New red foot owner

CandyApple

New Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
14
Location (City and/or State)
Nebraska
A little about me, my name is Taylor and my boyfriend Kody of 6 years' favorite animals are turtles and tortoises. We also have four snakes, three cats, three dogs and a hedgehog. We used to have a Russian tortoise from a pet store who randomly stopped eating one day and died the same night. We aren't sure what happened but it's been over a year since we've lost him now and he finally decided he was ready for another tortoise. We want to make sure we're doing everything right for our new baby in hopes that he will outlive us.

We got our baby red foot last Sunday at a reptile expo. We were told s/he was 11 weeks but a Facebook group informed us s/he looks much younger. We have him in a 40 gallon glass tank running a UVB bulb on a timer and a CHE but plan to replace the bulb with the long tube kind and need to cover the top to help hold humidity. He's on a mixture of cypress mulch and a little spaghnum moss. He's got a rather large shell shaped hide and I just added smaller Terra cotta pot hides in the corners where he seems to like to dig down and sleep. We also have Terra cotta saucers for water and a food dish.

He's eating well, he had wax worms at the expo last week and half a blueberry yesterday and he's been eating a mix of plantain, grass, dandelion and clover from our untreated yard and a grocery store mix of mustard, collard and turnip greens. He seems to have a healthy appetite. Kody actually picked him because he was biting everyone lol. We've been soaking him daily in very shallow luke warm water.

I'd like opinions on what we are doing right or wrong and what we can do to improve his diet. I'd like to maybe set him up a kiddie pool outdoor enclosure where we can take him out and monitor him while he's little and eventually we want to build an adult indoor and outdoor enclosure. We live in Nebraska and plan to move back to Florida in five years or so where he can spend most of his time outside (and possibly adopt a few more depending on how much space we have).

I'd also like to know what plants I can add to his enclosure. Will he try to eat fake ones? Do we have to grow live ones from seed or are store bought ones safe? What substrate would we use for live plants that's safe? I've read about coco coir and I've seen it much cheaper at garden stores or even the garden center at Walmart but I wonder what brands are safe?

I look forward to learning a lot from you all and I hope our new family member lives a very long happy life! 20190609_135330.jpeg 20190611_132009.jpeg
 

jsheffield

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Tortoise Club
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Sep 29, 2018
Messages
2,410
Location (City and/or State)
Westmoreland, NH
Welcome and congratulations!

It sounds like your doing a lot right.

The cover to enclose the tank will help you achieve and hold the temperature and humidity you need for your new tortoise.

I would consider feeding some tortoise kibble (I like Mazuri and Rep-Cal) 1-2 times a week... they can help with rounding out any nutritional or vitamin bases the great sounding diet you're providing might be missing, and wet down to smooshiness, it can be used to make new foods that might otherwise be unappealing more palatable to the tortoise.

At some point, you might want to try scrambling an egg with some shell in it, and feeding it to the tortoise (protein and calcium in a single serving).

My guy loves papaya and strawberry and summer squash, all of which I can get flash frozen at my grocery store and a bag of which feeds him for months.

I ordered a couple of pounds of wheat seeds and every few weeks sprout a tablespoon or so in a tiny mason jar which I can "plant" in the mulch in his enclosure... this provides him with fresh and healthy greens throughout our NH winter. I also keep pothos plants in his enclosure, which he likes to hide amongst as well as nibble on. Having the wheatgrass and pothos in his enclosure makes me feel better about leaving him when I have to go away for a few days at a time... I know he'll have plenty to eat.

Again, congratulations and good luck... this is a great community to learn, and share, tortoise knowledge.

Jamie (and Darwin)
 

dmmj

The member formerly known as captain awesome
Moderator
10 Year Member!
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Aug 15, 2008
Messages
19,752
Location (City and/or State)
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My RF (Maynard) is addicted to mango and hibiscus flowers. A note on the russian that died do not feel guilty it could have been old or sick and living in a pet store probably did'nt help the little guy.
 

Pearly

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
5,294
Location (City and/or State)
Central Texas, Austin area
A little about me, my name is Taylor and my boyfriend Kody of 6 years' favorite animals are turtles and tortoises. We also have four snakes, three cats, three dogs and a hedgehog. We used to have a Russian tortoise from a pet store who randomly stopped eating one day and died the same night. We aren't sure what happened but it's been over a year since we've lost him now and he finally decided he was ready for another tortoise. We want to make sure we're doing everything right for our new baby in hopes that he will outlive us.

