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Hermans craning neck & occasional cough like sound
Posted: 16/10/2016 by Wstephw

Sadly a week ago today one of our precious little Hermanns babies passed away. She (at a guess) was only around 18months old. 

I took her to our usual vets who unfortunately don't specialise in exotics (the closest one to us 2 hours away). He said he thought she had "flu" and could hear a slight noise through his stethoscope when he listened underneath her shell. He gave us antibiotics to put on her food daily, we upped her baths to twice daily, but sadly after 3 days of Meds she passed away. 

She was eating & behaving exactly as she always had except for craning her neck and having a slight occasional "cough".  She had been outside in the sun throughout the summer (brought in when the sun had gone in & kept in overnight) but had been brought inside full time since the drop in temperature.  

We have another tortoise who is treated the exact same way, same food (fresh weeds only, cuttle fish, lump chalk & calcium sprinkled on weeds daily), same baths (warm, 5 days a week), same substrate (top soil) same 12 hours a day UV & heat pad etc and is absolutely fine & showing no signs of illness- can anybody help diagnose what might have caused her to pass away? Or what I could 
have done to prevent this happening. 

I'm not looking for criticism, just help please. 

Re: Hermans craning neck & occasional cough like sound
Posted: 16/10/2016 by


I'm sorry to hear all this.

Heat pads are dangerous for torts., & that may in part have been responsible. As you know in the correct environment hermanns are normally 'bomb proof.' 

You state  it was "at a guess" 18months old, did you not get an A10 Certificate which would state it's hatch date ?

Where did you acquire them from ?


Re: Hermans craning neck & occasional cough like sound
Posted: 18/10/2016 by Wstephw

Hi, thanks for your reply.

Yes, this is one of the reasons we chose Hermann's, because they are so hardy as you say.

The 'at a guess' was intended at the sex, she was 18 months old & we have the A10 Certificate for both torts.

They were from 'Conwy Water Gardens' in Conwy, North Wales.
They were kept in a glass viv, on pellets with a bowl of lettuce at the shop :( 

My other tort (purchased at the same time from the same place) seems to be thriving, i've been keeping a very close eye on her, for obvious reasons.

I kept them in the same temperature controlled table, fed the exact same fresh weeds daily, same supplements, cuttlefish & lump chalk & bathed together 5 days out of 7, but as I say the one surviving tortoise is thriving.


Steph :)




Re: Hermans craning neck & occasional cough like sound
Posted: 19/10/2016 by

Hello Steph,

Your reply gives further possible clues as to the cause of death.
They were kept in poor conditions at the pet dealers in Conwy. 
Also they will have been imported - as your A10 Cert will, I think, indicate. A large proportion of these imported torts are carrying pathogens which often take time to multiply to a dangerous level.

In reply to your question [direct to my email] asking how to "keep them warm at night" [without a heat mat] - the simple answer is that room temp is fine.

Let's hope the remaining one continues to thrive.

I 'd register a written complaint with the dealers & demand a refund. Try to find out where they bought the torts & let us know please. Keep all in writing.


ps re your direct email.
They may have a 4wk refund policy, but that does not affect your statutory rights.
They were poorly kept in the shop & you received no advice.
It died after 5mths - a species which lives to be 100.

No the RSPCA can't help - they want to close the import trade down, but the legislation is inadequate.
What name was in the top L. corner of the A10 Cert & Country of Origin ?


Re: Hermans craning neck & occasional cough like sound
Posted: 28/10/2016 by Tom

How are you getting on with Conwy Water ....dealers Steph ?

It's easy to take them to the Small Claims Court - they'll soon cough up rather than go there !!

What was the Country of Origin ?



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