New Indian Star Hatchling Owner Question

MeganH

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We are new tortoise owners, and just want to make sure we're doing everything as well as we can. We just purchased an 8 week old hatchling from a local breeder. Right now he's in a 10 gallon aquarium with landscape mix as the substrate. He has a couple of different hiding areas, and we've found he loves to burrow. I also created a humidity chamber for him, but he never goes into it (he burrows under it). We have 2 lights - a warming light that we leave on all day that gets the temp to about 86-88, and a UVB light (Reptisun 10.0). We have one warm side & one cool side with a warming pad stuck to the bottom of one corner of the tank. One of my main concerns is that he doesn't come out enough to really get much UVB light. We're in Texas & it's been rainy & cool the last week, so outside sun not an option. We just built him a large wooden tortoise box but we haven't got it all set up yet. I'll be glad to move him, because he does bump up against the glass in the aquarium trying to get out sometimes. He's still only about 1.5 inches, though, so it's nice not to have him in something huge yet.

Our daily routine has been warm the enclosure for about 30 minutes, then feed him, then soak him in a little bowl with very shallow water (under the UVB light) for about 30 minutes each day. We then dry him and remove the water. We leave a little container of food out for him and sometimes he eats a little more later in the day.

He looks healthy & is having good poops (in his water every other day). He is very friendly.

Regarding diet - we have been giving him tiny pieces of cactus & spring mix lettuce with the spinach picked out. We gave him a tiny bit of carrot, which he really loved, but then I read that wasn't a great idea. I'm thinking of ordering some salad hay for him online. I sprinkle it with a little pinch of calcium powder every day. He seems to have a preference for things that are brightly colored, but maybe they just taste better (can they see colors?)

Sorry for the long post, but I'd love input on these things:
1) optimal habitat / substrate / plants for his new wooden box
2) what to do if he won't "bask" in the UVB for more than the time I keep him in his bath and occasionally walking around - he'll have to be fully indoor through the winter
3) is there any sort of comprehensive list of foods that are labeled YES / NO / and OCCASIONAL TREAT only? I have tried to piece a few things together here & there, but get conflicting feeds

Thank you so much!! We love our little tortoise :).
 

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wellington

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Hello and Welcome:). Please get him into a bigger enclosure. A ten gallons tank is not big enough for any tortoise, even a hatchling. There is not enough room to give different temp areas, a water dish, food dish, and hides, etc. You will probably see him out a little more in a bigger, better heat regulated enclosure. Also, though, babies do sleep a lot.
 

CLMoss

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This is the info that I received from my breeder. You did not leave an email or pm so I am sending it to you via forum. And yes, you need a larger tank...maybe 20 or 30 gal.

Best of luck with your star!

Claudia

1. When small (up to 50-75 grams), soak them on a daily basis in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes. The water level
should allow them to reach their heads out of the water. Typically, the babies will drink and then defecate. When removed
from the soaking, they are normally ready to eat. I soak them each morning, before feeding. It helps keep them hydrated
and keeps their bowels moving. I sometimes keep a deli lid filled with water in the cage such that the babies can drink
during the day should they desire. I keep no water in with the adults. I soak the adults 1x/week.
2. For babies (up to 50-75 grams) I use a paper towel substrate which I moisten on a daily basis to keep the humidity up.
It affords the babies good footing. Babies seem to especially appreciate such conditions. The paper towel is easy to
clean by simply removing it and replacing it. I keep it in place by strategically placing flat rocks on top of the paper towel
substrate. I provide artificial plants for hiding spots. For adults I use cypress mulch and/or aspen bedding. I have also
used dirt/sand mixtures.
3. I use fluorescent lighting and also heat lamps to provide a “hot spot” location where the temperature is 95-100 degrees.
The “cool” part of the enclosure is 75-80 degrees. The key is to provide a heat gradient. Night time lows throughout the
enclosure (when heat lights and fluorescent lights are “off”) are in the 70s as they are housed in my boiler room. Lights
are on for 14 hours per day. As weather permits (April – October for New York City), the tortoises are kept outdoors.
Nothing beats natural sunlight! Even the best full spectrum lighting can’t come close to matching natural sunlight. I use
regular fluorescent bulbs and I supplement each feeding with a 1:1 mixture of Calcium Powder with D3 and Herptivite
Vitamins. That, in combination with my keeping them outdoors from April through October, has proven to be successful.
When outdoors, I supplement with Calcium powder without D3.
4. I use a mixture of store bought greens (romaine lettuce, chicory, escarole, dandelion, salad mixes, mixed veggies,
etc...) and yard collected weeds (like clover), as available. It is good to offer a variety of foods.
NOTE: Under these conditions, baby Sri Lankan star tortoises grow nicely. In my opinion, they are not difficult to raise.
Book Recommendation: The following is a helpful book on star tortoises by Jerry Fife: Star Tortoises: The Natural History,
Captive Care, and Breeding of 'Geochelone elegans' and 'Geochelone platynota'
 

AnnV

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OMG! That tort is cute as a button.
 

CLMoss

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Enjoy while s/he is small... They grow really quick! LOL! Also, your Star is really cute. Email or pm me with any questions, I may be able to help.

~C
 

ihenders

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Megan I saw another post where you were interested in selling this baby star, but it didn't list your email and you aren't set up to receive private messages. If you still have the baby star and are interested in selling please email me. [email protected]

Thanks!:):tort:
 
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