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Posted: 02/12/2008 by Munster


We got another Herman tort (Tuga) back in Oct to keep Munster company. They are both doing well and seem to be getting on like a house on fire.

We have been weighting them every week and measuring them once a month. They havent been hibernated this year due to Munster being poorly and only having Tuga on the 17th Oct we didnt want to hibernate him staright away, but they definatly will be next year as long as everything is ok.

My concern is that they are both born in July 2007 and we have had Munster since 6th August and as i have said Tuga 17th October, but there is a huge diffrence in size. Munster has gone from 8cm & 102g (Aug) to 10.3cm & 174g but Tuga only grown from 8.3cm & 107g to 8.5cm and 111g (weight and mesured on Sunday).

Tuga's weight seems to be a little slow (107g, 109g, 107g, 110g, 112g, 111g). Munster is eating well, but Tuga doesn't eat that much at all and we are a little concerned. He doesnt seem put off by Munster when he does eat but just not the same quantities.

We put nutrobal on their food and they have lime stone flour & a cuttle fish in their home to munch on, but i woul djust like some advice that we are doing everything we can for both of them. They are mostly feed on clover and dandilion leaf/flower with occasionaly cucumber & cabbage.

As we are new to this i just wanted to check if everything is ok. Any advice would be most greatful,


Catherine, Jon, Munster & Tuga Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: Weight
Posted: 02/12/2008 by tpgarlene

Hi Caroline

You will sometimes find that there are big differences in the size of tortoises of the same age, having said that, I would be more concerned about Munsters weight gain - he has put on 70g in 4 months, which is a pretty big increase, and my hermanns of the same age are around 60g in weight.   You need to aim for a slow, steady weight gain around 3 - 4g per month.  Tortoises which grow too fast can end up with lumpy shells and are not able to take up emough calcium in their diet to support such fast growth, so the shell and bone is not as dense as it should be.  Tuga is nearer the average, and the weight gain is fine, so I wouldnt be worried about him.

I would recommend that you weigh the tortoises monthly - weekly weighings can give you false readings as a large wee or poo can affect the result!

OK diet, clover is quite high in protein, so I would tend to reduce the amount you are feeding - dandelions are good, plantain is another good weed, high in fibre, and it keeps them chewing for a while!  At this age, I would put nutrobol on the food daily, cucumber is fine as a treat, no real nutrients but high in water, but I would avoid cabbage totally.  It contains oxalic acid which inhibits the uptake of calcium, which is so important for all tortoises, especially those which are still growing.  You will find a full list of edible weeds on the hermanns tortoise caresheet.

Can you also let us know where Munster and Tuga came from (ie breeder, pet shop etc), and also what sort of lighting and housing you use for them?

I hope this helps Click and drag me down to the editorClick and drag me down to the editor

ArleneClick and drag me down to the editor

Re: Weight
Posted: 03/12/2008 by Munster

Hi Arlene

Many thanks for the advice and speedy reply.

Munster and Tuga are from a Reptile Pet shop and they say they are breeders.

Here is a link to their website

We have been very happy with them.

We use nutrobol on their food every day and as long as it come from the fridge they dont mind it. We have tried them with a number of weeds from the list and they seem to be quite fussy. I am currently growing dandelion, clover and hawsbeard for them, rather than of the roadside. They will eat strawberry leaf every now and then (home grown).

Their in door set up is quite large with a basking area with heat & UV lamps at the one end (30-32 degrees) and a bed at the other (20 degrees). We have broken it up with pebbles & substrate with plants, logs, stones etc to make it more exciting for them.

How do we stop Munster eating all the food? As i am reluctant to put only a small amount out just in case Tuga doesn't get any.

Oh we worry so much about them, we just want to make sure that everything is correct for them.


Many thank

Catherine, Jon, Munster & Tuga.  Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: Weight
Posted: 03/12/2008 by tpgadmin

Hi Catherine

Not Arlene, but I'm sure she'll look in when she can.

Have you thought about feeding them in 2 separate areas rather than together or perhaps you could make a small square frame in which you can place Tuga and his food until it is eaten (I'm assuming you decided not to quarantine them).

As Buy a Tortoise are a very large import company (sorry if you did not know this) I would also advise you to get a faecal sample done from your tortoise? Did you get one done for Munster when you first got him?

Are Munster and Tuga Hermanns by any chance? If so you should have a certificate for each of them indicating the country of origin.


Re: Weight
Posted: 03/12/2008 by tpgarlene

Hi Catherine

I dont really have anything to add to Helen's excellent advice, except perhaps to say again that you do need to reduce the amount of food that Munster is eating and slow down his growth rate.  Feeding Tuga in a spearate area is a good idea, and perhaps try feeding Munster about half to 2/3 of what you would normally give him, and weigh him again in a month to see how he is going.  If he is still gaining too much, reduce the food a little more, if he doesnt gain anything, increase the amount, and see how he is doing again in a months time.


Re: Weight
Posted: 06/12/2008 by Munster

Hi Helen & Arlene

Thanks for the advice.

Yes they are Herman torts and we have the paper work for both of them. Munster has had a fiecal sample checked and it was fine, but we have not had Tuga's. I think that its probally worth doing. 

We have been reducing the amount of food that Munster is having, but now Tuga isnt eatting at all!!! We have tried Dandilion, clover, plantains, starwberry leaf even cucumber and he not eating anything in the last 2 days. We have check all the temp's in the enclosure and there fine. He just wants to sleep all day, even if its under the basking lamp.

We bath them every day and he has been weeing but not number 2's unlike Munster who goes about twice a day.

We are quite concerned for Tuga, so any more advice would be most grateful.



