Am I caring for my tortoise right?

saleena.lewis

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I have been so stressed that I have not been giving my tortoise proper care. My tortoise is a 1 year old redfoot tortoise named phoenix. He is overall very healthy but I just want to give him the best life possible. Right now he is in a 3 by 2 foot tortoise table. Is that big enough for now? He is probably about 4 inches long. Right now he has an outdoor enclosure that is probably about 5 feet by 3 feet. He goes outside about every day/every other day for an hour and he gets soaked about 3 times a week? Is this not enough times? In his indoor enclosure he has a heat lamp and a uvb light then another uvb strip light. Is this enough? I am always willing to spend however much is needed to properly care for him. I have had him for about 3 months and he has gained 47 grams. Is that a normal growth rate for a yearling redfoot tortoise? For a substrate I have cypress mulch in both the indoor and outdoor enclosure. In his indoor enclosure he also has a little less than half of his enclosure filled with a layer of timothy hay that he occasionally nibbles on but he really loves to burrow in it at night to sleep. I live in massachusetts so it isn't super humid where i am located so he has a fogger/humidifier that is on 30 minutes then off an hour for 12 hours a day. His humidity usually stays at about 75% every day then drops at night. For his diet he normally has collard greens, romaine lettuce (occasionally), red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, cactus pads, hibiscus, boiled egg about once a month, occasional strawberries or dragon fruit, kale, dandelion greens, and dandelions. He has has some mazuri tortoise diet every other day. I soak the mazuri in water for a minute so it's easier for him to eat. In his indoor cage he has a couple real plants such as some ferns, a tiny hibiscus and aloe vera.He doesn't really eat the plants in his cage though. Am I doing anything wrong or does anyone have some suggestions? Thank you so much!

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Tom

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Constructive criticism:

1. You will not be able to maintain the correct conditions in an open table. You need a large closed chamber.
2. 3x2' is too small for a 4 inch tortoise. You need something much larger, and this is going to be a recurring theme for you with a tropical tortoise in a frozen climate.
3. No hay. This is not a grass eating species, and it will mold with dampness.
4. You should not need a fogger or humidifier in the correct type of enclosure. I don't like them breaking wet air. Water vapor form a fogger is different than humid air.
5. You only need one UV source. Because you get him outside so often, you don't need any UV source indoors. At least not until the weather turns cold.
6. Diet is good, but it would be better with more "natural" foods and less grocery store lettuce.
 

saleena.lewis

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Location (City and/or State)
Massachusetts
Constructive criticism:

1. You will not be able to maintain the correct conditions in an open table. You need a large closed chamber.
2. 3x2' is too small for a 4 inch tortoise. You need something much larger, and this is going to be a recurring theme for you with a tropical tortoise in a frozen climate.
3. No hay. This is not a grass eating species, and it will mold with dampness.
4. You should not need a fogger or humidifier in the correct type of enclosure. I don't like them breaking wet air. Water vapor form a fogger is different than humid air.
5. You only need one UV source. Because you get him outside so often, you don't need any UV source indoors. At least not until the weather turns cold.
6. Diet is good, but it would be better with more "natural" foods and less grocery store lettuce.
Thank you soooo much! I will get rid of the hay, the reason why I bought the hay is because someone on the forum said that is essential for the torts, but apparently not haha. I'll look into closed chambers and see if I can maintain the humidity that way. Also for a plan B, would custom cut plexiglass on top of the mesh work ok for now?
 

Toddrickfl1

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Thank you soooo much! I will get rid of the hay, the reason why I bought the hay is because someone on the forum said that is essential for the torts, but apparently not haha. I'll look into closed chambers and see if I can maintain the humidity that way. Also for a plan B, would custom cut plexiglass on top of the mesh work ok for now?
Yes but due to Covid your going to have a hard time finding any plexiglass.
 

Tom

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Thank you soooo much! I will get rid of the hay, the reason why I bought the hay is because someone on the forum said that is essential for the torts, but apparently not haha. I'll look into closed chambers and see if I can maintain the humidity that way. Also for a plan B, would custom cut plexiglass on top of the mesh work ok for now?
Essential? No. Not for any tortoise in any circumstance. Grass hay is an excellent way to feed large grass eating species when they are adults. Like sulcatas, SA leopards, and Galapagos tortoises. Hay is not useful for babies of even these species. There is no species for which I would recommend putting grass hay into an indoor enclosure. On second thought, I'm not thinking about how other people house their tortoises in parts of the world that freeze over in winter. I suppose a large sulcata in a big heated shed or basement for the winter would be an exception to my statement.

Blended up, finely chopped, and rehydrated grass hay mixed in with grocery store greens is a good way to add fiber and variety to a diet of mostly grocery store greens. I use horse hay pellets and also ZooMed pellets for this purpose occasionally.
 

Yvonne G

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Thank you soooo much! I will get rid of the hay, the reason why I bought the hay is because someone on the forum said that is essential for the torts, but apparently not haha.
You've got to pay attention to what species tortoise they're referring to. Species like desert tortoise and sulcata do eat hay.
 

LisaLew

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Thank you soooo much! I will get rid of the hay, the reason why I bought the hay is because someone on the forum said that is essential for the torts, but apparently not haha. I'll look into closed chambers and see if I can maintain the humidity that way. Also for a plan B, would custom cut plexiglass on top of the mesh work ok for now?
Yes, it’s hard to find plexiglass right now. Surprisingly, I found Lexan at Lowe’s here in Texas last week. It’s a clear, polycarbonate and I used it on our evolving indoor enclosure. I just checked and see it on Amazon. You’d probably need more than one sheet and cut it to fit. Hope that helps.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Yes, it’s hard to find plexiglass right now. Surprisingly, I found Lexan at Lowe’s here in Texas last week. It’s a clear, polycarbonate and I used it on our evolving indoor enclosure. I just checked and see it on Amazon. You’d probably need more than one sheet and cut it to fit. Hope that helps.
Keep in mind that your UVB light will not broadcast through glass or plexi.
However, if your little one gets some outdoors sunlight a few days a week, that should suffice.
Get that humidity up to over 70%.
Keep the temperature around 84.
That would be ideal.
 

LisaLew

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Keep in mind that your UVB light will not broadcast through glass or plexi.
However, if your little one gets some outdoors sunlight a few days a week, that should suffice.
Get that humidity up to over 70%.
Keep the temperature around 84.
That would be ideal.
Good point, I’m new at all this and didn’t think to mention that!!

I have a space cut out for my light and still able to maintain good temps and humidity. Fallon is outdoors daily but we will have some days here in the winter where it gets too cool. My son likes being able to view her from above, it works really well for us. Let us know how things go with your changes!
 

Toddrickfl1

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Good point, I’m new at all this and didn’t think to mention that!!

I have a space cut out for my light and still able to maintain good temps and humidity. Fallon is outdoors daily but we will have some days here in the winter where it gets too cool. My son likes being able to view her from above, it works really well for us. Let us know how things go with your changes!
If it's a Redfoot that's plenty of outside time. You can do away with the uvb all together if you wanted. My torts go the entire winter 3+ months without it.
 
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