Flies on plastron?!

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Sky2Mina

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Hello Everyone!

Ok, something worries me!
I keep Luka on coconut bark (1/2, dry) and coconut mulch (1/2, wet). A few weeks ago I noticed tiny "flies" on her plastron when picking her up. I killed as much as I got of course, but the little flies would run away, hide between Luka's shell and legs etc.

I read on the forum that they might be harmless flies etc. I changed the substrate, Luka seemed fine (eating, pooping, gaining weight) and I didn't see them for a while.

Now I saw them again. Everytime I pick her up, there are some. In different sizes. Today I checked on her and put her on my hand. After putting her down I noticed a very tiny (almost not visible) bug on my hand (and a bigger one as well).
I'm not even sure if it's flies, or bugs, or what kind.

I saw them around the enclosure a bit, but only occasionaly. The most I see on her plastron and that worries me.

Otherwise Luka seems fine though. I checked throughly for any kind of wounds or anything that could cause those 'flies' going at her plastron. But no signs of wounds.
And Luka usually hides in the dry part (coconut bark) of her enclosure in a stack of hay.

I don't have much time to observe her these days (going in the morning, coming back in the evening) but she eats, poops and gains weight just as usually.

Any ideas? Should I be worried? Should I change the substrate? Should I replace the substrate? (Although I wouldn't have good alternatives...)

Thank you in advance!
Mina
 

yagyujubei

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Probably these are just detritivores. They live in the substrate and eat organic waste. As long as they don't seem to be bothering your tortoise, I wouldn't worry. You could do a change in substrate, but I think they'll be back soon, especially in your tropical climate. They were originally probably in whtever substrate that you use.If they bother you, you might have to change the substrate occasionally.
 

Sky2Mina

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Thank you for your answer. That makes me a bit less worried.
But is it also "normal" that these bug things will stay on the plastron? I wouldn't be so worried If I see them in the enclosure but crawling on Luka scares me they'll lay eggs "inside" him or eat him from the inside (like maggots) or something gross like that.

This morning I checked on Luka I saw many crawling near his hind legs and tail (and hiding there). I also put down a reptile carpet piece under where he usually sleeps to separate substrate from torty and the carpet was full of them (I can't really see them in the coconut bark though, maybe they hide well).

It worries me. They're not flies btw - they look more like little bugs. But they're too small to take pictures of.
 

lushcious

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Hmm, I never experienced bugs in my substrate. I think it's best for you if you put your tortoise somewhere else first and then put the enclosure to dry out in the sun. That might kill the bugs.
 

Sky2Mina

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Changing the substrate! Found a loooot more below rocks and stuff. Urgs. I really hope they're harmless and I hope they won't come back for at least a few weeks... I think it might be springtails.
 

AnthonyC

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I hope it works for you! I hate bugs in my substrate, whether they're harmless or not! I had some little critters awhile back, and someone here on the forum gave me some advice--put the substrate in the freezer for 24hrs--it worked, haven't seen an bug since!
 

Sky2Mina

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Thanks Anthony! I'll do that! Hope they'll all go away!
 

AnthonyC

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Mina every time I see the title of your thread I just wanna say... Skip to my lou! Haha! ;)
 
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