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Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by lakintorts, Apr 29, 2019.

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  1. lakintorts

    lakintorts New Member

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    My family and I adopted two new baby torties about a year ago. We are in love needless to say. I am getting ready to clean their cage and was wondering about using organic garden soil in their enclosure?
    I also have noticed teeny tiny little black bugs in the enclosure that seem to climb all over the cage but I have not seen any actually on the tortoises, at least not that I can see. Just curious if anyone knows what they are and if I should be concerned or if they are part of the substrate....I know from owning bearded dragon that sometimes the substrate can have little buggies in it. Thank you all for any advice andtips! Always learning!
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  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    What species and how big?
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  3. lakintorts

    lakintorts New Member

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    They are Mojave/California desert tortoises from what I have been told
  4. lakintorts

    lakintorts New Member

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    Mojave/California Desert tortoise is what we were told
  5. lakintorts

    lakintorts New Member

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    I should correct myself...its an organic raised bed soil that has earthworm castings, bonemeal and alfalfa and kelp meal in it
  6. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  7. lakintorts

    lakintorts New Member

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  8. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    My substrate of choice is small grade orchid bark. You can buy it at plant nurseries. But, because you have to keep the substrate slightly moist, you're not going to be able to get rid of the small bugs. They thrive in this environment. Just know that they are not harmful to either the tortoise or you. They eat any leftover food or waste in the enclosure. If it gets to be too much, you can just dump the whole thing and start over. No matter what substrate you use, you're going to have those bugs eventually.
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  9. lakintorts

    lakintorts New Member

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    Oh good! As long as they are not hurting my babies I am fine with them. I was searching around the forum and noticed someone mentioned rollie pollie bugs to help....do you just grab them from outside or is there somewhere you purchase them? Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!!! :)
  10. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I doubt rolly pollies would eat the actual bug. Here's what my friend Google says they eat:

    Sowbugs are omnivores and feed on both decaying plants and animals. These crustaceans also feed on the outer skin of fallen vegetables and fruits. Additionally, sowbugs eat the roots and stems of some garden plants.

    It says they eat "decaying. . . animals" so I think those teeny tiny bugs would have to be dead before a sow bug would eat it. However, I DO have a handful of sowbugs in my enclosure and they help clean up the decaying food around the feeding tile. I just turned over a rotten log outside and grabbed a handful of them.
    Cndlou0309 and lakintorts like this.
  11. lakintorts

    lakintorts New Member

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    I do love google! :) Thank you so much. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by google and wonder whats what so its nice to have this forum to get advice from
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  12. Cndlou0309

    Cndlou0309 New Member

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    Sow bugs don’t survive in my yard! My hens gobble em up quick!
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