Questions for Optimal Care of Baby Western Hermann's

Astrid37

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I have thoroughly and carefully read the GST Western Hermann's care sheet multiple times and cannot find the answers to these questions. Many apologies in advance if I missed them.

1. Humidity of 70% for adults. Should that go higher for babies, in the 75-80% range?
2. Ambient daytime temperature for adults is 80-85, nighttime low 70's. Ambient daytime temperature for babies is also 80-85 and nighttime is high 70's/low 80's?
3. When are they considered adults? (age? shell length?)
4. Length of basking and LED's on 12-14. hrs Does the time that they turn on and off matter? (i.e. does it matter if it's 8am-10pm or 6am-8pm?
5. I think I saw this but can't find it again. For how many hours do you leave on the UV light?
6. Is 4'' too little between the bottom of the CHE and the top of humid hide with a separation of 2'' between the end edge of the hide and the beginning of the fixture edge? (safety/overheating etc...)
7. Do you recommend protective cages over the basking incandescent and the CHE?
8. Regarding the UVA/UVB bulb, to obtain the desired UVI from HermanniHaven of 3.0 and considering a tortoise height of 10-13 inches from the fixture, which do you think would be better for baby, the Arcadia 6% Forest or the Arcadia 12% desert? I really want to make sure baby is getting the right UV for growing bones, and the TSA video said that Western Hermann's are even more sunlight-oriented than Easterns, but I also don't want to overdo it.
https://www.joshsfrogs.com/arcadia-d3-6-uvb-t5-bulb-22.html
https://www.joshsfrogs.com/arcadia-d3-12-uvb-t5-bulb-22.html

Many thanks in advance!!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Oh these are excellent questions!

1. 50-70% is a good range for any range. 80% or more won't hurt any thing either though. For Testudo species, I don't focus on the humidity percentage. Instead, make sure humid micro climates are available in the form of heavy plant cover, humid hides, and a deep damp safe substrate is available for digging into, like coco coir. Daily soaks will also ensure good hydration and health.
2. Adults can certainly handle lower temps at night than that. The listed temps are a great range for babies. Higher ambients are okay too. They have hot summers in Italy too, but the listed ranges are a nice middle-of-the-road way to go.
3. There is no set-in-stone exact definition that everyone in the world agrees upon. Generally, when they reach breeding size, they are considered adults.
4. Such a good question here... I like to match mine to my temperate day light hours and change it seasonally, depending on my intentions for breeding and/or hibernation. My climate, and yours too, is pretty similar to Mediterranean climate where they come from. We have similar season temperature and light duration changes.
5. This varies tremendously with the type of UV bulb and personal preference. Many ways can work. My preference is to use a strong bulb for only 2-3 hours mid day. This simulates the mid day UV spike that happens outside daily. Other people prefer to use lower levels and have it on all day. Either way works, allows for D3 production in the tortoise's body, and prevents MBD. But... I lied a little bit. My REAL preference is to use not Indoor UV at all, and instead rely on short sunning sessions of 1-3 hours two or three times a week in a safe outdoor enclosure. As they gain size, I increase the duration and frequency of time spent outside. Because they store D3 in their bodies, its fine to skip several weeks of sunning in winter or during bad weather with no ill effect. They do not need an abundance of UV all day every day, as some people seem to think. They can also get D3 through diet (Mazuri for one example) and through supplements, like RepCal with D3.
6. Probably. CHEs run VERY hot.
7. No. I remove those. Those are more for lizards or snakes that might reach up and touch the hot bulbs. Not needed for tortoises.
8. See number five above. I prefer the Arcadia 12% HO tubes. You must have a meter to set the height correctly. Every bulb, fixture and enclosure is different. Here is the meter: https://www.solarmeter.com/product/model65r/

There is a lot of old wrong info circulating around. Many long term keepers are still using old outdated practices. Here is the current and correct care info for temperate species. There might be some helpful insight in this thread for you: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-any-temperate-species-of-tortoise.183131/
 

Astrid37

Member
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
36
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia, USA
Oh these are excellent questions!

