New tortoise owner

Crystallynda

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Hello, I am new at owning a desert Tortoise that someone gave to me!
I been doing a lot of research on these guys..
the one I have seems to be still pretty young..I’m assuming about 1 year or 2 old!
So far I have noticed he’s been a little scared of me or his surroundings..I only take him out to give him a warm bath and take him out for some sunlight! I have noticed that he wants to eat when outside but all he wants to do is sleep when he’s inside! I know he’s cold..I just purchased his light on Amazon..waiting on arrival...

my question is..should I buy him coconut fiber for his substrate? He currently has sand and rocks and two plastic hideouts that he normally stays in cause I know he’s cold!
Also..what else should I get this little guy? I considered getting him a tortoise table already since he’ll be inside most of the time but will be taking him out for sunlight often! I wanna be sure he’s well taken care of!!
P.S excuse his messy enclosure...that’s how I got him..don’t have any supplies for him yet..but they are in their way!

537E78B4-9FD2-4FF0-A325-102B1C3DF37A.jpeg image.jpg
 

Lyn W

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This caresheet will help you find the right substrate and temps etc
Torst don't like change so maybe that's why he's a bit timid and if he is too cold that could affect him.
 

Crystallynda

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I been doing my part on keeping him as warm as possible till his lights come in!
I have him in my room...it’s actually warmer in here then where he previously was!
 

Happytort27

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Your tortoise looks very dry. I would give him a warm, 30 minute soak everyday in an opaque container where he can’t climb out.

Get rid of the sand ASAP. Sand can cause impaction and irritate your tortoise’s eyes. The best substrate for DT’s is damp coco coir because they like digging (at least mine does). Buy the coconut coir bricks and follow the directions to loosen it. The other options would be orchid bark (known as fir bark or repti bark) or cypress mulch, but I prefer coco coir for this species.

Next, there are four elements to heating and lighting complied by @Tom:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer for 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. Unless your house gets unusually cold at night, you can skip this step for a DT, a Russian, or other Testudo species. Night lows above 60 require no night heat for Testudo species or DTs. If your house is around 70, that's perfect for a baby.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb. If your tortoises room is already adequately lit, you don't need this one either.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside in a safe secure enclosure for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb. Regular "T 8" type UV tubes produce hardly any UV. CFL type UV bulbs are also ineffective, and sometimes dangerous, and should not be used.
I know you didn’t ask for this, but here are some food suggestions also complied by Tom:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food

If you do not have these types of weeds and flowers available at the moment, you can also get dandelion greens, mustard greens, cilantro, turnip and radish tops, bok choy, wheatgrass, and collard greens from most grocery stores. Make sure to rotate each item out every day to provide a variety. As a staple, you can buy chicory, endive, and escarole. Although, your tortoise needs a wider variety than this. Maybe try to order some seed mixes online or walk around your neighborhood and find some weeds that you can feed.

Please take a look at this updated care sheet for your species. This will probably clarify some things and answer your questions:

https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threa...ise-any-temperate-species-of-tortoise.183131/

I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope this helps. More questions are welcome. :)
 

Crystallynda

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I absolutely love this!
I read the sheet and it specified on what kind of bulb I need for my desert tortoise!!
um I am planning on changing the sad as soon as possible! I have him inside a plastic container with sheets so he’s not on dirt cause I did notice his face being dried and I have put him in water since I have gotten him! He comes from neglected home!
Also I was told by the sheet to get him coconut fiber loose..which is out of stock..can I just use the one you suggested?
 

Tom

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Hello, I am new at owning a desert Tortoise that someone gave to me!
I been doing a lot of research on these guys..
the one I have seems to be still pretty young..I’m assuming about 1 year or 2 old!
So far I have noticed he’s been a little scared of me or his surroundings..I only take him out to give him a warm bath and take him out for some sunlight! I have noticed that he wants to eat when outside but all he wants to do is sleep when he’s inside! I know he’s cold..I just purchased his light on Amazon..waiting on arrival...

my question is..should I buy him coconut fiber for his substrate? He currently has sand and rocks and two plastic hideouts that he normally stays in cause I know he’s cold!
Also..what else should I get this little guy? I considered getting him a tortoise table already since he’ll be inside most of the time but will be taking him out for sunlight often! I wanna be sure he’s well taken care of!!
P.S excuse his messy enclosure...that’s how I got him..don’t have any supplies for him yet..but they are in their way!
Don't wait another day. Go to Home Depot tomorrow and get a fixture, 65-100 watt flood bulb (NOT an LED replacement), and a digital appliance timer to turn it on and off. This tortoise needs to be able to warm up to 100 degrees every day and this light will simulate the sun when he's indoors.

