of naming the tort Archimedes ;)
Tim :)
That's where I got Om from :) we made a road trip to get him. The babies seemed well cared for and I got to pick my own from the bunch :) as far as I can tell they have been breeding for quite a long time and have a decent reputation. Besides which there aren't a lot of options for tort breeders in NZ!
 

Tim McIlroy

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That's where I got Om from :) we made a road trip to get him. The babies seemed well cared for and I got to pick my own from the bunch :) as far as I can tell they have been breeding for quite a long time and have a decent reputation. Besides which there aren't a lot of options for tort breeders in NZ!
Thanks, that's really good to know and reassuring! It's good to know that my Tort will be healthy! :tort::)
 

Stitchpunk

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Gosh it's been a long time. But honestly there's been nothing to report. We had a very wet winter and the yard was basically mud, so poor Om has had to make do with the bedroom as his free-running space. But! Exciting news! The outdoor enclosure is underway!

The basis of it is this chicken coop https://www.treasurebox.co.nz/bingo-chicken-coop-with-extra-large-runs.html
Because of our drainage issues the Mr has built a sort of table out of untreated hardwood that the coop will sit on to get it off the ground. Inside this will sit a couple of trays, which will be lined with weed matting for drainage and have decently high sides. Those I will fill with bags of topsoil plus pumice that the local hardware store sells. Then comes the fun part - adding plants and making a garden! At the moment I have a couple of local coprosma shrubs, a sickly hibiscus (will probably have to replace that) and some forget-me-not and thyme seedlings. Hopefully the abundant plantain and sow's ear will self seed into the enclosure too, and I'll find some more stuff to add (probably including some roses). I have a small aquarium that I will lie on its side to make a basking area, and the big indoor areas are waterproof and fully shaded. Not quite sure what I will do with those yet, but the smaller one will be his sleeping quarters and maybe I can find some shade-loving house plants to put into the bigger area.

As tortoise enclosures go it's still not huge, but a vast improvement size-wise on the indoor one. It's not really warm enough to shift Om outside yet, but once the basics are set up I will start putting him out there during the day for longer and longer periods so he can get acclimatised, and by the height of summer he should be ready to move in permanently. I think he's gonna love it!
 
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