Catherine, Jon, Munster and Tuga.  Click and drag me down to the editorClick and drag me down to the editor

Re: Weight
Posted: 07/12/2008 by tpgadmin

Sorry for the delay in reply Catherine, but my computer's been down (again).

It is possible that Tuga is slowing down naturally to hibernate?  Even when kept indoors and warm, they still sense the change in conditions.  If (and I'm only saying if) he is a recent import then he may have worms so a faecal is definitely worth getting done on him. 

What does the country of origin say on the paperwork please? I think you should find it on the top left of the A10.

The only other advice I can give is for him to have a health check by an exotics vet.  Are you registered with one and if not you can find the nearest one to you recommended by our members by looking on the breeders and vets section of this web site.  This may be the only way to put your mind at rest about him.



Re: Weight
Posted: 07/12/2008 by Munster

Hi Helen

Many thanks for thr reply.

Munster and Tuga both have Slovenia on their certificates. I cant beleive that importing torts still goes on. We realy believed that they were cabtive bred, as said on the cert and the pet shop that sold them to us. We must remember to do more research in to where we are buying from next time.

I suppose the only consulation is we love them very much and want to do our best for them both now that thay are with us.

Muster is registered with a vet so we will register Tuga as well and get a faecal sample done.

We didn't want to hibernate him this year as we only recently had him and as this is all new to us we thought that we could do lots of research (like this excellent website) and be fully prepared for next year. Munster has been poorly so we were definatly over wintering him.

Have you any advice on how to keep Tuga active? Munster seems to be ok, he's eating and running round like no tommorow. Tuga didnt eat yesterday, so this is day 4 of not eating and he sleep for most of the day. We had to keep waking him up and get him moving. We cleanned their home out yesterday and this was the only time he was active when we put them back in and he had a little explore around or about an hour and a half.

Its been really cold the last week, but i have been checking their temps and its all ok.

I am worrying so much i dreamt that night that i took them hols just so they could get some sun on a beach!!! lol.

Many thanks

Catherine, Jon, Munster and a sleepy Tuga.Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: Weight
Posted: 07/12/2008 by TPGDarren

Hi Catherine,

Sorry just catching up. May I ask whether you keep your tortoises in a vivarium or tortoise table please?



Re: Weight
Posted: 07/12/2008 by tpgadmin

Slovenian imported tortoises are often captive farmed and sometimes dealers mistake this for captive bred.  If you go to the glossary in the library section of the web site both terms are defined. 

Don't worry my first 3 ever tortoises were captive farmed too and like you I thought they were captive bred.  I was even told they came from Essex!  They did from a holding warehouse ready for sending out to pet shops and garden centres.  I still have them and wouldn't be without them.

Put Tuga under his basking lamp when he wakes up and then when his shell feels warm through give him a nice long soak in warm water,  and keep topping the water up so it doesn't get cold, for a good 20 minutes and then offer him his food either in an area Munster can't get to or feed them both at the same time in different places.

What was wrong with Munster?  I'm sure you've told us but I can't remember what it was, but from what you are writing he is well now.



Re: Weight
Posted: 07/12/2008 by Munster

Hi Helen & Darren

Darren - We keep them in a makesift tortoise table (we bought a cuboard from Ikea) - open top in the dinning room. we brought the table in from the conservatory at the end of september when it started to get cold.

Helen - The vet wasnt sure if he had RNS or not as we went to him early, but he went on a course of antibiotics (6 injections every 3 days) just in case and he has been great every since. and has no signs of what ever he had since. Sorry should have said that he had a wet nose and was sneezing.

We bath them both for 15-20mins every day (this is what they are up to now). This morning Tuga eat about 3 mouth fulls of nettle and nothing else. I have tried clover and dandilion but he just turned away.

Tommorow i am going to make an appointment with the vet to have Tuga's number 2's checked - the only thing is because he's not eating he's not number 2ing either!! 

Many thanks

Catherine, Jon and happly bathing at this moment in time Munster and Tuga

Re: Weight
Posted: 07/12/2008 by tpgadmin

Is Tuga's nares dry Catherine?  Press together the top of his beak and under his jaw gently with your thumb and finger and see if there is any moisture present.

I should have thought that Tuga should be passing some faeces even without eating if he is warm enough, as a result of normal metabolic waste.  In case he's dehydrated I should up his soaks in warm water to 2 or 3 times a day and see if that helps any until you can get him to see your vet.


Re: Weight
Posted: 07/12/2008 by Munster

Hi Helen

Yes all dry- its something that i look for all the time because of Munste and we had a little number 2 in the bath today!! yeah!!!. Also he has eaten a little more (2 more mouth fulls).

He has been weeing ok but no white blobs just clear water. Is this OK?

I will bath him again later today and call the vets first thing in the morning.




Re: Weight
Posted: 08/12/2008 by Munster

Hi Helen

Just to update you Tuga has 2 number 2's last night, but he struugled to pass them and we had to help. The number 2's were extremely hard like stone. Poor thing must have been constipated!! Afterwards it was like he had a new lease of life and was runnning around everywhere. 

Do you know what could have done this to him?

Many thanks

Catherine, Jon, Munster and a lot lighter Tuga.Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: Weight
Posted: 08/12/2008 by tpgadmin


I bet you're relieved that Tuga has parted with all of this.  Click and drag me down to the editor

I've no idea why he's got like this but just keep up the nice warm soaks and keep him going freely now.  it is a good idea to rinse his food so it is wet when you feed it to him, and offer some cucumber too.  It has little in the way of nutrition but will help keep him hydrated.  Also once a week offer some opuntia cactus and/or aloe vera leaf.  It would be still be worth getting a fresh sample of his poo checked out.



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