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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2016, 07:33 PM
Egg
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4
Default Advice for a novice greatly appreciated

Hello, I am new to the forum and very new to keeping tortoises. I have acquired a tortoise from a colleague who's little boy had lost interest. I believe it to be a male horsfield but I would really like for someone more knowledgeable to confirm this for me if possible please. I can't seem to upload pictures on to the post, I'm not sure how but I have managed to upload pictures as an album on my profile and I have set the album as public so you can see him/her. I am also looking for some other advice in terms of husbandry as I have tried to do a lot of research but I find that I am getting very conflicting advice. I am also concerned that he has got some pyramiding of his shell and I do not want it to get any worse. His previous owner didn't realise that his red basking light wasn't adequate and that he needed UVB also which I presume has contributed to his shell issue. So....advice would be greatly appreciated:-

Housing - I have been to a specialist reptile shop who advised me that a vivarium was adequate.....everything I have read goes against this and I am under the impression a table is much better...am I correct?

Substrate - He came to me with wood shavings.....I know this isn't suitable so intend to change it......I plan on getting him new housing as he is currently in a very big (3ft x 2.5ft) wooden draw but would it be possible to put one end as top soil and one end as wood chips (the recommended tortoise ones) with large flat stones etc dotted about and would all of this be suitable?

Lighting - I intend to keep the basking light and add in a 15inch 12% UVB tube light specifically this on Arcadia D3 12% Rept. Lamp 14W 15in.FD3P14 about halfway along the enclosure....again does this sound suitable?

Food wise I currently give him a small circle (approx 2inch diameter) of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/Komodo-Comp.../dp/B0029WQRMC (these were sent with him by his previous owner) moistened with some water cress and lambs leaf once a day...he also loves dandelions which I feed him if there are some about outside so maybe a couple of times a week....I believe from my research that I can't really give him fruit, iceberg lettuce or brassica vegetables.....is what he is getting enough and is there anything else I could give him?

Finally....He has water available in a shallow tortoise dish thing all day every day and a hide that he goes in most nights. I currently tun off his basking light around 11 at night and back on again about 7. He comes out for a run either outside if the weather is nice or in the house if not at least once a day....he loves exploring! I also put him in a warm shallow water bath once every couple of days for about 20 mins when he usually has a big drink and a wee.....although he tends to do a wee if he comes out for a run....if only I could toilet train him!

Sorry this post is so long but I really really want to make sure I get this right as I take animal welfare very seriously....and aside from that, he's such a lovely little cute guy with a right personality and over the last few weeks I have had him (or her ) I have grown really attached to him so I want to do my best for him. Please ask if there's anything else you need to know in order to advise me....Anyway....thank you so so much in advance for any help or advice you more experienced folk can give me!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:44 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 7,980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norro1983 View Post
Hello, I am new to the forum and very new to keeping tortoises. I have acquired a tortoise from a colleague who's little boy had lost interest. I believe it to be a male horsfield but I would really like for someone more knowledgeable to confirm this for me if possible please. I can't seem to upload pictures on to the post, I'm not sure how but I have managed to upload pictures as an album on my profile and I have set the album as public so you can see him/her. I am also looking for some other advice in terms of husbandry as I have tried to do a lot of research but I find that I am getting very conflicting advice. I am also concerned that he has got some pyramiding of his shell and I do not want it to get any worse. His previous owner didn't realise that his red basking light wasn't adequate and that he needed UVB also which I presume has contributed to his shell issue. So....advice would be greatly appreciated:-

Housing - I have been to a specialist reptile shop who advised me that a vivarium was adequate.....everything I have read goes against this and I am under the impression a table is much better...am I correct?

Substrate - He came to me with wood shavings.....I know this isn't suitable so intend to change it......I plan on getting him new housing as he is currently in a very big (3ft x 2.5ft) wooden draw but would it be possible to put one end as top soil and one end as wood chips (the recommended tortoise ones) with large flat stones etc dotted about and would all of this be suitable?

Lighting - I intend to keep the basking light and add in a 15inch 12% UVB tube light specifically this on Arcadia D3 12% Rept. Lamp 14W 15in.FD3P14 about halfway along the enclosure....again does this sound suitable?

Food wise I currently give him a small circle (approx 2inch diameter) of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/Komodo-Comp.../dp/B0029WQRMC (these were sent with him by his previous owner) moistened with some water cress and lambs leaf once a day...he also loves dandelions which I feed him if there are some about outside so maybe a couple of times a week....I believe from my research that I can't really give him fruit, iceberg lettuce or brassica vegetables.....is what he is getting enough and is there anything else I could give him?

Finally....He has water available in a shallow tortoise dish thing all day every day and a hide that he goes in most nights. I currently tun off his basking light around 11 at night and back on again about 7. He comes out for a run either outside if the weather is nice or in the house if not at least once a day....he loves exploring! I also put him in a warm shallow water bath once every couple of days for about 20 mins when he usually has a big drink and a wee.....although he tends to do a wee if he comes out for a run....if only I could toilet train him!

