Am I Murdering my Tortoise

MemeTheory

New Member
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego
Reddit (i.e. one or two strangers on the internet) have decided that they need to tell me, in a million different ways, that I am an animal abuser.... Its been... something. So, people of Tortoise Forum; am I abusing Sir Digby Chicken Ceaser?

Enclosure info - its 4'x4' until we move to a more yard accessible area in the next year or so. I used a raised garden planter, bonded to 4'x4' MDF board, and pond liner to start. The Cork I got from an etsy shop that sells corkwood panels (there is 4; they're super nice) and some Fur tree inserts to fill in some gaps. His cave is fully accessible (he pushed that moss in front of it) and is supplanted with some moss. (I used red moss several months ago... DON'T!!! Ever see a red tortoise? Its shocking to say the least.)

Substrate - I mixed a natural substrate with Coco Coir, Pumice, Charcoal (for the plants), Orchid Bark, and Peat Moss. It is also inhabited by about 100 worms and 10 rolly pollys to help manage the plant life. (The rolly-pollys are colored like cows... they are ADORABLE).

Environment - it grades from 70° - 80° depending on location, from the front right to back left. There is a basking rock by the pingpong ball (covered with dirt at the second, so not doing a great job as a basking rock) with a ceramic heater tethered to a 95° regulator (i'm considering upping that to 105 or so, but he doesn't seem to be jonesing for heat). I'm using a reptile humidifier and have a 80% meter to limit the humidity. It usually doesn't hit the limit during the day, but keeps it nice consistent at night. He generally conks out in or on top of his cave (there is a sneaky heat pad just to the right of his face up top). The portion cut off in this photo has his water bowl (shallow, he "could" take a dip, but I haven't seen him do so - I bathe him every few days so he may not feel the need). And his Mazuri - though he eats prefers the flower to the mazuri.

Plants - Vary, but right now some Orange marigold, destroyed Purple Violet, and a Kale plant centerpiece. The left grass is Mondo grass I picked up from Armstrong's, but the grass on the right is from seedling drought resistant grass. Its really there to just hold stuff together, but he finds it tasty. That "tree" up front is a Desert Rose, and there is a baby palm in the back which is being used as support more than foliage.

Heat - There are two Mercury Vapor lights on a 14 hour timer for day / night. I have several thermometers around, and if it peaks above 90° I'll turn one off. A ceramic heat bulb and 5 heating pads hidden against the walls keep everything constant. Its actually been increibly easy to maintain temp inside the Kingdom, so that's been nice.

So? Is this a terrible enclosure, because some strangers on the internet really want me to feel bad about it. 😂Most of the criciticsm is the firm belief that humidity willmurderr poor Sir Digby.... I think they're being a "bit" dramatic.

1601480080828.png
 

Blackdog1714

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Richmond, VA
Murderer no way maybe just a little over decorating 😂 I have attached a link to our Leopard care. BTW is you leopard about 2 years old, mine is a he is definitely a BOY! Your looks like a PB and those are notorious for some mild pyramiding despite all heroic efforts! Welome!
 

AgataP

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Seattle, WA
That looks like one almost dead tortoise 🤣😂
Get off Reddit - that place brings bullies like milkshake brings all the boys - sorry being goofy.

You know that enclosure needs to be bigger and it will be when you move.

Hmmmm I think I am gonna go catch me some Rollie’s too.
They are not bothering your tortoise?

Welcome to the forum.
 

MemeTheory

New Member
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego

MemeTheory

New Member
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego
I have attached a link to our Leopard care

Lol; the Leopard Care sheet was one of the arguing points one of the idiots was making. "ITS ONLY FOR HATCHLINGS?!?!?!?"
 

Maro2Bear

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5 Year Member
Joined
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Messages
12,423
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
We're working with what we got - I wasn't going to get a tort until I had a yard, but this guy was NOT thriving in the pet store I found him in earlier this year, so I decided to make it work with what we got. I've been growing the enclosures with him - this is #3.

Great!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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54,491
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Reddit (i.e. one or two strangers on the internet) have decided that they need to tell me, in a million different ways, that I am an animal abuser.... Its been... something. So, people of Tortoise Forum; am I abusing Sir Digby Chicken Ceaser?

Enclosure info - its 4'x4' until we move to a more yard accessible area in the next year or so. I used a raised garden planter, bonded to 4'x4' MDF board, and pond liner to start. The Cork I got from an etsy shop that sells corkwood panels (there is 4; they're super nice) and some Fur tree inserts to fill in some gaps. His cave is fully accessible (he pushed that moss in front of it) and is supplanted with some moss. (I used red moss several months ago... DON'T!!! Ever see a red tortoise? Its shocking to say the least.)

Substrate - I mixed a natural substrate with Coco Coir, Pumice, Charcoal (for the plants), Orchid Bark, and Peat Moss. It is also inhabited by about 100 worms and 10 rolly pollys to help manage the plant life. (The rolly-pollys are colored like cows... they are ADORABLE).

