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Old 28-08-2018, 01:50 PM   #1
Charles S
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Question Solutions to dust and housing ideas

Hi all been a while since ive posted on here,

So the weather has started to take a turn for the worse in the UK and I think its getting about time to bring the shelled one indoors, only issue is that the shed I was keeping her table in (Its fully insulated and heated) has been converted into my office for my new business. I know from having used it as a study room in the past that the dust from the topsoil substrate I am using is totally unbearable, add in my mild asthma and you have a picture of me trying to revise whilst wearing a dust mask! Its really a major issue, I need the space to work as an office but I dont really have anywhere else to house the tort. I have considered placing a modular perspex cover over here table, but I am worried of the changes in humidity this could cause, as we all know open top is best, but considering how large the table is and that id build up the sides to increase the air volume even more....it may be ok? What are your thoughts on it?

Im also thinking of adding a coldframe to her outdoor enclosure to try and extend the amount of time she can spend outdoors, maybe even putting a basking light and a tube heater in there, what temp do you think shed be ok to stay out in with that kind of setup?

The only other option I have is the garage, sadly its completely uninsulated and freezing in the winter, the main issue is that is has 0 windows so shed be completely void of any natural light, which is an idea I dont like, at least in the shed shes directly under a window.

Any advice/ideas would be great, im really unsure what to do one this issue...also if anyone has an alternative (but equally suitable) substrate to 100% topsoil im all ears, ive heard mixed opinions on coco coir, if anyone has experience with using it and the amount of dust it produces thatd be great to hear.

Thanks all, looking forward to your replies!
Charles
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:37 PM   #2
sandy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles S View Post
Hi all been a while since ive posted on here,

So the weather has started to take a turn for the worse in the UK and I think its getting about time to bring the shelled one indoors, only issue is that the shed I was keeping her table in (Its fully insulated and heated) has been converted into my office for my new business. I know from having used it as a study room in the past that the dust from the topsoil substrate I am using is totally unbearable, add in my mild asthma and you have a picture of me trying to revise whilst wearing a dust mask! Its really a major issue, I need the space to work as an office but I dont really have anywhere else to house the tort. I have considered placing a modular perspex cover over here table, but I am worried of the changes in humidity this could cause, as we all know open top is best, but considering how large the table is and that id build up the sides to increase the air volume even more....it may be ok? What are your thoughts on it?

Im also thinking of adding a coldframe to her outdoor enclosure to try and extend the amount of time she can spend outdoors, maybe even putting a basking light and a tube heater in there, what temp do you think shed be ok to stay out in with that kind of setup?

The only other option I have is the garage, sadly its completely uninsulated and freezing in the winter, the main issue is that is has 0 windows so shed be completely void of any natural light, which is an idea I dont like, at least in the shed shes directly under a window.

Any advice/ideas would be great, im really unsure what to do one this issue...also if anyone has an alternative (but equally suitable) substrate to 100% topsoil im all ears, ive heard mixed opinions on coco coir, if anyone has experience with using it and the amount of dust it produces thatd be great to hear.

Thanks all, looking forward to your replies!
Charles
Misting the soil lightly can help keep the dust down:0)
Adding a coldframe even unheated can help extend the time your tortoise is outside. I have used them well over the last 20 odd years:0)
Heated will extend even longer:0)
I dont know what species you keep, but hibernation will help sort some of the problems out, as they can be down three months:0)
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:42 PM   #3
Charles S
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Thanks for the reply Sandy,

I have been misting the soil in the past, although I can only do that in the morning and afternoon, I think the issue is that I use an electric heater in the shed and the soil dries out in around 15 mins, even quicker under the heat lamp.

She's a Hermann, I've never hibernated her before and honestly haven't considered it, it's a tad scary, she's around 8 years old, so she's used to staying awake for the whole year I presume, would you suggest hibernating her? Or is it a bit late in the day to start?

Thanks
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Old 28-08-2018, 05:25 PM   #4
sandy
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Thanks for the reply Sandy,

I have been misting the soil in the past, although I can only do that in the morning and afternoon, I think the issue is that I use an electric heater in the shed and the soil dries out in around 15 mins, even quicker under the heat lamp.

She's a Hermann, I've never hibernated her before and honestly haven't considered it, it's a tad scary, she's around 8 years old, so she's used to staying awake for the whole year I presume, would you suggest hibernating her? Or is it a bit late in the day to start?

Thanks
Do you actually need the heater as well as the heat lamp?
An insulated shed will hold quite a lot of heat:0)
Keeping a record of the heat in the shed might well help:0)
Hibernation sounds like the way to go, its only scary if you dont follow the correct instructions. I have hibernated my tortoises for over 36yrs and never lost one yet:0)
Its never to late to hibernate a tortoise. You just have to follow the weather:0) Usually the end of September or beginning of October is when to start. It does depend on the weather and where you live.
My tortoises live outside in the greenhouse all year round. They also bury themselves down in the GH soil to hibernate:0) I do live in the SE which helps.
My tortoises have already started to slow down, I have now put the heat on for just the morning so they warm up and get around. And helps digest the food in their systems. I now slow down on their feeding. They come and go as they please up until we get frosts. Then I shut them in the GH, and gradually wind them down for hibernation.
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Old 31-08-2018, 08:54 PM   #5
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Charles, hibernating is so much easier than keeping them up also. Rule of thumb is pack them away first week of November if weather follows a natural pattern ie getting colder and tortoise is well hydrated and slowing, all food gone from system, good weight no signs of illness - if worried just let them sleep for 7 - 8 weeks instead of the winter. When they are outdoors this is easier because they will know themselves. My Horsfields have stopped eating this week...then they will stop coming out and then they burrow and stop moving and that's it ! they hibernate naturally but I wont see my male spur now until March. He always goes down end of August, but I leave him til November to pack him away. If you keep him up then perhaps consider newspaper. I know this is not ideal for a number of reasons but it isn't dangerous and for such a period won't harm the tortoise if the husbandry is good. Coco coir is just as dusty as soil, much less so but I had an attack once when I was changing it. It also settles everywhere but I still use it carefully and mist daily....watch out for any types of spores though growing in soil and dust - most colds , viruses , infections can come from building works etc, which is why hospitals always close all their windows with any type of brick /soil/ concrete dust....CB
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