Play sand type

Tom

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The bricks will be level with the substrate when I do it, no ramp bio raising since it could make him decide otherwise in using it. And its just a shallow plate like his food plate but larger (since just the other day read a post where the OP mentioned a ramp bowl and people were saying it could cause water flipping and drowning, and I didn't have the ramp bowl but it was like a 2 inch deep old Tupperware container and I was worried he'd flip in that and potentially drown since he really splashes around sometimes! )

Everyone has got to do what they think is best, but all of that doesn't sound ideal to me. Have you tried the terra cotta plant saucers sunk into the substrate? They only cost a couple of bucks and having it buried into the substrate usually discourages them from digging under it. I have 20 russians with sunken terra cotta saucers and none of them try to dig under them.

I won't bug you about it anymore... just throwing that out there.
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Tom
Your good with torts and you don't have a bunch of kids on your side of the debate . But please do a lot more resurch on compost . And I don't mean store bought compost .


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Shakudo

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Hi,

I just wanted to share my opinion too on the playsand/substrate issue.

In the short time I have been a tortoise keeper, I have read tons of info,spoken to breeders on an expo.
Did some practical research myself, and this is what I come up with.

There is no perfect solution.

The RT live in semi arid areas, sometimes encounter steppe areas, semi-desert, (dry) grasslands, their habitat is divers and various influences are creating an environment we as hobbyist, can never truly duplicate.
Tortoises have been around longer than we, and I think part of that is their ability to adapt to different circumstances...


I agree with the consensus that pure sand as a substrate has a bigger risk of impaction problems then f.e. coco coir/fiber/peat/whatyacallit. Properly expanded coco fiber doesn't extra expand again once properly soaked.
However, I can't imagine, wether it be sand/fiber/bark or anything, consumed in mass by a tortoise can be beneficial.


My tort was on pure sand for the last 2 years and I am happy she seems healthy and eating and I want to better her circumstances, and improve her quality of Life as far as I can in captivity under these circumstances.

That was enough reason for me to remove the sand.


However,

I do believe they can encounter sand in Nature of course. And is always a possibility of ingestion.
I think the way of giving the food, also can contribute to that, f.e. I give her her salad mix in a repti dish and not on the substrate.
Of course, with torts they sometimes can be messy, and it can land on the substrate as well, and then they might take in some substrate. It happens, perhaps when in Nature they eat greens close to the ground they encounter some ground or sand or dust or whatever.

You can however reduce risks and eliminate them as you choose, however, I try to be reasonable when it comes to that.


I now use a mix of 40 liters of coco coir/peat/compressed fiber, whatever you would like to call it, with some leftover play sand I had, just a few kilos.

I mixed it up with the coco peat and it is nearly undetectable. I did this, just to make the mix a bit more like outside.
By reading all those comments that are, let me say, passionate, I almost felt guilty of using sand at all.
However I do not think I am putting my animal at risk for impaction, because I have limited the sand extremely.

I could obsess over anything concerning my tort, but I try to realize as a keeper of a tortoise in captivity, I can never fully mimic Natural surroundings.

They come from semi arid regions and I heard that some people keep them on moist substrate all the the time.
I don't think with proper ventilation it will stay very wet for long but keeping it wet all the time was advised against by a breeder I spoke and other people with first hand experience, because I learned they can choose their own preferable site.
They can determine for themselves which situation they want, dry/moist.

So I choose to let my substrate mix dry out and keep a corner of it moist, so she can choose.
I don't expect I can mimic Natural conditions completely, the tortoise is kept in captivity, which is per definition an artificial situation in which we as humans choose to keep hem.



My conclusions, and of course everyone is free to agree/disagree but these are mine:

- there is no perfect substrate, unless you travel to their native habitat and bring a shovel and container, and even then mimicking periodic rain falls, emulation of seasons, seem to me like a very hard thing to do in captive conditions. I mean, you can never make it perfect, only try your best.

- mixing a bit of sand as an additive seems harmless, but used solely as a substrate increase the risk of dehydration and/or stomach impaction, which is variously proved, by examples/experiences of others. So why not learn?

