Any tips for new reptile tortoise owner?

SoupCookie

New Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2021
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Cape Town
Hello everyone! :)

About a year ago my dad came home with 4 tortoises, 3 Sulcatas and 1 (baby) Homopus Areolatus (Padloper). The Padloper fell into my care a few months after that day. I finally got a job, so it was about time I started focusing hard on helping the little bugger not only survive, but thrive. I am currently busy reading this post and should be finishing it today or tomorrow, depending on how work goes, see here, and would like to make sure I'm doing a relatively good job raising little tort.

Here is what I have, I would appreciate any tips, and thank you in advance :)

I have a 60 x 34 cm glass tank (for my 9cm in length tortoise) with a 50 watt heat lamp (sits about 25cm from the ground) that can raise the temperature of the warm side of the tank to 25 degrees Celsius (cold days) and 28 degrees Celsius (warm days) with a thermostat that keeps the heat within 1.5 degrees (only below) the set temp. I usually set the temperature to be 26 degrees during the day and 22 degrees at night. I have a UVB bulb, 150 watt (sits about 21cm from the ground), that I keep on from 10am to 8pm. You can find images below that includes the enclosure.

The enclosure has 4 terrains, a sandy terrain with dessert sand, underneath the UVB and heat lamp, a grassy (dried rabbit grass) terrain, also under the heat lamp and also on the cool side of the tank, a flat rock that doubles as the feeding area, in the middle of the tank, next to the water dish, and a small area with some moss (small area around the water dish). You can find images of the mentioned material.

Currently my tortoise is mostly eating lettuce and cabbage, occasionally carrots, tomato (not a lot), cucumber and green pepper (not a lot). I'm planning on getting a more balanced diet, also, any tips on making my baby tortoise less of a picky eater would be highly appreciated.

My daily routines works as follows:
  1. Add new food (if the previous food is dried out from the heat lamp during the night, or finished) (8am)
  2. Mist the tank and tortoise (8am)
  3. Turn on the UVB bulb, turn up the heat (10am, from 22c to 26c)
  4. Take the tortoise for some sun (12pm, mon, wed, fri)
  5. Put tort back in enclosure if in sun (3pm, mon, wed, fri)
  6. Mist again (4pm)
  7. Turn off UVB, turn down the heat (8pm, from 26c to 22c)

I also have a 30 x 20 cm plastic tank that I use when I take the tortoise for some sun light (Monday, Wednesday, Friday - for 3 hours, always has a shady side and a sunny side), also has a water dish.

During the day, I also check for poop, so I can remove it, I also look at it to see if it looks different from the rest. I also make sure to keep the food off of the sand and moss and only on the rock and grass.

My tortoise is relatively active during the day, occasionally walking around the enclosure for a little while. Other than that it mostly sleeps, usually on the grass (hot side of the tank) or moss (cold side of the tank, next to water dish). It would also occasionally stand and/or stretch on the sand for a minute or so before moving off to sleep.

We have also recently added "spek boom" (Afrikaans, unsure what the real plant is) to the enclosure. The tort seems to enjoy sleeping underneath them and occasionally taking a bite. I haven't seen any side effects from eating the plant, so it seems fine, but would also like some safety tips on the matter if possible. I have attached an image of it, the grassy thing underneath it is just some moss i picked up along with it.

Please keep in mind I'm still new to reptile keeping, and don't be afraid to point out mistakes :)
 

Attachments

  • enclosure.jpg
    enclosure.jpg
    70 KB · Views: 14
  • food dish.jpg
    food dish.jpg
    146.5 KB · Views: 13
  • grass.jpg
    grass.jpg
    93.9 KB · Views: 13
  • heat and uvb.jpg
    heat and uvb.jpg
    69.1 KB · Views: 15
  • moss.jpg
    moss.jpg
    83.3 KB · Views: 13
  • spek.jpg
    spek.jpg
    68.9 KB · Views: 13
  • tank.jpg
    tank.jpg
    124.4 KB · Views: 12
  • temp.jpg
    temp.jpg
    47.4 KB · Views: 13
  • tort 1.jpg
    tort 1.jpg
    80.3 KB · Views: 12
  • tort 2.jpg
    tort 2.jpg
    95.7 KB · Views: 12
  • tort 3.jpg
    tort 3.jpg
    76.8 KB · Views: 12

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,017
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi, and welcome!

