New Mountain Tortoise (MEP) Hatchling

FridayGt

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Altus, OK
We recently received our little MEP hatchling on October 20th! We ordered our little one from John Bailey of Mountaintortoises.com. Both John and his website have been invaluable for knowledge on the species for us and his care for the species is evident.

We named our tortoise Turtle Pip, a play on toodle pip, a goodbye a family friend of ours from Wales says all the time. We got our little Pip in on the 20th, gave it a soak offered food in it's hutch and otherwise just let it be. The next day we weighed it in at 58.2 grams an discovered that it is quite the picky eater preferring soaked pellets, mushrooms and shredded carrots over leafy greens, dandelions and dandelion greens. The next time we weighed it in was on Nov 8th at 65.2 grams.

Because no new pet post is ever complete without pictures, I have some pictures below and a couple of links to videos. My 7 year in his gloriously infinite wisdom decided that he needed a youtube channel. I settled on making one for Turtle Pip instead, lol. I'll keep making videos with him for as long as he has fun making them with me, they're not great quality, but I get time with my little man. :)

Here's the little one having a bit of a stroll after a soak outside in the sun.
IMG_20211107_171743.jpg

Here is The Grand and Illustrious Turtle Pippington III about knocked clean out after dinner with a face full of mush.
IMG_20211108_073510.jpg

Here is the dreaded Nibble Pip imagining that my fingers are pellets....

Finally, here's the grand adventurer Pip getting a little more bold the other day. He decided to introduce himself to the family Bulldog, then aborted post haste at the last second. lol

On a side note, just off screen is my hand with the dog. He's almost 11 now and is a saint with little critters including bunnies, cats, my monitor lizard and more, but such a little hatchling was not the moment I wanted my trust in him challenged. ;)

My whole family is very excited to add to our home with this adorable little one and can't wait to enjoy so much of it's life.
 

g4mobile

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I would love an MEP, but I just don't have the outside space for it. Congrats and be careful with him around your dog. What type of enclosure are you keeping him in? They need lots of humidity (80%+) and water available at all times.
 

Jan A

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We recently received our little MEP hatchling on October 20th! We ordered our little one from John Bailey of Mountaintortoises.com. Both John and his website have been invaluable for knowledge on the species for us and his care for the species is evident.

We named our tortoise Turtle Pip, a play on toodle pip, a goodbye a family friend of ours from Wales says all the time. We got our little Pip in on the 20th, gave it a soak offered food in it's hutch and otherwise just let it be. The next day we weighed it in at 58.2 grams an discovered that it is quite the picky eater preferring soaked pellets, mushrooms and shredded carrots over leafy greens, dandelions and dandelion greens. The next time we weighed it in was on Nov 8th at 65.2 grams.

Because no new pet post is ever complete without pictures, I have some pictures below and a couple of links to videos. My 7 year in his gloriously infinite wisdom decided that he needed a youtube channel. I settled on making one for Turtle Pip instead, lol. I'll keep making videos with him for as long as he has fun making them with me, they're not great quality, but I get time with my little man. :)

Here's the little one having a bit of a stroll after a soak outside in the sun.
View attachment 336036

Here is The Grand and Illustrious Turtle Pippington III about knocked clean out after dinner with a face full of mush.
View attachment 336037

Here is the dreaded Nibble Pip imagining that my fingers are pellets....

Finally, here's the grand adventurer Pip getting a little more bold the other day. He decided to introduce himself to the family Bulldog, then aborted post haste at the last second. lol

On a side note, just off screen is my hand with the dog. He's almost 11 now and is a saint with little critters including bunnies, cats, my monitor lizard and more, but such a little hatchling was not the moment I wanted my trust in him challenged. ;)

My whole family is very excited to add to our home with this adorable little one and can't wait to enjoy so much of it's life.
Congrats on your new little one & welcome to the forum!
 

Yvonne G

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One of my favorite species!
 

