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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys and girls,

New tortoise owner here, we have recently bought a hermanns tortoise from a reptile shop. The paperwork puts him/her at about 1 year old. They had them with woodchip substrate and recommended this. However after researching what other people do we decided to put the tortoise in topsoil (wickes sterilsed soil) as didnt want him eating the woodchip which he sometimes did accidentally with his food.

He seems to be ok and was having a good old explore, but has eaten very little today since the change. Also we had to bath him as his right eye was closed. After which it is now opened. Just wanted to know how much do you water the soil to keep it relatively damp? Colder end of table is around 22 degrees and hotter end upto 32 degrees, obviously soil under this does dry quick
Should we just see how it goes for a few days to see how he does? Any tips on how we can make it better for the little guy?

Just worried about the little guy not eating that much today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also this evening he keeps scratching his right eye area, it seems clean but ever so often it closes, and we bathed him again as it was closed now open. But he seems to keep scratching.
 

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Also this evening he keeps scratching his right eye area, it seems clean but ever so often it closes, and we bathed him again as it was closed now open. But he seems to keep scratching.

How long have you had him and did you buy from a commercial outlet? Could be just early days, so hydration is more important than feeding him. Tortoises can go a long time without food but hydration is important. Cross contamination is high in tortoises from commercial, outlets as is poor advice on feeding, substrate, habitats etc. This is how I keep mine and have done for many years www.tortsmad/hatchlings.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Sue,

Thank you for coming back to me. We have had him for just under a week now, and bought him from a commercial outlet. When we first had him, he settled really quick, as he is used to the table we bought and the woodchip. Eating and exploring fine.
Since the topsoil yesterday, hardly eaten and for a little while his right eye was closed. However after a second bath my wife was watching him and talking to him for a while and it remained open.
Will continue to bath him for a little while everyday to ensure hydration and to keep his eye clean.

Thank you for the link Sue will have a look.
 

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Good luck. Just the wrong time of year, in my opinion, to get a tortoise. The weather is cold and miserable so much better to wait until late spring and then a safe outdoor enclosure can be planned. This time of year it is struggle with temperatures, getting the lighting right and of course their natural desire to hibernate.

That said, you're in the right place for help and advice :2thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you Shells, yea have read that alot, that it is an awkward time of year to have bought a little Shelled friend, but will try and make him nice and comfortable.
 

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Hi Sue,

Thank you for coming back to me. We have had him for just under a week now, and bought him from a commercial outlet. When we first had him, he settled really quick, as he is used to the table we bought and the woodchip. Eating and exploring fine.
Since the topsoil yesterday, hardly eaten and for a little while his right eye was closed. However after a second bath my wife was watching him and talking to him for a while and it remained open.
Will continue to bath him for a little while everyday to ensure hydration and to keep his eye clean.

Thank you for the link Sue will have a look.
The thing is tortoises don’t like change, even for the better. I use coir mixed with sharp sand for substrate for little ones now. The coir helps to maintain humidity and the sharp sand is more similar to their natural habitat. Commercial dealers are not really interested in the animals natural habit and to be honest don’t care so long as they can make a sale. A week is really no time at all and the little one will still be stressed from it’s experience. Always better to buy from a U.K. breeder really, as you will get the best advice to help with its transition to its new life to allow it to adapt natural (plus save you heaps of money). Try not to handle it too much as this will be stressful. Just offer food (natural, not pet shop dried stuff) and always have water available. Don’t force soak as some suggest as again this is stressful and will just result in bowel movements, nothing more. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the advice Sue.

Yea me and my wife spoke after we bought him and doing research that the pet shop didn't know their stuff and also as you say just want the sale.

We have stopped giving him pellets, as he loved these but after reading your link today and various other sources over the past couple of days we decided natural is best. (Out later for some more weeds for him)

Will try and let him settle without too much interaction for a while.

If his eye is closed should we still bath him though? As this did appear to help yesterday. Obviously if it remains open today we won't bath/soak him.

Thanks again Oli
 

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Thank you for the advice Sue.

Yea me and my wife spoke after we bought him and doing research that the pet shop didn't know their stuff and also as you say just want the sale.

We have stopped giving him pellets, as he loved these but after reading your link today and various other sources over the past couple of days we decided natural is best. (Out later for some more weeds for him)

Will try and let him settle without too much interaction for a while.

If his eye is closed should we still bath him though? As this did appear to help yesterday. Obviously if it remains open today we won't bath/soak him.

Thanks again Oli
Just pop him into a shallow bath that he can easily climb out of if he wishes too, it will allow him to get his eye wet, or just wipe over it gently with a soaking wet cotton bud. Normally the third eyelid will protect the lens of the eye when they dig into the earth, but when they are kept for the pet trade on poor substrates etc, they are not used to normal conditions and will not know how to react. As he’s opening it, it’s likely just a scratch, but keep checking just in case there’s infection. His cert will tell you his origin, most are imports, so if you think about what he’s gone through in this short time, leaving natural habitat, being bundled into unnatural cramped unsuitable conditions, often contaminated from different species, having a huge microchip forced into his little leg, power fed on unnatural food which upsets the gut etc etc, it’s no wonder they take so long to settle. There’s a huge company in the U.K. zoological international, stating their torts are U.K. bred, but many are imported and the way these torts are kept is a recipe for disaster to be honest. I’m thinking your tortoise is probably from a place like this, given that you don’t have a clearer hatch date for it. Just giving a year, means that any old cert can be given to any tortoise, unlike U.K. bred ones which have more specific dates ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Once again thank you so much for your advice Sue.

Yea his certificate just states hatched 2019 and he has come from Croatia, so as you say the little fella has been through alot in his short life.
Hopefully now with us he can have a great peaceful life and settle down and start to relax.

His right eye has been open all day thus far so it seems he must of just got a bit of topsoil in it yesterday.

Obviously going forward would only buy UK bred from a tortoise seller, and not from a pet shop.
 

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Once again thank you so much for your advice Sue.

Yea his certificate just states hatched 2019 and he has come from Croatia, so as you say the little fella has been through alot in his short life.
Hopefully now with us he can have a great peaceful life and settle down and start to relax.

His right eye has been open all day thus far so it seems he must of just got a bit of topsoil in it yesterday.

Obviously going forward would only buy UK bred from a tortoise seller, and not from a pet shop.
No problem, glad to help. We live and learn as they say.
 
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