Tortoise Sanctuary > Blog
HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all and lets hope 2014 will be a great year. On a sad note ; a few days ago a local family lost everything in a house fire including their beloved 2 dogs and a cat! But they also had 2 Hermann tortoises in a vivarium who were brought out barely alive with blackened shells and smoke filled lungs. A friend of the family got in touch with me to see if I could help.. Well, of course I said I would do all I could for them in these terrible circumstances. So, the journey began.... Firstly I had to scrub their shells and then soak them in water for over an hour with steam as well to try and clear their lungs. (when they breathed in and out it was very shallow and had a charred smell) After that Steve made a make shift tent and we gave them some pure oxygen. Anti biotics next; internal and then for eyes as they were really swollen. Although they were origionally in a viv as you know I don't use them so they went into a table top with a sola glo bulb as usual. A couple of times when it was really windy I took them outside wind facing so they would breathe in lots of fresh air. This has been going on for days around the clock with extra internal water given to stop deydration and lots of love and attention to help them on their way...I was really worried about the smaller one as she really didn't want to open her eyes and was in a semi coma for 3 days and the other one just seemed to walk in a circle BUT.....This morning they were quite perky, had a long soak, a wee and a poo and then...... Had something to eat !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It never ceases to amaze me how fantastic these creatures are. They are bright and are moving around really well so I am sure they will be fine. They will need more anti biotics for a while and may be prone to respiritory problems but who knows.. The owners friend took them today also amazed they were alive and well.. I would have kept them for longer but due to personal things I couldn't . So, I recommened they see the vet to get more anti biotics then go in a table top house. As they are very large for their age due to the viv it will be good for the growth to slow down then hopefully the internal organs can have a bit of a rest too. I will let you all know how it goes with them as I have asked the friend to keep me posted; also it will be lovely to speak to the owner as well .. So, there you are I am just so pleased I could help and it was so worth it to see the 2 girls looking at me when I was soaking them this morning as if to say " This is great we feel so much better!"
Hi all. Well, it's been a while since my last blog as I have not been well and now have Pneumonia so it is going to be a quiet Xmas. Anyway, once again I must say a huge THANK YOU for all the wonderful cards and gifts I have received ,it is so kind. It is also lovely to receive the pictures of your growing torties, they all look really happy!. Now, all torties here are fast asleep except for Lola (Who is doing really well) and of course Gerties 2 babies.. They are soo sweet and I am enjoying having some babies to look after. Lola has settled beautifully ;she has a quick walk out side in the morning but as it is so cold I only put her out for a few minutes to get some fresh air whilst I feed the chickens.I have done some work in the pens and will finish them over the next few weeks. I will add some things and move stones etc to give them all something new to look at.Well, I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New year to come..I should be back on form soon, so will be back in the new year.Take care xoxo
