Just recently got a baby leopard tortoise

Micah04

New Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
1
Location (City and/or State)
AZ
I just recently got a little leopard tortoise and I just recently found this forum as well and I have some questions about the enclosure and if anyone can give me some help or tips it would be greatly appreciated! First off I live in Arizona and plan on an outside enclosure once the little guy is big enough, but right now I’ve got him(don’t know if it’s a he I think it’s too young to tell) in a 40 gallon terrarium. For the substrate I use reptibark and I’ve also got orchid bark. I soak him daily at the moment in warm water and mist down the enclosure several times a day especially in the morning before work as I’ve heard the humidity is good for them. I’ve got 2 lights one with a 26 watt uvb bulb (the brand is thrive?) and another 100 watt basking bulb from the same brand. The lights sit on top of the mesh like cover and are about 13 inches above the subrstate.. the dinky thermometers that came with it show that the warm side is at least about 80+ degrees and the cooler side about 75+ degrees and the humidity stays about a solid 50% and goes up as long as I spray every now and then. (I’ll come home from work and it says about 50%) are these temps about right? Does the humidity need to be higher? I’ve heard the tube uvb bulbs are the best but I don’t have a lamp for them and am having trouble finding something the right length (about 36 inches. ) I’ve tried two hides, one a half log and the other a rock cave like thing you see at the pet stores. He seems to like neither of them and instead always finds shade behind a little aloe Vera plant I’ve got in the terrarium whenever he goes to sleep he goes there as well. As far as I can tell he seems alright. He walks around his enclosure, he eats a little bit and actually starts bolting toward the food as soon as I place it in there and it’s adorable. I wanna make sure I’m providing everything he needs to the best of my current ability.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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53,392
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I just recently got a little leopard tortoise and I just recently found this forum as well and I have some questions about the enclosure and if anyone can give me some help or tips it would be greatly appreciated! First off I live in Arizona and plan on an outside enclosure once the little guy is big enough, but right now I’ve got him(don’t know if it’s a he I think it’s too young to tell) in a 40 gallon terrarium. For the substrate I use reptibark and I’ve also got orchid bark. I soak him daily at the moment in warm water and mist down the enclosure several times a day especially in the morning before work as I’ve heard the humidity is good for them. I’ve got 2 lights one with a 26 watt uvb bulb (the brand is thrive?) and another 100 watt basking bulb from the same brand. The lights sit on top of the mesh like cover and are about 13 inches above the subrstate.. the dinky thermometers that came with it show that the warm side is at least about 80+ degrees and the cooler side about 75+ degrees and the humidity stays about a solid 50% and goes up as long as I spray every now and then. (I’ll come home from work and it says about 50%) are these temps about right? Does the humidity need to be higher? I’ve heard the tube uvb bulbs are the best but I don’t have a lamp for them and am having trouble finding something the right length (about 36 inches. ) I’ve tried two hides, one a half log and the other a rock cave like thing you see at the pet stores. He seems to like neither of them and instead always finds shade behind a little aloe Vera plant I’ve got in the terrarium whenever he goes to sleep he goes there as well. As far as I can tell he seems alright. He walks around his enclosure, he eats a little bit and actually starts bolting toward the food as soon as I place it in there and it’s adorable. I wanna make sure I’m providing everything he needs to the best of my current ability.
Hello, welcome, and congrats!

FIrst, turn off the UV bulb. that type sometimes burns their eyes and is not effective anyway. You don't need indoor UV in AZ. Use a safe outdoor enclosure for an hour two or three times a week to get the UV needs met.

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html Here in our climate, you shouldn't need indoor UV.
Humidity does need to be higher, but you won't be able to achieve that with an open topped enclosure, as you've already seen. You need a closed chamber.

All of the info you need is here:
 

wellington

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Tom above got ya covered if you listen and follow what he said and read the links he posted.
 
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