Indoor Housing

03/09/2012 21:19

Today, I thought I would talk about how large the indoor housing should be for tortoises as I have had a few questions about  what is the best size. firstly, I always say get the largest you can and  at least 3 1/2 feet long and 2 feet wide; larger if you have the room. The reasons for this are; The hatchling needs stimulation and the more room it has the better . If it is too small and you have a water dish, feeding area and a tunnel there won't be much room left for foraging and exploring. I know when you have a hatchling  and it is so tiny  the idea is it doesn't need the space until it gets bigger. WRONG , it needs it now so that it has places to go and  will be much happier for it. As the hatchling grows it will definitely need lots of space to explore etc. I do recommend a  large indoor  rabbit hutch because it is a one stop housing; you can put the mesh lid on for the garden so you  know your tortoise is safe if you go out. It is great if you go on holiday and  a family member looks after your tortoise for you as it is light and easily moveable. It is plastic so it is  so easy to clean and disinfect; basically it will last for years and years.  I know wooden ones are lovely  and if you prefer them thats fine just make sure it is big enough for your little one to grow and also big enough so that you won't have to buy another one in a year or so.When I have my hatchlings in the indoor hutches  I have found they change their sleeping area nearly every day  just as they would in the wild. Obviously, in good weather  you can put them on your lawn for  a walk on the wild side ! As long as you stay with them  of course as they do move quickly when they want to. So, just think about  a goldfish in a tiny bowl going round and round with nowhere else to go!! It will  only grow  to the size of its surroundings and  although you don't want your tortoise to grow too quickly you want it to grow happy and healthy with space to chill !!!   If you have any questions please go the the new forum and leave me  a message......


03/09/2012 13:24

Hi everyone, just to let you know Lilly has settled in really well already and is very happy in her new home. She is being very loved and I am so happy. If you look on the photo gallery on the home page you will see  her  saying goodbye to her Mummy just before she left  on an exciting adventure with her new Mummy !!....

Lilly off to new home!

02/09/2012 14:55

Well, I had a good old cry today because little Lilly went off to her new home. She had lunch first and then a bath so that she was ready to go !!  I know she is going to be sooo loved by her new Mummy and Daddy !!  She will have the best life possible. I will be getting regular updates and photo's so I will let you all know how she gets on.... Oh! ! do love a happy ending......

Lilly update

01/09/2012 14:58

After much soul searching I have decided to let little Lilly go to a forever home as I don't want her to be lonely. If Gertie's eggs had hatched I would have kept her but as this was not to be she is going to a wonderful friend who already has tortosies. I will get daily updates probably so will let you all know how she settles in and gets on.  I couldn't wish for her to go to a more loving and caring home.....Thankyou to all those of you who emailed me about Lilly offering her a loving home.....

Foxes and other critters !!

01/09/2012 14:35

I have been asked about what enemies  or predetors  tortoises have ? Well, my answer is only humans  and that is only occassionaly thank goodness ! In all the years I have kept and bred them I have NEVER  had a problem with dogs ,cats, foxes , badgers or birds. Now ,after what happened to my friend recently  with Daisy I am not saying it can never happen; so one must always make sure of any animals owned that will be around your tortoise. Daisy as I said was not killed ,the dog merely wanted to play. This brings me to the garden, I have large pens for the boys and girls and they also come out  to play in the main garden area. I  have chickens (Free range) who use the same garden area and they all live happily together. Since I moved and now have nearly  3/4 of an acre  I thought I would see alot of foxes. I have seen some and obviously they want my chickens so  THE BEST thing to do is get the men in your household to wee around the perimeter of your land/garden !!! Now if you have neighbours I suggest they do it in  jug and then pour it carefully around the edge of your garden. I promise you it works; I have watched  foxes coming to my land on the night vision cameras and suddenly they stop dead and will not come any further . It is like having a  male human  standing there so they won't come into that space.  It also works with cats as well.  You must redo it though every couple of weeks because the rain will wash the scent away. I also put little bags of my dogs poo into a ditch area I have and they won't cross that either. Try it and let me know. Remember, if you are over looked  in your garden, in a jug please I don't want to be blamed for any  arrests !!!!!


