New tort - (substrate, lighting, food)


New Member
Aug 9, 2016
Hi all, I'm from the UK and I've had my Horsefield (Barry) a week today. He was born July 2015.

I need some advice because everything I read seems to be so conflicting! I don't think I've got anything right and I'm worried I'm not doing right by my lovely tort.

Substrate: As I have him (or her) in a vivarium [with a view to moving to a table once he's a bit bigger and I'm more confident with him], I was advised to use Herbifloor. I'm keeping it slightly moist. Is this suitable? He seems to dig about happily in it.

Lighting/heating: I currently have a heat mat kept between 21/25 degrees Celsius (70/77 Fahrenheit) as the assistant from the place I got him from said that was an appropriate temperature. It covers the floor of half the vivarium. The light I've got is attached in a picture, 15W with 2%UVB. I'm not convinced it's correct, but I have read so many different opinions of lighting and heating for Russain torts that I've confused myself, and I need to give my boy the best upbringing I can!

Food: Currently he munches a variety of lettuces, dandelions and a tortoise pellet food. I sprinkle his leaves with calcium powder, and I've also got a cuttlefish in there for good measure. Is there anything else I should be feeding him? Obviously I give him fresh water at regular intervals throughout the day. Is it true that I can't give him spinach, bell peppers or cucumber?

He likes to be out and about, and seems to be enjoying his baths. He's been out in the garden a few times, and seems to like the great outdoors!

Please if someone could help with the above and any other tips you have for raising a happy and healthy Horsefield would be greatly appreciated


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Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Oct 29, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
Ohio USA
Sustrate is good A good choice. Try to keep some dryer areas too, a hide box that's moist will the rest is moist dry medium would be good too.
Heat should come from the top not the bottom. I would remove heat mat and get a good heat and uv combo buld, not a coil style. A power sun is a good all in one choice. The problem with heat mats is it leaves little choice for them to cool down and nothing to bask under. Variety in diet is key. Theirs a good website called that's uk based. Has a lot of info on safe foods for your guy.

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