New to Tortoises!

Chromatic

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Kentucky
Hey guys! I'm Kiara and I live in Kentucky. On Valentine's weekend, I finally got myself a tortoise! I've wanted a tortoise/turtle for about 10 years, so now that I'm living on my own I decided to get one :) Her name is Pebbles, she's a redfoot. I eventually want to get a second one and get some turtles as well, but I'm pacing myself haha.

I do have a few beginner questions, some might be better answered by locals-
-Is there a good vet I can take her to if need be? I'm wanting someone who has looked at a tortoise at least one time but preferably more (or even someone who specializes in reptiles specifically). Pebbles looks fine and acts fine, but I wouldn't mind getting her checked out since I just got her, but overall just want a vet I will already know of if there's an emergency.
-I'm trying to find a list of foods she can eat, but I just find generic lists; "dark leafy greens," "fruit," etc. I want to start a little garden of flowers/plants specifically for her, so if there's a list somewhere I can check out please let me know! Additionally, if there's a "DO NOT EAT" list as well I'd love to have that. I'm only feeding her organic foods that I know are safe, but an official list would be very beneficial!
-What's the best substrate to use? Right now I am using Reptisoil with some Reptibark but I'm not sure if this is the best thing or use or not (this is what I was recommended). I obviously want her to live her best, healthiest life, so if there's something more suitable out there let me know! <3
-Any good "accessories" to add to her terrarium as well? I have some sphagnum moss in there with her to add greenery (and to help keep it humid) but I would love to add more stuff as well :) (she does have a log and a fake rock she loves to hide under as well).
-Tips on keeping food from drying out daily? I like to keep food in there with her at all times but it doesn't take long for it to begin to dry up so she won't really touch it. it's not directly under/near the heat lamp.

Sorry for so many questions! Anyways, I'd love to make some connections with people who have tortoises just so I can have other people to talk to about it lol. My husband likes animals, but he's not... into animals, if you know what I mean?
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Hey guys! I'm Kiara and I live in Kentucky. On Valentine's weekend, I finally got myself a tortoise! I've wanted a tortoise/turtle for about 10 years, so now that I'm living on my own I decided to get one :) Her name is Pebbles, she's a redfoot. I eventually want to get a second one and get some turtles as well, but I'm pacing myself haha.

I do have a few beginner questions, some might be better answered by locals-
-Is there a good vet I can take her to if need be? I'm wanting someone who has looked at a tortoise at least one time but preferably more (or even someone who specializes in reptiles specifically). Pebbles looks fine and acts fine, but I wouldn't mind getting her checked out since I just got her, but overall just want a vet I will already know of if there's an emergency.
-I'm trying to find a list of foods she can eat, but I just find generic lists; "dark leafy greens," "fruit," etc. I want to start a little garden of flowers/plants specifically for her, so if there's a list somewhere I can check out please let me know! Additionally, if there's a "DO NOT EAT" list as well I'd love to have that. I'm only feeding her organic foods that I know are safe, but an official list would be very beneficial!
-What's the best substrate to use? Right now I am using Reptisoil with some Reptibark but I'm not sure if this is the best thing or use or not (this is what I was recommended). I obviously want her to live her best, healthiest life, so if there's something more suitable out there let me know! <3
-Any good "accessories" to add to her terrarium as well? I have some sphagnum moss in there with her to add greenery (and to help keep it humid) but I would love to add more stuff as well :) (she does have a log and a fake rock she loves to hide under as well).
-Tips on keeping food from drying out daily? I like to keep food in there with her at all times but it doesn't take long for it to begin to dry up so she won't really touch it. it's not directly under/near the heat lamp.

Sorry for so many questions! Anyways, I'd love to make some connections with people who have tortoises just so I can have other people to talk to about it lol. My husband likes animals, but he's not... into animals, if you know what I mean?
Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new buddy. Redfoots rock! Skip the Vet visit. As long as your tort is eating drinking and going to the bathroom is completely unnecessary. Reptibark is good but it's extremely overpriced. I use cypress mulch only because it can be found cheap in bulk at hardware/garden stores here on the east coast. If I could find orchid bark as cheap I'd probably use that but either is fine. Here's some of the things I feed my Redfoots:
For greens I feed Dandelion greens and flowers, mustard, turnip, bok choy, kale, romaine, escarole, endive, red and green cabbage, plantain weed, clover, hibiscus leaves and flowers, arugula, radicchio, raspberry leaf, mulberry leaf, Moringa leaf, echinacea leaf.

Veggies I feed include, squash, carrots, sweet potato, mushrooms, pumpkin, green and red pepper, cucumber, Opuntia cactus

Fruits I feed include, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, mango, banana, apricot, papaya, kiwi, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, pear, peach

For protein I use Earthworms, crickets, Tuna, chicken, shrimp, sardines, scrambled eggs (with the Shell) low-fat cat food and sometimes moistened aquatic turtle food. I do protein about once a week.

I also feed either Mazuri Tortoise chow or Zoomed forest Tortoise a couple times a week.

