New leopard tortoise owners - a few questions/an introduction

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Jess_sic

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Hello everyone, my boyfriend and I recently bought a baby leopard tort form a local pet store. We did a decent amount of research before we bought him, but now that we have him, we have a few more questions.

We're housing our tort in a large, shallow "under the bed" storage type rubbermaid container. We laid down a layer of play sand, and originally had cypress mulch and sphagnum moss on both sides (one dry, one moist). We're using a powersun 100 watt UVB and we just got a Zilla red heating light to make sure the temps don't drop too low during the night. Average day temps: 85-95 degrees. Average humidity: 30-70%, depending on how much moisture on moss. We're looking into putting a hide over 1/2 of the enclosure to keep the humidity consistent.

Now for our questions: We've had the little guy for about a day and a half now, and it doesn't seem like he wants to eat. At the pet store, they were feeding him what looked like iceberg lettuce with sliced up tomatoes and carrots. He was actually eating when we picked him up, so I know eating wasn't a problem for him before. We've been giving him a mixture of collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens and spinach (not a lot of spinach, just came with the mix). He would barely nibble on it, but he'd gladly munch on the cypress mulch. So we took the cypress mulch and replaced it with moss until we can find coco coir. I know it takes some torts a while to get used to their new place, but he drinks just fine and eats the mulch. I'm wondering if he's just not used to the food we're feeding him? We've tried giving him some with and without the calcium w/ D3. We're just getting a little worried. Any advice would be appreciated!

Also, his shell seems to be frayed around the back. Is this normal? We've included pictures. Thank you for any and all help!
 

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Yvonne G

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Hi Jess_sic and welcome to the Forum!

The baby's shell looks just fine.

Try to feed him what the pet store was feeding him, and slowly wean him off of it and onto the better greens.

Also, make sure your temperature is upwards of 80F degrees. Babies won't eat if they're not warm enough.

A red light makes the substrate look edible to tortoises. So if you're using a red light during the day, you should turn it off.
 

Jess_sic

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emysemys said:
Hi Jess_sic and welcome to the Forum!

The baby's shell looks just fine.

Try to feed him what the pet store was feeding him, and slowly wean him off of it and onto the better greens.

Also, make sure your temperature is upwards of 80F degrees. Babies won't eat if they're not warm enough.

A red light makes the substrate look edible to tortoises. So if you're using a red light during the day, you should turn it off.

Good because we were worried about his shell from the moment we first saw him in the pet store.

Okay, we will buy some lettuce just to wean him off of the pet stores food.

As for the temperature, he seems to be warm enough. It is at either 85 or 90 during the day

We don't have the red light on during the day. We plan to turn it on while he sleeps to keep him warm.

Thank you for the advice Emys.
 

Greg T

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welcome! He looks great and no need to worry about the shell. I would change his lettuce to spring mix and tear it up into small bites to help get him started on it. Those other greens may be a bit too tough for him now and mine prefer spring mix and green or red leaf lettuce to any of those greens you mentioned. Keep trying until he starts eating something and then you can switch him over slowly later on if you want. He is still new to that environment and it may take a few days to start eating. torts don't have to eat every day so don't freak out yet. If he isn't eating within a week, you need to get back on here and let us know. Otherwise, keep us posted and include pics!
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:) replace the red light with a ceramic heat emitter for night time. Get rid of the sand or mix really well with another substrate, using much less sand. Coconut coir is the best in my opinion. 100 basking temp, 80 and no lower for over all and night time temp with humidity no lower then 80%. You will need to get a box with higher sides,for the proper housing to be easier. It can be done with the type box you got, but in my opinion, it will be harder. The threads at the bottom of my post are Toms. They all are right for leopards and one of the best ways to raise a smooth leopard. Give the d3 only once a week, too much of it is bad. Calcium doesn't have to be given as much either with a good diet, which the pet store was not doing.
 

Jess_sic

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Greg T said:
welcome! He looks great and no need to worry about the shell. I would change his lettuce to spring mix and tear it up into small bites to help get him started on it. Those other greens may be a bit too tough for him now and mine prefer spring mix and green or red leaf lettuce to any of those greens you mentioned. Keep trying until he starts eating something and then you can switch him over slowly later on if you want. He is still new to that environment and it may take a few days to start eating. torts don't have to eat every day so don't freak out yet. If he isn't eating within a week, you need to get back on here and let us know. Otherwise, keep us posted and include pics!

I will get him some spring mix tomorrow and see how that goes. Other than munching on the cypress mulch (which we've already taken out), he just seems completely disinterested in food at this point. He's been extremely active, though. Crawling around and exploring his space all day. Thanks for the advice, I'll keep you guys updated.
 

Jess_sic

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wellington said:
Hello and Welcome:) replace the red light with a ceramic heat emitter for night time. Get rid of the sand or mix really well with another substrate, using much less sand. Coconut coir is the best in my opinion. 100 basking temp, 80 and no lower for over all and night time temp with humidity no lower then 80%. You will need to get a box with higher sides,for the proper housing to be easier. It can be done with the type box you got, but in my opinion, it will be harder. The threads at the bottom of my post are Toms. They all are right for leopards and one of the best ways to raise a smooth leopard. Give the d3 only once a week, too much of it is bad. Calcium doesn't have to be given as much either with a good diet, which the pet store was not doing.

Thank you :] We ran around all day trying to find coconut coir... checked pet stores, lowes, etc. I'm not sure anyone carries it here. So we're going to order some online and use that with less sand.

I'll get the temps up and cover his box to get the humidity up. May invest in a mister or something to keep the moss wet throughout the day.

I'll check the threads out and lay off the D3 :p Thanks for the advice.
 

Jess_sic

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Just an update:

Woke him up this morning and sat him in front of cut up iceberg lettuce and the cut up mixture I originally bought him. And success! I put it out about 30 minutes ago and he's still eating! I admit, he's definitely favoring the iceberg lettuce... but I'm going to pick up some spring mix today and see how that goes, now that he's interested in eating.
 

Yvonne G

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You can find it for sure at Petsmart. It's a little square about maybe 6 or 8" and it compressed. I think the brand name is Bed-a-beast.
 

Jess_sic

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emysemys said:
You can find it for sure at Petsmart. It's a little square about maybe 6 or 8" and it compressed. I think the brand name is Bed-a-beast.

Ah, I just noticed you're from Clovis. I see we're neighbors :p I wasn't able to find it anywhere. I went to two different Petsmarts, Whities, Pet Extreme, Lowes, Orchard hardware... Every single person we've asked has never heard of coconut coir. Had employees think we wanted oil or husk. One person thought it was a type of fish (maybe they thought we said koi?). I'm just going to order some online.
 
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