Tortoise Sanctuary > Blog
I thought I would let you know the easiest way to put a pool into your tortoises pen. Firstly get a large cat litter tray, the plastic ones. Dig a little hole and place the tray inside. Put stones or slate around the outside to about a foot around it. Then put stones or slate into the tray about half full (enough so that the tortoise can get in and out easily and won't get stuck) Then fill with water and put your tortoise into the pool so that it gets used to it. You will have to top up daily with clean water and sometimes if the stones inside the pool go green then all you do is put some bleech into it and leave for a while, obviously make sure your tortoise is out of the way why this is being done; I usually do mine at night when they have all gone to bed. Leave the bleech for an hour or so or less once its done the trick then clean thoroughly by leaving the hose running until the froth goes away. You will find once they know it is there they will sometimes march straight over it and other times wallow for ages!!
Wow ! what another hot day. I have just given the torties outside a lovely cooling rain shower, they love it. All you do is put your hose on the softest spray ( I have whats calles a soaker mode) then put it high above them and turn it on. They turn their heads up to the source and absolutely love it .Then where the water collects on the ground they drink. It is a great way of keeping them hydrated in the heat. If you haven't got a hose and they haven't got their own pool in their pen then put them in a bowl with cool water for 10 minutes or so; they will probably wee and poo in it but thats great because you will know everything is working well. Don't forget they will sometimes pass the white chalky stuff as well but this is good too as it is the toxins being expelled naturally. If this never happened then they could get a bladder stone. Happy showering !!
I want to talk about what to feed your tortoise.You can,t always get hold of dandelions and other weeds so ask your neighbours to keep them for you.If you go for a walk check out the verges and always wash any you bring home with you. As for other food well, they love red so if you think your torotise is not eating try a little strawberry or tomato and sprinkle the limestone flour on it before you give it to them. Spring greens are good and watercress is excellent because it has a lot of calcium in it. Some like spinach, brussel tops, curly kale, purple sprouting greens, cabbage and pea tops.Always give a little lettuce in their diet because it has alot of water but thats all so don't give it as a staple diet. A lttle peeled cucumber , nasturtiums. they do like some types of clematis. I grow Ice plants, they are type of sedum and are full of water and they love them last thing in the day. They are cheap to buy and easy to take cuttings from, you just snap off a piece and poke it into some soil.So have a go at growing them. Also grow your own greens etc in pots in your garden, there is nothing like giving your tortoise home grown food and when you grow it put lots of limestone flour in the soil you use so that it will be in the food you grow.They like mallow flowers and some like Budhlia leaves. You can't actually poison your tortoise; it may take a bite but if it doesn't like it or it is not good for it it won't eat it. So , try lots of different things from your garden so it has a huge variety of things to eat, after all would you like to eat a dandelion leaf for the whole of your life?? spoil your tortoise and you will be rewarded with him or her coming over to you when you bring food.Look at the earlier blog about runner beans...
Hi everyone, I want to tell you a vary sad story with a very happy ending about Winnie and Marge. A little while ago I had a call from a lovely family who had just purchased a pair of tortoises. They knew something was not right with them ; they had been dumped in the garage as the owner got bored with them and had left them with his mother. They had been fed dog food and had pretty much lived in the dark for heaven knows how long. Anyway ; the family bought them knowing things were not good but they just wanted to get them away from their awful surroundings. Having got them home they found my number , rang me and we talked for over an hour. I told them the beaks did not sound right and would they like to make the long trip to see me so that I could help;well they jumped at the chance and the following day I met a lovely family who wanted the best for their new girls Winnie and Marge. I have to say I cried when I saw their beaks,I have never seen a case as bad as Winnie and Marge and I couldn't wait to trim them so that they could start eating proper food again ! Immediately it had been done they looked so much better; their beaks will never be perfect but with lots of calcium and cuttle fish bones they will be a million times better.Well; I now have new friends who care as much as I do about these amazing creatures. You should see Winnie and Marge's new home in the garden, they have a lovely house to go in at night a shelter to rest in, a swimming pool to soak in . They are so happy, eating greens and marching around their new surroundings. Well done my new friends, it is a pleasure knowing you and I look forward to many years of friendship.And well done Winnie and Marge for finding a wonderful new forever home!! I do love a happy ending.....
Today I want to talk about the importance of calcium in your tortoises diet. In the countries where these tortoises originate from calcium cabonate also known as limestone flour is found naturally in the soil.In this country it is not so it is very important to add it to your tortoises diet every day for good shell growth and strong bones.If you have a hatchling you must sprinkle the flour on the food at every meal, this is almost more important than the actual food itself. What you do now will lay the foundation for your tortoises future.If done right it will grow slowly and its Carapace will remain strong hard and smooth.What I suggest to all new hatchling buyers is; every year whilst your hatchling lives indoors buy a large bag of limstone flour and throw it over your garden so that by the time your tortoise goes into the garden full time there will be limestone (Calcium carbonate) naturally in the soil which will go into the plants and weeds that your tortoise will eat.You can do this even if you have an older tortoise that already lives in your garden; it will still help.All you do is buy a bag or two in early spring and throw it over your garden.You should also be sprinkling this over food of an older tortoise. I give loads to my girls before they lay eggs so that the egg shells are strong and it puts back all the calcium the girls have used to lay the precious eggs. You can buy this Limestone flour from farm shops and places where there are horses as it is also used for them.Don't waste money on things like nutarbol it is good but the container is so small it will go in a few days and is also expensive. Large bags of limestone flour about 25kg sacks are about £15 and will last a long time.Give your local farms a ring and they will be able to point you in the right direction. You can also give cuttle fish bones to your tortoise just put the whole thing in the pen and they bite on them for two reasons firstly to get the calcium and secondly to condition their beaks.Please let me know if you need anymore help with this.
Hi everyone, I thought I would update you all on Little Lilly; she is absolutely fine and has had some dandelions this morning so I think she will be ok.
The hatchlings have been coming daily and they are amazing.! One in particular hatched late last night .I put her in the open housing with the solar glo bulb on for a little while so that her umbilical area could seal .I don't handle them very much when they first hatch so I didn't really have a good look at her until this morning.I wiped her little face and then I realised she only has one eye!! She is absolutely fine in every other way and this won't slow her down at all but I am going to keep her because she is so sweet. I gave her pea tops this afternoon and she ate some quite happily so I am sure she will do just fine. In all my years of breeding tortoises I have had only one little boy who was very deformed; he lived for an hour and then we gave him a proper burial in the garden ; my son made a little cross from lolly sticks. So don't be sad when you read this "Lilly "is wonderful and soon I will post a picture of her for you all to see...
Hi everyone,well, its been very hot today so I gave my torties a real treat. I defrosted some runner beans (It doesn't matter if they are whole or chopped) and made large piles of them in their pens.They run when they see them !! (Pardon the pun) and you can hear them squelching and sucking and having a great time.Its like having an ice lolly.If they have aleady had their food for the day you don't have to sprinkle them with limestone flour.It is a good way of knowing theyare getting fluids. I will do this every afternoon during this hot spell. I will also give them a little more chopped lettuce. Sometimes I also put a whole lettuce in and they love it or a whole chunk of spring greens this really does their beaks good. Talking of beaks I am going to do a piece on beaks soon so watch this space..