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Food / substrate
Posted: 02/03/2011 by bubbles

Only me again.

Sorry So many question. 

Had my hermann 6 months, She is now nearly 3 and I have today moved her properly out of her vivarium into her tortoise table. She has a megaray bulb in and is absolutely racing around the cage all excited.

I was just wondering because she is on a 50/50 sand and top soil substrate if you can suggest away to stop her climbing all through her water and over her food I have put in.  I have had a look at the gallery and am going to put some stones in.

Is there anything else you can suggest.  She is having a whale of a time really digging and is absolutely covered in soil but I don't know if I should just put some food in and if she doesn't eat it within a certain length of time take it out.

In the vivarium I had her on I think they were rabbit pellets and I used to put her food down and she would have eaten it within ten minutes.

from bubbles

Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 02/03/2011 by TPGDarren


You could try broken slate around the immediate vicinity of the water dish, this will at least reduce the amount of soil she walks into the dish. I would definitely stick with the sand/soil, it's far more natural and less likely to form spores when wet.


Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 02/03/2011 by bubbles

Ill try that I know a good roofer ha ha ha.  No seriously I will.

I actually have put the sand and soil straight onto the table.  It is meant to be waterproof but thought I might put a piece of lino or pond lining underneath substrate.  What do you think.  also sorry again for asking but how often do I need to change soil and sand substrate.

Sorry for going onClick and drag me down to the editor

thank you

BubblesClick and drag me down to the editor


Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 02/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi, you can line the table top, I do its easy to take out and wipe down.

Its best to spot pick any poo out on a regular basis, and change the sand/soil every few months.


Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 02/03/2011 by bubbles

thanks for that

Do you think lino or a pond liner would be best?

Can't believe how bubbles is in her table she is mad, never been a active and enjoying herself.  Just shows how the vivarium has effected her.  Cos she kept going mad at the glass reflection ever though I did put something on the outside to stop her  trying to get through. but even with that she could see her own reflection.

Best thing I have ever done finding this website and getting her out of viv.Click and drag me down to the editor

But I wouldn't have known how bad they were if it hadn't had been to the site, because I had been told it was fine. etc etc.



Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 03/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi, she is one lucky tortoise to have you as an owner, who has listened and acted on the advice, well done to youClick and drag me down to the editor.

I personally think pond liner would be better than lino, it is thinner and can mould easier into corners etc.  I also use drawer liners from Ikea, they are a clear plastic and are easy to cut to size.

Its so good to hear that she is enjoying the new table, please post some pics here or in the gallery.

Regards Vivienne

Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 03/03/2011 by bubbles

Thankyou for the kind comments.

I am trying, making a few mistakes on the way but getting there.

Having a little trouble with the temperature in the table.  got my new 100w megaray bulb set up 30 cm from the top of her shell. I have  put some pebbles underneath the heat lamp until I get some slate this weekend, but am only getting a temp when I lay the end of the temp prob on the pebbles of 25.6.  I am little bit concerned about that but have now in her sleeping compartment put a large half log thing and lot of  sand an soil with some shredded paper(? if I should put paper in) to try and allow her to keep warm at night. 

any other advice would be greatly received.

Thank goodness for this sight ey ha ha haClick and drag me down to the editor

I will post some pictures when I have got it set up with slate at the weekend and please do tell me as I greatly appreciate the advice if you can suggest any improvement. 

This table I have got is meant to be for up to five years.  I am going to make my own table next time I think when she needs her next one.

I did actually try to make my own table first but got frustrated because I  used a pva sealant which I was recommended to use, but when it got wet it went sticky and I also used the wrong material to build it, I used mdf ha ha ha

Rubbish ey .... but at least I tried.  (That why I went out and bought one)

I don't know if anyone can actually recommend a wood to use and a sealant for the bottom.  (cos not sure if you can varnish or use paint)


Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 04/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi, with the lamp you can lower it to get some more heat, but you may find it heats up more with the slate under, make sure the slate is quite thick.

If that fails, during this cold weather I have added another ordinary spot bulb for extra heat in the basking end.

Dont worry about her bedding area, she wont need the newspaper the sand/soil will be enough.  If she is in the house, the background heat is fine for her.

With the table, I have used pine type planks of wood and contiboard (coated white), I havnt sealed them, but lined mine with the ikea drawer liner.  But I have heard of others sealing wood with garden fence type paint that says safe for animals, you may have to search for this to ensure you get a safe one, also let it dry completely before putting a tort in.

regards Vivienne

Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 06/03/2011 by bubbles

Hi There Sorry to bother you all again, doing really well bubbles settled into tortoise table from Friday I think it was, but she isn't eating I am trying alsorts at moment.  Been collecting a few dandilions that are just begining to come through, I've tried her also with a bit of cucumber even.  Her temp in table are fluctuating between 28 and 30 and she doesn't seem unwell. I have been bathing each day to ensure she is not getting dehydrated.  At what point do I worry or visit vets.  She previously ate absoloutly fine before I moved her into tortoise table.

please help


Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 07/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi, she may be just getting used to her new surroundings, but the lower temp may not be warming her up enough to want to eat, it may be worth adding another lamp to increase it, if you cant lower the one you have at present

Try not to worry too much thou, I'm sure she will start eating again soon, especially when she starts going out in the sunshine!

regards Vivienne

Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 07/03/2011 by bubbles

thank you for advice

Introduced basking lamp today as well as megaray, just at one end of table.  Got temp up to 30 and am hoping she will settle down and eat soon.  I can't lower the megaray any lower because it is exactly 30cm from the top of her shell to the bulb.  Even had the ruler out ha ha ha.

Do tortoises sometimes go for a period of time like this without eating, being a relatively new owner I aren't sure. 

Also When she settles down I was considering because of me working as a Teaching Assistant in a school taking her into see some of the children because they keep asking me.  Do you think this would be ok or would it be to stressful to them.  I also thought it would be educational to some of the children on how to correctly look after a tortoise.

If there are any links you can suggest or any information you think would be good for this I would appreciate it. 

Obviously I would if I took her in only have her in for a limited time, and would take her in, in a carrier that I bought .

From Bubbles mum


Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 07/03/2011 by bubbles

to stressful to Bubbles not the children ha ha ha

Sorry Typo / rushing

Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 07/03/2011 by VivTPG

Hi, I'm glad you sorted the heat out! They do occasionally go off their food, especially if stressed, change of conditions etc.

Regarding going into school, I would wait until the tortoise is completely settled and if you have only just had her she is effectively in quarantine as these next few months you can observe her to check there are no lurking illnesses, eg parasites/worms in poo, runny nose etc.  If you do take her in, she will need heat and light to keep her active, and make sure there is antibacterial handwash as torts are known to carry salmonella.  And to keep stress to the minimum I wouldnt let the children handle her!  But I know how exciting and educating it is to show children so the decision is yours!!! lol

regards Vivienne

Re: Food / substrate
Posted: 07/03/2011 by bubbles

I agree

I have only had her since September and I don't think they would appreciate it ha ha ha if I brought worms or anything else  into school.  plus more than owt at moment don't want bubbles to catch the bug flying round ha ha ha ( what am I like - don't actually know if they can catch stuff like that from us anyway)

Thanks Vivienne think I am just a proud owner who wants to show her off  I thinkClick and drag me down to the editor


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