- Aug 14, 2018
- Location (City and/or State)
Aloha all! Meet Archelon. I have a small organic permaculture food forest [emoji269] on the big island of Hawaii. I’ve always wanted one of these guys, and finally made the leap. I wanted a larger older tort, but couldn’t find any. I even called all the islands humane society’s and asked if they’d ever had a tortoise surrendered. Nope. So I had a month old hatchling sent over from Kauai. He’s tinier than I expected!! I had hoped to get him in an outdoor enclosure, but that’s not happening any time soon. Right now I have him in a 50 gallon Rubbermaid tub, with air holes in sides and lid, and using clumps of sod from our gardens as his substrate. He has a ceramic plant water dish to bathe and soak in, and I soak down the soil with warm water from the outdoor shower each day. We put a lid with holes in it on at night, and during the day he’s in dappled ambient light with the lid off. (We are making a chicken wire cover in the next couple days to protect from other animals. Right now we just watch him like a hawk.) I do his soaks in a kiddie pool in the sunshine. The dominant plant species where I live is an invasive but apparently delicious grass, “” aka cane grass or guinea grass. That’s what I put in his enclosure in the sod. He isn’t eating it, although he tries it periodically but I think it’s too tough for his baby beak. We hope he’ll learn to enjoy it as he gets older, as he’ll have an infinite supply. The breeder I got him from feeds them hibiscus leaf primarily and allows them to graze grass during outdoor time. He’s chowed down hibiscus leaf, mamaki leaf, kale and radish greens so far. Our average low in coldest part of the year is 65, average hottest highs 93. Year round sunshine. We do get occasional long streaks of rain and cool weather. Sometimes 2 weeks where the sun doesn’t come out. I just got him, and we are in a rainy week. He was hungry and active on his first sunny day, but slow moving and much less hungry the next day when it was rainy and cool. I would expect that of any herp, but I’m wondering if I’m doing him a disservice by having him at the whim of the weather like this? I don’t have a light or heater for him, but much of the reason why I wanted one of these guys is that the climate is so suited to their needs. Also want to ask about ratio of “veggies” to grass. We are a market farm growing veggies so we have abundant carrot, beet, radish, kale, greens, but also have plenty grass, ti leaf, and weeds. Should I avoid giving him the richer veggie kind foods and try to stick to tender cut grass? What do you think? What can you see as potential issues with his set up? I heard in post on this forum that the babies need a similar environment to an earthworm, humidity wise. That makes sense to me, but would like to hear more opinions on that. I love this little dude already and I want him to grow into a big healthy smooth giant!