Redfoot care sheet (sticky?)

DutchieAmanda

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Hi all! I've noticed many times that although we have excellent care sheets for e.g. Russians and Sulcata's, there is no care sheet for redfoots. I think this would be very useful for new keepers. When I bought my redfoot I collected a lot of information. I translated this into English (see below), would you think this would be a useful care sheet? If you have any suggestions, please add them. As I'm not a native speaker, suggestions on language are also welcome :) And maybe we can make a sticky thread with a good care sheet?

Red footed tortoise - Chelonoidis carbonaria

General
Redfoots are originally from South-America, were they live in the tropical forests. Average adult size is 12-14” (30-35 cm). Cherry heads are a very colorful type of redfoot that generally stay smaller.

Housing
Redfoots can be housed outside (in the appropriate climate) or inside. Regardless of what type of housing you choose, they need the following things:

Space to move around. Minimum space is around 4x shell length x 8x shell length, so for an average adult this would be at least 4 x 8 ft (120x240 cm).

Heat: redfoots need a constant temperature of 80F (27C) around their enclosure. Night temperature may be a little lower, but never lower than 70F (21C). Although most redfoot keepers say their redfoot doesn’t bask, it cannot hurt it there’s a warmer spot of around 88F (31F) where your tort can warm up.
The best way to maintain a constant temperature is to use ceramic heat emitters coupled with a thermostate. You need a digital thermometer or a temperature gun to measure temperature at tort level.

Humidity: redfoots need around 80% humidity, especially when they are young and still growing. High humidity will prevent pyramiding. You will need a hygrometer to measure humidity.
They easiest way to maintain a high humidity indoors is to use a fully enclosed enclosure and a substrate that holds humidity such as coco coir or spaghnum moss. Make sure the substrate is humid, but feels dry on the top (to prevent shell rot). You can accomplish this by pouring water in the corners and mixing the substrate with your hand. Then let the top layer dry. Regularly pour some new water in the corners of your enclosure.
Some keepers use a misting system to keep up humidity. With a closed enclosure often this is not necessary.
Is your redfoot housed outside in a lower humidity environment? Then at least provide humid hides, with e.g. moss in them.
Many keepers also soak their redfoots. For this you put you tort in a shallow layer (up until half of his shell) of warm water (around 85F / 30C) for around 20 minutes. For young redfoots it’s recommended to do this every 2 days.

UVB light: tortoises need UVB light to synthesize vitamin D3. This vitamin is needed for proper calcium uptake and utilisation. For redfoots housed outside, the sun will provide the needed UVB. Is your redfoot housed inside, you need a UVB light. Glass and mesh will filter out UVB! UVB can be provided with a tube UVB light, or an mercury vapor bulb (MVB). The tube will provide UVB and light, while the MVB will also provide heat and is brighter. Most redfoot keepers use the tube UVB light. Do not use a coiled type UVB light, because they could hurt your torts eyes.

Hides and cover: especially young redfoots like shade and covered areas. Provide multiple hides, (fake or real) plants, etc. to make the animal feel safe.

Safety: always protect your tortoise from dangers such as predators and escaping. Never let your tort roam your house, many accidents can happen (no matter how careful you are) and the temperature on the floor is too cold for your tortoise.

Feed and water
Redfoots need constant access to fresh water. It’s best to use a terracotta plant saucer sunken into the substrate. Choose a saucer that’s big enough for your tortoise to fit inside, they like to sit in water.
Feed your redfoot from a hard surface, such as a tile or a terracotta plant saucer. Redfoots are omnivorous and need a varied diet:
  • Greens (a pile around the size of his shell). You can use weeds from your garden (make sure no pesticides are used), grow your own food, and use store bought greens. Variety is key!
  • Fruits (around the size of his head). You can give many (tropical) fruits. Tomato, bell pepper and pumpkin are also considered fruits.
  • Animal protein (around once a week). You can feed chicken, fish, shrimp, egg or soaked cat food. Redfoots also love mushrooms!
For more info on suitable tortoise foods, check the Tortoise Table: http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk
Most people feed their redfoot every morning. Old food is removed in the evening and fresh food is provided the following morning.
Also provide a calcium supplement to your tortoise. You can use a powdered supplement (gently sprinkle the food twice a week), or give your tortoise a cuttle bone to chew on. Not all torts like this however.

Health
With the proper care, hopefully your redfoot will stay healthy. Possible health disorders are:
Shell rot: this is caused by a substrate that is too wet. Can be treated with antibiotic or antifungal cream.
Pyramiding: caused by the humidity being too low. Mild pyramiding doesn’t cause problems most times, but do raise the humidity in the enclosure.
Airway (respiratory) infections: often caused by the temperature being too low, a low disease resistance and/or suboptimal hygiene. Go to a vet if your torts shows signs or a respiratory infection!

Links with more information (outside this forum)
On diet: http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk
On care: http://www.tortoiselibrary.com and http://turtletary.com/northern.html
 

Yvonne G

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On the Forum's main page, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Down towards the right side you'll see "Tortoise Library." If you go there, you will find excellent information on the RF species. This 'library' was put together by Mark (Madkins007), one of our first moderators. I'll see if I can figure out a way to sticky the link at the top of our RF section.
 

BILBO-03

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Joined
Aug 20, 2016
Messages
739
Hi all! I've noticed many times that although we have excellent care sheets for e.g. Russians and Sulcata's, there is no care sheet for redfoots. I think this would be very useful for new keepers. When I bought my redfoot I collected a lot of information. I translated this into English (see below), would you think this would be a useful care sheet? If you have any suggestions, please add them. As I'm not a native speaker, suggestions on language are also welcome :) And maybe we can make a sticky thread with a good care sheet?

