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General Advice
Posted: 24/09/2015 by jacquisharples

Hi.  We are new to tortoise care!  We recently bought my son a Horsefield Tortoise - I believe it is about 2 years old.  We've had it about 10 days.  We also bought a tortoise table and heat lamp and substrate, water bowl etc  The table has a compartment at one end (with a lid) and a glass panel with a heat mat behind it. We think its a girl but my son has called it "Pug" which I think sounds more like a boy so will call him "he" for the purposes of this post!

Pug has been fine - been eating well and quite active for the first week or do (been feeding him dandelion leaves, rose petals, cauliflower greens (once) and he has been poo-ing at least once a day.  I have not seen him use his water bowl (its flat and he can get to it) - I did put him in it once just to make sure he knew it was there!  (he shot out of it sharpish!)  We have been taking him out at least once or twice a day for a bit of exercise - on the carpet or outside if it is sunny & warm.  So far so good.

However I am starting to get a bit worried as this week he has been mainly staying in his "bedroom compartment" burrowed into the substrate (aspen) and not coming out at all.  I took him out on Tuesday to give him a short bath as I was worried he may be dehydrated or something.  He seemed fine with it and then ate something immediately afterwards - sat under the heatlamp for a bit and them disappeared back to his bedroom and has not come out since.  He seems fine - I thought I would just leave him and see what happens - I have been lifting the lid to check if he is OK and he has moved his head  and changed position slightly so he is still alive!  

I guess he is trying to hibernate but I was under the impression that tortoises kept indoors didn't need to hibernate or rather they never got cold enough to need to (I am sure I read that somewhere!).
If he is going to hibernate can you give me some advice and how do I tell for sure that is what is happening.  How long would it be for?  And i have seen posts about fridges and shoeboxes with lining etc and I'm a bit confused!!! 

 By the way temperature wise - at one end of the tortoise table where the heatlamp it is around 32 degrees C and at the other end where his bedroom & heat map are it is around 21 degrees C (probably gets a bit cooler during the night)

Any advice you can give me would be very much appreciated!

Many thanks

Re: General Advice
Posted: 25/09/2015 by Tom

Hello Jacqui,

I assume it came from a pet dealer or you would have been given advice.
I'd remove the "compartment," they tend to lead to torts being stranded in a cool area.

The dealer may have said it's 2, but they are imported without paperwork & are mostly wild caught.

Whilst well meaning, it's poor practise to let it wander round the house, or outside, it's enclosure should grow as it, grows. An outside enclosure can be planned & built for next year.

Click on "The Tortoise" box for a Caresheet, plus info on hibernation, but you will need to monitor it's health carefully b4 considering the latter. Note that it will have had a very hard time, this species is imported in lots of 1,000 or more, so imagine !!

Heat mats are not good for torts..

I'm sorry to be so negative, I hope that it thrives. Come back if other probs occur. 


Re: General Advice
Posted: 25/09/2015 by jacquisharples

Hi Tom

Thanks for coming back to me and I appreciate your being so candid.  I will of course provide the best habitat and care I can and have also had some very good responses from other people on the Facebook forum which has been very helpful.

Many thanks & regards


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