Suggestions for changes

Timjb97

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
27
Hello tortoise friends :)
I live in the north east of England.
I have had Derek, my marginated tortoise for just over 1 year now, and he is 20 months old.
I like to think I am taking good care of him - but I would love any suggestions to make his life better. He is a June 2015 hatched marginated, from the tortoise shop uk (hull). If anyone has a marginated ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1424210582.607956.jpg ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1424210609.195935.jpg ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1424210643.977621.jpg ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1424210657.134174.jpg ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1424210668.641839.jpg ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1424210680.953434.jpg tortoise from the same "litter" I would love to know.

He lives in a table - many have argued about this but I agree with a table for marginateds and it would take a lot of persuading to convince me that a vivarium is better for them, as I have done lots of research as to which is better.
His table consists of a large section (30"x18") which has a soil and calcium bedding from Amazon, with a tile to eat off. He has a small water bowl (this is getting replaced soon with a bigger one) with large stones around the tile and water to avoid his bedding getting into the water and into his food.
The bedding that came with the table was originally hemp, but I changed it after 1 month as I had read that it can be dangerous for tortoises. - the picture of him (or her!) on hemp bedding was the first day I got him.
He has 2 lamps, a basking lamp, and uvb/uva bulb. They are both close to each other, and they both point directly overhead. The tempteture in the basking area is averaging at 32 degrees Celsius, and the cooler side is around 23 degrees.
There is a separate section where he can go to sleep or hide.
His bedding is 1.5 inches deep.
I spray his bedding with water every morning, and every afternoon to help with humidity levels, and spray a little bit before his lights go of in his sleeping area. - should I be doing this, or does this species not need humidity, or does it need more.
Another issue is his uv bulb. It is not a coil bulb, but it is like the shape of an energy efficient bulb in England. Is this harmful? This is what the breeder has used for all their tortoises and they have all been fine, and all my friends in England who have tortoises use the same bulb. It is an Arcadia d3 compact.
I was wanting to buy a strip bulb as the replacement for his old one, but his old one smashed when i dropped it on the kitchen floor, so I was in need of replacing it quickly, and I couldn't find a holder for a strip bulb.
I would prefer the strip bulb, as it covers more of the table, and it is better for the Tortoise - if anyone in England knows where I can get a strip bulb holder please let me know :)

Substrate
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pettex-Rept...4123155&sr=8-1&keywords=Tortoise+bedding+soil

Uv bulb
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arcadia-Com...upplies_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=13J2VE6A3GN85TBM2S5Z
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
44,253
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Those kinds of coil bulbs can cause blindness, don't use it, play it safe. If you have been using it for the year you ha e had him with no problems, then you might be okay. Other then that I really don't know about your species but will try to get someone here that might. @tortadise
 

MikeCow1

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
367
Location (City and/or State)
Orange County, CA
I thought it was only this kind of coil uvb. Live and learn, I guess
 

Attachments

  • coil uvb.jpg
    coil uvb.jpg
    43.8 KB · Views: 19

tglazie

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
June of 2015? Margie from the future. Sweet.

All kidding aside, there are a couple things. First off, don't use that coil bulb. They may not necessarily cause blindness, but it isn't worth the risk. Long fluorescent bulbs are best. Second is the substrate. You don't need to be spending exorbitant sums on substrate. Use soil, maybe some orchid bark, maybe some coco-choir. I've heard of folks using all these. My personal preference is to use top soil. It is cheap and easily replaced.

Another thing is the spraying. No offense, but with that open top, the spraying isn't going to be doing your tortoise any good. The substrate is going to dry up in the circulated air of your home. I would recommend a cover of some kind. Here's where you can get creative. I'd recommend anything from a partial cover with an opening for your lighting to shine through, or a cold frame to cover the entire structure, lights and all. With the cold frame, you will also stabilize the temperature as an added bonus, allowing you to use lower wattage heating elements, thus saving a little on your energy bills as well. Hey, every penny helps, right?

