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Vivarium and one of your recommended vets
Posted: 23/05/2009 by mickeymygrey

Hi there, i have just been to an establishment that recommends one of you vets listed on here and allegedly they state that ALL tortoises should only be housed in vivariums as the uk generally is unsuitable weather wise for any other set ups.  They also state that tortoise tables and the like are completely unsuitable and all torts regarless of type should be on newspaper in a viv with constant all over heating and fed on spring greens from supermarkets.  This is contrary to everything i have read on the net and in books.  They also allegedy state that advise from the tortoise trust is very outdated and the new methods of keeping as described above are the only way to avoid pyramiding.  I am now concerned if i am doing the right thing or not? I have a russian in a set up as described here and on tortoise trust with mud/sand mix with uvb lighting and heat at one end only and only feed it on home grown weeds and plants.  Can anyone advise me?

Re: Vivarium and one of your recommended vets
Posted: 23/05/2009 by tpgsteph

Its sounds as though you are already doing a great job and are providing your tortoise with everything it needs. Tortoises require a range of temperatures in order to maintain their well-being. Tortoises are unable to raise their body heat biologically as we do, and require heat to digest food and for their immune system to work etc. They also need times when they can escape the heat; otherwise their system is permanently on ‘go fast’. A vivarium set-up does not permit good airflow and so the vivarium maintains almost one temperature, which does not permit a tortoise to choose the temperature it needs when it sees fit. A tortoise-table does have a good airflow and does have a range of temperatures. If a tortoise is ill, for example, it cannot raise its body temperature, so it may seek to do so by basking in a temperature of approximately 90deg. But to have the whole area the tortoise inhabits at 90deg will undoubtedly cause massive stress for the tortoise and will also cause the tortoise to quickly dehydrate.
Keeping a tortoise on newspaper is extremely dangerous. We recently rehomed a tortoise that had lost almost all of the keratin from its shell because it was involved in a fire, where another tortoise had burrowed under the newspaper and it touched the lamp and ignited. Sadly, the other tortoise involved died a slow and painful death, despite all efforts being made to save him. Newspaper does not permit a tortoise to burrow down and thermoregulate which helps maintain hydration by minimising the loss of body fluids through evaporation.
In short, the information we and the TT supply is the very best information available. Please could you just clarify whether it is the establishment you visited or the vet that is giving this advice. If it is the vet would you kindly mail me the vets name on the emailaddres below, as we cannot have a vet on our list that is giving out advice and information of this kind.

HTH Regards

Re: Vivarium and one of your recommended vets
Posted: 29/06/2009 by jeanstorts

Hi  could I clarify the use of mud/sand/it wont be what the tort trust has said what will have been said is to use half play sand and a good soil{john ines} mixture for the substrait for your tort so the can burrow into it ,for advice look on this  website or the tortoise trust . they have a very good course, in chelonian husbandry  it is an eight part and its on line £35 but you will learn how to look after your torts.  Jean B


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