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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18363
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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I was given 2 Hermann females of circa 2 years old some 5

Customer Question

Hello I was given 2 Hermann females of circa 2 years old some 5 weeks ago..everything I was told they eat, they dont touch. I give a selection of rose petals, Lavarta leaf & flower, dandelion leaf & sow thistle but they are not eating or pooing. I bathe them every day & yesterday I noticed miniscule MITES in among the litter also crawling over their Vet knows nothing about tortoises. I live in France by the way & a specialiste vet could be many hours drive away.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.


Thank-you for requesting me. I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special ineterst in Reptiles and Reptile rescue.

Where are the tortoises housed in a tank or on a tortoise table?

Type of bedding?

Do you have a UVB light? How old is the bulb, strength, brand and Linear tube or compact coil?

Basking light?

Temps in enclosure?




Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Bonjour....most of your questions I gave you in my rquest! The housing is what is available in France which is a vivarium plastic 'tray' 42" x 20" x 6" deep.The bedding was a dustfree compressed paper in pellet form & now compressed pellet wood which is dustfree & sterilized. Ultra violet bulb 250Watts a couple of months old. Temperature interior is 23° now. Suppléments I told you earlier. Humidity??? Temp in run to be measured later. These tortoises came from an English couple who have had them since tiny & I have done nothing different since they have been with me except to offer a wider variety of food.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry..had Internet conex issues & 2nd reply did not send...cont;- Suppléments are...TETRA ReptoMin -Baby, a complete food + ratio calcium/phosphore for the bones & the shell, BioActive for immune defense....the contents are printed far too small for me to read. Temperature is now 26° & they are far more active since I scrubbed out the tray & the bedding medium change.
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.


you have some issues with husbandry. The bedding should be organic soil and play sand mixture and 6-8" where the tortoise can dig. This is very important. The next issue is hoousing. The should never be kept in a fish tank. A large rubber made bin or a tortoise table is much better. This is a tortoise table that should a good set up: The tank restricts the air flow which can cause respiratory issues. so it is much better to use the tortoise table.

The lighting is the next issue. The light you described does not sound like a UVB light. The UVB lights give off te Artificial sunlight that works with calcium to metabolize the ccalcium in the body into Vitamin D3 and prevent Metabolic Bone Disease. I suggest using a Reptisun 10.0 linear tube. If the lighting is not correct as well as the husbandry, the tortoises will loose appetite and and become lethargic. The temps should be : Daytime Air Temperature: 70-90°

Nighttime Air Temperature: 60-65° Basking Temperature: 90-95° and humidity Humidity: 30-50%.

The Calcium should be plain calcium no D3 or Phosphrus. This is very important. You can add cuttle bones for birds and scatter them in the enclosure to offer a natural calcium. For diet natural weeds like dandelion is great, but if you feed store veggies you can use endive, escarole, shredded carrot, kale, opuntia, occasional romaine, and occasional pumpkin.

As far as the Mites, you need to clean the enclosure and dispose of the bedding. Mites can kill a tortoise. I suggest that you give them a soak in a Diluted Betadine solution( Provodine Iodine) and water. While in there, use a soft tooth brush and clean shell scales and body. you may have to repeat this a few times.

I think if you clear the mites and fix the habitat as explained, they should respond and start eating.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There are NOT in a fish tank. What you say may be good for people living in big towns in USA but does not exist in rural France. You obviously cannot read...I replied that I cleaned out the tray, scrubbed with Hibiscrub & refilled with new clean medium.
Thanks goodbye....I would like my 18 €uros refunded please.
Customer: replied 2 years ago. tortoises are NOT in a fish tank but a properly built VIVARIUM.
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.

I did read, but misunderstood what you meant by a tray. I will have your money refund.