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Weight Gain
Posted: 20/02/2013 by sean hall

Hi everyone. New to this site. Just bought my first tortoise, a Horsfield tortoise.

I was told he was about a year old when i bought him and ive now had him for just under two weeks.

I have a heat lamp, uvb lamp and very large cage as i was told vivariums are a no no for Horsfields due to air ventilation.

Since got him two weeks ago, he has gained approx 14 grams in weight going from 132g - 146. It has somewhat bewildered me as the majority of material online suggests he should be gaining 2-3 grams per month.

I really do not feed him that much. I pop in one leaf from a romaine lettuce in the morning before i go to work and thats it. Also just to add, the romaine lettuce is temporary while i am growing him lots and lots of weeds :)

He is also extremely active when i come home. I have been giving him a 3-4 minute bath every day when i get back from work and then i let him roam anywhere in the house. He is very inquisitive and quite happy walking around the house for an hour or more so im guessing that this plenty of exercise for him?

Could anyone help me out here and verify whether the 2-3 grams weight gain per month is actually correct and if so what i could possibly be doing wrong?

Much appreciated and thanks for your time!


Re: Weight Gain
Posted: 20/02/2013 by DarrenAdmin

Hi Sean, it is, but for smaller tortoises:-)
As they have a shell and bones to maintain, slow growth is paramount. They should consume roughly about as much as covers the shell in one day. 14g in two weeks means he will be tripling his body-weight in a year, which is far too quick and will cause shell and bone deformation. All tortoises grow at different rates, due to genetics, so there isn't an exact science.

Here is a link to some care sheets, if you haven't seen them already:-




Re: Weight Gain
Posted: 20/02/2013 by sean hall

Cheers for the reply Darren. Whilst it has clarified my concerns somewhat i now need to know how to make amends to this weight gain. As i said i am literaly only giving him 1 leaf a day (enough to cover his shell) and he gets at least 1 hour excerise a day.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated

Re: Weight Gain
Posted: 20/02/2013 by TPGDarren

A multigym:-)
Keep going with as much as can cover the shell in a day. It could be that when you got him he was dehydrated and his stomach was empty - so you may need to gauge his weight over a longer period.
Do let us know how you get on in the next couple of weeks


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