Leopard hatchling - Am I doing it right?

peatz

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Hi guys, I just got my baby leopard a few days ago and I'm new to torts (had a couple leopard geckos years ago but that's my only reptile experience). I've been poring over this forum to gather information on how to best care for my little guy but I wanted to kind of break it down to make sure there isn't something I missed.

Right now he's in a 20 gallon tank on cypress mulch (when it gets warmer I plan on making a bigger enclosure on the screen porch), hollow log hide, shallow water bowl, terracotta pot saucer food dish (I read this is good to keep his beak ground down when he eats), UVB light, and infrared heat light. My gauge has the basking spot around 87-90 degrees F and the cool side around 75 (pretty much whatever the temperature is in the apartment). The humidity is around 55-60%, which is pretty much the ambient humidity here in Florida. I think his basking spot needs to be warmer, so I may change the bulb out for a higher wattage or get a ceramic heat emitter. I know there are opinions on humidity needing to be higher, but I've also read that a well balanced diet in place of high humidity can be beneficial for preventing pyramiding. Correct me if I'm wrong on that one.

The place I got him from fed mostly grassland tortoise food by Zoo Med. He eats this pretty well, but I've started introducing him to some spring mix and gave him a few small shreds of carrot just to see what he's receptive to. I don't trust anything around my apartment but when I go to the family farm this weekend I plan on gathering up a lot more weeds and such to start feeding him.

I've been soaking him every day and he seems to hate it, although I have seen him take a few gulps a couple times and pee once. I've had him for three days now and I haven't seen him poop, but he's been eating regularly. Maybe I'm being "that" tort mom, but is this a concern?

Wow, so I wrote an essay. I commend and greatly appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this. Herbie the Lovetort appreciates it too. I apologize for being ridiculous.
 

wellington

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Basking 95+. All over the pm day and night 80 with a humidity of 80%. A good diet is important, but the humidity at 80 or higher is just as important for a healthy, smooth leopard. Please read Toms threads below in my post for proper raising and housing for a healthy, smooth leopard. The other stuff on the net you have read, well, let's just say most of it is wrong. Not on,y does Tom have proof of his findings, but many other members that have followed the high humidity method can show the same great results. Why argue with picture proof.:D
 

stinax182

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hey there!

the one thing I'll say is your tort should be eating greens with a side of tortoise chow, not the other way around. greens should be offered everyday and the chow every other day if you must. my tort is addicted to it so i can't feed it too often or she'll refuse her greens. that being said zoomed grassland food is a great part of a varied diet.

tortoises do not react well to change. it may take weeks for your tort to settle down totally. if he is eating everyday and not pooping the best thing to do it soak him for as long as possible. make sure the water is always warm though! I've heard of people soaking a tort for up to an hour for certain reasons. heat activates digestion so usually a nice hot bath will help things move along.
 

Tom

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Here is what I would do different:

20 gallon is much too small. They need room to move and there just isn't much walking room left once you put the furniture in, plus there can't be much of a thermal gradient in something so small. I like a minimum of 40 for a tiny hatchling, but 100 would be better.

Log hides are great, but you also need a proper humid hide.

What sort of UVB light? The coil types can damage their eyes.

I don't like infrared bulbs. I use white light for daytime, and I maintain night heat with a ceramic heating element set on a thermostat so it can be warm and dark.

Basking temp needs to be 100, ambient 80 and ambient humidity at around 80%.

Diet can play a role in pyramiding, but humidity and hydration are the main controlling factors.

Sounds like you already have good feeding info. Lots of weeds, leaves and succulents.

Pay close attention to the soak water temperature. Too cool or too warm can make them not like it. I soak leopards in water around 90-95 degrees. SOme might like it cooler, some might like it warmer. Don't go by how it feels. Use a thermometer.
 

Team Gomberg

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Raising leopard tortoises with the Hot and Humid Method has worked very well for me. That is the method I recommend to others. You can keep them other ways but that doesn't mean you should.

The goal is to simulate the hot, humid and rainy African season they hatch into in the wild.
The most efficient way to do that is by using a closed chamber.

Have you read the thread The End of Pyramiding II, yet? It's a long read but worth it.
Also read the Sulcata care sheet. These species are cared for the same way as hatchlings.
How about the thread on Closed Chambers? Also helps you understand the "hot to" of that.

In a nutshell the numbers you want to re create are:

95F basking temp
90s warm end temp
80s cool end temp
80F night temp
80% ambient humidity
90%+ humidity in a humid hide

This along with a good varied diet, adequate sunshine and lots of exercise will ensure you have a healthy growing leopard tortoise.

**I'd go into more details right now but the hubby is calling me to help him get the kids out of the bath :p ...so I gotta run!
 

peatz

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Thanks for the info everyone. The 20 gallon tank is temporary, when it starts getting warmer (which, last year I was going to the beach in February, so I don't anticipate it'll be too much longer) I will definitely be upgrading to a much larger enclosure. My UVB light is a long bulb, not the coiled one. I did read about the problems those can cause. I do understand that the pellet food should be a small part of the diet, I just wasn't sure if it would be bad to throw him into a pile of greens when the grassland food is all he's eaten thus far in his life. We like gradual transition with horses, I wasn't sure if torts were the same. I will have you know that he pooped after a good long soak today! It's the little things in life, right? :D
 

BeeBee*BeeLeaves

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That is so funny: I will have you know that he pooped after a good long soak today! It's the little things in life, right?
We are a funny bunch, us tortoise keepers. Tortie poop does matter to us enough to share tortie poop reports. Woo hoo poo-poo!
Indeed, it is indeed the little things in life! So right. : )
 
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