Good Morning. We are first time tortoise owners from Alberta Canada.

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Franklinstein

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We recently rescued a 13 year old male Western Hermann's Tortoise.

My husband and I have been busy researching and doing our best to create a safe and sound home for tortoise. We created a tortoise table out of a sandbox. The substrate is a 50/50 mix of sterile organic soil + playsand. Steve had fun designing the landscape. We also put in a shallow water area using a ceramic bowl. Our tortoise had fun yesterday exploring his new digs but Steve was concerned that the moisture from the water encouraged the substrate to stick to Franklinstein so we have also added a small layer of aspen bedding to help with that.

Yesterday we purchased a 160 W Mercury Vapour Lamp as we wanted to increase his UVB absorption by allowing him to bask under UVB. We had a ceramic lamp and seperate UV light before that. We are monitoring the temperature of his habitat with a laser heat gun.

I am doing my best to provide a correct diet for him but it is a bit of a challenge in Canada in the winter. I am purchasing organic spring mix from the grocery store, sprinkling it with cuttlebone scraping (for Ca). I intend to grow seeds and purchase plants to increase the variety and depth of his diet. My list of appropriate food is from The Tortoise Table and The Tortoise Lady. I cross referenced and will choose the foods that are suggested as suitable to be fed all the time. And from that list will obtain as many non-contaminated plants that I can find.

http://www.tortoiselady.co.uk/page6.htm

http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/site/files/Booklet 2nd edition_March 2012.pdf

ANY ADVICE IS MUCH APPRECIATED :)

Thanks,
Lori & Steve
Franklinstein, 13 year old Hermanns Tortoise
Winnie, 15 year old Shih Tzu
Kipper, 7 year old Black Labrador
 

Jacqui

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Hi and welcome not only to TFO, but to the exciting and ever changing world of tortoises!! :D Why did you decide your family needed a tortoise, if I may ask?
 

kathyth

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Welcome to the forum! You will learn so much and have good fun.
I have a younger Hermanns. She is great.
Sounds like you gave done great research.
Enjoy!
 

Yvonne G

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Welcome to the Forum, Lori and Steve!
 

lynnedit

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You are definitely on the right track! Sometimes sand in the substrate can stick easily. I gave up on it and use topsoil (w/o fertilizer or vermiculite/perlite) and coir (comes as bricks) mixed in.

You can also put some stones around the water dish.

Post pics when you can!
 

nearpass

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lynnedit said:
You are definitely on the right track! Sometimes sand in the substrate can stick easily. I gave up on it and use topsoil (w/o fertilizer or vermiculite/perlite) and coir (comes as bricks) mixed in.

You can also put some stones around the water dish.

Post pics when you can!

I second that...I have some small pieces of slate around the water dish, keeps some of the substrate from getting in, and gives good footing to boot. Love to see some pictures, too, especially of his plastron (belly). Western hermanns are pretty rare, so if you have one, you really lucked out!
 

halfnelson

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Hi, I'm in Anchorage. Not sure how well stocked your store is, but I have good success with collard greens, mustard green, endive. Is there a health food store there? Ours carries dandelion greens. Dandelions also grow well in pots in a sunny window in winter. Sprouting is an option too, although I can't seem to do it right. Good luck!
 

Franklinstein

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Jacqui said:
Hi and welcome not only to TFO, but to the exciting and ever changing world of tortoises!! :D Why did you decide your family needed a tortoise, if I may ask?
Hi Jacqui. Steve and I decided to adopt Franklinstein (our tortoise) as we felt he needed a new home. I work as a Science Laboratory Tech at a Junior/Senior Highschool and Franklinstein was a classroom tortoise. The teacher acquired him from an ex-student not knowing what care would be involved. Sad to say many things were not provided for Franklinstein. He had no substrate, no heat or light, was fed ONLY strawberry and banana. He had a small water dish; not large enough for him to bathe in. This was his home for the past two years. Through a new Education Assistant working in the classroom Franklinstein's habitat was improved. She educated the teacher. Impoved his diet, substrate, and heat and light. The teacher realized that the responsibility of Franklinstein was more then he wanted to commit too. As I found out about these changes and the need for a new home for this endearing tortoise I asked my husband if he was OK if Franklinstein came home to live with us. Steve is a huge animal lover and has had reptiles before. Once he met Franklinstein it was LOVE at first sight. We both realize this is a huge and long term commitment but we are really attached to our new family member and want to provide the best home we can for him. I hope this wasn't too long-winded but it is a bit of a story. Thank you for asking.
 

Franklinstein

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nearpass said:
lynnedit said:
You are definitely on the right track! Sometimes sand in the substrate can stick easily. I gave up on it and use topsoil (w/o fertilizer or vermiculite/perlite) and coir (comes as bricks) mixed in.

You can also put some stones around the water dish.

Post pics when you can!

I second that...I have some small pieces of slate around the water dish, keeps some of the substrate from getting in, and gives good footing to boot. Love to see some pictures, too, especially of his plastron (belly). Western hermanns are pretty rare, so if you have one, you really lucked out!

Hi nearpass and lynnedit. Thank you for your suggestions about substrate. We have decided to eliminate the sand. I will pick up Coco Coir instead. We do have rocks around his water dish as well as larger flat rocks for basking and eating :) I will post picks as soon as I can, especially of his belly. Sadly he has pyramiding. He is 13 and had pyramiding when he arrived at the school I work at 3 years ago.
 

Franklinstein

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kathyth said:
Welcome to the forum! You will learn so much and have good fun.
I have a younger Hermanns. She is great.
Sounds like you gave done great research.
Enjoy!

Hi kathlyth. So cool to know you have a Hermanns. I am glad she is doing great. It is nice to be in touch.
 

Franklinstein

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wellington said:
Hello and Welcome:)

Hi Barb & Leopard. Thank you for the "Toms" links. I read them and they were very helpful. They are certainly some idea's I want to incorporate into Franklinsteins new home. Steve and I are going to be changing his substrate as we find the sand and dirt too sticky. And we also realize the aspen shavings were not a good choice too. I have put in a small amount of Timothy Hay and now feel it is best to remove it as well. I will purchase some Coco Coir and up the humidity by adding more water and warmth. We are working on his diet but at the moment the best thing I can provide is Spring Mix and Butter Lettuce. I am going to check out our local health food store's produce department. I will be planting seeds (as per appropriate list) too.
 

Franklinstein

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halfnelson said:
Hi, I'm in Anchorage. Not sure how well stocked your store is, but I have good success with collard greens, mustard green, endive. Is there a health food store there? Ours carries dandelion greens. Dandelions also grow well in pots in a sunny window in winter. Sprouting is an option too, although I can't seem to do it right. Good luck!

Hi "Halfnelson". It is funny to read your list of available greens you have in Anchorage which is much further north then we are. I have not been able to find much beyond spring mix and arugula in our grocery stores. I have added fresh butter lettuce, a small amount of sage (herb), small amount of carrot tops, as well as a small amount of kale. I know that kale is questionable as it can prevent the absorption of calcium. I never thought about the health food store. We have a small store that may carry something in the downtown area of our city. I am planning on growing plants indoors. I just need to get a grow area set up. I don't have the best house for natural sunshine (East/West Windows) but plan to purchase grow lights. Thanks for your suggestions.
 
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