New redfoot (and reptile owner) seeking any and all advice.

Kope007

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Nov 11, 2019
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Tampa, fl
So without much forethought Wife and daughters brought home a beautiful redfoot tortoise (Turbo) to our family, from the reptile show. That's left me scrambling to get him set up, at least temporarily until I can create a more permanent habitat.

He is small and we are getting our first bit of "cool" weather in Tampa, FL. Eventually I will build an outdoor enclosure, but because of his youth and the cold he will be indoors for the near future. I read as much info as I could as quickly as I could and have put together a habitat with some things that were donated to us, stuff we had on hand, as well as a few things we could get next day shipped from amazon, lol.

He came home Sunday evening and hasn't seemed to be too interested in eating all that much. If placed in front of his food he'll eat a few bites then pretty quickly heads to a hiding spot.

Here is a pic of current set up:


Heating and Lighting
The lamp on the left has a ceramic heater in it. It is getting about 85° directly under it. The cool side is room temp, which is typically 75° during the day, but with current weather will get down to 70° at night. The tube bulb is a 22" T5 HO 10.0 uvb, https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/zoo-med-reptisun-100-uvb-t5-ho-lamp-24-watts. It is 18" away from the surface. I feel like I've read different things now about having a hot and cool side.
1. Should i try to have one consistent temperature? 80°-85°?
2. I've been turning off light and heat at night. Should I leave heat on all night? Or perhaps just cool it down some with a thermostat?
3. Can anyone recommend a good thermostat?
Any other thoughts.

Humidity
I'm definitely struggling maintaining a consistent humidity. From reading I need to be between 80-90. I have cypress mulch and the sphagnum moss. I've just been spraying it down as often as i can but it fluctuates quite a bit, from 80 right after a spray down to 50% after several hours. I'm currently only measuring with the cheapo analog unit but plan to replace that asap. From reading, the best solution is going to involve a cover.
4. Given the current levels and swings in humidity how important is it to get the humidity constantly dialed in? Do i need to get this squared away with a covered habitat in the next day or two? Or will he be Ok for a couple weeks until I can create a better habitat?
5. Any ideas how I can maintain more consistent humidity with this open top set up for now?

I probably have a million more questions but this post is probably already too long.
Thanks so much for any and all thoughts and advice.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Your best bet is going to be to ditch that tub and get a storage tote with a lid. You'll never be able to get the proper humidity with an open top enclosure like that. The first year is crucial for high humidity. These should be available at Walmart if not now within the next few weeks Screenshot_20191108-191138~2.png It's a Xmas tree tote. They work great with just a few modifications for your light and CHE. I keep my Redfoots at an ambient temperature of 84-86f thru out the enclosure, day and night. I use this thermostat here
https://www.ebay.com/itm/iPower-Digital-Heat-Mat-Thermostat-Controller-Seed-Germination-Reptiles-Brewing/152163857751?_trkparms=ispr=1&hash=item236dac3557:g:vukAAOSwCdxdP-C-


Sounds like your on the right track though.Congrads on your new tort and feel free to ask any questions you have!
 

jsheffield

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That hibiscus will still have the original soil, which contains fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides, none of which are good for your tort...

Establishing a covered/closed system will help to stabilize temp/humidity, and optimize things for your tort.

I think leaving heat on with a thermostat to keep up the temp overnight will do your tort some good.

Until you can get a closed/covered system, just make sure to warm soak the tort everyday.

Welcome to TFO... it's a great place to learn about taking care of your tortoise.

Jamie
 

Madkins007

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A humid hiding place will help until you can get things dialed in.
 

TammyJ

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Welcome to the site and all the best! Beautiful little tortoise. My redfoots grew up on the advice I got here three years ago and they are doing wonderfully.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hello and welcome.
Are you in the CITY OF Tampa?
I let my Redfoot live outdoors 24/7 at about 3 or 4 months.
The enclosure just needs to be designed for a smaller tortoise.
Not having predators around is a big bonus.
 

ZEROPILOT

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The 10.0 tube might be a little harsh. But probably not from that height.
When that one loses its effectiveness, I recommend using 5.0.
Also, if you can let your RF outdoors for a few hours of sunshine a day. With shade always available. You can go without a U.V fixture all together.
Make temps from 80 to 85.
I think that 82 is the perfect temp.
Keep humidity up over 70% and keep bright lights away.
Baby RF WILL AND DO spend a huge part of the day hiding and sleeping.
 
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