RatQueen_Irene

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Corvallis, Oregon
Hello, nice to meet you all!

My hatchling eastern hermann's tortoise is arriving tomorrow and I'm very excited, decided to name him Kepler (after the telescope) haha

I have everything I think I need to make a good enclosure, having read everything I could get my hands on the past two years.

I'm using a 38 inch by 20 inch plastic tub enclosure to start with (I'm well aware he'll need more room as he grows), with appropriate substrate that retains moisture quite well, staying slightly damp to the touch these past 2-3 days while I prepared it. I have a 75w basking heat lamp, and a 50 UVB fluorescent bulb, both mounted around 12-14 inches high from the basking area.

I am having trouble with the soil just being damp, and not doing much to make the area humid. The temperature here has remained in the 70 F ish range with 50-60% humidity. The soil being slightly damp though seems to make the habitat colder. People recommend open-top enclosures, but how am I supposed to make the air humid inside? The heat lamp only reaches a corner really, and the room quickly airs it out. Should I cover the enclosure partially with the lid (50-90 percent covered)?

I have a 10 gallon glass enclosure a friend gifted me as well, with a wire top (very aware this is small and dangers of glass in general). Still, would that be good to keep him in for part of the day surrounded by cardboard to make sure he warms up with the heat lamp and receives good humidity? For example, an hour or two after his morning soak with some mist to it? I have an extra wooden hide as well for that one if so, which I may switch out for the plastic bucket so he can climb it.

I've attached a picture, I plan to replace the cardboard dry-hide with a different material later on if he tries to eat it or it gets at all soggy/moldy, same with the plant or if any bowl seems dangerous.
 

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wellington

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The info you have received is wrong. Forget the other sources you have read.
Open top is old and outdated. You need a closed chamber. So yes, put a top on it. The aquarium is too small do not use it.
The 50 watt bulb is that a coil type? If it is do not use it they can cause eye damage.
Take out the ripped up cardboard. With proper humidity the cardboard will just be wet and doesn't do anything.
Be sure to read this forums caresheet under your specific species.
 

RatQueen_Irene

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Corvallis, Oregon
The info you have received is wrong. Forget the other sources you have read.
Open top is old and outdated. You need a closed chamber. So yes, put a top on it. The aquarium is too small do not use it.
The 50 watt bulb is that a coil type? If it is do not use it they can cause eye damage.
Take out the ripped up cardboard. With proper humidity the cardboard will just be wet and doesn't do anything.
Be sure to read this forums caresheet under your specific species.
I did read the updated care sheet for eastern hermann's tortoises, and it only says that they advise putting the lid on at night, and do not say to during the day. An entirely closed chamber provides zero airflow, wouldn't that suffocate the tortoise? I've seen that most people on here have open top structures, with them set up on tables with wooden walls, with them outdoors, etc. even for hatchlings, as also advised/stated in the care sheet? A hermann tortoise is also from a Mediterranean climate, not a jungle, to make the enclosure to the point where everything is that wet seems excessive. Is it only for the first year or so?

The bulb is not a coil type, it's a rounded heat bulb. The UVB is the long tube-shaped light.
 
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TaylorTortoise

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Mar 24, 2020
Messages
957
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Abington
Hello, nice to meet you all!

My hatchling eastern hermann's tortoise is arriving tomorrow and I'm very excited, decided to name him Kepler (after the telescope) haha

I have everything I think I need to make a good enclosure, having read everything I could get my hands on the past two years.

I'm using a 38 inch by 20 inch plastic tub enclosure to start with (I'm well aware he'll need more room as he grows), with appropriate substrate that retains moisture quite well, staying slightly damp to the touch these past 2-3 days while I prepared it. I have a 75w basking heat lamp, and a 50 UVB fluorescent bulb, both mounted around 12-14 inches high from the basking area.

I am having trouble with the soil just being damp, and not doing much to make the area humid. The temperature here has remained in the 70 F ish range with 50-60% humidity. The soil being slightly damp though seems to make the habitat colder. People recommend open-top enclosures, but how am I supposed to make the air humid inside? The heat lamp only reaches a corner really, and the room quickly airs it out. Should I cover the enclosure partially with the lid (50-90 percent covered)?

I have a 10 gallon glass enclosure a friend gifted me as well, with a wire top (very aware this is small and dangers of glass in general). Still, would that be good to keep him in for part of the day surrounded by cardboard to make sure he warms up with the heat lamp and receives good humidity? For example, an hour or two after his morning soak with some mist to it? I have an extra wooden hide as well for that one if so, which I may switch out for the plastic bucket so he can climb it.