HI ALL, WELL,I HAVE BEEN INUNDATED WITH CALLS AND EMAILS ABOUT HIBERNATION AND THE LACK OF!!!! THE WEATHER IS DOING IT AGAIN AND THE TORTIES DO NOT KNOW IF THEY ARE COMING OR GOING..BUT.....THEY DO KNOW WHAT TO DO AND EVEN IF THEY ARE EATING THEY WILL STILL EMPTY OUT THEIR STOMACHS WHEN THEY NEED TO. MOST OF MINE HAD NOT BEEN OUT FOR DAYS OTHER THAN A FEW STRAGGLERS BUT NONE WANTED FOOD.TODAY HALF ARE TUCKING IN TO GREENS AND KALE!!!! ALL I CAN SAY IT IS A WORRY BUT THIS HAS BEEN HAPPENING LIKE THIS FOR ABOUT 12 YEARS NOW. THE SEASONS HAVE CHANGED SO MUCH DURING THIS TIME I CAN'T TELL YOU. BEFORE THIS THEY WOULD ALL BE ASLEEP BY MID/END OF OCTOBER.NOW BECAUSE WE SEEM TO HAVE A LONGER SUMMER ,WELL INTO OCTOBER THEY ARE GOING TO SLEEP END OF NOVEMBER EVEN THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER!! OUR CLIMATE IS DEFINITELY CHANGING .NOW, YOU CANNOT FORCE THEM TO GO TO SLEEP,YOU JUST HAVE TO WAIT....I AM OBVIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE ELDERLY ONES LIKE MY WONDERFUL GERTIE AND ALSO THE ELDERLY ONES THAT HAVE BEEN DONATED BUT LIKE YOU I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE WEATHER TURNS THEN THEY WILL KNOW IT IS TIME.I DO OPEN THEIR DOORS EVERY DAY EVEN IN THE RAIN SO FRESH AIR GETS IN AND ALSO FOR THE ONES WHO HAVEN'T GONE TO SLEEP YET.TODAY HOWEVER ALMOST ALL ARE SUN BATHNG!! ALL EXCEPT GERTIE AND A COUPLE OF THE BOYS.WHAT YOU MUST NOT DO THOUGH IS TAKE THEM OUT IF THEY ARE ASLEEP BECAUSE THEY WILL HAVE TO USE ENERGY TO GO BACK IN AND THAT CAN CAUSE WEIGHT LOSS WHICH YOU WANT TO CONSERVE.ALL I CAN DO IS MY BEST AND THE REST IS UP TO THEM AND IF GOD FORBID ANY SHOULD PASS AWAY DURING THE WINTER THEN I KNOW I HAVE DONE ALL I CAN FOR THEM AND BECAUSE OF THEIR AGE IT IS TIME TO GO..VERY SAD THOUGHT I KNOW BUT IT IS THE CIRCLE OF LIFE......
HI ALL, I HAVE BEEN SO EXCITED SINCE GERTIE'S EGGS HATCHED.THEY ARE BOTH DOING REALLY WELL AND I AM SO LUCKY BECAUSE I THINK THEY ARE A BOY AND A GIRL !! I HAVE NOT GIVEN THEM NAMES YET ;I THINK I AM STILL IN SHOCK. ANYWAY,I HAVE BEEN SORTING OUT THEIR HOUSING AND WAS GOING TO PUT SOME SOIL IN AS I USUALLY DO WHEN I FOUND SOMETHING NEW WHILST OUT SHOPPING. I FOUND SOMETHING CALLED "ECO CARPET" BY "ZOO MED.".IT IS MADE FROM RECYCLED PLASTIC BOTTLES !! IT COMES IN BROWN OR GREEN AND YOU GET 2 PIECES 13"/48" WHICH FITS REALLY NICELY.IT IS ABSORBENT AND MOST IMPORTANTLY IT IS WASHABLE!! I FITTED IT ACOUPLE OF DAYS AGO AND THEY LOVE IT..I PUT THE TRIMMED PIECES AROUND THE BOTTOM OF THE WATER DISH .I BOUGHT BOTH GREEN (GRASS)AND BROWN(SOIL) AND THEY ARE BOTH GREAT COLOURS.THE ONLY THING I HAVE DONE BECAUSE OF THE HATCHLINGS LITTLE NAILS IS USE THE SLIGHTLY FLATTER SOFT SHEEN SIDE. THEY DID CATCH THEIR NAILS EVERY NOW AND AGAIN ON THE OTHER SIDE ;THE GRAIN IS A LITTLE ROUGHER. THE BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE IT IS IT LOOKS LIKE THICK FELT..I REALLY LIKE IT AND IT MAKES CLEANING THE HOUSING SO EASY; ALL YOU DO IS SOAK IT FOR A WHILE THEN RINSE ,WRING IT OUT BY HAND AND AIR DRY. I AM GONG TO PUT IN THE MACHINE ON A COLD QUICK WASH WITH 1000 SPIN SPEED !!! I WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES.. SO, IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT THEN GIVE IT A GO..
