Tortoise Sanctuary > Blog
Hi all, it's been a while but I hope all is well with your babies and older ones. All my girls and boys are now asleep and I have been busy changing their pens around. I have added all sorts of things from statues to plant pots and they are looking very good. I have also added some very large boulders and I am barking some areas and putting pebbles on others so it is interesting for them when they wake up !! They will think they have moved ! I have made some areas higher so there are little hills for them to climb as well. The cameras are now on the laying area so when the girls lay next year I will be able to check and see if they laid whilst I was out... I will check the tortoise houses over the Winter just to make sure they are nice and dry inside..but other than that it is now a waiting game . I am always nervous about Gertie as she is so old and as soon as Xmas has gone I am getting everything ready for when they wake up...
Hi everyone. well, it has been a little while since I wrote but things have been a little hectic.. Anyway, all my girls and boys have now gone to sleep for the winter. Their homes are full of hay and they are all tucked up safe and secure.. I thought things would now be quiet for a little while but no, I now have another 6 that have joined the clan.. First there is Rosie and Jim a pair of Hermanns; and along with them came Samson and Deliah a , pair of Spur Thighed. They came from a really lovely lady whose circumstances changed and she wanted them to go to a loving forever home. After seeing my web site she knew she had found it ! So, they had never been hibernated and it has taken me 2 weeks to settle them, bathing them every day to empty their stomachs etc and now after being outside for a few days they happily moved into the houses and promptly went to sleep ! Brilliant.... Today, I am very happy to announce the arrival of 2 beautiful Hermann girls who also have never been hibernated. They came from a lovely family who have done a great job with them. I will over the next few weeks settle them in and eventually they will also hibernate this year...They have wonderful personalities and I can't wait for the Spring to introduce them to all the other girls. My camera is not working at the moment so I can't take pictures . They are called Rocky and Pebbles but as Rocky is also a girl I am going to rename her Bam Bam !! So we have Pebbles and Bam Bam.. Love it !
I thought today I would talk about feeding hatchlings.. I know when you have a hatchling you want to feed it lots to make it big and strong and in theory it is a good idea;but in practice it is not... What you must do is feed twice a day , once in the morning and then again late in the afternoon. Why? because in the wild they will wake up when the sun comes up and forage around for food before it gets too hot. Then they will go and find a shade to sleep the rest of the day. Around tea time they will come out again as it is cooler, look for some food and then settle for the night once the sun goes down. They are designed to not waste energy and will conserve what fluid they have in case there is a drought or food is hard to come by. So, I know you want to spoil them and love them so much you want to make sure they are eating enough but what you MUST NOT do is over feed them because they can get pyramiding on their carapace which could lead to long term internal problems later on. If the carapace grows too fast the internal organs will not be able to keep up with the growth and eventually will not be able to sustain the size of the tortoise and this can lead to death around 8-10 years.. Think of how we think a tortoise moves " SLOWLY " (This is not always the case especially when mine see I have strawberries for them !!) But this is how we want them to grow slowly but surely.... If you feed 2 small meals twice a day with limestone flower added at both meals then this is just fine for a growing hatchling. Always cut lots of different foods (at least 5 if you can) at each meal so they are getting a huge variety and will not become fussy about what they will eat... Over the years I have seen.... year one..approx length of little finger..... year two..approx length of ring finger.. year three..approx length of middle finger... year 5 about the size of a hand .Now this is not an exact science and all hands and fingers are different lengths but it is just an indication to help.. All you need to remember is slow and even growth will ensure your tortoise lives a long and happy life. This also refers to the older tortoise, they will eat alot if given the chance because it is inbred they must eat in case they can't find food for a while .I put food out for my ones outside all over their pens so they have to hunt for it .you will get the lazy ones like Tommy ; he waits until someone has found some food and then hot foots it over there to share the spoils!!Of course pyramiding is not always because of over feeding it can be through lack of calcium and uva/uvb early on but I have covered this in an earlier blog.. On a sunny warm day if you put the hatchling on the lawn and watch you will see it walks around eats alittle of this and that and then goes and finds a shade, this is normal, it won't stand and eat and eat. If you must and want to give a litle treat then a little lettuce won't hurt as it is almost all water . Just keep an eye on the carapace because what you are doing now is laying the foundations for a strong and healthy tortoise with a nice smooth carapace.....
