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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Evening everyone. You will have to forgive me as I have never been on any type of forum before....I desperatley need some advice on my two and a half year old spur thighed tortoise that was bought for me from a local dealer. I have a large vivarium with heat mat, basking lamp, UV light, stone water holder and a log type thing to hide under. How long does the basking light need to be on for, if at all? If I leave it on all day the temperature gets too hot - so I have been just using the UV lamp. I want to make sure I am not harming my tortoises growth. Also, she seems to prefer her T-Rex pellets more then any other food I give her? is this normal? She also seems to scratch alot at night when I turn the UV lamp off, is this ok? Sorry if I seem inexperienced, i have been reading stuff from all over the internet but need specific advice. Any help would be greatfully appreciated! From lulu & Tortoise xxxx
 

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Hi there, i dont have a tort, i have turtles but am resurching tortoises as i would love to own one soon. I do know that vivs, heat mats and pellets are very bad for your tortoise and will shorten his life :cry: for his own safety your will need to get an opentop enclosure so that the temp can be varied ! im sure someone with more experiance will be able to help you more :wink: good luck
 

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Hi

You have fallen into the common trap that I think 50% of all tort owners do! Vivariums are VERY bad for your tortoise, for a number of reasons:

1. There is no way of controlling temperatures (as you have found)
2. The fact that they can see through the glass will stress them out at they can't understand why they can't get out (possibly why they are scratching)

The best thing that you can do is get an open top box (old drawer, plastic underbed storage) This will allow air to flow around the enclosure and let you control the temps much better. If you have any dogs, cats etc then you can use one of the larger rabbit cages with a plastic base and wire top.

The heat lamp should be in one corner and I would recommend a temp of approx 34' directly under it. For substrate you could use hemp (abouise) or a play sand/top soil mix.

The UV light should be approx 6" above the shell of the tort and both should be on for around 8 hours per day. Please get rid of the heat mat as these can cause serious burns on the tort. (The ambient temp in the table at night should not drop lower than 16 deg. Some people do position the heat mat in the SIDE of the table - although in a house with central heating this should not be necessary)

I hope that this helps -
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for your reply! I absolutley love turtles/tortoises so when I got mine - I was over the moon and simply accepted the advice I was given from the reptile shop it was purchased from. Im terrified to think I could be doing the wrong thing...Unfortunatley for me - space is not an option I can afford at the moment... If anyone has any other advice I would really appreciate it! In the summer hopefully I can keep it outside/ in a more suitable location. LuLu xx
 

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Hi there, it does nt need to take up any more space you could buy an indoor rabbit hutch and have it where your viv is ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great, thanks for the advice...Are there any websites that would give more tips on how to construct something like this? Im not sure how I would position the UV lamp and the basking light at the distance you suggested? Im living somewhere where space isn't in a great ambundance- how big do the enclosures need to be?

Thanks again! Its really kind of you to take the time to help me out LuLu and tortoise xx
 

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** from a local dealer.

firstly get him wormed . Check if he is from Slovenia (look on cert) and if he is then he is wold caught and will have parasites.

** I have a large vivarium with heat mat,

Get rid of both of these ASAP. It only take a day for tort to dehydrate beyond recovery. Bladder stones can form which WILL kill him at such a young age - I prresume it is young

** basking lamp, UV light, stone water holder and a log type thing to hide under. How long does the basking light need to be on for, if at all?

The same time as natural sunlight hours - 8 - 12 depending on time of year

** If I leave it on all day the temperature gets too hot - so I have been just using the UV lamp.

This is because there is no air circulation - this is lethal to tortoises :(

** I want to make sure I am not harming my tortoises growth.

It will harm his kidneys and respiratory system if not changed

**Also, she seems to prefer her T-Rex pellets more then any other food I give her?

Throw this away see here http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/webdiet.html

** is this normal?

No - these WILL kill her eventually due to too high protein content :(

** She also seems to scratch alot at night when I turn the UV lamp off, is this ok?

No - this is because she is trying to escape the environment. She needs a substrate where shse can burrow to thermoregulate her temperature. She is stressing herself doing this. When stressed they become ill.

** Sorry if I seem inexperienced, i have been reading stuff from all over the internet but need specific advice. Any help would be greatfully appreciated!

