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As message below regarding help but message wont load sorry
Posted: 21/10/2015 by Biscuit

Hi Everyone, I really need your advice I have gotten my self into a bit of state to day and seriously considering giving up my beloved tortoise.

I have owned "Dave" for nearly 2 years he is a herman. I did a lot of research on tortoises before getting Dave so didn't go into buying him on a whim. Since I have owned Dave he lives in a  tortoise table with soil/ sand substrate, I only ever feed weeds, flowers, herbs occasional mixed leaf salad, and dried flower mix. He has calcium supplement 3/4 times a week, plus a cuttlefish in his enclosure. He has a heat lamp and a uv light, uv light is changed every 6 months. He is bathed at least once a week often more.
When weather is fine Dave spends his time in an outdoor enclosure, coldframe and an outdoor area, substrate is again soil/sand mix, he has weeds/plants growing in this area all tortoise friendly.
I am just making a new enclosure for him which is going to be larger and incorporate a poly (uvb) tunnel as I know the effects of basking lamps are so bad . I was under the impression that I was doing everything right and I was giving Dave the best care that I could do.

We re-homed a tortoise 6 weeks ago who has had a bad start in life, he has a deformed shell from incorrect husbandry. "Steve" has been kept in a tortoise table with pellet substrate, he has only had a uv light for the last year, he was fed on tortoise pellets for most of his life. He went outdoor in warmer weather but only on to grass enclosed area. All this before he came to me I have not kept him like this, I re-homed him thinking I could offer him a better life convinced that I was giving my own tort the very best of care. I realise that Steve's damage can not be undone but thought I could at least improve the future for him.

Anyway I posted a picture of Dave and Steve on Tortoise trust last night I was well aware that Steve has Metabolic bone disease due to his poor past (bearing in mind we have only had him for 6 weeks and wanted some advice on how to best improve his future but was shocked to discover that Dave also has severe MBD. I am soooo upset, How can I possibly take on Steve hoping to give him a better life when I can't even look after my own properly. I really thought that what I was doing was correct, where am I going wrong? Everything I have researched seemed to point me in this direction of looking after them so how could it have gone so terribly wrong?

Its that bad they thought he had been kept in a viv with wooden pellet substrate and has been grown far to fast. They have given links on advice pages but they all say to do what I am already doing, I am sooo confused, sad, and upset. Not sure how I can go on looking after them if I am that incompetent. Thing is what do I need to change, what am i doing so terribly wrong. I am devastated that Dave is so poorly, I didn't think he was this bad. I don't want to part with them as I do love them to bits but feel that I am not capable of giving them the care they should be getting.
I attach some pictures of Dave although I feel ashamed to post them but please remember I thought I was doing the right thing.
Really value any help and advice that you guys can offer.
Many Thanks

Re: As message below regarding help but message wont load sorry
Posted: 21/10/2015 by Tom


I was just reading your 1st post when it disappeared, but I saw the pics of Dave, which are not now showing.
Whilst not perfect & the scutes are slightly raised, he is not that bad by any means. I have yet to see perfection in in a captive bred tortoise. It seems that you have received harsh & upsetting criticism. I suspect that some of these people have not bred anything themselves, but we've all met their types, & they are best avoided.

I can't check as the pics are no longer there, but I suspect that growth has of late been smooth.

Things to help future growth:-

Use a 100W Megaray uvb bulb with an 8" diameter dome reflector, [heat & light.]
Hibernate him in Jan - March, keep weight records if not already. You don't give the age of the other one, but subject to weight checks, you can probably do the same.
Hermanns are very hardy, you can probably keep them outside much more than you have in the past.
Shatter the cuttlefish bone & use a bit at a time, it's easier to gnaw.
Heat / light for 10hrs max per day.
Don't use leaf salad, (= McDonalds,) they will feed more adventurously without it.

Best wishes,

Re: As message below regarding help but message wont load sorry
Posted: 22/10/2015 by Biscuit

Thank you Tom,

I currently use a heat lamp and a Exo terra uvb bulb in a Exo terra reflector. I am guilty of leaving these on for normally longer than I should and going to get stricter on turning them off earlier in the evening.
I have also not hibernated before which I also know is not good I'm just a chicken when it comes to hibernating but realise they need this. They are both in the normal range of the Jackson ratio and have already got my fridge with thermometers and air pump ready, I was going to begin wind down at the end of next week ready to hibernate in Dec but might look at putting it off and do Jan - March.
I am not sure what happened with my last post I'm not great with techy stuff but I can still see the photos of Dave on the other post. Dave is 5 yrs old I have had him for nearly 2 years.
I think that maybe because Steve is in such a bad way people jumped on the band wagon saying I was doing everything wrong but they have ignored the fact that I only re homed him 6 weeks ago and his poor condition is nothing to do with me. I just thought I could give him a better quality of life in the future but then as I was told I was doing everything wrong and they were both in a bad state I thought that I probably couldn't make Steves life any better. Steve seems happy enough but his shell is in a bad way. I realise I can't undo the damage he has already suffered but hopefully his new growth will be better. Not sure on Steves age but he's apparently about 10yrs they can't find the artical 10 but did have one so I'm just guessing at the min.
I'm relieved that Dave doesn't look to bad to you, but will be trying harder to ensure he gets what he needs. Am l giving them enough calcium supplement at 3/4 times a week or should it be more? I'm hoping that after they wake from hibernation next spring they will be outside permanently with the poly tunnel. Steve was apparently female but turns out he's a boy so we changed his name lol. Both are kept in separate enclosures anyway.
I am going to try and not take it to heart but it's hard.
Thank you Tom for putting my mind at ease a little.
Many thanks Caroline 

Re: As message below regarding help but message wont load sorry
Posted: 22/10/2015 by Biscuit

These are the pictures of Steve who I know is in a bad way but please remember I have only had him 6 weeks, and his appearance is not down to me at this time hoping his new growth will improve.

 Steve photo image_zpsdjligx2x.jpeg
Steve photo image_zpsdaa1i4rk.jpeg


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