1. 50-70% is a good range for any range. 80% or more won't hurt any thing either though. For Testudo species, I don't focus on the humidity percentage. Instead, make sure humid micro climates are available in the form of heavy plant cover, humid hides, and a deep damp safe substrate is available for digging into, like coco coir. Daily soaks will also ensure good hydration and health.
2. Adults can certainly handle lower temps at night than that. The listed temps are a great range for babies. Higher ambients are okay too. They have hot summers in Italy too, but the listed ranges are a nice middle-of-the-road way to go.
3. There is no set-in-stone exact definition that everyone in the world agrees upon. Generally, when they reach breeding size, they are considered adults.
4. Such a good question here... I like to match mine to my temperate day light hours and change it seasonally, depending on my intentions for breeding and/or hibernation. My climate, and yours too, is pretty similar to Mediterranean climate where they come from. We have similar season temperature and light duration changes.
5. This varies tremendously with the type of UV bulb and personal preference. Many ways can work. My preference is to use a strong bulb for only 2-3 hours mid day. This simulates the mid day UV spike that happens outside daily. Other people prefer to use lower levels and have it on all day. Either way works, allows for D3 production in the tortoise's body, and prevents MBD. But... I lied a little bit. My REAL preference is to use not Indoor UV at all, and instead rely on short sunning sessions of 1-3 hours two or three times a week in a safe outdoor enclosure. As they gain size, I increase the duration and frequency of time spent outside. Because they store D3 in their bodies, its fine to skip several weeks of sunning in winter or during bad weather with no ill effect. They do not need an abundance of UV all day every day, as some people seem to think. They can also get D3 through diet (Mazuri for one example) and through supplements, like RepCal with D3.
6. Probably. CHEs run VERY hot.
7. No. I remove those. Those are more for lizards or snakes that might reach up and touch the hot bulbs. Not needed for tortoises.
8. See number five above. I prefer the Arcadia 12% HO tubes. You must have a meter to set the height correctly. Every bulb, fixture and enclosure is different. Here is the meter: https://www.solarmeter.com/product/model65r/

There is a lot of old wrong info circulating around. Many long term keepers are still using old outdated practices. Here is the current and correct care info for temperate species. There might be some helpful insight in this thread for you: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-any-temperate-species-of-tortoise.183131/


Thanks so much, Tom!! I really appreciate your taking the time to carefully and thoroughly answer each of my questions! You have so much experience, and I truly value your help and knowing what works best so I can apply it. This is the care sheet that I've been using: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/ so good to know that the temperate tortoise sheet can be used, also!

I purchased a solarmeter last week so will run a test between the 6% and 12% when it arrives.

I thought I saw that they can stay outside daily for one hour per inch of tortoise up until they are four inches and then they can stay out all day in a safe, outdoor enclosure with very shallow appropriate water dishes and places they can have both shade and plenty of sunlight?

Thanks so much!!!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,442
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks so much, Tom!! I really appreciate your taking the time to carefully and thoroughly answer each of my questions! You have so much experience, and I truly value your help and knowing what works best so I can apply it. This is the care sheet that I've been using: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/ so good to know that the temperate tortoise sheet can be used, also!

I purchased a solarmeter last week so will run a test between the 6% and 12% when it arrives.

I thought I saw that they can stay outside daily for one hour per inch of tortoise up until they are four inches and then they can stay out all day in a safe, outdoor enclosure with very shallow appropriate water dishes and places they can have both shade and plenty of sunlight?

Thanks so much!!!
That is a good general guideline for outside time that works well for most people in most situations.
 

Astrid37

Member
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
36
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia, USA
That is a good general guideline for outside time that works well for most people in most situations.
Perfect, thanks so much, Tom! I'll be keeping a watchful eye to ensure it's continuously working well. Just good to have a general idea to start from. Many thanks!!
 
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