Help with sadly, "dirty" hatchlings

turtle5252

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To the point: "Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber" looks like it would be a good substrate for our two 9 mo. CA Desert Tortoises'. As any good mom I want to have healthy clean torts and clean water...I have neither.

The fiber is Always at the base of their legs under their shells, the water And babies need to be changed 3x's a day sometimes more.

Any suggestions about a better substrate,,,soil just made them muddy.

Many many thanks...Annie
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Annie, and welcome to the Forum!!

I just put two CDT outside for the summer after having been raised in the house for the past two years. Here's a picture of them in their indoor enclosure probably from last year. You can see the orchid bark substrate I used. It's what I use for all my indoor enclosures:

closed chamber c.jpg

I adopted about 13 baby CDTs from a SoCal chapter of CTTC. I adopted out all of them except for the two. I kept them because they were a bit on the orange side, colorwise. As they grew, though, the color reverted to more what it's supposed to look like. I think you can see the two I was going to keep in this picture:


desert tortoise babies 11-12-18.jpg
 

wellington

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Coir is either loved or hated. I loved it. Just remember it has too be patted down really good for it to be a bit cleaner to use. Most like the orchid bark which you could lay over top the coir. Also don't forget a baby tortoise would be dirt in the wild.
 

Tom

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To the point: "Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber" looks like it would be a good substrate for our two 9 mo. CA Desert Tortoises'. As any good mom I want to have healthy clean torts and clean water...I have neither.

The fiber is Always at the base of their legs under their shells, the water And babies need to be changed 3x's a day sometimes more.

Any suggestions about a better substrate,,,soil just made them muddy.

Many many thanks...Annie
Don't buy the loose stuff. Buy the blocks and rehydrate them. Then you have to put a ton of it in and hand pack it firmly. It doesn't work well loose. Takes a week or two to settle in.

If not, orchid bark works too. I prefer coco coir for babies, and move them to orchid bark when they are around 3-4 inches.

They should not be housed as pairs.

Most of the care info you get for this species is wrong. Here is the correct care info:

Questions are welcome! :)
 

turtle5252

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Thanks to all of you, the Care Sheet is a great start...I have our torts, because the gardener was about to mow over them...now they are our babies...
Has anyone used Exo Terra Forest Moss Tropical substrate? Our torts are CA Desert which says the Tropical version of moss could be dangerous to them..

Any thoughts???
 

Tom

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Thanks to all of you, the Care Sheet is a great start...I have our torts, because the gardener was about to mow over them...now they are our babies...
Has anyone used Exo Terra Forest Moss Tropical substrate? Our torts are CA Desert which says the Tropical version of moss could be dangerous to them..

Any thoughts???
Moss should never be used with tortoises. They eat it and it can cause impaction. The dirt-type sphagnum peat moss will burn their plastron.

Hand packed, damp coco coir is really the best way to go for babies. If you really don't like it, then you should be able to find fine grade orchid bark in bulk at a nursery near you in Azusa. If not, drive up to Santa Clarita and get some. My Auntie lives in West Covina, so I come out that way a few times a year. The drive isn't too bad. $12 for a 2.0 cu.ft. bag. Or you can pay about $20 for 24 quart (less than 1 cubic ft.) bags of Repti-bark from Chewy.
 

turtle5252

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Hi Annie, and welcome to the Forum!!

I just put two CDT outside for the summer after having been raised in the house for the past two years. Here's a picture of them in their indoor enclosure probably from last year. You can see the orchid bark substrate I used. It's what I use for all my indoor enclosures:

View attachment 325091

I adopted about 13 baby CDTs from a SoCal chapter of CTTC. I adopted out all of them except for the two. I kept them because they were a bit on the orange side, colorwise. As they grew, though, the color reverted to more what it's supposed to look like. I think you can see the two I was going to keep in this picture:


View attachment 325092
What a beautiful family...and so clean! Where do you get it or what brand should I try? I see "radiated" orchid bark, but I was wary about getting it at a nursery.
I sure appreciate your advice...Annie
 

turtle5252

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azusa ca
Moss should never be used with tortoises. They eat it and it can cause impaction. The dirt-type sphagnum peat moss will burn their plastron.

Hand packed, damp coco coir is really the best way to go for babies. If you really don't like it, then you should be able to find fine grade orchid bark in bulk at a nursery near you in Azusa. If not, drive up to Santa Clarita and get some. My Auntie lives in West Covina, so I come out that way a few times a year. The drive isn't too bad. $12 for a 2.0 cu.ft. bag. Or you can pay about $20 for 24 quart (less than 1 cubic ft.) bags of Repti-bark from Chewy.
Thank you so much, it just didn't feel right putting in moss! Do I have to be concerned about it being treated or "radiated" ?? Is there a place to look in Santa Clarita?

I am so new to this, but like all parents, i just have to listen to experienced owners. Thank you
 

Yvonne G

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What a beautiful family...and so clean! Where do you get it or what brand should I try? I see "radiated" orchid bark, but I was wary about getting it at a nursery.
I sure appreciate your advice...Annie
It's been hard to find lately, but I was lucky enough to locate a plant nursery that sells fine grade orchid bark in bulk. I bought a pick-up bed full and shoveled it into garbage cans when I got it home. You can also buy Zoo Med Forest Floor or Zoo Med Reptibark. The forest floor is cypress mulch and the reptibark is fir bark, both very good substrates for tortoises. Only bad thing about either of them is the small bags is costly.
 

Tom

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Thank you so much, it just didn't feel right putting in moss! Do I have to be concerned about it being treated or "radiated" ?? Is there a place to look in Santa Clarita?

I am so new to this, but like all parents, i just have to listen to experienced owners. Thank you
I buy mine at Green Landscape Nursery in Santa Clarita.
Orchid Bark.JPG

You should be able to find something similar near you. Doesn't have to be this brand.

Have we seen pics of your babies? Have you been soaking them daily?
 

turtle5252

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azusa ca
Thanks so much! We may take a day trip to beautiful Santa Clarita to get a couple of bags...

Will post pics once they are nice and clean for the camera! lol
 
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