TammyJ

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Congrats on Tootle Pip. Yeah, I know that "goodbye" expression too.
I came to this thread last thing before I leave for now, just because I was greening all over with envy.
Bulldogs are sometimes referred to as "unpredictable". Be notified.
 

jsheffield

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We recently received our little MEP hatchling on October 20th! We ordered our little one from John Bailey of Mountaintortoises.com. Both John and his website have been invaluable for knowledge on the species for us and his care for the species is evident.

We named our tortoise Turtle Pip, a play on toodle pip, a goodbye a family friend of ours from Wales says all the time. We got our little Pip in on the 20th, gave it a soak offered food in it's hutch and otherwise just let it be. The next day we weighed it in at 58.2 grams an discovered that it is quite the picky eater preferring soaked pellets, mushrooms and shredded carrots over leafy greens, dandelions and dandelion greens. The next time we weighed it in was on Nov 8th at 65.2 grams.

Because no new pet post is ever complete without pictures, I have some pictures below and a couple of links to videos. My 7 year in his gloriously infinite wisdom decided that he needed a youtube channel. I settled on making one for Turtle Pip instead, lol. I'll keep making videos with him for as long as he has fun making them with me, they're not great quality, but I get time with my little man. :)

Here's the little one having a bit of a stroll after a soak outside in the sun.
View attachment 336036

Here is The Grand and Illustrious Turtle Pippington III about knocked clean out after dinner with a face full of mush.
View attachment 336037

Here is the dreaded Nibble Pip imagining that my fingers are pellets....

Finally, here's the grand adventurer Pip getting a little more bold the other day. He decided to introduce himself to the family Bulldog, then aborted post haste at the last second. lol

On a side note, just off screen is my hand with the dog. He's almost 11 now and is a saint with little critters including bunnies, cats, my monitor lizard and more, but such a little hatchling was not the moment I wanted my trust in him challenged. ;)

My whole family is very excited to add to our home with this adorable little one and can't wait to enjoy so much of it's life.
Spectacular!

Jamie
 

FridayGt

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Altus, OK
Good Morning everyone and thank you all for the kind comments.



Right now while the little one grows out, they’re in a typical bought on Amazon hutch inside the house. Our little friend will eventually be living outside, but I want them to get a good little bit more size to them first, so it may be a while. I’ll post some pictures of the hutch this weekend when I get a chance, but the substrate is a mix of coconut fiber and bark mulch, planted with terrarium grass and a dandelion, with a mix of springtails and isopods in the soil. There are some rocks around the edges so that they wear their tootsies down as they meander, multiple hides in varying temp/humidity ranges, a terracotta saucer as a basin for it to soak in and a dark VERY humid section with the same substrate that’s not planted but covered with sphagnum moss for it to retreat to. One side of the hide has an open screen top, from my experience with my Monitor Lizard those are just a pain to maintain consistent humidity with. I tried for a while with twice daily warm water misting, but found that it would just rubber band more than anything and relied more on me than I wished it to. I have a misting system with timers outside for when our tortoise gets larger, but that’ll be a while. What I’ve done in the meantime was cut a sheet of semi-transparent plexi glass to fit over the screen top. It’s not air tight, but significantly stabilizes the humidity and has the side benefit of making the light in the hutch more diffuse. Since diffusing the light more, I’ve noticed the little one be much more inclined to explore it’s enclosure, so double win.



Once large enough, our tortoise will be moved to the yard with a heated hut in a fenced in chicken coop. Once even larger than that, our then big one will have reign of the entire back yard that’s surrounded by fencing that’s set into a concrete foundation in the ground. The speed at which this happens is going to be a tortoise’s pace and depends solely on its size. I don’t want to have to worry about it falling victim to or being harassed by what few predators it would have here. We are considering a second MEP currently as the enclosed yard is well large enough to have two separated sections and I have a second hutch to raise it in already depending on their interactions as well. More to come on that though.