You haven't mentioned anything about what you're feeding the little dude. Anyway, I'm not sure about tortoise resources in the UK, though I'm sure a little research will lead you to some appropriate seed. For a little guy like that, I'm sure a window box with a wide array of shallow planters could accommodate his dietary needs no problem. Start with the basics: dandelion, clover, milk thistle, English plantain, mallow, and geraniums. Once the plants get going, you can move these shallow planters right into his enclosure, ensuring they are adequately watered and given proper access to the UV light. Once the plants start to get a bit eaten, rotate them out for another tray. This is my strategy with the hatchlings during my relatively mild winters. Once your boy starts getting some size on him (not for another few years, but with tortoises, I feel it best to plan ahead), his needs will increase with his size, which will ultimately be rather substantial. I have a marginated male that can reduce a six by twenty foot planted area in a single season, so I've grown some extras to accommodate him and the other large margies in my care. WIth marginated tortoises, it's never too late to plant a mulberry tree. If you have access to a garden, this is simply a must. Mulberry trees are fantastic. They grow like gangbusters in good rain and sun, and they produce these broad leaves that are simply delectable to tortoises of all types. If you haven't already, start up a hibiscus plant or two. The flowers and leaves are very much appreciated, and this is a plant that grows large but can still be tended indoors, making it an ideal source of winter food. Spineless optunia cactus is also a must grow for any tortoise keeper. The hardier species grow in virtually any conditions (though most will die if frozen, so do keep that in mind), and they provide a fiber and calcium rich food for tortoises. For babies, you will have to grind them up into a slurry or finely chopped bits, but adults can take them whole. Well, as I always say, hope you're ready to grab a shovel (or spade, as you Brits call it), because you just signed up to be a gardener. I've always said that any tortoise keeper who doesn't spend half as much time in the dirt as their tortoises do, then that keeper is doing something wrong.

But yes, there's a lot to it, but I think you will find, as those of us here on the forum have, that tortoise keeping is truly the most awesome thing ever.

T.G.
 

Timjb97

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
27
June of 2015? Margie from the future. Sweet.

All kidding aside, there are a couple things. First off, don't use that coil bulb. They may not necessarily cause blindness, but it isn't worth the risk. Long fluorescent bulbs are best. Second is the substrate. You don't need to be spending exorbitant sums on substrate. Use soil, maybe some orchid bark, maybe some coco-choir. I've heard of folks using all these. My personal preference is to use top soil. It is cheap and easily replaced.

Another thing is the spraying. No offense, but with that open top, the spraying isn't going to be doing your tortoise any good. The substrate is going to dry up in the circulated air of your home. I would recommend a cover of some kind. Here's where you can get creative. I'd recommend anything from a partial cover with an opening for your lighting to shine through, or a cold frame to cover the entire structure, lights and all. With the cold frame, you will also stabilize the temperature as an added bonus, allowing you to use lower wattage heating elements, thus saving a little on your energy bills as well. Hey, every penny helps, right?

You haven't mentioned anything about what you're feeding the little dude. Anyway, I'm not sure about tortoise resources in the UK, though I'm sure a little research will lead you to some appropriate seed. For a little guy like that, I'm sure a window box with a wide array of shallow planters could accommodate his dietary needs no problem. Start with the basics: dandelion, clover, milk thistle, English plantain, mallow, and geraniums. Once the plants get going, you can move these shallow planters right into his enclosure, ensuring they are adequately watered and given proper access to the UV light. Once the plants start to get a bit eaten, rotate them out for another tray. This is my strategy with the hatchlings during my relatively mild winters. Once your boy starts getting some size on him (not for another few years, but with tortoises, I feel it best to plan ahead), his needs will increase with his size, which will ultimately be rather substantial. I have a marginated male that can reduce a six by twenty foot planted area in a single season, so I've grown some extras to accommodate him and the other large margies in my care. WIth marginated tortoises, it's never too late to plant a mulberry tree. If you have access to a garden, this is simply a must. Mulberry trees are fantastic. They grow like gangbusters in good rain and sun, and they produce these broad leaves that are simply delectable to tortoises of all types. If you haven't already, start up a hibiscus plant or two. The flowers and leaves are very much appreciated, and this is a plant that grows large but can still be tended indoors, making it an ideal source of winter food. Spineless optunia cactus is also a must grow for any tortoise keeper. The hardier species grow in virtually any conditions (though most will die if frozen, so do keep that in mind), and they provide a fiber and calcium rich food for tortoises. For babies, you will have to grind them up into a slurry or finely chopped bits, but adults can take them whole. Well, as I always say, hope you're ready to grab a shovel (or spade, as you Brits call it), because you just signed up to be a gardener. I've always said that any tortoise keeper who doesn't spend half as much time in the dirt as their tortoises do, then that keeper is doing something wrong.

