Northen Italy Testudo graeca ibera

ressar

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Hi to all. So, after introducing myself in the Introduction section, I begin the threads about my 4 new Testudo graeca ibera.
As I have already told, I bought it because it's not a long time that I have built a new home with my wife and we own a large garden. So, in future if all goes good, they will have a large outdoor pen.
I buy it from a local breeder near me that bred 4 species of Testudo (hermanni, marginata, kleinmanni and graeca).
They born in fall 2019 and have already made 2 winter in hibernation outside.
In the next post I will describe it better with measurement and weight and I will tell you how I built the outdoor pen (a little one because for now they are tiny).
For now I add only some photos so you can begin to see them. All the blue and withe color is not mine, it's already from the breeder. It will fade away with some time.
The third miss a dorsal scute but I choose it just the same because I think "me neither be perfect".
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Dorsal view
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Ventral view.
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Eating mallow.
 

ressar

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Some other information.
I mark the tortoise with a little red dot on the right costal scute from the first to the fourth.
This are they data when I bring home and the "name" (they are not mine but from my granddaughters) :oops::
1CD means first costal right

1625143311167

I bring home at 1 may and they were awaken from hibernation from about 1,5 month.
They are tiny in size but that is due to the fact that the breeder raise them always outside, with all the hibernation period they will make, in a very large pen grazing only the wilds herbs that grow inside (dandelion, clover, mallow, plantain, nettle, ecc).
There is also to take in consideration that in Northen Italy, in spring and summer the day may be very hot but the night are generally chilly and so the metabolism of the tortoise is slow down for almost half of the time.

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3CD Oogway

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All the family
 

zovick

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Some other information.
I mark the tortoise with a little red dot on the right costal scute from the first to the fourth.
This are they data when I bring home and the "name" (they are not mine but from my granddaughters) :oops::
1CD means first costal right

View attachment 328265

I bring home at 1 may and they were awaken from hibernation from about 1,5 month.
They are tiny in size but that is due to the fact that the breeder raise them always outside, with all the hibernation period they will make, in a very large pen grazing only the wilds herbs that grow inside (dandelion, clover, mallow, plantain, nettle, ecc).
There is also to take in consideration that in Northen Italy, in spring and summer the day may be very hot but the night are generally chilly and so the metabolism of the tortoise is slow down for almost half of the time.

View attachment 328263
3CD Oogway

View attachment 328264
All the family
Hello and welcome.

Your tortoises look very nice. Good luck with them!
 

ressar

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I will share with you a few photos of the outdoor pen taht I build for my little greeks.
My goal was to buil a naturalistic enclosure that allow them to live in a more natural way.
I don't like sterile environments with only a hide and a bowl for the water.
I built it with fir planks of 25 mm of thikness. They will not be much durable but I hope in 2-3 yars to dismantle and set up a big pen.
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The dimension are about 1,5 x 1,5 m and there are two distinct houses for the torts, one covered with a wooden lid and one with a polycarbonate lid (so it simulates a little greenhouse). All the lids are hinged for easy accessibility.
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All the other part of the pen is covered with a hinged lid with a wire mesh to protect the little guys from rats, foxes and birds of prey.
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In the 2 little houses I removed the soil afor about 30 cm of depth and top up with a mix of soil, peat and beech litter, to allow them to bury down.
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The I put inside stones, pieces of bark and dry branches to give them variety, ambient enrichment and possibility of hide.
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For the plants ...... to be continued ?
 

ressar

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Ok, second episode.
I planted inside sage, rosemary and thyme ..... in honour of Simon and Garfunkle ? ??
In reality to give shadow and permanent place to hide.
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I planted also dandelion, plantain and wild chicory and sowed a lot of clover. This is the situation after the finish of the job.
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What do you think? Critiques or hints?
 

ressar

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And this is the situation now :oops:
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Plenty of hide and plenty of food.
The four tortoise are in totally self management. No need for food and my only operation is top up the water bowl.
I check daily if all is going OK, give them only one time at week a few ripe fruits and weight and misure every two weeks.
Some detail.
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20210701 190035
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Sarah2020

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Well done just monitor shell growth as they do need humidity when young to avoid pyramid shell.
 

zovick

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And this is the situation now :oops:
View attachment 328748
Plenty of hide and plenty of food.
The four tortoise are in totally self management. No need for food and my only operation is top up the water bowl.
I check daily if all is going OK, give them only one time at week a few ripe fruits and weight and misure every two weeks.
Some detail.
View attachment 328749
View attachment 328750
View attachment 328751
Very nice job. I am sure your tortoises are very happy in their new home.
 

ressar

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Well done just monitor shell growth as they do need humidity when young to avoid pyramid shell.
Yes, sure I will do it. For now that's not a problem. Here a photo of Hoogway eating a mallow flower. As you can see the new grow that border each scute is "raised" from the old grow. If I have undersand correctly the new keratine must stay swollen in the phase of grow and only shrink when it age. So it will becom flush with the old grow and not cause pyramiding.
20210710 092908
 

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A few days ago I made this photo of 2CD Margherita basking under a pale morning sun.
It's always fun to see the strange position they take to assure themselves to be the most perpendicular to the sun as they can. This one was almost vertical on they rear leg leaned on a dandelion plant.
It seems he is sleeping nice;)
20210713 094426
 