Regarding the dog, I understand everyone’s concerns and appreciate them. As I said, my hand was on him just off screen and the interaction only happened because the tortoise decided to. On a typical day, the dog isn’t allowed wherever the tortoise is out. The same DEFINITELY goes for the cat and the Monitor Lizard! I make these precautions out of an overabundance of concern and not being willing to take that risk. This bulldog, however, has spent the last 11 years surrounded by kittens, baby rabbits, a monitor lizard, birds and more. He’s a good old man has never displayed any reason for concern, but still, caution is the rule and they’re interaction is an exception.
 

Yvonne G

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Thanks for sharing that website with us. I hadn't heard of them and there's lots of good Manouria info there.
 

FridayGt

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Here's some photos of the hutch! This little booger LOVES to climb. Lol
 

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Tom

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Super cool. Good stuff.

Glad you are aware of the dog danger. Most people are not.

Every species I've ever kept will eat the sphagnum moss, and it can cause impaction. I have not raised any manouria, but thought I'd mention it as something to watch out for.

Lots of us here keep other reptiles too. What species of monitor lizard have you got? I've raised the majority of them at one time or another and love the whole genus. Feel free to make a thread in the Other Pet, Lizard section. {Hint hint...}
 

FridayGt

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Super cool. Good stuff.

Glad you are aware of the dog danger. Most people are not.

Every species I've ever kept will eat the sphagnum moss, and it can cause impaction. I have not raised any manouria, but thought I'd mention it as something to watch out for.

Lots of us here keep other reptiles too. What species of monitor lizard have you got? I've raised the majority of them at one time or another and love the whole genus. Feel free to make a thread in the Other Pet, Lizard section. {Hint hint...}
Thanks for the note on the moss! Any suggestions on an alternate media that's as good at burrowing and humidity that they won't eat?

Still do appreciate the note on the dogs all the same. I may be aware, but I've seen some people have some heartache because they've felt confident. Size doesn't matter either, I've seen a dog bite a horse because it felt it's owner was threatened. I love my dogs and they're always family, but they're still dogs.

My lizard is an Ackie Monitor! Such a great species. Tons of monitor personality, intelligence and inquisitiveness, but a size that makes an enclosure manageable for them. There are large monitors I was interested in, but my space for an enclosure wasn't going to change and I knew I could have a very happy monitor if he was smaller.

I'll be doing my annual tidying of his enclosure this coming week, so I'll post some new pictures of him!
 

Tom

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Thanks for the note on the moss! Any suggestions on an alternate media that's as good at burrowing and humidity that they won't eat?

Still do appreciate the note on the dogs all the same. I may be aware, but I've seen some people have some heartache because they've felt confident. Size doesn't matter either, I've seen a dog bite a horse because it felt it's owner was threatened. I love my dogs and they're always family, but they're still dogs.

My lizard is an Ackie Monitor! Such a great species. Tons of monitor personality, intelligence and inquisitiveness, but a size that makes an enclosure manageable for them. There are large monitors I was interested in, but my space for an enclosure wasn't going to change and I knew I could have a very happy monitor if he was smaller.

I'll be doing my annual tidying of his enclosure this coming week, so I'll post some new pictures of him!
There are only three suitable substrates when all the factors are considered. Fine grade orchid bark, coco coir, and cypress mulch. I use hand packed coco coir for Testudo babies, but fine grade orchid bark for most everything else. I don't care for the cypress mulch much, though it does work, and it is not available here anyway. Simply dampening the substrate will accomplish the same thing as the moss.

I love the ackies! I had a thread going for a while on mine here. I sold them to a guy that had a better cage set up than me, and he got his first baby out of them about a month ago. I was thrilled to see that.
 

FridayGt

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Who wants to play find the hatchling? Lol

Took the advice on getting rid of the sphagnum moss. I still wanted to provide a very loose kind of natural substrate though as this little one loves to pile loose debris on top of itself to sleep. So I layered some bark mulch on top of the soil, then layered on some leaf litter and orchard grass. We'll see how this goes in the long run, but he immediately dug in after his rounds of exploring the hutch and eating.