- Multiple things might work out for the RT's, you just have to find out which is preferable for yours.
I am noticing that Yoshi seems to like this substrate, because she is digging more, and seems more relaxed, but that is my interpretation.

- Attacking one another on this subject is useless, we can't all agree on one substrate and make it a directive.
But we CAN agree on what are possible good mixtures by sharing them, and letting one another try and find out for themselves.
The same goes for what mixtures bring the most risks, and agreeing about that, there is evidence no use denying it right? Why not learn from that, and act accordingly.

- Ignorance isn't always bliss, I for one am happy I got rid of the all sand mixture.
I am being honest, I was a bit irritated at first when posting here, I spend a lot of effort posting all sorts of pictures and stuff and all some people cared about was commenting on the substrate without reading my posts and finding out I already was taking action. Criticizing is sometimes very easy, but giving constructive criticism, takes something of a bit of empathy towards the person you are giving the critique to. However, I am still happy and grateful because I tried to make the habitat for my little girl better suited. And we both benefit from that, so I try to keep and open mind.


Take care,

Joey
 

Turtlepete

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No. I take insults as insults. Calling someone paranoid for sharing info on cases of sand impaction that they have actually seen first hand is an insult. Are you saying I didn't really see those x-rays and I imagined it? THEN I would be paranoid. Jacqui and I have different opinions on things, but we usually don't call each other names or give each other false titles, like "paranoid". Look up the definition of paranoid. It seems you don't understand what it means. When the thing you fear actually happens on a regular basis and in known preventable circumstances, it is NOT paranoia.

You are all skirting around the facts of this matter. The OP started this thread looking for advice about using sand. Because I know it to be a problem first hand and have seen it many times, I am advising against it. Because some one engaged in this practice and their tortoise didn't die (yet), does not make it a good practice to be recommended when better, safer alternatives exist.

Sand is potentially dangerous and there is no need to use it. Other substrates work just as well or better, and don't have the same risks associated with them. Its that simple.

Its not that simple. Your opinion is that simple. That's your perception of things. That view isn't shared by everyone. There are a lot of keepers that use sand mixtures without problem, time and time again. Their stories deserve to be shared. If you were truly interested in "sparking an interesting conversation" you would encourage that. You do not. Instead, you bombard people with 3 to 4 consecutive posts, seemingly making an enemy out of whosoever dares to share a different opinion then yours. That's not learning, that's intimidation.

And for the record, Tom, I didn't call you out in specific using the word "paranoia". Nothing was particularly directed at you, it was a statement encompassing my opinion of how this forum seems to discourage keepers from doing pretty much anything and everything. You just chose to see it that way.
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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You said you put a little sand in one corner and let the tort choose a corner . If it's a good idea to let the tort choose put some veggys in one corner and only one little strawberry in a nother corner if she eats the strawberry just feed her strawberrys . Just remember the torts idea isn't the best . But have agreat tort day :)


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Shakudo

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Jory
You said you put a little sand in one corner and let the tort choose a corner . If it's a good idea to let the tort choose put some veggys in one corner and only one little strawberry in a nother corner if she eats the strawberry just feed her strawberrys . Just remember the torts idea isn't the best . But have agreat tort day :)


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Hello,

No I meant humidity.
Keeping substrate dry except for one corner of it so she can choose between humid and dry substrate.


:)


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Jacqui

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Sorry Tom, but I have heard and been shown pictures of that happening, even though you won't accept it because it goes against YOUR opinions. Even had a few in here talk about it.
 

smarch

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Everyone has got to do what they think is best, but all of that doesn't sound ideal to me. Have you tried the terra cotta plant saucers sunk into the substrate? They only cost a couple of bucks and having it buried into the substrate usually discourages them from digging under it. I have 20 russians with sunken terra cotta saucers and none of them try to dig under them.

I won't bug you about it anymore... just throwing that out there.

Not bugging me at all I promise! I know people on here are way more experienced I am and i'm always open to any suggestions people have to offer.

I believe it is one of the terra-cotta saucers, but its really shallow for water, like half inch of water! I mean I have like the 8 inch one but are there deeper ones you guys use? I mean the one I have is the same depth as the one I use for food just a larger diameter. Is the small depth enough? I mean I know you don't want too much but i'm always afraid i'm not giving enough too.