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Another photo of my 3CD Hoogway.
He/she is the biggest of the four and the one that grow faster.
You can see the black border of each scute that is the new grow of this year.
Here he is beginning to eat a flower of Alcea rosea (I think it english name is hollyhock).
They eat it with "mucho gusto"?
20210813 111013
 

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I will share with you a few updates about my tortoise.
Beginning from the day that I bought it, I weight and measure every 2 weeks.
Here are the data and the graph about weight and the Jackson ratio from 1st may until mid august (weight in grams).
A few consideration of mine:
1 - the two tortoise that are bigger in the beginning have grown up more that the two smaller, so the bigger become increasingly bigger and the smaller stay increasingly smaller.
2 - the Jackson ratio are good for all the 4 tortoise (in fact the bigger 3CD "Hoogway" have a Jackson ratio not so good as the other 3, it is more "slender").
3 - ALL the tortoise are exposed to the same temperature, sun, food and live in an outdoor pen that is big enough not to create problems of competition or bullying.
I have already bring the smaller 2CD "Margherita" (the one that stay almost identical in weight) to my veterinary (that is known to be expert about reptile) and she told me that there are no outside symptoms of ill or disease (puffiness, runny nose, swollen eyes etc.) and to let them live they life with they "rythm" of growth.
The only advice that she gave me is to gave them a controlled hibernation in an appropriate room (I know the temperature and the humidity that must be assured) no longer than 8 weeks, because let them do a natural hibernation, in my climate, will bring the duration to 16 - 20 weeks.
Please give me alla your's thoughts, opinions and advice.
Weight
Jakson ratio
 

ressar

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Up. Can someone more expert than me give his opinion about the growth rate of the tortoise and the hint of the veterinary? Thank's.
 

ressar

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Hi to all. A long time go after the last update but with my new home to finish I barely had time to sleep!
A rapid summary of my greek life in these months.
I take them outside until in mid september and them bring them indoor in an open top pen that I build specially.
The pen is 120cm x 50cm (47" x 20") and have a lot of hiding places made with stone slates.
The substrate is a mix of sand, peat and garden soil and I planted inside a few food plants.
On the top there are 1 UV HID Raptor Raptor 70w, 2 flood incandescent lamp 60W and a LED spotlight of 30W.
Under the spot I have about 95 F, in the middle there are about 75 F and by night I let drop temperature to room temperature of about 65 F. At night I cover all the pen with a light wood board so inside the humidity build up to 80-90 % UR.
The pen has been used only for 2,5 months until I put the four tortoise in brumation, but this will be another story .......
20211104 075246 HDR

20211104 101353 HDR
 

ressar

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From the mid of september until the mid of december the tortoise stay in the pen. They eat normally, roam around, stay in the hiding place and so on. The two bigger grow a few as outdoor and the two smaller stay about at the same weight as outdoor.
Four week befor the brumation date I begin to gradually reduce the duration of light, the temperature and stopped the supplementation of food.
The last two weeks I moved the pen in my cellar that have a steady temperature of about 13° C (55 F) so the night temperature dropped considerably but the day temperature stay around 20° C to permit the empty of alla the eatn food.
I prepare an hibernation box made with an outdoor cardboard box lined inside with sheredded paper and an interior plastic box filled at half with a substrate made of sand, beech litter and garden soil and the rest with beech litter.
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I put inside the four tortoise and put the box in the ventilation shaft of my cellar that is under the floor ground and that I covered outside with a styrofoam sheet.
I installe a digital thermo-higrometer with the probes inside the box at the level of the tortoise and adedd a traditional mercury thermometer leaning at the outside of the box.
All the temperature cam be checked myself from the windows in the cellar that give acces to the ventilation shaft.
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In the box the temperature stay from 3°C to 6°C (37F to 43F) all the time.
Today, after 36 days of brumation I checked the box five times and all is going good. The tortoise had not loose weight and I sprayed the leaf a few times to assure a high humidity inside.
 

Chip's mom

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Another photo of my 3CD Hoogway.
He/she is the biggest of the four and the one that grow faster.
You can see the black border of each scute that is the new grow of this year.
Here he is beginning to eat a flower of Alcea rosea (I think it english name is hollyhock).
They eat it with "mucho gusto"?
View attachment 330928
What a wonderful habitat you have made for them! Those are some lucky and happy tortoises.

I am a gardener and my only comment would be to regularly check the area for weeds that can be poisonous. I'm amazed how quickly I get new weeds in my garden!
 

Yvonne G

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I don't know how I missed this thread the first time around.

I have never had any Greek tortoises, and don't know anything about them, but I applaud your husbandry skills. The outside enclosure is great! At first I worried the rocks might be a falling hazard, but with all the plants I'm sure the rocks are just fine. I like the little "sun room."

It looks and reads like you really have your act together!

I do have one suggestion for you - Get the smaller ones out every morning and feed them special. Sometimes babies don't know what plants are food, and they may not be eating as much as they should. A few grocery store greens in the a.m. isn't going to harm them, and may just give them the growing nudge they need.
 

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