Environment - it grades from 70° - 80° depending on location, from the front right to back left. There is a basking rock by the pingpong ball (covered with dirt at the second, so not doing a great job as a basking rock) with a ceramic heater tethered to a 95° regulator (i'm considering upping that to 105 or so, but he doesn't seem to be jonesing for heat). I'm using a reptile humidifier and have a 80% meter to limit the humidity. It usually doesn't hit the limit during the day, but keeps it nice consistent at night. He generally conks out in or on top of his cave (there is a sneaky heat pad just to the right of his face up top). The portion cut off in this photo has his water bowl (shallow, he "could" take a dip, but I haven't seen him do so - I bathe him every few days so he may not feel the need). And his Mazuri - though he eats prefers the flower to the mazuri.

Plants - Vary, but right now some Orange marigold, destroyed Purple Violet, and a Kale plant centerpiece. The left grass is Mondo grass I picked up from Armstrong's, but the grass on the right is from seedling drought resistant grass. Its really there to just hold stuff together, but he finds it tasty. That "tree" up front is a Desert Rose, and there is a baby palm in the back which is being used as support more than foliage.

Heat - There are two Mercury Vapor lights on a 14 hour timer for day / night. I have several thermometers around, and if it peaks above 90° I'll turn one off. A ceramic heat bulb and 5 heating pads hidden against the walls keep everything constant. Its actually been increibly easy to maintain temp inside the Kingdom, so that's been nice.

So? Is this a terrible enclosure, because some strangers on the internet really want me to feel bad about it. 😂Most of the criciticsm is the firm belief that humidity willmurderr poor Sir Digby.... I think they're being a "bit" dramatic.
I would do some things differently, and recommend you make some changes, but I wouldn't call this abuse.

No moss. They eat it.
No humidifier. Use a closed chamber and you won't need one. I don't like them breathing water vapor.
No MVBs. They cause pyramiding and have lots of issues.
I wouldn't use all that stuff for substrate. Just use plain, fine grade orchid bark.
No hot rocks. Dangerous.
70 degrees is too cool with humidity. Keep it 80 or higher.
I'd run the lights for no more that 12-13 hours for a tropical species like a leopard.

The care sheet works for any age or size leopard, but I'd expect a larger tortoise to spend most days outside during fair weather.
 

MemeTheory

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Joined
May 2, 2020
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11
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego
Thanks for the tip's, Tom. I'll go refresh my lighting research - I could swear MVB's were the most recommended, but I can see what they are saying. No Moss!!! He will be crushed!!! (but way less red). I'm blaming you when he asks where it went.

The substrate is designed, specifically, so I can keep both Digby AND the plants as naturally happy as possible. I'm going more for "outside dirt" than inside substrate - I am in fierce agreement that Tort's belong outside, and have been trying my best to mimic that natural dirt / plant environment. As for temp; he rarely goes down to the 70° corner, and even that spot it stays at a constant 80°+ when both lights are going. I "HAVE" been getting paranoid about it getting to hot when it hits 90 or so - I'll stop that paranoia and let him be lizard hot.

As for humidifier and closed chamber - closing him up would be terribly difficult for now, and he gets a bit moody if I don't have the humidifier set up, but as I've said, we're just flying by wire in an apartment until I get out of San Diego and its intense housing prices, and actually get a yard (this is months away, not years). But it never gets too "moist" with the regulator hooked up. I've been monitoring the substrate moisture, and have had to make adjustments to avoid said permanent moisture, and I think I have it at a good equilibrium. I am being extra mindful of his breathing patterns and habits to catch any possible infection early, though, despite my adamance on keeping it.

Oh, and I'll let the hot rock just stay buried, instead of being a heatrock.

Finally - THANK YOU FOR THE CARE SHEETS! (and posts in general) This past year I've been trying to assimilate your knowledge as much as possible - its been invaluable.
 

Patrick McMullen

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Clermont
No MVBs. They cause pyramiding and have lots of issues.

Just to clarify. Taken out of context this could be misunderstood. Does this mean that MVB's result in dry conditions, and those dry conditions cause pyramiding?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Just to clarify. Taken out of context this could be misunderstood. Does this mean that MVB's result in dry conditions, and those dry conditions cause pyramiding?
No. The MVBs themselves, more specifically the rays they produce, are extremely desiccating to the newly forming carapace tissue between the scutes. These bulbs dry out the new tissue prematurely and literally cause pyramiding on a growing tortoise. They will do this even in a closed chamber with 90+% humidity.

If the tortoise is already grown, like a full size adult Russian for example, then pyramiding won't happen, but you still have the problem of these bulbs running too hot for a closed chamber, burning out prematurely, premature cessation of UV production, they are delicate and easily broken, and they can be picky about which lighting hood you use them in. They are also expensive.