Also soak the baby for 30-40 minutes in warm water daily for a while. Keep the water warm the whole time.

Simply dump the sand out and use no substrate until you can get some coco coir. You can find coir in bulk at local nurseries. Use a very thick layer and hand pack it down firmly. It will be messy at first, but keep hand packing it and it will settle in.

Read the care sheet and follow it if you want the baby to live:

These bulbs. Adjust the height to get the correct temperature under them. Put a flat rock of some sort under it:

Hang this from over head and you can remove the little wire guard thingy. Don't use the clamp that comes with it:

Timer:

For food and water. I recommend having a couple of spares too:

So you know the temp and humidity:

Notice there is nothing you need here from a pet store. You'll get bad advice and the wrong products there.

Questions are welcome!
 

Crystallynda

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Messages
661
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas
Is his plastic bin on the floor, or up on a table?

If he's on the floor, put him on a table. The floor is much colder than upper areas of the room.
I had him up in a high way up on something, but it was to cold in that part of take house so I moved him in our room with a circulating heater till his lights come in!
I also dumped his dirt..it was super dirty and definitely noted he can have respiratory issues! 😞
 

Crystallynda

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Messages
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Don't wait another day. Go to Home Depot tomorrow and get a fixture, 65-100 watt flood bulb (NOT an LED replacement), and a digital appliance timer to turn it on and off. This tortoise needs to be able to warm up to 100 degrees every day and this light will simulate the sun when he's indoors.

Also soak the baby for 30-40 minutes in warm water daily for a while. Keep the water warm the whole time.

Simply dump the sand out and use no substrate until you can get some coco coir. You can find coir in bulk at local nurseries. Use a very thick layer and hand pack it down firmly. It will be messy at first, but keep hand packing it and it will settle in.

Read the care sheet and follow it if you want the baby to live:

These bulbs. Adjust the height to get the correct temperature under them. Put a flat rock of some sort under it:

Hang this from over head and you can remove the little wire guard thingy. Don't use the clamp that comes with it:

Timer:

For food and water. I recommend having a couple of spares too:

So you know the temp and humidity:

Notice there is nothing you need here from a pet store. You'll get bad advice and the wrong products there.

Questions are welcome!
I bought him these things already,

I read through the sheet article and it recommended me to get the mercy 100 Walt!
Also he has plastic low dishes for his food and water that I ask using!
I have pellets for food for him that someone recommended me and I also bought him calcium bone from Amazon like mentioned in the article! I have the powder with D3 in had as well!
 

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Crystallynda

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
661
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas
Don't wait another day. Go to Home Depot tomorrow and get a fixture, 65-100 watt flood bulb (NOT an LED replacement), and a digital appliance timer to turn it on and off. This tortoise needs to be able to warm up to 100 degrees every day and this light will simulate the sun when he's indoors.

Also soak the baby for 30-40 minutes in warm water daily for a while. Keep the water warm the whole time.

Simply dump the sand out and use no substrate until you can get some coco coir. You can find coir in bulk at local nurseries. Use a very thick layer and hand pack it down firmly. It will be messy at first, but keep hand packing it and it will settle in.

Read the care sheet and follow it if you want the baby to live:

These bulbs. Adjust the height to get the correct temperature under them. Put a flat rock of some sort under it:

Hang this from over head and you can remove the little wire guard thingy. Don't use the clamp that comes with it:

Timer:

For food and water. I recommend having a couple of spares too:

So you know the temp and humidity:

Notice there is nothing you need here from a pet store. You'll get bad advice and the wrong products there.

Questions are welcome!
What should I do? I bought him pellets from the pet store and powder calcium with D3 in it that’s it! The rest of the stuff I been looking at is from Amazon! Check other reply for images in which I got! I heard many bad things about coil for desert tortoise so I got him coconut fiber instead! Considering getting hay as well!!

the mercy light will arrive tomorrow and I also have a clip built for it as well to clip on his plastic enclosure! I have him without dirt in some un used sheets!!
 

Crystallynda

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Messages
661
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Las Vegas
I don’t wanna have anxiety!
i cant sleep at piece Without knowing my little guy is ok! I have gotten greatly attached to him already...I want him well!! 🙏🙏
 

Crystallynda

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Las Vegas
Rest of stuff, waiting arrival!
Sheets should be updated! It’s still in 2011 !!
 

