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Desert Tortoise substrate

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by Sam, Jun 29, 2009.

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  1. Sam

    Sam New Member

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    Hello tortoise lovers of the world, I have two new hatchling desert tortoise and need a little help. I thought I was doing o.k but seems I might have some trouble. I have one with an eye problem I thought it was just hurt but now looks like the other tortoise might be shuting an eye to. I changed substrates yesterday to a half sand and half soil mix. I have added an extra heat lamp too. My question is the substrate I used before the change was just grass,bermuda style and I might have cause a lack of humidity. Should I change back or wait for proper health in both torts. AND YES I HAVE PERMITS they are about 10 months old

    Thanks
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    Your babies eyes are sticking shut because they need to be soaked more often, and they need a substrate that you can moisten. I know, I know...they come from the desert, however, they live most of the day down deep in their burrow where they poop and pee, and where the dirt maintains a bit of natural moisture.

    Its a personal choice, but I like to use either orchid bark or cypress mulch for the babies. You can wet it, then the lights dry out the top layer, but it stays a little moist underneath.

    Babies should be soaked at least 3 times a week, and even once a day is ok. Put them in a little bowl of water that comes up to the middle of their shell on the side. That way they don't have to struggle to keep their head out of the water. Leave them in there for about 15 minutes.

    And...

    [​IMG]

    to the forum!!

    Yvonne
  3. Crazy1

    Crazy1 New Member

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    I have taken Yvonnes stand on Cypress mulch for my babies. I like the way it stays slightly damp under the top layer and does not stick to their eyes or skin as the soil and sand or Cocofiber and sand mixture does. It is less dusty also.
    Remember when we have them under heat lamps and UVB bulbs they are on a slow bake cycle. You need to make sure they are hydrated well. I would soak the at least 3 times a week as Yvonne has stated but watch them and see if they stick their heads under the water and drink a little. If not you could end up with a dehydrated hatchling.
  4. Sam

    Sam New Member

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    I'll start soaking right away. I use cypress mulch for my redfoots good call I'll switch asap,,how about food? Mazuri and as many greens and flowers for now, I've look all over the internet and bought just about everything on the market, but only as add ons the sad part is money can never duplicate freedom LOL!! thanks again
  5. Crazy1

    Crazy1 New Member

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    Sam try looking here http://tortoiseforum.org/thread-5823.html for diet suggestions. If they are only 10 months spring mix will work with escrole and a few others added. They don't seem much interested in grass and hay until older.
  6. tortoisenerd

    tortoisenerd New Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum! Congrats on the new additions. I hope the new substrate and hydration helps them out quickly. Something like this when corrected early can go away very quickly. As much variety as you can get them the better. Greens, weeds, plants, flowers, Mazuri, etc. Do you need help with feeding lists? Do you have a specific question? What exactly are you buying on the internet and the market for them? Maybe if you list what you already feed we can comment whether that is enough variety or have suggestions on what to add into the diet. You can grow many tort yummies in your own backyard or even in pots in the kitchen. Best wishes.
  7. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Active Member

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    I feed my desert babies Spring mix and add endive and kale and other dark leafy greens. Then I collect weeds and leafs and blossoms to the Spring Mix and I cut it all up into small pieces made for tiny mouths...
    Desert babies are fragile and need careful watching, I agree with soaking them 3 times a week or more...
  8. Isa

    Isa New Member

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    Welcome to the forum :)
  9. Gulf Coast

    Gulf Coast New Member

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