And for the burrowing under, Franklins just weird, he has a log and his food dish is next to it and he'll chose to use under the food dish as a bed some nights instead of the log. But the food dish isn't sunk in since I don't want a lot of mulch finding its way to his food. He'll also be able to see out his log and could walk right out but instead tunnels out the side. I just think he's weird. but hopefully the sinking it into substrate will detur that.
 

Tom

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Sorry Tom, but I have heard and been shown pictures of that happening, even though you won't accept it because it goes against YOUR opinions. Even had a few in here talk about it.

You've heard and seen what happening? You talk to me like I am some kind of close minded idiot. All I am doing is relating what I have seen. I have seen lots of sand impacted tortoise. I have not seen any mulch impacted tortoises. It has nothing to do with opinion or accepting anything. It what I have or have not seen. Are you telling me that you have seen x-rays of tortoises impacted with mulch that required invasive, expensive surgery to save their lives? Show me? Tell me where you've seen it. How many cases over what time span? I will "accept" it as soon as I see it. So far, I've never seen it.

We have talked about some tortoises eating their mulch type substrates here under certain colored light bulbs or with apparent sickness or mineral deficiency, but I have never heard of one of these tortoises needing surgery. And THAT is the point here. Any tortoise can eat their substrate for a wide variety of reasons, either intentionally or accidentally. If they eat coir, it passes. It they eat sand it collects over time in some cases.

Are you refusing to accept the fact that many tortoises get sand impacted? Again, you are guilty of the thing you are trying to accuse me of.
 

Yourlocalpoet

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Its not that simple. Your opinion is that simple. That's your perception of things. That view isn't shared by everyone. There are a lot of keepers that use sand mixtures without problem, time and time again. Their stories deserve to be shared. If you were truly interested in "sparking an interesting conversation" you would encourage that. You do not. Instead, you bombard people with 3 to 4 consecutive posts, seemingly making an enemy out of whosoever dares to share a different opinion then yours. That's not learning, that's intimidation.

And for the record, Tom, I didn't call you out in specific using the word "paranoia". Nothing was particularly directed at you, it was a statement encompassing my opinion of how this forum seems to discourage keepers from doing pretty much anything and everything. You just chose to see it that way.

Why does every debate have to turn into West Side Story on this forum?

I don't get the hostility, to me Tom is making a perfectly valid argument - if there is a risk of harmful consequences, then why take it?

I don't believe anyone on this forum endeavours to make enemies or intimidate anyone, people who are perceived as bombarding others with posts, arguing a point only do so because they are interested in HEALTHY tortoises, or I hope that's the case. I don't believe it's anything to do with trying to assert superiority.

If you want to use sand, then use it, but I think people are entitled to be cautious if they have experienced negative outcomes as a result.
 

wellington

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Why does every debate have to turn into West Side Story on this forum?

I don't get the hostility, to me Tom is making a perfectly valid argument - if there is a risk of harmful consequences, then why take it?

I don't believe anyone on this forum endeavours to make enemies or intimidate anyone, people who are perceived as bombarding others with posts, arguing a point only do so because they are interested in HEALTHY tortoises, or I hope that's the case. I don't believe it's anything to do with trying to assert superiority.

If you want to use sand, then use it, but I think people are entitled to be cautious if they have experienced negative outcomes as a result.


Very well said in my opinion.
 

wellington

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Personally, if there is proof of a risk to our tortoises of death or illness, I think we owe it to the tortoises we brought into our worlds to keep that risk away. After all, in their enclosures, big or small, they don't really have as big of a choice that they would if they lived in the wild. Most of these types of questions are asked from very inexperienced tort newbies. They probably have read all kinds of old, bad, outdated material before finally finding this forum. They are asking for info to better their torts life. Shouldn't we help them learn by taking the bad stuff out of them having to experience the results of it. If they still choose and they still have the choice, to still use or do the wrong thing, isn't it still our right, our passion and our duty to keep trying to convince them that what they are doing could, will or probably will harm their tortoise?
I have no experience with sand, as I have never used it for any of my tortoises or other reptiles. There has been enough evidence and statements from many "long time experienced members" which is who I choose to listen too, that I would never risk my tortoises health by using sand.