HI ALL, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HIBERNAION.I HAVE RECEIVED ALOT OF EMAILS AND CALLS ABOUT HOW AND WHAT TO DO AND MOST IMPORTANTLY AT WHAT AGE TO HIBERNATE YOUR TORTOISE. WELL, AS YOU KNOW I DON'T HIBERNATE MINE UNTIL YEAR 4/5..I HAVE BEEN ASKED IS IT OK TO DO IT FROM YEAR ONE ONWARDS ? YOU CAN HIBERNATE YOUR TORTOISE FROM YEAR ONE IF YOU WISH AS THEY DO HIBERNATE YEAR ONE IN THE WILD. IT IS ENTIRELY UP TO YOU BUT AS I HAVE NEVER DONE IT I CANNOT REALLY OFFER ADVICE OTHER THAN TO MAKE SURE IT HAS GAINED ENOUGH WEIGHT , IS IN A DRY SAFE PLACE AND FINALLY HAS SHOWN A WANT TO DO IT. I HAVE HAD A COUPLE OF OWNERS WHOSE TORTIE IS 3 BUT VERY LARGE AND THEY HAVE DECIDED TO HIBERNATE THIS YEAR.IF IT IS HEALTHY AND BRIGHT BEFORE IT SLOWS DOWN THEN ALL SHOULD BE WELL. WHEN I BEGAN MY TORTIE JOURNEY VERY LITTLE WAS KNOWN ABOUT THEM . ALOT DIED BECAUSE OF POOR HUSBANDRY AND NOT BEING USED TO OUR WINTERS . AS MY CONFIDENCE GREW I LEARNT SO MUCH FROM THEM AND I AM STILL LEARNING TODAY.. SO, HIBERNATING YOUR SMALL TORTOISE IS THE SAME AS HIBERNATING AN OLDER ONE;THE RULES ARE THE SAME.. I LIKE TO MAKE SURE MY YOUNG ONES HAVE THE BEST START POSSIBLE.THEY SPEND AS MUCH TIME IN THE GARDEN AS THE WEATHER PERMITS TO GET USED THE RAPID CHANGE IN THE WEATHER ON A DAILY BASIS.I EVEN PUT THEM ON THE LAWN IN THE RAIN.BY THE TIME THEY DO HIBERNATE I FEEL THEY ARE EQUIPPED TO SAFELY DO SO.IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND WANT TO HIBERNATE YOUR LITTLE ONE THEN DO SO WITH AS MUCH ADVICE AS YOU CAN GET...I WILL FINISH BY SAYING DON'T FORGET MY FRIENDS BABY TORTIE WHO WAS ONLY A COUPLE OF MONTHS OLD WHEN IT GOT LOST,SPENT THE REST OF THE SUMMER ON ITS OWN AND FINALLY HIBERNATED ITSELF IN THE GARDEN !! THEN IN THE SPRING IT POPPED BACK ONTO THE LAWN AND MY FRIEND COULD NOT BELIEVE HER EYES... SO... THEY CAN IT IS JUST YOUR CHOICE...