Please get rid of the sand. When they walk through the food it gets sand on it and when they eat the sand it builds up in their stomach and intestinal tract and causes impaction and maybe death.

Re-read that care sheet and compare your tortoise diet with what is shown on the care sheet. Carrots, cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, peppers - none of that is shown on our care sheet. Your tortoise needs to be eating dark, leafy greens, grasses and edible weeds.

I'm glad to see so many new members from South Africa. It gives us a chance to read about the more rare (to the U.S.) African tortoises.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,442
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello everyone! :)

About a year ago my dad came home with 4 tortoises, 3 Sulcatas and 1 (baby) Homopus Areolatus (Padloper). The Padloper fell into my care a few months after that day. I finally got a job, so it was about time I started focusing hard on helping the little bugger not only survive, but thrive. I am currently busy reading this post and should be finishing it today or tomorrow, depending on how work goes, see here, and would like to make sure I'm doing a relatively good job raising little tort.

Here is what I have, I would appreciate any tips, and thank you in advance :)

I have a 60 x 34 cm glass tank (for my 9cm in length tortoise) with a 50 watt heat lamp (sits about 25cm from the ground) that can raise the temperature of the warm side of the tank to 25 degrees Celsius (cold days) and 28 degrees Celsius (warm days) with a thermostat that keeps the heat within 1.5 degrees (only below) the set temp. I usually set the temperature to be 26 degrees during the day and 22 degrees at night. I have a UVB bulb, 150 watt (sits about 21cm from the ground), that I keep on from 10am to 8pm. You can find images below that includes the enclosure.

The enclosure has 4 terrains, a sandy terrain with dessert sand, underneath the UVB and heat lamp, a grassy (dried rabbit grass) terrain, also under the heat lamp and also on the cool side of the tank, a flat rock that doubles as the feeding area, in the middle of the tank, next to the water dish, and a small area with some moss (small area around the water dish). You can find images of the mentioned material.

Currently my tortoise is mostly eating lettuce and cabbage, occasionally carrots, tomato (not a lot), cucumber and green pepper (not a lot). I'm planning on getting a more balanced diet, also, any tips on making my baby tortoise less of a picky eater would be highly appreciated.

My daily routines works as follows:
  1. Add new food (if the previous food is dried out from the heat lamp during the night, or finished) (8am)
  2. Mist the tank and tortoise (8am)
  3. Turn on the UVB bulb, turn up the heat (10am, from 22c to 26c)
  4. Take the tortoise for some sun (12pm, mon, wed, fri)
  5. Put tort back in enclosure if in sun (3pm, mon, wed, fri)
  6. Mist again (4pm)
  7. Turn off UVB, turn down the heat (8pm, from 26c to 22c)

I also have a 30 x 20 cm plastic tank that I use when I take the tortoise for some sun light (Monday, Wednesday, Friday - for 3 hours, always has a shady side and a sunny side), also has a water dish.

During the day, I also check for poop, so I can remove it, I also look at it to see if it looks different from the rest. I also make sure to keep the food off of the sand and moss and only on the rock and grass.

My tortoise is relatively active during the day, occasionally walking around the enclosure for a little while. Other than that it mostly sleeps, usually on the grass (hot side of the tank) or moss (cold side of the tank, next to water dish). It would also occasionally stand and/or stretch on the sand for a minute or so before moving off to sleep.

We have also recently added "spek boom" (Afrikaans, unsure what the real plant is) to the enclosure. The tort seems to enjoy sleeping underneath them and occasionally taking a bite. I haven't seen any side effects from eating the plant, so it seems fine, but would also like some safety tips on the matter if possible. I have attached an image of it, the grassy thing underneath it is just some moss i picked up along with it.

Please keep in mind I'm still new to reptile keeping, and don't be afraid to point out mistakes :)
Few people over here have any experience with Homopus. I keep South African Leopards and Chersina, and as far as I know, care should be similar. I agree with Yvonne's comments, and here is some general care info for temperate species that should offer a lot of help:
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
40,448
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Also get rid of the red bulb and the coiled bulb. Both not good. The Coil bulbs can cause eye problems and the red can make things edible looking to torts.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top