I've attached a picture, I plan to replace the cardboard dry-hide with a different material later on if he tries to eat it or it gets at all soggy/moldy, same with the plant or if any bowl seems dangerous.
Where are you getting your tortoise from? I’m waiting for mine to come in any day too. A western hermanns
 

RatQueen_Irene

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Corvallis, Oregon
Where are you getting your tortoise from? I’m waiting for mine to come in any day too. A western hermanns
TortStork, which I've seen some people have had bad experiences with, but far many more excellent ones it seems. So far I've received great back and forth communication. From everything I can tell through photos, the tortoise seems in good health, I hope he arrives safe and sound :)
 
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wellington

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I did read the updated care sheet for eastern hermann's tortoises, and it only says that they advise putting the lid on at night, and do not say to during the day. An entirely closed chamber provides zero airflow, wouldn't that suffocate the tortoise? I've seen that most people on here have open top structures, with them set up on tables with wooden walls, with them outdoors, etc. even for hatchlings, as also advised/stated in the care sheet? A hermann tortoise is also from a Mediterranean climate, not a jungle, to make the enclosure to the point where everything is that wet seems excessive. Is it only for the first year or so?

The bulb is not a coil type, it's a rounded heat bulb. The UVB is the long tube-shaped light.
First no home made enclosure will be air tight. So no he wont suffocate. Also, air exchange happens when you open the enclosure to feed, water, spot clean which all should be daily.
The lid should be on day and night making it a closed chamber. Correct temps with humidity is not a problem. Closed chambers should be for approximately 3 years.
 

Krista S

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I did read the updated care sheet for eastern hermann's tortoises, and it only says that they advise putting the lid on at night, and do not say to during the day. An entirely closed chamber provides zero airflow, wouldn't that suffocate the tortoise? I've seen that most people on here have open top structures, with them set up on tables with wooden walls, with them outdoors, etc. even for hatchlings, as also advised/stated in the care sheet? A hermann tortoise is also from a Mediterranean climate, not a jungle, to make the enclosure to the point where everything is that wet seems excessive. Is it only for the first year or so?

The bulb is not a coil type, it's a rounded heat bulb. The UVB is the long tube-shaped light.
Hi there. I think you may have found an outdated care sheet. Here is a link to the most up to date one for your species of tortoise.

 

RatQueen_Irene

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Location (City and/or State)
Corvallis, Oregon
Hi there. I think you may have found an outdated care sheet. Here is a link to the most up to date one for your species of tortoise.

Thanks for the updated sheet, I didn't see this one in the pinned posts for hermanns, where I assumed the most recent ones would be, and the other one is
 

RatQueen_Irene

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Corvallis, Oregon
First no home made enclosure will be air tight. So no he wont suffocate. Also, air exchange happens when you open the enclosure to feed, water, spot clean which all should be daily.
The lid should be on day and night making it a closed chamber. Correct temps with humidity is not a problem. Closed chambers should be for approximately 3 years.
I will definitely be doing all daily and keeping a close eye while I work. In a bin like the one I have, how are lights fixed in the enclosure when there is a fully closed lid? Is there example photos of where this has been done?
 

wellington

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Cut holes for any heat lights. Line the hole rim with tin foil to prevent plastic from melting. The tube florescent can be hung inside.
If you want to follow the open lid during the day and closed at night then do that. Hermanns like Russians don't pyramid as easily as most others. The closed chamber day and night seem to work best but Chris and Josh that wrote the one caresheet I trust to know what they are doing. If any pyramiding did start then switch to closed chamber.
 

RatQueen_Irene

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Joined
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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Corvallis, Oregon
Cut holes for any heat lights. Line the hole rim with tin foil to prevent plastic from melting. The tube florescent can be hung inside.
If you want to follow the open lid during the day and closed at night then do that. Hermanns like Russians don't pyramid as easily as most others. The closed chamber day and night seem to work best but Chris and Josh that wrote the one caresheet I trust to know what they are doing. If any pyramiding did start then switch to closed chamber.
Thank you for the advice!
 

RatQueen_Irene

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Corvallis, Oregon
Fixed up the enclosure to have more of an enclosed hiding space as recommended, with lots of height variation, and I think I'll change to orchid bark once I have a better idea of his size to be sure he can walk it. Still working on cutting the lid though, it's pretty sturdy
 

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TaylorTortoise

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Abington
TortStork, which I've seen some people have had bad experiences with, but far many more excellent ones it seems. So far I've received great back and forth communication. From everything I can tell through photos, the tortoise seems in good health, I hope he arrives safe and sound :)
Did he arrive over night?
 

RatQueen_Irene

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Corvallis, Oregon
Did he arrive over night?
Not yet, today before noon though! I'll definitely send pictures once he's all warmed up and soaked c:

I ended up loosely closing the enclosure overnight as a test and it became suitably humid while remaining decently warm, I have the top cover set up now at a slant but not touching the lamps so that there's a 2 inch gap or so at the end against the wall (I couldn't cut holes for the lamps with the small saw I have, it's really thick). It seems to be retaining much more humidity this way, without being completely sealed which I'm still uncomfortable with for what would essentially be 23 hours a day in terms of breathable air. Hopefully he's happy, I'll adjust as necessary! I'll collect some smooth river stones to make a climbing space in the left hand corner this evening probably
 
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