New Red Foot owner

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Nir

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Hey everyone,

My name is Nick for those who haven't seen my post in the introduction section and I live in Gatineau (Québec) near Ottawa.

I am by no means new to reptiles, since I have owned many species of snakes mostly and some lizards for the past 10 years +.

I am however new to tortoises! I have always wanted a Red Foot, but I wanted to wait till the timing was right and I knew I could provide an adequate environment for the next couple of decades! hehe

Well, I was very excited to finally pick up my first tortoise on last friday, a beautiful little Red Foot Hatchling born around march 24.

Before picking her up, I read carefully many times the caresheet at turtletary.com

Great caresheet, but there are some points that are ambiguous. I'm ok with dietary needs, temps, space, humidity...etc...

The one query I cannot solve is the mystery of UVB lighting....

Many caresheets suggest UVB (natural or artificial) for tortoises... But the caresheet at turtletary says NO UVB BEFORE 6 MONTHS!

I tried to make my own opinion by reading... Saw posts where people had tortoises with soft shells and they were recommended UVB... On the other hand, saw posts where young tortoises ended up with eye problems.

Living in Canada, it's still quite cold outside. In the summer, she will get her fare share of natural sunlight... But for the next 3-4 weeks, I just don't know what to do.

To provide artificial UVB or not to provide artificial UVB...That is the question!!!

If you are interested in knowing my setup to give better advice:

- She is kept in a 24''x 18'' plastic tub. The room temperature is 80 F. A heat emitter provides a 90 F hot spot. Two hides (1 cold, 1 hot).

-Substrate is Sphagnum moss kept moist (Sprayed 2- to 3 times a day)

- Food offered for the moment has only been endives which she/he has refused (not to worried about that, shes probably stressed).

On the menu will be dandelions, grape leaves, mulberry leaves, collards, peppers, shrooms... etc. Protein when she is 6 months +

Here is the little thing. Named her Lumière (Lulu)

Lulu.jpg


Lumire-1.jpg


Any advice (especially on the UVB thing) would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Nick
 

Yvonne G

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I don't keep redfoots and really don't know much about them, but I THINK that because they eat a bit of animal protein, they get some vitamin d from the food they eat. So you really don't need a powerful MVB or UV light, and can get by with one of the tube-type UV lights. Seems I remember seeing where quite a few of our redfoot keepers use the Zoo Med Repti-sun 10.0:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=15468
 

Redstrike

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I'd recommend a long tube florescent UVB 5.0 (Zoo Med makes a nice bulb), just avoid any of the compact (coil) bulbs. Whether the eye issues have been corrected with the compact units, I don't know but I won't take the risk. Just be sure to follow the height instructions by the manufacturer. I run a long tube UVB 10.0 from Zoo Med and have had no issues.

You can give Lulu some protein prior to 6 months of age. I gave my two RF hatchlings insects on a fairly regular basis. Pheonix/repti worms (black soldier fly larvae) are my favorite, but butterworms, waxworms, and red wigglers etc. are great too. Super worms have a pretty chitinous body, so I avoided them. protein once a week or once every other week would probably benefit a developing baby tort. Adults likely need even less than this (unless they're egg-producing females).
 

Madkins007

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First off... Turtletary's site is a good start, but whenever we read someone offering a specific care plan (rather than general care outlines), we need to understand that it works for them, in their situation. The cares of a medium-large herd manager living in Tennessee or Kentucky where the weather is mild enough that they have box turtles nearby is very different than my needs here in Omaha NE or your needs in Canada.

Heck, I spent a lot of time putting together the Tortoise Library, and I KNOW it won't work for everyone- that is why I included as many links as I can find.

Next... UVB is an interesting discussion. Lots of people say they never use UVB and get great results, others feel strongly that their experiences (and studies) show the real value of UVB. The there are two things to remember about the first group-

a.) you don't need a lot of UVB and there are a lot of 'hidden' UVB/vitamin D sources out there- a small amount makes it through window glass (especially the closer to the Equator you are), old-fashioned, fat fluorescent lights emit some as well, etc. They also often offer vitamin D as a supplement or in foods as well.

b.) Vitamin D shortages do not always appear right away. Assuming the other cares and diet are good, and there is SOME vitamin D available somehow, the main effects may be as subtle as reduced reproductive success or a tortoise that is not doing as well in the long run (not as big or heavy, not living quite as long, etc.)

The eyes of almost every baby animal on Earth is sensitive to too much UV light. All this means is that you need to keep the light levels a bit low (we often overdo the light intensity in a cage anyway), offer plenty of shade or hides, and avoid 'bad' bulbs.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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I tried the Turtletary way with no UVB and it didn't work out. I lost a baby redfoot that way. Maybe everything I had set-up wasn't identical to how he keeps his babies, but the no-UVB route was a failure in my book.

I set-up my other RF (that survived) with a ceramic heat emitter and a 5.0 repti-glo for daylight UVB light. This has worked out well.
 

Nir

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Mark, it is true that caresheets are meant to be general guidelines... Not complete recipes for success.

With no experience with young tortoises, I must admit I am a bit stressed about making sure she has the best care possible!!

By the way, the tortoiselibrary is great! Fabulous work, thank you!

I guess, I will go on the safe side and had a UVB fluorescent light and have it open 4-5 hours a day.

Thanks everyone, I'll keep you posted on Lulu's evolution. Good pics soon when she is all settled and less stressed!
 

Nir

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Happy to say that Lulu ate a full serving of mixed salad a few minutes ago right after a good 15 minute soak!! SOOOO GLAD!! hehe
 

Madkins007

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It is always nice to get positive feedback!
 

Nir

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Here is an updated photo of Lulu. She is doing very well and is now 6 months old. Last time I weighed her (3 weeks ago), she was 95 grams. Shell growth is very smooth and she is fairly active for a baby tortoise. I absolutely adore her and am enjoying very much my tortoise keeping experience.

Again, thank you Mark for the tortoise library, it is often a resource of valuable info for me.

IMG_5196_zpsa0eb57b7.jpg
 
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