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My Horsefield Tortoise
Posted: 03/08/2015 by lornaland

Hi everyone,

I bought my tortoise 6 years ago from a local pet shop and things have gone terribly wrong ever since. Things were great to begin with but she was never a big eater and slept a lot and wasn't very active at all. I thought that this was just how she was and was her personality although her eating habits did concern me. Earlier this year, my partner and I became concerned with her mouth and realised it looked like she had an overbite. I took her to the pet shop I got her from (which is now under new management) and this is where things became terrible for us. The reptile specialist informed me that when I had bought my tortoise from the previous owners, they had given me a lot of bad and dangerous information. They had told me all she needed was pellets, and occasionally veg, not the other way around and they also told me she could live in her vivarium forever. They also told me that horsefield tortoises do not hibernate and that I was best to just let her do her own thing. The new owners assured me that none of this was my fault, however my little girl was very underweight and needed a new routine and diet, pretty much everything. I know a lot of people are probably thinking "if you had just googled this you'd of known" but I got her when I was very young and trusted the advice of the people I was buying her from.

She is now on a great diet and has put weight on, she eats mostly kale, dandelion leaves and also strawberry leaves. I also purchased a dried weeds mix from the pet shop to accompany the fresh stuff. She's doing a lot better and is much more active. I am now just concerned about the other things I've been doing wrong for her. 

1. Am I too late to move her to a table top home now that she's lived in a vivarium all her life? I don't want to cause her any more stress.

2. I have never put her into hibernation, am I too late to start this now? She has (now I look back) tried to hibernate herself, as towards the winter months she slows her eating to nothing and buries herself in her house and sleeps 90% of the time.

3. If I am not too late to start her hibernating, does anyone have any advice about how I would do this? Is there a best time to begin or do I let her tell me when she's ready?

Thanks for reading, I really would appreciate any advice and answers you could give me!

Lorna x Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: My Horsefield Tortoise
Posted: 04/08/2015 by Tom

Hello Lorna,

Can I 1st refer you to a post I've just answered below by Kerriann titled "A Sad Experience", in the "Off Topic" section.

Despite what the reptile 'specialist' said, kale is a brassica & should not be fed. Dried flowers are good in early Spring, but it's Summer so pick fresh ones. Click on "The Tortoise" & explore for advice on diet, etc..

1. No prob moving to a 'table' - the sooner the better. But it's Summer - it could be outside. As you now know, they tunnel, so an enclosure needs much thought, it needs to be about 15sqm.
So plan & make for next year.

2. Yes hibe. this year. Full info in "The Tortoise" box.

3. When you are keeping outside - it varies from year to year. Mid to late October.



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