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Getting Worried/Conflicting Information
Posted: 07/08/2015 by garyfromscotland

First of all hello everyone, been stalking these forums for a wee while.

I have some concerns over how I am keeping my Horsefield, and the advice I was given from multiple stores.

I bought my Horsefield tort about 6 weeks ago from a reptile store (I phoned a lady who breeds them who was waiting for eggs, and my fiance's best friend had a healthy tort which he bought from the store a couple of years ago). I was sold a vivarium (which should last 12-ish months - we will be buying our first house then so I was planning on upgrading his/hers shelter at that time) 

We also bought some woodchips, a dried type of hay, water bowl, feeding bowl, electronic thermostat, light, a UV lamp (it's black so it's not bright at night) along with some dried food and a white powder (I'm at work so I presume this is vitamins - we feed him every second day on advice of the shop, with a mixture of fresh rocket and some lettuce leaves which he seems to like - the green dried pellets stay in the food bowl, and get topped up when needed.

Now I've been reading a lot about the cons of a vivarium, and although I spent 350 5-6 weeks ago on an enclosure and bits and pieces, I am happy to  spend more if a viv is not the way to go, as I want the best for "tank".

I would really appreciate some advice from any members (I have read the sheets, although I'd feel better if I could talk to some knowledgeable people)

If I keep him in a viv, at a constant 30, with woodchips, should I swap the woodchips out for a soil and sand mix so he can burrow/dig around? he has a nice wooden shelter covered in hay which I think he likes, and the artificial light is on from 7am - 8/9pm - should I add some rocks and artificial plants in the mix - he seems to love to climb so was thinking putting other bits in.

We bathe him everyday, replace the water daily, and when possible, we let him roam on the couch/floor.

Are viv's bad for horsefields? Am I better with a tortoise table? I want him to have the best life he can, and to develop properly, but my head's all over the place with information from loads of different sources. 

I have heard him scratching at times and lift up his house (I presume from digging) Also I think the heat lamp may be too high up? 

Apologies if the post is disjointed or makes no sense - from a worried tort owner.

Many thanks in advance

Re: Getting Worried/Conflicting Information
Posted: 07/08/2015 by Tom

Hello Gary,

Thank you for a well written post with full details.
The situation you are in is common. Can you give full details of the "multiple store" please, if it is a pet trade store, they should put animals before profit. You are fully within your rights to name it.

The Horsfield's Care sheet on this site is very good, so print it off for easy reference. For that reason I will highlight some, rather than all, of your concerns.

Vivs are not suitable, 'though if you left a door open 10cm or so & created a heat spot at the other end, then it would be vastly better. If the strip light is UVB it needs to be about 17cm above your tort..
All heat/light should be off at night (12 hrs min.) They benefit from a drop in temp..
Don't let it wander, they are frustrated when returned to their enclosure.
Yes soil for it to dig in.

Woodchip & dried pellets should not be used. 
Lettuce should not be fed.
The shop advises to feed on alternate days - how daft.

A tortoise 'table' would be better, you could use an old drawer. With a table you could move to a quality UVB bulb e.g. "Megaray", (heat/light.)

I would contact the shop & demand a refund. You have been mis-sold a viv. & other unsuitable items. There is a protocol & many have been successful.

Aim for an outdoor enclosure when you move.



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