Odorless Alternative Substrate suggestions?

Kittychu

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Hello. I am new here. My name is Kitty. I am the Torty Mom to a 12 year old sulcata that I've raised from a baby. He lives indoors, but gets plenty of sun in the spring and the summer when we go on walks, or even if he's just chilling in the backyard.
But i digress.
I've always used rabbit pellets as his substrate, as I was instructed by the breeder who sold him to me as a baby. I usually changed his substrate about every 3-4 months, once he had ground ut down to sand.
Last September, however, I moved in with two new friends, and one of them is constantly complaining about his smell, and I've started having to change his substrate monthly to try to keep her happy.
I don't wish to complain about the price, since I know that is part of the responsibility of owning a tortoise, but now she has implied that she thinks I am mistreating him.
I love my tortoise very much, but I really don't smell what she smells.
So, I'm looking for, potentially, a new bedding. Something that does not have a strong scent. Since rabbit pellets can break down easily, or even mold, I think they are likely part of the problem.
I've read some people post about mulch, though that sounds stinky to me as well, but I'm looking to learn. Any suggestions are helpful.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Some people are just complainers.

Rabbit pellets are considered a poor choice for many reasons, you mentioned the mold, I have not used them so can't attest to the smell when mixed with tortoise urine, but fresh rabbit pellets do have a strong odor, but that it's a "bad" odor, well, see my first sentence.

Many people use different coconut shell products ( the husk part of the shell), coco husk chunks and coconut coir. I have use chunks with good success, but they may still have an odor, once they get tortoise urine on them.

I most often used fir bark, often sold as orchid bark (you grow orchids in it, it is not the bark or orchid plants).

And forest mulches. Hardwood (not cedar), most often chosen is cypress ( very very long use life).

The other down side to rabbit pellets is they tend to desiccate the tortoise, and are unsuitable for higher levels of humidity, a past 'overlooked' consideration for growing healthy tortoises. All baby tortoises do better with higher levels of humidity than can be sustained with rabbit pellets.
 

Kittychu

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May 8, 2019
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Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster pa
Some people are just complainers.

Rabbit pellets are considered a poor choice for many reasons, you mentioned the mold, I have not used them so can't attest to the smell when mixed with tortoise urine, but fresh rabbit pellets do have a strong odor, but that it's a "bad" odor, well, see my first sentence.

Many people use different coconut shell products ( the husk part of the shell), coco husk chunks and coconut coir. I have use chunks with good success, but they may still have an odor, once they get tortoise urine on them.

I most often used fir bark, often sold as orchid bark (you grow orchids in it, it is not the bark or orchid plants).

And forest mulches. Hardwood (not cedar), most often chosen is cypress ( very very long use life).

The other down side to rabbit pellets is they tend to desiccate the tortoise, and are unsuitable for higher levels of humidity, a past 'overlooked' consideration for growing healthy tortoises. All baby tortoises do better with higher levels of humidity than can be sustained with rabbit pellets.

Thank you very much for the reply. Does mulch require a lot of upkeep? I've been reading other peoples posts about it, and it seems like keeping it somewhat moist is important.

It's a little alarming to me to find that I've been using a substrate that isn't very recommended by the tortoise owning community for so long. I would like to get my tortoise into something that is healthy for him, as well as keeps my roommate happy.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Thank you very much for the reply. Does mulch require a lot of upkeep? I've been reading other peoples posts about it, and it seems like keeping it somewhat moist is important.

It's a little alarming to me to find that I've been using a substrate that isn't very recommended by the tortoise owning community for so long. I would like to get my tortoise into something that is healthy for him, as well as keeps my roommate happy.


It may be your tortoise is past when humidity is so critical for normal phenotype growth, maybe not? A picture posted would help with that.

By default consider in the wild sulcata spend a vast majority of their time in their burrows where, even in the driest desert, the ambient humidity can be 95% RH. I know it seems counter intuitive, but all tortoises find that micro climate with higher humidity. So, yes keeping the mulch moist is a good idea.
 

dmmj

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It might be easier 2 find new roommates.
 

Maro2Bear

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Id suggest going to your local Home Depot or Lowes, go to the garden center, and look for bags of Cypress Mulch. A 2 to 3 cubic foot bag should cost you less than 5 bucks. It basically has no smell, or a woodsy smell at most. You can add and remove handfuls as needed.

Definitely get rid of those rabbit pellets!

Good luck.

Here’s what to look or ask for:

E1764F51-D65B-4719-86F0-927CDF7ED527.jpeg
 
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