Sorry this post is so long but I really really want to make sure I get this right as I take animal welfare very seriously....and aside from that, he's such a lovely little cute guy with a right personality and over the last few weeks I have had him (or her ) I have grown really attached to him so I want to do my best for him. Please ask if there's anything else you need to know in order to advise me....Anyway....thank you so so much in advance for any help or advice you more experienced folk can give me!
Definitely a horsfield, not so sure its male, depending on the size she could well be female:0)
If you go to index.html you will find some great horsfield info.
Your tortoise has been well over fed, needs to be put on a diet:0)
Diet should be weeds and flowers, and he/she can be outside in a suitable enclosure 24/7. They thrive outside:0)
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:52 PM
Egg
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4
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Thank you so much for replying! I will stop the pellets and get him out!
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2016, 09:59 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 7,980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norro1983 View Post
Thank you so much for replying! I will stop the pellets and get him out!
Just make sure any enclosure is really secure, as they are great climbers. They can climb corners and up fences:0)
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I JUST TRY TO HELP
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:05 PM
Egg
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4
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Hahaha I've already found this out! My boyfriend came home the other day to find him....her (!) had shimmied up the corner and had fallen into a hessian bag for life on the chair next to the enclosure!!!!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:15 PM
SueBoyle's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Welsh borders
Posts: 2,754
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norro1983 View Post
Hello, I am new to the forum and very new to keeping tortoises. I have acquired a tortoise from a colleague who's little boy had lost interest. I believe it to be a male horsfield but I would really like for someone more knowledgeable to confirm this for me if possible please. I can't seem to upload pictures on to the post, I'm not sure how but I have managed to upload pictures as an album on my profile and I have set the album as public so you can see him/her. I am also looking for some other advice in terms of husbandry as I have tried to do a lot of research but I find that I am getting very conflicting advice. I am also concerned that he has got some pyramiding of his shell and I do not want it to get any worse. His previous owner didn't realise that his red basking light wasn't adequate and that he needed UVB also which I presume has contributed to his shell issue. So....advice would be greatly appreciated:-

Housing - I have been to a specialist reptile shop who advised me that a vivarium was adequate.....everything I have read goes against this and I am under the impression a table is much better...am I correct?

Substrate - He came to me with wood shavings.....I know this isn't suitable so intend to change it......I plan on getting him new housing as he is currently in a very big (3ft x 2.5ft) wooden draw but would it be possible to put one end as top soil and one end as wood chips (the recommended tortoise ones) with large flat stones etc dotted about and would all of this be suitable?

Lighting - I intend to keep the basking light and add in a 15inch 12% UVB tube light specifically this on Arcadia D3 12% Rept. Lamp 14W 15in.FD3P14 about halfway along the enclosure....again does this sound suitable?

Food wise I currently give him a small circle (approx 2inch diameter) of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/Komodo-Comp.../dp/B0029WQRMC (these were sent with him by his previous owner) moistened with some water cress and lambs leaf once a day...he also loves dandelions which I feed him if there are some about outside so maybe a couple of times a week....I believe from my research that I can't really give him fruit, iceberg lettuce or brassica vegetables.....is what he is getting enough and is there anything else I could give him?

Finally....He has water available in a shallow tortoise dish thing all day every day and a hide that he goes in most nights. I currently tun off his basking light around 11 at night and back on again about 7. He comes out for a run either outside if the weather is nice or in the house if not at least once a day....he loves exploring! I also put him in a warm shallow water bath once every couple of days for about 20 mins when he usually has a big drink and a wee.....although he tends to do a wee if he comes out for a run....if only I could toilet train him!

Sorry this post is so long but I really really want to make sure I get this right as I take animal welfare very seriously....and aside from that, he's such a lovely little cute guy with a right personality and over the last few weeks I have had him (or her ) I have grown really attached to him so I want to do my best for him. Please ask if there's anything else you need to know in order to advise me....Anyway....thank you so so much in advance for any help or advice you more experienced folk can give me!

It's a female horsfield and definitely of a size to be living outdoors now permanently. You will of course need to have a deep table top set up for either end of the season as horsfields are a burrowing species. Tortsmad UK ~ Russian Tortoises/Horsfield Tortoises The shell is not pyramided as such, but far too deep/domed for a horsfield and irreversible, but can be slowed down. Looking at her area of new growth, she has grown roughly ten times as fast as she should? The lighter coloured area of new growth should be roughly the thickness of a pencil line and never a wide band. Obviously this is not your fault, but feeding needs to be changed ASAP Your specialist reptile shop is not what they seem or they would know that horsfields need deep substrate, preferably outdoors. Indoor accomodation always contributes to poor growth in these lovely little tortoises. Don't use wood chips at all as they are only recommended by commercial outlets and are impossible to build tunnels in. Never use commercial food as this will only increase the growth rate. Horsfields have evolved to only feed for three to four months of the year, so feeding for twelve months with something that is several times more fattening is going to cause big problems with both shell and internal organs. This is what I feed, Tortsmad UK ~ Tortoise food and diet information UK but it's weight gain you need to be watching, so don't give him as much as he will eat otherwise the deformity will continue. Lights can go off late afternoon to correspond with wild tortoises. My lot have all put themselves to bed by 4-5pm. Walking around a house is really not suitable for many reasons, incorrect light levels, substrate, stressful etc.
To summarise, I would say get electrics installed outside ASAP and set him up with a natural habitat. You will be a amazed at the difference once he gets used to it.
Hope this helps
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2016, 10:51 PM
Egg
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4
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Thank you so much for your advice. Looks like I will be busy sorting out an outdoor enclosure then! Thanks once again
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2016, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by norro1983 View Post
Thank you so much for your advice. Looks like I will be busy sorting out an outdoor enclosure then! Thanks once again
No problem, she will thank you for it. Horsfields are such entertaining little torts
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