Zippy the Hermann's Tortoise

Meag

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Joined
Oct 31, 2017
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Los Angeles, California, USA
Hi everyone!

I'm new to the forum and just wanted to introduce myself and my reptile friend. My name is Meaghan and I have a 4 month old Hermann's tortoise named Zippy. I am a second grade teacher and live in Los Angeles, California where I think we have great weather for this species of tortoise. My second graders named Zippy and we have not yet determined gender. About once a month I plan on bringing Zippy in to help with lessons, as well as, teach the students about reptile husbandry. Below you will find some additional information about Zippy's enclosure and daily care. I am a first time tortoise owner, but have had a box turtle before. I can't wait to begin chatting with you all!

Best,
Meaghan

FullSizeRender (6).jpg

Enclosure Setup

I created an indoor enclosure for him out of a storage tub and plan on building an outdoor enclosure for when he/she gets a bit larger. The substrate is a mixture of organic topsoil, sphagnum moss and repti-bark. I have thermometers on both ends of the enclosure, as well as, a hydrometer in the center. The enclosure gets misted every morning and I do not keep a water dish in it. Instead, I soak him once a day for 15 min (multiple times a day when it's warmer). I have a heat lamp (clip on desk lamp) and a UVB lamp.

Food

The feed consists of lots of dark leafy greens and weeds. Fruit I was planning on keeping to about once or twice a month since I know that this species of tortoise should not have a lot of that. I also treated Zippy to some pumpkin this week for Halloween.

Size (approximate)

Currently Zippy is 1 inch high, 2 inches long and weighs 3 ounces.
 

JoesMum

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Hello and welcome to TFO :)
Hi everyone!

I'm new to the forum and just wanted to introduce myself and my reptile friend. My name is Meaghan and I have a 4 month old Hermann's tortoise named Zippy. I am a second grade teacher and live in Los Angeles, California where I think we have great weather for this species of tortoise. My second graders named Zippyand we have not yet determined gender. About once a month I plan on bringing Zippy in to help with lessons, as well as, teach the students about reptile husbandry.
Tortoises don’t make great classroom pets as they don’t like noise and disturbance. They’re happiest in peace and quiet. You may find Zippy gets stressed out by the travel and a day in the classroom is a day away from his/her safe enclosure and the lamps necessary for good health which are essential for a baby like this.

Gender will not be obvious for a few years yet.

Below you will find some additional information about Zippy's enclosure and daily care. I am a first time tortoise owner, but have had a box turtle before. I can't wait to begin chatting with you all!

Best,
Meaghan

View attachment 221829

Enclosure Setup
Can you post photos of the enclosure and lighting please? This is the best way for us to see what’s going on and recommend improvements.

I recommend you read the TFO care guides and compare them with your setup.

They're written by species experts working hard to correct the outdated information widely available on the internet and from pet stores and, sadly, from some breeders and vets too.

Beginner Mistakes
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

Baby Testudo Care - written about Russians but applies to Hermann’s
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...or-other-herbivorous-tortoise-species.107734/

I created an indoor enclosure for him out of a storage tub and plan on building an outdoor enclosure for when he/she gets a bit larger. The substrate is a mixture of organic topsoil, sphagnum moss and repti-bark. I have thermometers on both ends of the enclosure, as well as, a hydrometer in the center. The enclosure gets misted every morning and I do not keep a water dish in it. Instead, I soak him once a day for 15 min (multiple times a day when it's warmer). I have a heat lamp (clip on desk lamp) and a UVB lamp.
1. That type of thermometer isn’t accurate - a temperature gun like this allows you to take spot temperatures. It must be 95-100F directly under the basking lamp and it shouldn’t drop below 80F day or night for a baby.

2. Your tortoise needs daily soaks of at least 20 minutes in warm water and MUST have a water dish in the enclosure. A terracotta plant saucer sunk into the substrate makes a safe dish that your tort can climb in and out of easily.

3. Your tortoise needs a proper basking lamp not a desk lamp. That is a reflector type bulb that hangs vertically over the substrate. It must be 95F directly underneath. Do not trust clip on lamps, the clips fail and they are a fire risk, hang the amp from a reptile lamp stand.

4. The UVB should not be a compact bulb; they hurt tortoise eyes :( A tube UVB works great or you can use a Mercury Vapour Bulb (MVB) to provide both basking heat and UVB in one bulb. Be aware that the UVB output of these bulbs diminishes to zero long before the bulb blows so they need replacing every 6-9 months.

Refer to the links above to see a good setup.
Food

The feed consists of lots of dark leafy greens and weeds. Fruit I was planning on keeping to about once or twice a month since I know that this species of tortoise should not have a lot of that. I also treated Zippy to some pumpkin this week for Halloween.
Your tort’s diet sounds about right. It should be weedy and leafy greens. Be aware that lettuce contains few nutrients and little fibre so should not be a staple.

Add a very tiny sprinkle of calcium powder no more than 3 days a week. Sprinkle as sparsely as possible as your tort will detect it and refuse to eat otherwise!

Your tortoise cannot digest sugars properly - they cause digestive and kidney problems - so sweet foods including fruit, bell pepper, carrot and tomato should only be fed very sparingly and very occasionally if at all.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Hello, Meaghan, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum to you and Zippy. :)
 

Meag

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles, California, USA
Thanks JoesMum for all the helpful information. I will make the necessary adjustments. It's so difficult to sift through all the information on tortoises of any kind (via internet or professionals). Perhaps it would be best to wait until Zippy is larger and more stabilized before taking him back and forth to class; even if it is just a few times a year.

I will make sure to post photos of the enclosure and lighting. I'll also include measurements.

I have already begun reading the Beginner Mistakes guide which has already been so helpful! I will make sure to check out the other one as well.

Thank you for updating me on the nighttime temperature as I was struggling with that after coming across conflicting information when I was doing my research. That thermometer is on sale on Amazon right now. Sweet!

I have already included a terracotta plant saucer in for water along with a separate one for food.

I just purchased a Zoo Med Reptile Lamp Stand and Mini Deep Dome Lamp Fixture. I currently have a compact bulb for it, but will trade it out for a mercury vapor bulb.

I will make sure to cut down on the calcium supplement. That's good to know that they'll shy away from eating it!

Thanks again for all the advice! Enclosure pictures are coming soon.
 

WithLisa

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Jan 3, 2015
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967
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Austria
Welcome! :) I'm looking forward to new pictures of cute Zippy. :D
Dont worry about nighttime temperature, Hermanns neither want nor need constant heat. Somewhere above 60f is fine.
 

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