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Thread: Hermann's Tortoise Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Edmonton
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    37

    Default Hermann's Tortoise Questions

    Alright so I've been preparing an enclosure since the spring show for a Hermann's Tortoise (I hate being under prepared). I'm pretty much finished the entire project but I'm left with two questions that I hope you can guys can help with.

    1) Where are some good places to purchase some Hermann eats? Most things I've read suggest staying away from grocery store greens and to go with organic if at all possible. I have no issue with going out of my way to find the right food I just have no idea where that would be in Edmonton.

    2) I've been having some issues with basking bulbs lately (although I think I've narrowed the problem down) with my bearded dragon and I started thinking. Would there really be any difference to having a MVB (like the Zoo Med PowerSun) or a ceramic heater, incandescent bulb and florescent UVB? I ask because I like the MVB bulbs and all what they provide in a single bulb but the price and how often they've broken on me is a real pain compared to ceramic heaters.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Edmonton
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    10,613

    Default Re: Hermann's Tortoise Questions

    For tortoise lights I have gone both ways. I do like my Russian's set up that has 4, 4' long UVB bulbs flooding the entire cage. I have a basking spot with heat bulb (sometimes halogen, incandescent, or MVB). No need for a ceramic heater, nights are okay to be cool; but use a thermometer to assess your individual needs.

    For greens... no need to waste money on organic labels unless that's what you desire. I rely on local grocery stores for the basics.. these guy often need impromptu shopping trips. You can easily get 8 ingredients for each salad at most any Walmart or Sobeys. Use other shops for additional variety. I loved the Brazilian-mart on 118ve and ~66street for this. They also had large bulk bags for my herd.

    Also don't discount the awesome variety found in outdoor weeds and what you can grow in your garden. Use seasonality to your advantage...wild tortoises certainly do!
    Ian Kanda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Hermann's Tortoise Questions

    Awesome appreciate the great info and quick response.

    Would you happen to have any suggestions for a good 8 ingredients as a staple? or do you find yourself mixing it up on a daily basis.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Hermann's Tortoise Questions

    I mix it up as much as I can, but realize staple ingredients are rather a necessity when time, money or supply is short. As I type this, keep in mind that they need to be 8 varied ingredients... 8 kinds of lettuce doesn't work. 8 goitrogenic items don't work (cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli etc); because they all have the same deficiencies. The idea of variety is to get the benefits of all the items, but find balance in the for the imbalances. An example of this is spinach. The internet hates spinach. I love it! It has a fantastic amount of nutrients but it has a lot of oxalic acid which binds calcium. Therefore it is a net negative in calcium. Now add another ingredient, the also fabulously nutritious parsley, which has it's own flaws but happens to be a net positive for calcium, and you can see that they work to balance each other out (you'll also be supplementing calcium because it's so darn important!).

    For common, easy to get veggies I start with the spring green mix. This is 5 or so lettuces, so some variety. I count this as one ingredient, (2-3 if I'm stretching it during a lean week). Red leaf, green leaf, romaine, arugula, etc. All great leaves to feed.
    Parsley and cilantro. The same species, so I grab a handful of whichever is either freshest looking or cheapest.
    Carrot and beets. The green tops of these plants are awesome fodder, and you can eat the vegetable. You can also shred and offer the vegetable as a treat or salad topper for additional nutrition. Hard veggies like these, sweet potato, broccoli stem etc. can be offered whole when your tort is an adult. It's great for keeping them occupied and the beak trim.
    Chards.. swiss and/or red chard. Another set of items easy to access and great for variety.
    Kale; green, but also try the flowering to see if your critter likes it.
    Broccoli; cut up and offer the tops, leaves and smaller stems.

    So now you have a nice green, predominately leafy salad. This is the go-to diet for Testudo and Agrionemys species(not to mention beardies, iguanas etc. Don't stop here. Dice and slice up some bell peppers, add a few peas, tidbits of veggies in the "other" section. Green beans are nice diced topper. Squash....
    The only things I avoid are items known to be toxic to other animals because that's where I stop the experiment. No hot peppers, onions, garlic or radishes.

    In the spring, plant all of the above if you have room, but I recommend mustard greens and nasturtium (the flowers are a delicacy for all my insectivores and omnivores but the whole plant can be eaten). Also keep the back corner pesticide free and dandelion thick. The entire plant (the root is often ignored) is both highly nutritious and palatable.
    Ian Kanda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
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    Default Re: Hermann's Tortoise Questions

    That's a great write up thank you for taking the time to write it. I suppose most of what you said is something I've already been dealing with for our beardie but I've always hated being under prepared so this is extremely helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Edmonton
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    Default Re: Hermann's Tortoise Questions

    If you already have a beardie, you're well prepared for a herman's Just remember that slow growth is good growth, and hydration is paramount, esp. in hatchlings. Bathe daily if possible.
    Ian Kanda

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