New uk owner of shelly. 20 year old Herman female.

pippin

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Hi everyone. As advised I would like to introduce myself and say thank you for all the wonderful advice on here and the great fact sheets that have been invaluable.
We inherited Shelly just over a week ago. She has never had a light or any form of heat and has been free roaming indoors all her life fed on a crap diet!🤦‍♀️🙄
We want to give her a good life and are determined to try and take good care of her for her remaining years.
We have a large garden and have set about creating her a large enclosed area. It measures about 8ft x8ft. We have planted it with tortoise friendly plants and weeds in the sunniest part of the garden. (With shade provided too) We have put a basking stone in and a terracotta saucer in for water. She also has a sturdy bed lined with hay that we close her in at night. We live in the North of the UK and although the temps have been good at the moment, if it drops below 55 we bring her in at night. We have been soaking her most mornings as she wasn't in the best state, she is slightly pyramided and her back legs are a bit splayed with missing toe nails, 😔She seems quite lively though and is eating well . What else can we do to make this lovely lady more comfortable and improve her health/Outlook? We would ideally like her outdoors all the time eventually, is this achievable? any advise on what heat /light we need and best diet would be much appreciated. Also how often should she be deficating/urinating? And do we need to put a cold frame in as well as her bed?
Many thanks in anticipation.
 

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wellington

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Make the night box heated not from below but above, they heat up from the sun above not from below. If you have a heated pig blanket below then a heat source needs to be above, both set on the same thermostat. Portable oil filled heaters work the best for heating night boxes and sheds. If you are not brumating in winter, then she needs a shed or night box big enough for her to live in all winter. Then she can live outside all years. Otherwise she will have to come in for winter or brumate.
 

Ray--Opo

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Welcome, thank you for wanting to give your tort a good home. I am not familiar with Herrmans but you will find everything you need here. Just keep asking questions.
 

pippin

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Make the night box heated not from below but above, they heat up from the sun above not from below. If you have a heated pig blanket below then a heat source needs to be above, both set on the same thermostat. Portable oil filled heaters work the best for heating night boxes and sheds. If you are not brumating in winter, then she needs a shed or night box big enough for her to live in all winter. Then she can live outside all years. Otherwise she will have to come in for winter or brumate.
Thank you. She has always been brumanated so will continue to do so. How do I do this? Inside or out? We were thinking of using a similar set up to the one on Tom's fact sheet for heating her Box at night on cooler nights. Am I right in thinking as long as the temp is above 55 at night she dosent need heat? And is Hay OK for bedding in her night box? She seems to like it? I will add water to the box as Tom suggested for a little humidity. What foods should I give her to build her strength up and rectify years of neglect 😔she also dosent always drink....is this OK?
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome.
Sounds like Shelly's life has already changed for the better and if you continue to follow the care sheets you've found she should thrive.
There is a good thread called something like 'outdoor accommodation in a cold climate UK ' by Joe'smum which has some good advice. Also because our winter climate is so unpredictable, many people use fridges for hibernation to keep the temps even - if torts wake on a warmer winter day and eat, then sleep again when it's colder the food could rot in the gut and turn toxic. Also safer from predators like rats. My tort doesn't hibernate, but there are several threads if you use the search facility and plenty of experienced members to help.
Shelly is a lucky girl!
.
 

pippin

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Hi and welcome.
Sounds like Shelly's life has already changed for the better and if you continue to follow the care sheets you've found she should thrive.
There is a good thread called something like 'outdoor accommodation in a cold climate UK ' by Joe'smum which has some good advice. Also because our winter climate is so unpredictable, many people use fridges for hibernation to keep the temps even - if torts wake on a warmer winter day and eat, then sleep again when it's colder the food could rot in the gut and turn toxic. Also safer from predators like rats. My tort doesn't hibernate, but there are several threads if you use the search facility and plenty of experienced members to help.
Shelly is a lucky girl!
.
Thank you. I have read Joe's mum post and it was very helpful. We will probably do something similar with Shelly (name she came with. Don't like to change it!).
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Fridge method in brumating is the safest one when done right. This way you will be able to keep your tortoise at stable temperatures through the winter, to avoid freezing or waking up too early.

