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Old 22-04-2009, 02:04 AM   #1
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Default Hingeback Advise


I have owned two Home's Hine-Back Tortoise since July 08 they where purchased from a store near I was sold at the time the bark, log hide, substrate uvb 5.0 stip and a heat lamp.

I replaced heat lamp with a ceramic bulb, the wet and stir substrate was altered to John Innes mixture of 1+2 they have a couple of fake plants in there for realism and I am using wood bark on the floor.

Food wise they get snails weekly, on a daily basis they get mushroom, green and red pepper, orange, apples, cucumber, melon, strawberry, grapes and lettuce. some other fruit and veg but all what is listed and repeated on caresheets found online and in the tortoise trust book.

Now since December time when we got all that snow in England my tortoise have an issue with wheezing (which isnt daily or constant) I am getting temperatures of 79-84oF and humidity lowest 60-80 (though I have bought a fogger machine to introduce mist on a constant basis instead of 3 times a day squirt)

I have taken to the the local vets and they are at loss last time they got a Vitamin jab and that was all but it seems not have cured it fully - and in the guidelines of the vet I have replaced the uvb bulb which is due to be replaced in 4months time in accordance to the 6month rule.

Any help would be great as to find a cure for the wheezing - the closet I can see is RNS however, they are not lethargic in fact inqusitive and very much hate it when they get their home cleaned out like today, they have no swelling of the eyes or any type of goo near their eyes, they do not blow bubble from nos when breathing and their mouth is very healthy too nice a pink inside with no sores.

If anyone has experienced anything like this in their Home's Hingebacks id be happy and grateful to hear what you did.

Bit more information:

Both shells are intact no damage from colliding together, these two are very careful in moving and only bump into each other when they are settling down in the log for the night

They share a food dish however there are two water dishes one is a converted tuppa wear dish with stones inside which are too big to eat to make a sort of ladder to get out the other dish is a regular reptile water dish large enough to bath in so both can bathe whenever they need.

I have a meshing top so I was advised to put a 50% cover of clingfilm over a bit of it to hold moisture in and if that failed to use some polystyrene.

They get water cress planted in their soil every week or so

I have also added an image below of the vivarium layout

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Old 03-06-2009, 09:32 PM   #2
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As far as i know hingebacks require humidity around 80% (which you are providing)
They are omnivores which im sure you know what it means, (which you provide) but maybe if you are just feeding snails, then you could try worms as they like those, put live snails and live worms around the place it gets them exploring. But your feeding all seems ok.
Your keeping them on topsoil by the looks of it which looks fine, it retains humidity but if the soil becomes dry it CAN become dusty which is the only thing i can possibly think of causing them wheezing. But it looks as if yours is moist and with the misting 3 times a day im sure its fine. My only other advice i could possibly think of is try misting just once or twice a day and see if the wheezing goes, or up the humidity and mist it 4 or 5 times a day along with the mister you're buying just a slight change in humidity could possibly stop the wheezing. If that fails im lost, but you might aswel give it a try.
Sorry for the long winded reply but i hope it helped, also hingebacks are very hard to keep, so aslong as they're alive and happy your doing a greta job already!

Keep it up and read up as much as you can..

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Old 04-06-2009, 08:35 AM   #3
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Here is a link to a TT care sheet.

Peter has some Hingebacks and I am sure he will be more than happy to share his experiences with you.
The tank they are in looks quite small, I know a lot of new keepers have them in open top tables that are well planted with lots of plants and places to hide. This allows much better ventilation than a high sided glass tank.

Many hingebacks sold in pet stores are wild caught and can be loaded with worms and parasites. Has your vet checked for these?
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:51 PM   #4
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Everything sounds good to me except for your temperatures. They don't thermoregulate, so the enclosure needs to be 80 to 86F during the day and 70 to 75F at night.

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Old 03-07-2009, 11:36 PM   #5
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hi darkfletcher,
i am keeping 1 home's hingeback as is an adult male.
i never put any basking light or UVb light for my hingeback,as he is really hates light.
at first i turn on the basking light,or put it under sunlight,he will start clawing to come out from the enclosure
so everyweek i will put him for sunlight for like 1-2 it ok for this species?
how often u give them supplement?can u show us ur entire enclosure?it sounds interesting to me .
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:23 AM   #6
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I dont own any hindgebacks, but i do own forest species. The best way to bump up the humidity is to add 4-5 inches of soil and on top of that i put moss. The you get water and mix it into the substrate and make sure it gets moist all the way through the substrate all 5-6 inches. This way you always have moisture and the humidity will easily be 80-90 percent. The top will dry out which it almost always will do you can either spray it or turn the soil over. This by far will be the easiest way of keeping humiidty up higher. Like danny said, i would bump up the temps. to 80-85F and at night 70s. Best way for this is using a ceramic heater which i beleive you said you have, so that should be an easy fix.

The food sounds good to me, like above said you can try mixing up the bugs more. I would guess the humidity and heat is the bigger issue when it comes to breathing problems. I hope he gets better, let us know how hes doing.

did you say you had two? IF you do then i would add more hides, hides are forest species best friends.
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:42 AM   #7
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Have you treated them for worms are protozoa? You should do this as a precaution whether these parasites are found or not.
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