Red footed tortoise - Chelonoidis carbonaria

General
Redfoots are originally from South-America, were they live in the tropical forests. Average adult size is 12-14” (30-35 cm). Cherry heads are a very colorful type of redfoot that generally stay smaller.

Housing
Redfoots can be housed outside (in the appropriate climate) or inside. Regardless of what type of housing you choose, they need the following things:

Space to move around. Minimum space is around 4x shell length x 8x shell length, so for an average adult this would be at least 4 x 8 ft (120x240 cm).

Heat: redfoots need a constant temperature of 80F (27C) around their enclosure. Night temperature may be a little lower, but never lower than 70F (21C). Although most redfoot keepers say their redfoot doesn’t bask, it cannot hurt it there’s a warmer spot of around 88F (31F) where your tort can warm up.
The best way to maintain a constant temperature is to use ceramic heat emitters coupled with a thermostate. You need a digital thermometer or a temperature gun to measure temperature at tort level.

Humidity: redfoots need around 80% humidity, especially when they are young and still growing. High humidity will prevent pyramiding. You will need a hygrometer to measure humidity.
They easiest way to maintain a high humidity indoors is to use a fully enclosed enclosure and a substrate that holds humidity such as coco coir or spaghnum moss. Make sure the substrate is humid, but feels dry on the top (to prevent shell rot). You can accomplish this by pouring water in the corners and mixing the substrate with your hand. Then let the top layer dry. Regularly pour some new water in the corners of your enclosure.
Some keepers use a misting system to keep up humidity. With a closed enclosure often this is not necessary.
Is your redfoot housed outside in a lower humidity environment? Then at least provide humid hides, with e.g. moss in them.
Many keepers also soak their redfoots. For this you put you tort in a shallow layer (up until half of his shell) of warm water (around 85F / 30C) for around 20 minutes. For young redfoots it’s recommended to do this every 2 days.

UVB light: tortoises need UVB light to synthesize vitamin D3. This vitamin is needed for proper calcium uptake and utilisation. For redfoots housed outside, the sun will provide the needed UVB. Is your redfoot housed inside, you need a UVB light. Glass and mesh will filter out UVB! UVB can be provided with a tube UVB light, or an mercury vapor bulb (MVB). The tube will provide UVB and light, while the MVB will also provide heat and is brighter. Most redfoot keepers use the tube UVB light. Do not use a coiled type UVB light, because they could hurt your torts eyes.

Hides and cover: especially young redfoots like shade and covered areas. Provide multiple hides, (fake or real) plants, etc. to make the animal feel safe.

Safety: always protect your tortoise from dangers such as predators and escaping. Never let your tort roam your house, many accidents can happen (no matter how careful you are) and the temperature on the floor is too cold for your tortoise.

Feed and water
Redfoots need constant access to fresh water. It’s best to use a terracotta plant saucer sunken into the substrate. Choose a saucer that’s big enough for your tortoise to fit inside, they like to sit in water.
Feed your redfoot from a hard surface, such as a tile or a terracotta plant saucer. Redfoots are omnivorous and need a varied diet:
  • Greens (a pile around the size of his shell). You can use weeds from your garden (make sure no pesticides are used), grow your own food, and use store bought greens. Variety is key!
  • Fruits (around the size of his head). You can give many (tropical) fruits. Tomato, bell pepper and pumpkin are also considered fruits.
  • Animal protein (around once a week). You can feed chicken, fish, shrimp, egg or soaked cat food. Redfoots also love mushrooms!
For more info on suitable tortoise foods, check the Tortoise Table: http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk
Most people feed their redfoot every morning. Old food is removed in the evening and fresh food is provided the following morning.
Also provide a calcium supplement to your tortoise. You can use a powdered supplement (gently sprinkle the food twice a week), or give your tortoise a cuttle bone to chew on. Not all torts like this however.

Health
With the proper care, hopefully your redfoot will stay healthy. Possible health disorders are:
Shell rot: this is caused by a substrate that is too wet. Can be treated with antibiotic or antifungal cream.
Pyramiding: caused by the humidity being too low. Mild pyramiding doesn’t cause problems most times, but do raise the humidity in the enclosure.
Airway (respiratory) infections: often caused by the temperature being too low, a low disease resistance and/or suboptimal hygiene. Go to a vet if your torts shows signs or a respiratory infection!

Links with more information (outside this forum)
On diet: http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk
On care: http://www.tortoiselibrary.com and http://turtletary.com/northern.html
I think you did a good job of covering everything! What you should add are pictures, pictures help a lot :)
 

jsheffield

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I would love to see a TFO-stickied care sheet for redfoot tortoises, as we have for other species.

The uniformity and in-house feel of it would enhance the way this forum connects with (and helps) newcomers with questions about their redfoots.

Jamie
 

TechnoCheese

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Lewisville, Texas
I would love to see a TFO-stickied care sheet for redfoot tortoises, as we have for other species.

The uniformity and in-house feel of it would enhance the way this forum connects with (and helps) newcomers with questions about their redfoots.

Jamie

I have one that I’ve been thinking about converting to a post, but since I don’t own any redfoots and only one tortoise in total, I’m not sure how appropriate it would be.
It’s this one-
http://aminoapps.com/p/m9tcj0
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
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Joined
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Messages
88,465
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I would love to see a TFO-stickied care sheet for redfoot tortoises, as we have for other species.

The uniformity and in-house feel of it would enhance the way this forum connects with (and helps) newcomers with questions about their redfoots.

Jamie
The RF info in the Tortoise Library IS our care sheet.
 

jsheffield

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The RF info in the Tortoise Library IS our care sheet.

Without the link, and look, of the other TFO stickies, it comes off a lot like a million other conflicting and contradictory sources on the www ....

Jamie
 
Last edited:

Oxalis

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ZEROPILOT

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This is a two year old post. