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Is Esio okay?
Posted: 11/04/2011 by Amyandesiotrot

Hello, I have had my tortoise since December, and she is about 3 years old. I have been keeping her in a glass tank with no roof, about 1 metre long, 1/3 of a metre tall, and filled with about 3 inches of sawdust. I feed her 'komodo' pellets that I buy from a shop on ebay, and put water in the food dish so that it's moist, as recommended on the pack and by the man at the garden centre. I have a heat lamp, and she has seemed fine up until recently. I have been putting her out in the garden as it is getting warmer outside, and I only put her on the grass when the sun is out. She always wants to go to the corner of every room I put her in, or walks briskly to a corner of the gargen and hides. Is this normal? And now she has not been eating much, if at all for the past week. What's wrong? Oh, and also I was thinking about putting soil in the tank instead of sawdust, would this be better? I want the best for my little Esio.

Re: Is Esio okay?
Posted: 11/04/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Amy, I'm afraid the garden centre have given you completely the wrong advice as to the care of your tortoise.

Firstly, she should not be in a glass tank on sawdust, and secondly she should not be fed pellets.

She should be in an open table top, such as a large indoor rabbit cage or for example, a bookcase on its back with the shelves taken out.  The glass tank stresses the tort as she cannot understand the concept of glass, and will try constantly to walk through it.  Also, the tank only gives one temperature throughout, the tortoise needs a hot end and a cooler end.

The pellets you are feeding are too high in protein.  She should be on a diet of weeds and certain plants from the garden.

It is good that you are putting her out in the sun.  Make sure the enclosure is safe and preditor proof. Also, provide a hide for her to escape from the sun if she wants to, and a water dish for her to drink from.

Can you tell me what sort of tortoise she is, eg, horsfield, hermanns, spur thigh?  I can then give you the link to our care sheet that will explain the best way to look after Esio.

Regards VivienneClick and drag me down to the editor

Re: Is Esio okay?
Posted: 14/04/2011 by Amyandesiotrot

Does the cage have to be open top? Because I also have a cat and he looks at her like he's about to pounce! He never has done though.

So, I need to put her in a wooden square cage, and with soil in it? What kind of weeds?

I've only just started putting water out for her, as the people in the garden centre said not to.. Ah i wish i never listened to them!

She is a Russian digging tortoise apparently, so what do i need to do to make sure she doesnt dig too deep in my garden in the corners of the enclosure?

Thank you for your help!!Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: Is Esio okay?
Posted: 14/04/2011 by VivTPG

Hi, if you go for a large indoor rabbit cage this has bars on top of a large tray (like a super large hampster cage but for rabbits) here is a link to some of our members indoor enclosures Your cat would not be able to get to her in a cage, plus you can hang the lights from the bars. 

It then needs a deep layer for her to bury down in, of play sand and top soil (about 50:50 mix).

And yes, she needs lots of weeds, such as dandelions, plantains etc. and needs water to keep hydrated as well as regular baths.

 Please read our care sheet on Horsfields, here is the link to it

There is a good plant site called which give lots of advice on safe plants to feed the tortoise.

Horsfields do dig, so in your outside enclosure its best to dig out the soil and lay a layer of plastic mesh (crop netting) to stop her tunneling out.  Also, make sure the sides or fence around the enclosure is secure and high enough as they can also climb!

Let us know how you get on, and post some pics of her and her new enclosure, regards Vivienne


Re: Is Esio okay?
Posted: 09/05/2012 by alibannani

Just wanted to say... what a BRILLIANT name for a tortoise! :D


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