Marginated's are coming Tuesday: Calcium Question

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Zes

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Greetings everyone! My husband and i have 2, 8 week old marginated tortoises arriving Tuesday. We have our turtle table built, but we haven't decorated it quite yet, couple of questions there and then a couple other misc questions:
-do we need to have a water bowl in the enclosure if we plan on soaking 3-4 times a week? on our care sheet it says no because they can lead to infections, but i have read otherwise
-do we need to let them hibernate this first year? We are afraid we will lose them as we aren't familair with their habits
-Do we need to feed them a calcium supplement, if so how often, what are some good ones?
-any suggestions on edible plants we can keep in there? We are thinking about some Bermuda grass in the corner

For substrate we plan on using cedar mulch, top soil, sand and sphangum moss for the sleeping area.
Thanks in advance for your help!!!!

Pictures to come!!!
 

KQ6AR

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Zes said:
-do we need to have a water bowl in the enclosure if we plan on soaking 3-4 times a week?
Yes, It will have to be very shallow so the babies can get out. I have sand on one end of my shallow plant dish to form a ramp for them.

-do we need to let them hibernate this first year?
No Don't hibernate them until they are at least 2 years old & healthy. That would be the 3rd winter. Its not necessary to hibernate.

-Do we need to feed them a calcium supplement, if so how often, what are some good ones?
I keep cuttle bone in the enclosure, When I use a calcium sup. I use calcium carbonate powder from the health food store.

-any suggestions on edible plants we can keep in there? We are thinking about some Bermuda grass in the corner
Check out www.russiantortoise.org. The care is almost identical.

For substrate we plan on using cedar mulch, top soil, sand and sphangum moss for the sleeping area.
I use coconut coir, we buy in bricks, mixed with playbox sand.

You are going to need a good UV/heat lamp. I like the T-rex active UV 100watt flood.
 

Zes

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Thank you so much for the information. We have a UV 100 watt light by zoo med along with a stand. I will post pictures of the enclosure once it is finished and welcome any further advice or suggestions. Want to make sure the tortoise house is tip top for the little guys (or girls) we dont know at this point. Thanks again.
 

KQ6AR

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Keep us posted, & be sure to post some pics when you get them.

By the way, Welcome
 

tortoisenerd

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I recommend a pure calcium supplement daily for hatchlings, a light dusting (a salt or cheese shaker works well). Many of the foods we feed them are not as high in calcium as they get in the wild, have oxalic acid which steals the calcium from the tortoise, and a growing tortoise cannot get too much calcium (it is water soluble, not fat soluble). The calcium supplement should not have D3 when you have UVB. You can also have a cuttlebone in the enclosure. Best wishes.
 

GBtortoises

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Calcium carbonate is important. I find that my Marginateds consume it more than any other species that I keep. I do not sprinkle it on their food but have it available at all times in a seperate small, shallow container in powder form for hatchlings and young tortoises and as cuttlebone for larger tortoises. I have found that they eat it as they need it, which rarely every day and sometimes not for weeks. I prefer that they regulate how much they eat and how often (and they do) as opposed to forcing them to eat it on their food each time.
I offer water in a seperate container, outside of their enclosure. I prefer "soaking" because it keeps debris and wastes from being tracked into their drinking water and keeps the dirty water from being tracked throughout their enclosure.
Cedar mulch, which is actually ground cedar bark is probably not a good substrate choice simply because cedar (the wood) is known to produce natural insect repellent and oil which is where the aroma comes from on both Eastern and Western cedar lumber. I am not certain if the bark has those same features but there is a good chance that it probably does.
Topsoil (without chemical fertilizers), sand and sphagnum mixture are good choices for substrate. I use that along with a little coconut coir and some ground leaf litter. Add some flat rocks too.
 

Zes

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Thank you. They are here! The turtle table is upstairs and my home office is downstairs. After giving them a nice soak, i placed them in thier new habitat and i am trying to give them some privacy as they are probably stressed, but i cant help but running up there every 30 min to just stare. They are basking away under the light. I can't believe the one isn't shy at all. The other one sought a hiding spot right away, but since he has come out to warm up. They are so small. I will post pics once my husband gets home with the camera!

Thanks for all of the advice and well wishes!!!
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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do we need to let them hibernate this first year?

No don't hibernate them until they are at least 2 years old & healthy.
 
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