Go the pet shop and put a bomb under it! Only kidding. It's not your fault you have been ill informed but you do need to make some drastic changes as already advised if you wish to save this little one. As mentioned get her into an open topped enclsoure ASAP and feed her on dandelions which is what she would have in the wild. Aim for a hot spot of 30 degrees - NO HIGHER - YOU WILL COOK HER. Oh and do not be wurprised if she turns out to be a he. All young tortoises display female characteristics and many turn out to be male. Above all keep her well hydrated by giviing daily baths in warm water just over the bottom part of her shell (plastron) This is far more important than food at this stage especially if you have been feeding pellets. Please throw those pellets in the bin,
Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to everyone for replying with such helpful information, especially Sue and Cath. I have checked his certificate and the country of origin is Turkey. It says on the form that it was captive born? Should I still take him to the Vet to get wormed? It was hatched in 2004, so only a baby really. I will throw the pellets in the bin when I get back. What should I use as substrate? any suggestions? I will transfer her to an open topped enclosure - but where do I put the UV lamp? does the basking lamp need to be directly overhead?Sorry for so many questions...Really stressed now as I don't want her to get ill. LuLu and tortoise xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Woah, ok Ive calmed down a bit now! Found instructions on how to set up a tort table. Here is the link someone else might find it useful...
http://www.pettortoise.co.uk/tortoise_table.php. How do they keep warm at night if theres no source of heat? Is this safe? also, my tortoise loves cucumber and spring greens - surely it is ok to feed her these with dandelions...And where do you buy dandelions in the middle of winter? Love LuLu and Tortoise :?
 

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**I have checked his certificate and the country of origin is Turkey.

Woops sorry I was thinking it was hermanni.

**It says on the form that it was captive born?

No it will be wild caught - spurs are becoming more popular and Turkey is the countruy where they are caught :(

**Should I still take him to the Vet to get wormed?

Yes and if he tests positive please get back to us and let us kmow where you bought him as this needs to be stopped. Turkey does not import captive bred torts.

**t was hatched in 2004, so only a baby really.

What does it weigh (grams)and what length is it from one end to the other in a straight line measured in centimeters.

**I will throw the pellets in the bin when I get back.

That will be doing him a hige favour.

**What should I use as substrate? any suggestions?

I would use a 50/50 mix of sand and soil fo him to make him feel at home. This is close to his natural substrate. Purchase fertiliser free from a garden centre

**I will transfer her to an open topped enclosure - but where do I put the UV lamp?

As near to the tort as possible without touching it

** does the basking lamp need to be directly overhead?

At a height to reach temps of 30 degrees directly underneath and at one end, not in the middle

** Sorry for so many questions

No problem that is what we are here for :)

**How do they keep warm at night if theres no source of heat?

Same as they do in the wild - they don't other than to bury into the substrate to thermoregulate naturally. It gets flipping cold at night in Turkey at times - I know I have been tort watching there ;) It is actually beneficial for them to cool down at night, If they stay hot they die :(


**Is this safe?

Is what safe?

also, my tortoise loves cucumber and spring greens - surely it is ok to feed her these with dandelions.

Cucumber is no more than water. It will not hurt but it will not feed her either. Spring greens are a member of the cabbage family. Cabbage, cauliflower and sprouts will inhibit the uptake opf calcium meaning that even if you cover the food in calcium it will not be absorbed and weaken the bones :( You need to give nutrobal daily for calcium and minerals.

..And where do you buy dandelions in the middle of winter?

You don't you look a fool looking on grass verges - don't forget to wash them.

Good luck
 

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So what temp should a spur be kept at?????? i mean i only occationally put the basking light on because it gets too hot!
 

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Great, thanks for the advice...Are there any websites that would give more tips on how to construct something like this? Im not sure how I would position the UV lamp and the basking light at the distance you suggested? Im living somewhere where space isn't in a great ambundance- how big do the enclosures need to be?

Thanks again! Its really kind of you to take the time to help me out LuLu and tortoise xx
Go onto Tortsmad : Tortsmad and have a look in the files and the photos at the enclosures there. Lots of ideas for tortoise habitats.
Hope this helps
 

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So what temp should a spur be kept at?????? i mean i only occationally put the basking light on because it gets too hot!

Your baksing lamp needs to be on for the male amount of hours as the sun is out for. If it gets too hot then you are usuing the wrong type of enclosure or the enclosure is not big enough to vreate a temperature gradient. The hot end needs to be no hotter than 30 degrees and he needs to be able to get away to a temp of as low as 15 degrees so he can thermoregulate in his bedding
 

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Your baksing lamp needs to be on for the male amount of hours as the sun is out for. If it gets too hot then you are usuing the wrong type of enclosure or the enclosure is not big enough to vreate a temperature gradient. The hot end needs to be no hotter than 30 degrees and he needs to be able to get away to a temp of as low as 15 degrees so he can thermoregulate in his bedding

kk thanks
 
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