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Redfoot Advice - Going Forward?

Discussion in 'Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises' started by DakotaRae, Sep 8, 2019.

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  1. DakotaRae

    DakotaRae New Member

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    Hi all, I've had my Redfoot since about 2014 or so. He was small, but not a 'baby'. Here he is the day he came home.It's hard to get a sense of scale but let's say...A bit bigger than a typical computer mouse. Or, a comfortable fit for the average human hand.
    [​IMG]

    Anywho, I've been upping and upping enclosure sizes as he grows, but our apartment isn't growing - and we're New Englanders and I don't think Columbia makes a ski jacket that small. I just moved him into the biggest, most sensible (easy to clean and move) enclosure we could agree on for our small space. When I say small, I mean we can't have any furniture that doesn't come in a small box because the hallway will not allow it, and the space will not contain it. On top of being a third floor unit. But I digress..

    Foreward -
    I know full well this enclosure is too small. We have been looking for a house, at which time Tortoise will probably have a summer house and a large indoor roaming space. Here is the barebones stock tank (Rubbermaid 50G. Stock Tank from Tractor Supply if anyone's wondering.) It's got organic natural ground soil as substrate. Tortoise has never shown much interest in digging despite being offered various substrates and conditions. I know he needs a hide, it's in the mail! I would like some POSITIVE criticisms regarding how I should move forward with this temporary enclosure, even if it has to last a year or so. I would like to provide enrichment objects without robbing him of more valuable real estate. He wakes up in the morning and does laps all day, stopping occasionally to bask. I mist him and the tub multiple times a day. I've never seen him soak by himself but I let him walk around the shower basin with luke warm sprinkles coming down for 20 minutes or so a couple times a week. His shell looks pretty to me, so I must not be doing a terrible job?

    I have had him in all kinds of enclosures and he destroys EVERYTHING. Very very dirty piggy tort. The water is always trashed. He spills the food everywhere. He 'rearranges'. I had him in a raised planter with a heavy liner, he made himself a hole in the liner, and would go underneath it..I would correct the issue, cover it up heavily..the next day he's in the hole again. :rolleyes: I want to give him some enjoyable plants that he won't steamroll but not sure how to implement.

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    Enclosure aside, appearance wise - how is he?
    His nostrils are clear, I can hear him huff and puff everyday but i'd liken it to a dog smelling something interesting, noise wise. He eats and drinks regularly. Basks with all his little leggies hanging out. His eyes seem clear to me. I feed Mazuri LS Tortoise Diet. To be honest - He won't consistently eat anything else. I always offer veggies, fruits, etc. while I'm cooking and he will maybe take a bite, fail an attempted bite, and then lose interest. He will accept, seldomly: asparagus, strawberry, tomato, banana. He likes hard boiled egg, tuna, and canned chicken. Small amounts of high quality cat kibbles. He won't eat anything remotely leafy or green.

    Sorry for my ramble, I'm probably leaving something out. Thanks for your kind advice! I may not be doing it right, but I am trying to improve my husbandry and that's what counts.
  2. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    What are the temps and humidity in his enclosure? I would think it'd be hard to maintain the heat and rh a tropical tort needs to flourish in an open topped container in an apartment.

    I get the small apartment thing but you could get a more efficient use of the same footprint with a used aquarium you find on FB or Craigslist... if you can find the space for it, a 120 or 180 gallon tank would suit his meds better, and still not fill your apparent.

    My redfoot loves papaya and squash and raw salmon, but when I don't have time (or money) for the fresh stuff, I go with frozen or freeze-dried... Zilla makes a great omnivore mix that you just add a bit of water to that would broaden your tort's diet.

    If you can buy/grow a hibiscus as a houseplant, I essentially guarantee that your tort will enjoy the flowers, and probably the leaves as well... mine also enjoys pothos, with which I also plant his enclosure and leave cuttings as vacation food for him when I'm away.

    I hope some of that helps, but please feel free to ask more questions, or for clarification if I was unclear.

    Jamie
  3. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Edit to add, I just noticed you're also from NH... welcome to TFO!

    Jamie
  4. DakotaRae

    DakotaRae New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome! I meant to mention temps. The ambient temperature of this room is always right around 76-78 because we have monitor heat, the room is small, and I like the air to feel like lava. Ha! As far as humidity goes, like I had said I mist a few times a day and soak him as well. (I had no definitive percentage regarding humidity, just that I make sure he and enclosure is moist.) I'd like to get one of those ground foggers on a timer, and plants to help hold the humidity in. I'm not sure we could get an aquarium that size up our stairs, weight wise. :/ We don't have any sunlight for a plant here, but could I buy the dried hibiscus flowers I see online and rehydrate them a bit? I like the papaya idea. So they are okay to eat raw meat bits? I will get some of that omnivore mix. Would we be good to cut a piece of acrylic or plexiglass down to a custom shape and create a hinged lid? Thank you for your input. :)
    jsheffield likes this.
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hi, and welcome!

    I'll mention what I see you can improve, and I'm not picking on you as I see you're really trying to do what's best for the tortoise.

    The light is too high. What kind of bulb is it?

    get some scrap lumber or some small diameter PVC and elbows and make a framework over the enclosure so you can drape sheet plastic over the enclosure, lights and all. I keep my RF tortoises around 80-85F degrees day and night. They eat better when they can warm up their inner core to 80F or above.

    The reason he tears everything up is because there's not enough room, so you just have to live with that until your situation changes.

    You can use a ceramic heat emitter for night heat without light.

    Try mixing some chopped up greens with the juice off a can of cat food and see if he'll eat greens that way.
    Alex Z likes this.
  6. DakotaRae

    DakotaRae New Member

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    Hi there! Thanks for the cat food idea. The old table was higher, hence the light height. It is 100w UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb. I will work on the framework as you suggested, No concerns about the ambient the trapped heat melting the plastic? I assume in those greenhouse conditions, keeping the substrate moist will work well to maintain his humidity levels? I do take him out to walk around the room but he'll just wander into a corner and stay there.

    Other than that, does he seem okay size and shell wise? I don't want to stunt him. I would say he is at least 8-9" long, hard, and very weighty.
  7. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    He is lovely. He needs a hide though. An old plastic bowl with a hole cut for a door will do!
    Follow what Yvonne and JSheffield are saying and you can't go wrong!
  8. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    He looks great. Here's a tip I use because I've got a very picky eater. Take the Mazuri and soak it in water and turn it into a mash. Then take some greens or whatever he won't usually eat and chop it up fine and mix it with the Mazuri mash. So the end result is kind of like a mush, or wet dog food consistency. It's a good way to get some variety into their diet with stuff they won't normally eat.
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