Now, let's keep this going without the insults, or it will just get shut down anyway.:)
 

Jacqui

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I don't believe ANYBODY was insulting Tom, just giving a side he does not want to have shared. I will not say more as it seems if I do say anything against Tom's beliefs it is taken as attacking him, but he can say things against my thoughts and that IS okay. Yes Tom I have seen those xrays and yes Tom folks show them to me but often won't say a thing on the forum due to the way SOME folks take anything written not following their opinions. A reason why so many leave and one I too often feel at times.. Also I never sand no tortoise would ever get impacted by sand, I have said I believe it to be safe within a blend that is well mixed with a low amount of sand. I have stated that several times in this thread alone. I have repeatedly also stated that all substrate have their own associated risks.

I am done with this thread. I have stated my opinion based on facts I have saw and been told about along with my own personal years of experience. As I alsways say, there is more then one way to do tortoise care properly and we should not be of the only one way mentality.
 

bouaboua

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OK....This is where and what you refer to........Nothing wrong! Just debating. And everyone acted like grow-up. I don't see any kids or idiot.

Lots good info from different practices. Pros and cons.
 

smarch

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I've decided that when the bugs really start developing in the mulch (at a certain point 'Nank starts digging under anything and everything to escape them) I'll take dirt from my yard, that I know is clean, and free is a good bonus, and see if he likes that better than mulch. Suggest it as deep as I keep mulch? ~5in.
I'll also be slowly covering up our sand in the sandbox with soil, since I posted this I get really anxious bringing him outside running around on the sand even though he doesn't eat on it.
 

smarch

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OK....This is where and what you refer to........Nothing wrong! Just debating. And everyone acted like grow-up. I don't see any kids or idiot.

Lots good info from different practices. Pros and cons.
I've come to realize, being relatively new to forums in general, that there is a lot of "arguing" but a lot is just debates, though in other forums I have witnessed name calling and personal attacks. Here we just all have our own strong opinions because to care for a reptile you need a lot of research and everyone's research yields different, and with so many different care ideas and facts, everyone knows something different. And with reptiles in general being under our care for the long run after many years with them you all become experts. Me, being relatively new, 2 years in, I'm no expert and still learning the best care I can offer, and appreciate every single person who gives me insight on the best care, because we're all here for the same thing, the best care for our, and all, tortoises out there.
I am so lucky I found this forum only a few weeks into care, I literally found it by searching "tortoise" in the app store! and its been a life saver!
 

bouaboua

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Well said. Well said.

True Life saver for sure.
 

smarch

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We have talked about some tortoises eating their mulch type substrates here under certain colored light bulbs or with apparent sickness or mineral deficiency, but I have never heard of one of these tortoises needing surgery. And THAT is the point here. Any tortoise can eat their substrate for a wide variety of reasons, either intentionally or accidentally. If they eat coir, it passes. It they eat sand it collects over time in some cases.
Does this mean in general when a tortoise munches on mulch it gets digested and passes? or that it can pass through, it seems like for such a small guy, especially being a Russian so very small in comparison, that the mulch would be rather large to fit through the digestive tracts.
That doesn't really need an answer, I'm just kind of curious as to how it works, I have a huge interest in anatomy so I get curious, not so much worried about the mulch getting stuck. I shall look up tortoise digestion to see if that helps me. :) always interesting stuff to learn!
 

Yvonne G

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Bigger pieces, like mulch, tend to pass right on through. But sand, being small particles and heavy, tend to go, because of gravity, to the bottom of the stomach and just sit there. Eventually enough sand accumulates and causes a blockage.

This doesn't always happen, and quite a few people use some percentage of sand with their substrate and get away with it. You must make up your own mind, always thinking about what the tortoise needs and how do you best provide for his needs. That's why this type of debate is helpful. You read both sides and make an informed decision.
 

Tom

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Yvonne's explanation of what happens with sand seems plausible, but I don't know the mechanism behind why sand sticks and other things pass. I just know that that's the way it is because I've been seeing it for years. Decades. The sand thing happens in other animals too. I've seen 10 pound mineralized sand balls pulled out of horse stomaches too.
 
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