You don't have to worry about her drinking as long as you soak her, she will stay well hydrated.

Cold frame will be great for basking during colder weather, just make sure that it is UV open or UV transmitting so she can still get the benefits of UV light.

What kind of set up do you have indoors for her?

Could you send photos of her feet and the missing nails? Since her care wasn't the best it could be possible that she has a fugal infection that has caused her nails to fall of.
 

pippin

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Shelly taking a morning bath in the sun. As you can see she is quite pyramidal. Can't do a ything about that but can prevent further damage. What is best to feed her on?
 

pippin

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Fridge method in brumating is the safest one when done right. This way you will be able to keep your tortoise at stable temperatures through the winter, to avoid freezing or waking up too early.

You don't have to worry about her drinking as long as you soak her, she will stay well hydrated.

Cold frame will be great for basking during colder weather, just make sure that it is UV open or UV transmitting so she can still get the benefits of UV light.

What kind of set up do you have indoors for her?

Could you send photos of her feet and the missing nails? Since her care wasn't the best it could be possible that she has a fugal infection that has caused her nails to fall of.
Tried to upload a pick of one foot! She's not co operating at the moment and my tech skills aren't the best!🤦‍♀️🤣
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Shelly taking a morning bath in the sun. As you can see she is quite pyramidal. Can't do a ything about that but can prevent further damage. What is best to feed her on?
Hello!
They like leafy greens most (like clover, dandelion, broadleaf plantain, mallow, dead nettle or stinging nettle and many-many others). Hermanns don't really eat grasses and hay. Avoid feeding sugary content like fruit. Variety is a key in healthy tortoise diet as no single plant is good enough.

There is a web site - https://thetortoisetable.org.uk/ where the most of plants available in UK are listed. You can check what's growing in your garden and is safe for tortoises. Also, you may get "tortoise seed mixes" and grow them in your tortoise enclosure.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Hydration and using the right bulbs for heat and UV can prevent pyramiding. What kind of lighting/heat do you currently have provided for her? What is the humidity in her indoor enclosure?

As for her nails, I don't see a fungal infection in the photo you posted. Might be that she has had one before, but there are many other reasons for nail loss.
 

wellington

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Thank you. She has always been brumanated so will continue to do so. How do I do this? Inside or out? We were thinking of using a similar set up to the one on Tom's fact sheet for heating her Box at night on cooler nights. Am I right in thinking as long as the temp is above 55 at night she dosent need heat? And is Hay OK for bedding in her night box? She seems to like it? I will add water to the box as Tom suggested for a little humidity. What foods should I give her to build her strength up and rectify years of neglect 😔she also dosent always drink....is this OK?
Yes,Toms night box would be ideal for outside. Gives her the opportunity to stay in or go out. You just need to lock her in at night and open it in the morning. No, 55 is too low for a Hermanns. Russians need to stay 60 lowest and I believe Hermanns need it warmer, 65-70.
Brumating needs to be done under your control. Kept at a constant temp in a frig, cold closest, basement, garage, etc.
Tom has a thread on it, I'll try to find it
 

wellington

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Ray--Opo

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Oh and hay is not a good substrate.
Orchid or fir bark or coconut coir. Most just you a rubber mat to keep the urine and poop off the wood. You could use leaf litter to.
I have 2 shallow trays that cover 90% of 4' x 4' floor. It makes it nice to just remove the tray and clean. 1 tray has cypress mulch and the other is bare. In the winter a Kane mat is on the bare tray. The trays generally catch all the pee and poo.
 

wellington

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I have 2 shallow trays that cover 90% of 4' x 4' floor. It makes it nice to just remove the tray and clean. 1 tray has cypress mulch and the other is bare. In the winter a Kane mat is on the bare tray. The trays generally catch all the pee and poo.
Good idea with the trays.
 

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