Not a good option any way you look at it really.
 

Chefdenoel10

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2,766
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
That looks like one almost dead tortoise 🤣😂
Get off Reddit - that place brings bullies like milkshake brings all the boys - sorry being goofy.

You know that enclosure needs to be bigger and it will be when you move.

Hmmmm I think I am gonna go catch me some Rollie’s too.
They are not bothering your tortoise?

Welcome to the forum.

who’s milkshake and how can I get to know them (they bring all the boys?) 🤣
 

MichaelL

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Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
947
Location (City and/or State)
Ocala, Fl
I would do some things differently, and recommend you make some changes, but I wouldn't call this abuse.

No moss. They eat it.
No humidifier. Use a closed chamber and you won't need one. I don't like them breathing water vapor.
No MVBs. They cause pyramiding and have lots of issues.
I wouldn't use all that stuff for substrate. Just use plain, fine grade orchid bark.
No hot rocks. Dangerous.
70 degrees is too cool with humidity. Keep it 80 or higher.
I'd run the lights for no more that 12-13 hours for a tropical species like a leopard.

The care sheet works for any age or size leopard, but I'd expect a larger tortoise to spend most days outside during fair weather.
If I'm not mistaken the species of marigold in the enclosure is the type you should NOT use, right? Want your opinion to verify
 

MemeTheory

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Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
11
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San Diego
OH SNAP! You are correct Micheal; stupid flower names. I've pulled em' out. He didn't really eat them, thankfully, just enjoyed the cushioning.
 

newCH

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Nov 15, 2014
Messages
522
Location (City and/or State)
So.FL
Hello, please take out the desert rose.
I used to have one and when I was researching it learned that people in Africa use the plant to make
poison darts.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
40
Location (City and/or State)
Cleveland Tennessee
Reddit (i.e. one or two strangers on the internet) have decided that they need to tell me, in a million different ways, that I am an animal abuser.... Its been... something. So, people of Tortoise Forum; am I abusing Sir Digby Chicken Ceaser?

Enclosure info - its 4'x4' until we move to a more yard accessible area in the next year or so. I used a raised garden planter, bonded to 4'x4' MDF board, and pond liner to start. The Cork I got from an etsy shop that sells corkwood panels (there is 4; they're super nice) and some Fur tree inserts to fill in some gaps. His cave is fully accessible (he pushed that moss in front of it) and is supplanted with some moss. (I used red moss several months ago... DON'T!!! Ever see a red tortoise? Its shocking to say the least.)

Substrate - I mixed a natural substrate with Coco Coir, Pumice, Charcoal (for the plants), Orchid Bark, and Peat Moss. It is also inhabited by about 100 worms and 10 rolly pollys to help manage the plant life. (The rolly-pollys are colored like cows... they are ADORABLE).

Environment - it grades from 70° - 80° depending on location, from the front right to back left. There is a basking rock by the pingpong ball (covered with dirt at the second, so not doing a great job as a basking rock) with a ceramic heater tethered to a 95° regulator (i'm considering upping that to 105 or so, but he doesn't seem to be jonesing for heat). I'm using a reptile humidifier and have a 80% meter to limit the humidity. It usually doesn't hit the limit during the day, but keeps it nice consistent at night. He generally conks out in or on top of his cave (there is a sneaky heat pad just to the right of his face up top). The portion cut off in this photo has his water bowl (shallow, he "could" take a dip, but I haven't seen him do so - I bathe him every few days so he may not feel the need). And his Mazuri - though he eats prefers the flower to the mazuri.

Plants - Vary, but right now some Orange marigold, destroyed Purple Violet, and a Kale plant centerpiece. The left grass is Mondo grass I picked up from Armstrong's, but the grass on the right is from seedling drought resistant grass. Its really there to just hold stuff together, but he finds it tasty. That "tree" up front is a Desert Rose, and there is a baby palm in the back which is being used as support more than foliage.

Heat - There are two Mercury Vapor lights on a 14 hour timer for day / night. I have several thermometers around, and if it peaks above 90° I'll turn one off. A ceramic heat bulb and 5 heating pads hidden against the walls keep everything constant. Its actually been increibly easy to maintain temp inside the Kingdom, so that's been nice.

So? Is this a terrible enclosure, because some strangers on the internet really want me to feel bad about it. 😂Most of the criciticsm is the firm belief that humidity willmurderr poor Sir Digby.... I think they're being a "bit" dramatic.

View attachment 307694

Hey, I’m new! So... what’s the ping pong ball about?
 

MemeTheory

New Member
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego
> So... what’s the ping pong ball about?

I just figured he'd like to have something to mess around with. He likes to roll it around, and who am I to tell him no.

And thanks NewCH - noted. Its just being used as a part of the landscape, so I'll swap it out for something more generic.
 
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