But yes, there's a lot to it, but I think you will find, as those of us here on the forum have, that tortoise keeping is truly the most awesome thing ever.

T.G.
Thanks for all your advice. I will be taking all of it into consideration in the future :)
And he is June 2014 hatched, my mistake.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,305
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I answered this question in your other thread this morning with some links to suggested reading.

The trouble with "research" is that everything you read is just that persons opinion based on whatever experiences they've have. I fond that most of these care sheets and people who wrote them were all misinformed by the same sources several decades ago. The same wrong info we started with has been passed from generation to generation year after year. Its a tough cycle to break, but we are trying.
 

tglazie

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
I totally didn't catch that. He responded as though he was the same person.

T.G.
 

Timjb97

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
27
I'm confused - is @Timb2911 the same person as the OP in this thread - @Timjb97 ??
My mistake. I had an old account on my phone which I couldn't remember the details for - timb2911, but created a new account on my iPad I got for Christmas -timjb97. I replied to the comments on my phone, meaning it was a different account. I'll do everything via iPad now to make it easier :)
 

tglazie

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
Best of luck to you, sir. Hope you find some seed. Planting season will come sooner than you think. Me, living in South Texas, planting season basically started in late January. I've got all kinds of things popping up.

T.G.
 

Timjb97

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
27
Best of luck to you, sir. Hope you find some seed. Planting season will come sooner than you think. Me, living in South Texas, planting season basically started in late January. I've got all kinds of things popping up.

T.G.
Thanks :)
I have a seed mix that contains a mixture of weeds and edible flowers. I am also going to grow some lettuce, dandelions and clover - I have a keen gardener friend and she is advising me when the best times to plant the seeds are :)
 

tglazie

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
Excellent. As your margie grows, so will your garden and expertise in tending it. I wish you the best of luck, and don't be shy about sharing your questions and experiences on the forum. There are decades and decades of experience here.

T.G.
 

Timjb97

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
27
Excellent. As your margie grows, so will your garden and expertise in tending it. I wish you the best of luck, and don't be shy about sharing your questions and experiences on the forum. There are decades and decades of experience here.

T.G.
Thanks, the 2 out of the 4 packs of seeds have been delivered today, and I'm hoping to get down to the garden centre to get trays and soil on Saturday, and plant them then - and hope for the best!
 

tglazie

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
Hope all goes well. Here in South Texas, we just had a night go below freezing (which is cold here; keep the kids home from school cold), so I was a bit worried about all the new growth in my guys' pens. Luckily, I have quite a bit of tree cover on the fringes of the property, plus I covered everything with a tarp and watered it beforehand, so, as a result, everything was fine. The temps are supposed to rise over the next week or two. Hopefully I can get my margies out into it, and once the temps stabilize, I'll introduce the boys for some territorial sparring, get them ready to meet the girls.

T.G.
 

lornajean

New Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
Bedfordshire, UK
I have 2 Marges in Bedfordshire and currently starting the build of their garden which I am hoping to get done next week. With the weather here its hard to know what to do. The weather over the past couple of days has been fab as we only got them on Tuesday but I now find myself looking out for good spots of dandelion growth on my way to work! I have used a 50/50 mix of sand and top soil from information I found but watching them in the garden they have been enjoying really dry areas moving branches out of the way and playing with rocks. I can only guess this is normal!
 

WillTort2

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2011
Messages
1,250
My mistake. I had an old account on my phone which I couldn't remember the details for - timb2911, but created a new account on my iPad I got for Christmas -timjb97. I replied to the comments on my phone, meaning it was a different account. I'll do everything via iPad now to make it easier :)

You could just put an AKA in the signature line of each account.
 

New Posts

Top