WELL, I THOUGHT I WOULD DO SOME REASEARCH ON GERTIE AND HER EGGS AND CAME ACROSS DIAPAUSE...I HAVE HEARD OF IT IN INSECTS BUT NOT MUCH ON TORTOISES BUT IT SEEMS GERTIES BABIES WERE IN "DIAPAUSE" MEANING THEY WERE IN A KIND OF SLEEP MODE UNTIL IT WAS THOUGHT READY TO LAY THEM AND THEN THE DIAPAUSE CONTINUED IN THE INCUBATOR UNTIL NORMAL GROWTH RESUMED. THAT IS OBVIOUSLY WHY A FEW WERE NO GOOD BUT THESE SURVIVED AND WENT ON TO GROW AND HATCH.ALSO I WAS READY TO LET THESE EGGS GO AND TURN THE INCUBATOR OFF BUT AS THERE WERE LITTLE BLACK DOTS IN THEM I DIDN'T !!!! THANK GOODNESS. ALSO, INSTEAD OF THE NORMAL 55 DAYS THESE WERE WELL INTO THE 86 DAYS!!SO WERE IN DIAPAUSE FOR A LONG TIME. FOR MORE INFORMATION LOOK ON THE NET A "DIAPAUSE" AND YOU WILL FIND LOTS OF INTERESTING FACTS.I FIND IT SO FASCINATING THAT THESE CREATURES CAN HOLD SPERM FOR YEARS AND THEN HAVE EGGS IN DIAPAUSE UNTIL EVERYTHING IS CORRECT TO LAY.SO,ALTHOUGH THESE MOTHERS DO NOT SEE THEIR BABIES ONCE LAID (OBVIOUSLY MINE DO BUT NOT IN THE WILD) THEY DO REALLY CARE FOR THEM AND WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE SURE THEY WILL BE GIVEN THE BEST CHANCE OF SURVIVAL...
MORNING ALL, I THOUGHT I WOULD TELL YOU ABOUT MY NEW HIBERNATION HOTEL FOR THE TORTIES..WONDERFUL HUBBY HAS INSULATED A 10/8 FOOT SHED,IT HAS ELECTRIC AND A NEW VERY SAFE DOOR ETC.HE FITTED IT OUT WITH SHELVES ALONG ONE SIDE AND NOW I HAVE DEEP BOXES WITH HAY READY FOR ANY THAT I DECIDE TO PUT IN THERE.NOW, AS YOU ALL KNOW I STRONGLY ADVOCATE NATURAL HIBERNATION AND I HAVE NOT CHANGED MY VIEWS BUT AS SOME OF THE DONATED TORTOISES WERE HIBERNATED IN BOXES IN SHEDS ETC I AM GOING TO LET THEM GO TO SLEEP OUTSIDE AS NORMAL THEN LIFT THEM ONCE IN A DEEP SLEEP AND PLACE THEM IN ONE OF THE NUMBERED BOXES. I HAVE A BOOK THAT IS ALSO NUMBERED SO THAT I WILL KNOW WHO IS IN WHAT BOX! BRILLIANT I KNOW ! I AM DOING THIS BECAUSE I HAVE TO RESPECT THE PREVIOUS OWNERS AND OBVIOUSLY I WANT TO DO THE BEST I CAN FOR EACH AND EVERY TORTOISE. THEN, IF ANY DO PASS AWAY (I HATE EVEN WRITING IT DOWN !) I WILL KNOW I DID EVERY THING RIGHT BY THE TORTOISE. I AM ALSO GOING TO PUT GERTIE IN THERE THIS WINTER BECAUSE I AM STILL SO AMAZED BY HER BABIES I THINK SHE NEEDS THE BEST REST POSSIBLE.SO,ALL IS NOW READY..
WELL, AS YOU MAY OR NOT KNOW MY GERTIE ,WHO IS NEARLY 140 !!!! LAID EGGS AGAIN THIS YEAR AND I NEARLY HAD KITTENS WATCHING HER BECAUSE I WAS SO WORRIED SHE WOULD HAVE A PROLAPSE. I INCUBATED THEM AND MOST WERE NO GOOD BUT 2 SEEMED OK SO I LEFT THEM IN THE INCUBATOR JUST IN CASE.........WELL.......TODAY THEY BOTH HATCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM IN SHOCK THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL I CANNOT BELIEVE IT... I WILL BE TAKING PICTURES OF GERTIE IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS WITH HER BABIES SO WATCH THE GALLERY ..I AM NOT SURE BUT I THINK ONE IS A GIRL .. I AM SO HAPPY I CANNOT TELL YOU...I WENT OUTSIDE AND GAVE GERTIE A BIG CUDDLE, I AM SO PROUD OF HER. THESE LITTLE ONES WILL BE STAYING WITH ME BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY I COULD PART WITH THEM... SO ,THERE YOU ARE AMAZING....