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Hatchling outdoors straight away?
Posted: 09/05/2015 by Spanish39

Hi Everyone.

I am hoping to get a Hermann tortoise and have found this website to be a great source of information.  There is so much confusing / conflicting advice out there that I'm still feeling a little unsure of my plans and I'm hoping you can help me out with a query.

I've read that tortoises are much better off outside where they can get lots of sunlight, so I'm hoping to make it's permanent home outdoors and I have a lovely sunny spot in the garden picked out.  What I'm not sure about though is whether a hatchling can go out straight away or whether I should keep it inside for the first year or two.

My plan for outside is to use the wooden frame from a raised bed (it's 1m x 1m and about 20cm high sides).  I think this will be big enough for a hatchling tortoise and I have plenty of space to expand the enclosure as the tortoise grows.  How long do you think an enclosure this size will be ok before I need to expand? 

I know my tortoise will need somewhere to warm up and I was going to put a little cold frame or poly tunnel into the enclosure (or perhaps next to it so that it's in addition the size mentioned above).  If I do that will it need a heat lamp as well?  What about a UVB lamp, or will it get enough UV from the sun if it lives outdoors?  My problem is that there is currently no electric point on the sunny side of the garden but I can put one in if necessary.

Alternatively, I wonder is it better to keep a hatchling indoors and just take the enclosure outdoors on nice sunny days?  If so, at what age will it be hardy enough to live outside permanently.

Apologies for so many questions - I just want to make sure I don't harm my tortoise by getting things wrong.

Re: Hatchling outdoors straight away?
Posted: 10/05/2015 by


The frame will be ok for up to 2yrs. If you have a tort. lawn (full of weeds) then it's best to move it every 2days. wire mesh is needed on top.
 You need a tort. 'table' indoors for poor weather, you will learn by experience when it is warm enough for it to be outside, Hermanns are hardy, so are active at at about 15degs, but need higher temps if they are to feed.
Yes knock up a cold frame, but beware of overheating. Electrics are not a good idea in such a small area.

The best source of UVB is, of course, the Sun. You will need a UVB lamp for your 'table'.

The main thing is to be sure to buy from a breeder - there is a list of TPG breeders in the "Buying a Tortoise" box. Otherwise BEWARE as there are a lot of pretend 'breeders' about selling dodgy E.European imports.


ps Anyone keeping tortoises should have a greenhouse or poly tunnel, or at least a large cold frame.  

Re: Hatchling outdoors straight away?
Posted: 13/05/2015 by Spanish39

Hi Tom

I'm so sorry that it's taken me ages to reply and say thank you for your advice (I couldn't get logged back in to the site!).

I have been to visit a local breeder (a TPG recommended one) and hope to be collecting my new little tortoise (9 month old) next week.  I've decided to set up a tortoise table indoors and then carry it out into the garden on sunny days.  I've just picked up from the garden centre the clear plastic top of a small propagator.  I thought I'd cut a door way into one side and put it on the table whilst it was outside so she could have a warmer spot.  Oh and I'd give her a shaded hide as well so she can choose!

Then as my tortoise gets bigger I'll develop a bigger outdoor enclosure with suitable housing.

Currently I'm busy setting up my table but am tying myself in knots over heating and lighting so I'm off to scour the heating and lighting forum.....




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