31/08/2012 18:44

I have been asked a few times about bathing your  tortoise so I thought I would tell you what I do. The babies can be bathed once the umbilical area has sealed completely.This can take a few days and it is a good idea to leave it at least a week to ten days.If not sealed completely bacteria can get in. You can put them in any shallow dish or bowl . Put enough warm water in so that they can still get their head above the water.The first thing they will do if thirsty is drink; they will put their whole head under the water for as long as they drink so don't worry because sometimes it is quite a little while. Then you change the water and usually they will then  wee and poo  and sometimes pass the uric acid (White chalky stuff)  this is natural  and necessary as otherwise they could get a kidney stone. You can also brush their shell very gently with a baby toothbrush if dirty.Once all this has been done you can dry them carefully, check their eyes etc . and put them under the lamp area to warm up........The older tortoise is basically the same other than you can do this in the kitchen sink! or in the garden in plastic bowls etc.Use warm water the same as you would for the babies. You can also brush their shells with a  normal toothbrush. The older tortoises love it just as much as the babies. You can bath the babies every day  but only for a few minutes  no more than about 3-5, every other day is fine too.   What this does is to keep them and their carapaces  hydrated.It also lets you spend time with them and they get used to being handled and touched. If you touch your nail on your finger that is the same as they feel on their shell. The older tortoise can sit in the water for alot longer but they will normally do the same thing, drink, wee and poo.....and pass the uric acid.You will find some just wallow and others just want  to get out...thats fine, some of us like baths where others like showers!!!! Have fun..


31/08/2012 09:36

Hi everyone. Well, I don't know where you all live but here yesterday we had some rain and it was so light at first the torties  all had a lovely shower and then put their heads in various places to catch the rain. By that I mean they put them up against the fence to catch the rain coming down. Some put their heads on the grass at an angle to catch it  and a few just stood with their mouths open to catch some!! It was a wonderful sight and  it's wonderful to think they know instinctively what to do. In the wild  where they  all originate from rain is  rare and not an every day occurence, so when it  does rain  they have to make the most of it. I think it is amazing that some of mine who are 70, 80 and 130 years old  that  have had a regular supply of water to drink still do what is inbred.....

Lilly update

29/08/2012 17:34

Just to let you know, Lilly  is doing really well . She is eating with no problems at all so I think she will do just fine! Thankyou to all those of you wishing to buy her, I will give it some thought although I have become very attatched to her already.......


29/08/2012 17:17



Owner, custodian, guardian, caretaker, protector, watchman, watchwoman, overseer, warden, defender, shielder, gamekeeper, keeper......Infatuated, nutty, wonderful, thoughtful, kind, loving, caring, soppy, in love,  besotted, happy, compassionate, affectionate,  selfless,warm,giving, attatched, protective, tender.......So, if you have a tortoise you are ARE ALL of these things !!! 


29/08/2012 16:43

Today, I thought I would talk about new hatchlings as I have had a few worried calls about them not eating. I always explain that the hatchling has food in reserve from the egg yolk but it is worrying when in charge of such a tiny little thing. Anyway, as I have said the new hatchling has yolk in reserve and will be fine for sometimes a week although it will usually drink soon after hatching. They don't leave me for a few days  and some times weeks but by the time they do they are  eating and have  had a wee and a poo !.and the umbilical area is almost completely sealed if only very young. I monitor them carefully so that I know all is well when they leave my care. When they reach their new home things are different so it will take a little while to get settled. Firstly, in the morning turn lamp on and place hatchling under lamp area  afer about ten minutes to warm up. It will wake up have a look around for food. If you don't think your little one is eating stay with it to make sure it is when you feed it. Chop or cut food with scissors as you can get it very small with scissors,sprinkle limestone flour onto it put it on a plate under the lamp area and place the hatchling onto plate.sometimes they walk around but keep putting it to the food.If they are still not interested they are not hungry.Try again later and if you still think there is a problem you can try squeezing strawberry juice onto the food; they will like the colour smell and sweet taste. Try cress and clover without cutting , try cutting up dandelions including the flower. If food is too dry put  a little water on the plate with food and you may see the hatchling put its head down and drink. I also use pea tops which I get from waitrose (Haven't seen them anywhere else). Watercress is excellent as it is high in calcium. Cut up lots of different things so that they get used to a varied diet and won't become  fussy about what it  eats.Refer to food in previous blog. Don't forget to bath hatchling once the umbilical has SEALED COMPLETELY.If bathed before this bacteria can get into the umbilical area. Bath for about 3- 5 minutes or so, not too long at this age;Hopefully it will drink and sometmes wee and poo which is great as you will know everything is working well.If you have anymore questions please email me.... I know it is a worrying time and not unlike bringing a new baby home from the hospital for the first time, when suddenly it is down to you !!!

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