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KarenSoCal

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What should I do? I bought him pellets from the pet store and powder calcium with D3 in it that’s it! The rest of the stuff I been looking at is from Amazon! Check other reply for images in which I got! I heard many bad things about coil for desert tortoise so I got him coconut fiber instead! Considering getting hay as well!!

the mercy light will arrive tomorrow and I also have a clip built for it as well to clip on his plastic enclosure! I have him without dirt in some un used sheets!!

Unfortunately, there has been a bit of a communication error here.

In post # 2, Lyn W linked you to a care sheet. Unfortunately, that care sheet is not used by TFO any longer. It recommends products that have been shown to not work as well as others.

Then, in post # 4, Happytort27 linked you to a different care sheet. This one has the latest, most up-to-date info.

You've ordered a light that is not good for torts. Your "mercy" light is actually a "mercury vapor light". They burn very hot, are expensive, are prone to being finicky, and most of all, have a tendency to burn the tort's carapace and promote pyramiding. Maybe you can return it and get your money back. Instead, use the flood light from Home Depot that Tom linked.

The lamp on the Amazon order with a clamp is dangerous because of the clamp. Clamps fail, the light falls into the substrate, and causes a fire. You can use the fixture, but tie it to something so it cannot fall into the enclosure. Or better, get the brooder light from Home Depot that Tom linked.

Tom says to do this tomorrow because a baby tort can very quickly get a respiratory infection (RI) when they are too cold. This cold situation has to be fixed ASAP. It's also why I said to get him up off the floor.

Please do not get any hay. Your baby is too young to eat it yet. If you were thinking of using it for substrate, it is no good for that. You will be adding water to the substrate to supply the high humidity your baby needs. Hay gets moldy when wet, so you don't want it in there.

Just go by Tom's post of what to do, and the info that Happytort 27 posted. Don't panic...we will guide you through each step. Just do what we tell you. There will be time later for you to learn why you did these things. Let's get your baby situated first.
 

Crystallynda

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
661
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas
Unfortunately, there has been a bit of a communication error here.

In post # 2, Lyn W linked you to a care sheet. Unfortunately, that care sheet is not used by TFO any longer. It recommends products that have been shown to not work as well as others.

Then, in post # 4, Happytort27 linked you to a different care sheet. This one has the latest, most up-to-date info.

You've ordered a light that is not good for torts. Your "mercy" light is actually a "mercury vapor light". They burn very hot, are expensive, are prone to being finicky, and most of all, have a tendency to burn the tort's carapace and promote pyramiding. Maybe you can return it and get your money back. Instead, use the flood light from Home Depot that Tom linked.

The lamp on the Amazon order with a clamp is dangerous because of the clamp. Clamps fail, the light falls into the substrate, and causes a fire. You can use the fixture, but tie it to something so it cannot fall into the enclosure. Or better, get the brooder light from Home Depot that Tom linked.

Tom says to do this tomorrow because a baby tort can very quickly get a respiratory infection (RI) when they are too cold. This cold situation has to be fixed ASAP. It's also why I said to get him up off the floor.

Please do not get any hay. Your baby is too young to eat it yet. If you were thinking of using it for substrate, it is no good for that. You will be adding water to the substrate to supply the high humidity your baby needs. Hay gets moldy when wet, so you don't want it in there.

Just go by Tom's post of what to do, and the info that Happytort 27 posted. Don't panic...we will guide you through each step. Just do what we tell you. There will be time later for you to learn why you did these things. Let's get your baby situated first.
Im on it, prob is..how can I put his light up if I don’t have a proper enclosure yet for him to have his light! I have no problem on getting the light from Home Depot tomorrow! His enclosure is plastic right now...and I have him in towels since I got rid of the dirt!
Suggestions in food? Cause all I have right now is pellets 😭😭
 

Crystallynda

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Im on it, prob is..how can I put his light up if I don’t have a proper enclosure yet for him to have his light! I have no problem on getting the light from Home Depot tomorrow! His enclosure is plastic right now...and I have him in towels since I got rid of the dirt!
Suggestions in food? Cause all I have right now is pellets 😭😭
I talked to a native plant dispensary in California! I left them messages! I’m considering getting him native plants for occasional feeds! I thought you couldn’t feed it foods from the grocery store! I’m so confused now!!
 
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