There's probably more I don't remember at the moment. The key is variety. Feed something different each day and try to offer more than one item daily.

You don't have to worry about the food drying out, they'll eat it anyways.

Redfoots like lots of hiding places and don't like bright lights. You'll want to put a lot of plants in your enclosure. I like Pothos, Boston fern, spider plants, and Lyropi.
 

Chromatic

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Kentucky
Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new buddy. Redfoots rock!
-snip-


Thanks so much!

I haven't really fed her anything animal-based yet because I wasn't sure what exactly to give her. Are those dried up earthworms/crickets you get at pet stores suitable for her to eat?
>I do give her calcium powder about once a week, I read before not to over do it. do I need to do this twice/three times a week? or is once a week okay?

I do have Fluker's crafted diet for her, but she got sick of it pretty quick. Since I got her on Feb 13 there wasn't really fruit in the stores- so I opted for that since it has fruit/plant-based ingredients. I don't recall seeing Mazuri at the petstore by my house but I'll have to go back and check.

I've noticed she likes to hide, it worried me in the beginning because she'd stay in there 24/7, and I felt like she wasn't getting any of the UVB light? I think she was just stressed from being in a new environment- and (maybe) being by herself as when I got her she was living with four other torts. but the past few days she's been moving around a lot more, and she was even soaking for a few hours a couple days ago which I was very happy with (before I would have to pick her up and bring her to the food to get her to eat, I'd put her in the water and sometimes she'd drink but most of the time just crawl out).
>How often should I soak her, and for how long? and should the water cover most of her shell, should I get a slanted bowl so she's completely covered except her head, or does it not really matter?

I didn't know about the bright lights- it does explain why she likes to bury herself all day (or stay in her log). Her UVB light is like a fluorescent light- are there other options that aren't as bright? (as you can see, I'm new to this lol).
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Thanks so much!

I haven't really fed her anything animal-based yet because I wasn't sure what exactly to give her. Are those dried up earthworms/crickets you get at pet stores suitable for her to eat?
>I do give her calcium powder about once a week, I read before not to over do it. do I need to do this twice/three times a week? or is once a week okay?

I do have Fluker's crafted diet for her, but she got sick of it pretty quick. Since I got her on Feb 13 there wasn't really fruit in the stores- so I opted for that since it has fruit/plant-based ingredients. I don't recall seeing Mazuri at the petstore by my house but I'll have to go back and check.

I've noticed she likes to hide, it worried me in the beginning because she'd stay in there 24/7, and I felt like she wasn't getting any of the UVB light? I think she was just stressed from being in a new environment- and (maybe) being by herself as when I got her she was living with four other torts. but the past few days she's been moving around a lot more, and she was even soaking for a few hours a couple days ago which I was very happy with (before I would have to pick her up and bring her to the food to get her to eat, I'd put her in the water and sometimes she'd drink but most of the time just crawl out).
>How often should I soak her, and for how long? and should the water cover most of her shell, should I get a slanted bowl so she's completely covered except her head, or does it not really matter?

I didn't know about the bright lights- it does explain why she likes to bury herself all day (or stay in her log). Her UVB light is like a fluorescent light- are there other options that aren't as bright? (as you can see, I'm new to this lol).
Yes you can feed those dried worms and crickets. Just don't rely solely on that for protein. Remember variety is key.

For calcium, once a week is plenty. Focus mostly on feeding a good varied diet. Personally, I feed egg shells for calcium about twice a month.

Young Torts spend most of their time hiding. That's a pretty normal behavior. Torts also don't like change and they will sulk when their surroundings change.

Soaking really depends on size. How big is your new Tort? You want the water to come up to about the bottom of the Torts neck. 20 minutes is about how long I soak mine for. When they were less than a year I soak them everyday. After a year I soak them 2-3 times a week.
 

Chromatic

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Kentucky
Thanks Yvonne!
---
I haven't officially measured her but I'd say 4-5 inches long? she's still pretty young based on her size. what are all the benefits of soaking?

and how humid should her terrarium be? I've read a few different numbers but again, I'm not sure how accurate that is.
 

Guts

Member
Location (City and/or State)
Tennessee
Congrats on your new tort!

Tortoisetable is a GREAT resource for finding what plants are safe!
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Hi and welcome,
Although you plan to get another at some point in the future, please be aware that tortoises are territorial and don't like company. It stresses them out which can cause illness and even injury if they become aggressive. Even though I believe redfoots are more tolerant than other species, members have reported bullying behaviour amongst their torts to others in their space. Groups work better if you have the right gender mix and a very large space so that they can avoid each other. The more you have the bigger the space you need. There are plenty of redfoot keepers here who will be happy to help you and I'm sure there's a caresheet somewhere in the species specific section.
 

Chromatic

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Kentucky
Thanks for the tips everyone! I've been doing lots of reading and research, so any links to threads or sites I'll definitely go check out!

@/Lyn, I do plan on getting another tortoise at some point, but he would have his own enclosure all to himself :)
 
Top