Hi everyone. Well that's it, all babies have now gone for this year!! I am so happy that they have all gone to such wonderful homes but am very sad that they all went so quickly and I didn't get to enjoy them for very long at all!! all my boys and girls outside have settled down for the winter and there are only a couple that are still awake. Cora the newest addition to the clan has gone to sleep next to Gertie, she settled really well and I look forward to seeing alot more of her in the coming Spring season..Certificates have arrived and copies have now been posted to the relevant owners, all I ask is to confirm receipt as once originals have been sent back to Defra there is no way to get another copy.. So, to those of you who are just embarking on a wonderful new journey with your little one/s have fun , enjoy every moment and look forward to many many years with your tortoise/s. Any questions/problems ring or email me any time as I am here to help.......To those of you who have added to your clan enjoy the new addition and thankyou all for your ongoing support... I look forward to the spring when I can say I HAVE EGGS !!!!! xoxo
Today, I want to talk about what to put on the floor /base of the tortoise housing. I say you can use soil as it is natural and as long as it has not had any pestisides etc your own garden soil can be used. Some like to use natural top soil. I tried laying turf, that was fun but you must spray it so that it does not dry out too quickly. I always say to put little stones around the water dish so that the little one cn get in and out easily and also when it gets out it won't get covered in soil.Also, the stones will be warm from the lamp so the tortoise will sometimes stay there for a while . Now , I have been asked about crushed shells as a substrate and whilst I have never tried it I don't think it is really natural.Also, it was near the lamp area of the owner's housing and she watched her little one walk around but when it got to the shelled area it ran as fast as it could to the other side ! when she put her hand on it it was VERY hot so the little could not bask near the lamp and the food could not be put under the lamp either which is very important. So, she removed it all imediately put some soil down and calm has been restored ! It reminded me of when we go to the beach and want to go down to the water, we all A) Try and go fast because the stones hurt and are sometimes very hot; and B) look really silly because we don't bother to put flip flops on and walk like we have ants in our pants saying.. ouch ! ahh! and probably some other unprintable words whilst still trying to look cool calm and glam !! So, the moral is what ever substrate you are using, check that you can put your hand on it and keep it there if not change it.......
Hi everyone, I have some wonderful news to share with you all...Last Sunday a new girl joined the family , her name is Cora Beth and she is at least a 60 year old Hermann. She has been owned by the same loving family for many many years and is a really wonderful old lady.... She has settled in really well and Gertie has taken her under her shell !!! She has shown her around the pen and Cora happily follows her everywhere. It is so nice for Cora to have company at last as she has been on her own all her life ( other than her human family of course who loved her dearly) as were most tortoises bought and aquired all those years ago.. I am so proud of Gertie, they have had a bath together (Actually in my bath as they were too big for the sink!!) Today they went for a stroll around the formal garden and when Gertie stopped so did Cora. They ate dandelions together and then when I put them back in the pen Gertie walked back to thier house stopped still until Cora caught up..and then they settled together in the corner.. Cora will live out her life with me and will not be mated as she is not used to boys and I don't want to distress her.... I will be posting photos soon of lovely Cora...
Well, we are coming to the end of this years Hatchlings and I have 3 left!!! that need loving homes so you had better be quick if you want one.. I saw Lilly's Mum today, she is doing sooo well and has grown so much already. I am so proud of her , one little eye has not held her back at all. Well done Kelly for being such a great Mum to her !! Kelly took home another little one today as well so Lilly now has a play mate.....
Hi all, I thought as it is Hatchling time I thought I would talk a little about feeding. Firstly, how much food do they need ? You need to feed them once or twice a day with a whole variety of food so that they don't get finnicky in the future. I have listed in a previous blog what food to give and if you bought a hatchling from me then you will also have been given a care sheet with a list of foods as well. So, cut up the food nice and small and mix together ;I give about 8 different foods at any given time so that they do not get used to only one or 2 and always put natural weeds in if possible at every feed. Of course there will be foods that they may not like just like us but doing it this way will ensure a varied diet. I also give mine nastursians and mallow flowers to try. Always put the food just a little way from under the lamp as they need the uva/uvb to metabolise it.As they are so small it is hard to know how much to give and there will be some left over but just have a look at the palm of your hand when your fingers are bent up and that little well is about how much. You can give a litle again late afternoon before the lamp goes off. What you MUST NOT do is feed all day long as they will eat it and you will get a tortoise with a pyramid carapace.....What you want is a healthy tortoise who grows slowly.....I know we all want to feed lots and lots because we love them and want to make them happy but you will have a very happy tortoise if you feed how I have said ...........