20211124_172916.jpg
 

Tom

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Who wants to play find the hatchling? Lol

Took the advice on getting rid of the sphagnum moss. I still wanted to provide a very loose kind of natural substrate though as this little one loves to pile loose debris on top of itself to sleep. So I layered some bark mulch on top of the soil, then layered on some leaf litter and orchard grass. We'll see how this goes in the long run, but he immediately dug in after his rounds of exploring the hutch and eating.


View attachment 336578
The leaf litter will probably be okay, but the hay will mold in short order. Need to remove it.
 

FridayGt

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The leaf litter will probably be okay, but the hay will mold in short order. Need to remove it.
Way ahead of you, i realized this morning that the stuff sticks to everything. I have isopods and spring tails in the soil, so I just mixed it in for them.
 
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FridayGt

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Well, I'm convinced. It's been over a month and I'm certain that this tortoise hates strawberries. Lol

It's not like he needs to eat them or anything, I just find it super surprising. Out of everything we've offered, strawberries are the one thing that'll make him turn his nose up at the entire pile instead of digging through for his favorites first. We've discovered a few loves for him with mushrooms, mazuri pellets and shredded carrot. His absolute favorite is cucumber and this otherwise skittish tortoise will eat that out of our hands, but he turns his nose to it all if it's touched a strawberry.

Here he is walking the long way around his enclosure to avoid the strawberries. That entire pile of food wasted and he chose hunger again that night. Lol

 

FridayGt

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Here is his cracked out hunger for human flesh and cucumbers on display. I've discovered that my fingertips too closely resemble his pellets... lol

 

Tom

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Here is his cracked out hunger for human flesh and cucumbers on display. I've discovered that my fingertips too closely resemble his pellets... lol

HA! New thread title idea for you:
"How To Get Bit By A Tortoise"

I'm reminded of all the people over the years who start a thread on the forum with something like: "My tortoise is trying to bite me. What should I do?"

My response is always something along the lines of: " Uhhh... Move your finger out of the way???"

Your little one is looking good. :)
 

FridayGt

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Altus, OK
HA! New thread title idea for you:
"How To Get Bit By A Tortoise"

I'm reminded of all the people over the years who start a thread on the forum with something like: "My tortoise is trying to bite me. What should I do?"

My response is always something along the lines of: " Uhhh... Move your finger out of the way???"

Your little one is looking good. :)
Hahahaha! If you're getting bitten by a tortoise, the problem isn't the tortoise.

Our little one has grown roughly 17% since October 21st.

20211128_125321.jpg

We've also decided to pick up a second MEP that should be here tomorrow. My Wife had been pushing for a while, but I wanted to make sure that everything was set to separate them for the rest of their lives first. So, an additional hutch is ready to go and their interaction will be observed VERY closely. Meanwhile there are several hides in the enclosure and tons of breaks to the sight lines. I'm still thinking about initially only having them together at first while they're being actively observed.

Anyone have tips on what to watch for with integration? Is separating them when I can't actively observe taking it a bit far? They're from the same breeder, raised together, from different parents, so I'm not worried about quarantine. They've already spent 4 of their 5 months of life around each other.
 

Tom

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Hahahaha! If you're getting bitten by a tortoise, the problem isn't the tortoise.

Our little one has grown roughly 17% since October 21st.

View attachment 336825

We've also decided to pick up a second MEP that should be here tomorrow. My Wife had been pushing for a while, but I wanted to make sure that everything was set to separate them for the rest of their lives first. So, an additional hutch is ready to go and their interaction will be observed VERY closely. Meanwhile there are several hides in the enclosure and tons of breaks to the sight lines. I'm still thinking about initially only having them together at first while they're being actively observed.

Anyone have tips on what to watch for with integration? Is separating them when I can't actively observe taking it a bit far? They're from the same breeder, raised together, from different parents, so I'm not worried about quarantine. They've already spent 4 of their 5 months of life around each other.
My advice: Don't do a a pair ever. It cannot work. One is always dominant and the other subordinate. The chronic stress takes a toll on them even if you don't see any overt hostility like biting or ramming.

Just don't do it. Trios or more of juveniles can generally work, but never pairs.
 
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