We got our baby red foot last Sunday at a reptile expo. We were told s/he was 11 weeks but a Facebook group informed us s/he looks much younger. We have him in a 40 gallon glass tank running a UVB bulb on a timer and a CHE but plan to replace the bulb with the long tube kind and need to cover the top to help hold humidity. He's on a mixture of cypress mulch and a little spaghnum moss. He's got a rather large shell shaped hide and I just added smaller Terra cotta pot hides in the corners where he seems to like to dig down and sleep. We also have Terra cotta saucers for water and a food dish.

He's eating well, he had wax worms at the expo last week and half a blueberry yesterday and he's been eating a mix of plantain, grass, dandelion and clover from our untreated yard and a grocery store mix of mustard, collard and turnip greens. He seems to have a healthy appetite. Kody actually picked him because he was biting everyone lol. We've been soaking him daily in very shallow luke warm water.

I'd like opinions on what we are doing right or wrong and what we can do to improve his diet. I'd like to maybe set him up a kiddie pool outdoor enclosure where we can take him out and monitor him while he's little and eventually we want to build an adult indoor and outdoor enclosure. We live in Nebraska and plan to move back to Florida in five years or so where he can spend most of his time outside (and possibly adopt a few more depending on how much space we have).

I'd also like to know what plants I can add to his enclosure. Will he try to eat fake ones? Do we have to grow live ones from seed or are store bought ones safe? What substrate would we use for live plants that's safe? I've read about coco coir and I've seen it much cheaper at garden stores or even the garden center at Walmart but I wonder what brands are safe?

I look forward to learning a lot from you all and I hope our new family member lives a very long happy life! View attachment 274816 View attachment 274817

Hello there, and warm welcome from Texas! Your baby RF is beautiful and you guys seem to be much better prepared for welcoming a new shelled family member than I was back 4 yrs ago when I got mine. Good for you! Mine are RF as well and I love them to pieces. I second my predecessor’s advice about supplementing fresh food with Mazuri or other omnivorous tortoise commercial formula. One of my babies used to be a very finicky eater first couple yrs but he would never turn down softened Mazuri pellets. They just seem to find it irresistible. You are lucky your new baby eats greens, mine almost NEVER would when they were that young. They seemed to prefer their protein and fruit. It took me a while to figure out how to sneak it all the good stuff. I agree with fluorescent tube idea. It worked great for my babies. 40 gal tank will last you for a good while. Definitely cover the top to keep consistent temps/ humidity which are crucial to your baby’s health. I’m glad you have found us here. This is the best place for new (and old) tortoise owners. Post pics of your enclosure. For the plants for your enclosure you mention an „untreated yard”, perhaps few plants from there?
 

Toddrickfl1

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Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
6,653
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Welcome, I think I remember your post from FB. Not much that hasn't been covered already. Congrats on your new baby. I'd stick with the info you get from some of the experienced keepers here. A lot of what's spread in those FB groups is inaccurate, or simply not true.
 

CandyApple

New Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
14
Location (City and/or State)
Nebraska
Thank you to everyone for your replies!

We picked the one who was biting everything at the expo. Kody got nipped a few times the first day (even drew blood lol), so maybe that helped as far as him eating well for us. I'm also surprised I haven't once seen him attempt to eat the spaghnum moss, but he also hasnt bit any skin or fingers since the first day we brought him home.

I'll attach some pictures of his set up as it looks currently. I just bought foil tape and haven't got it on the lid yet but you can see the humidity isn't ideal. I moved the heat source to the middle to more evenly distribute heat. He still had a gradient and seems to love the pots I added to the corners. If you look really close, you might see a tiny head poking out of the smallest pot in the front!

I've ordered a large 10 inch lamp fixture for the CHE and an 18inch zoo med UVB bulb for the white light fixture you see on the top of the enclosure. I also threw in some mazuri tortoise diet (regular), cuttle bone, coco coir, and seed mix to the shopping cart.

We also have a 75 gallon tank we can pull out of storage. It needs to be sanitized but I think it would make a good grow out enclosure for him until we get his adult indoor and outdoor enclosures built. I'd like to possibly get plants started in it to get it ready to move him in.

Is it possible to put them in TOO big enclosures at this age? Also, as far as temporary plants/coverage goes, are fake dollar store/craft store type plants safe to put inside the enclosures?

I think I forgot to mention, Kody named him Kronos. I know we don't know if he is really a he but if he turns out to be a she, I guess her name is still Kronos lol.

Thanks everyone

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Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
6,653
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
A 75 gallon tank would be good enough size for awhile. Your best bet would be to build like a sealed wood frame top that your light/heat can be mounted to. That way it's easier to hold heat and humidity and you can set your heat source on a thermostat to the temperature you want.
 
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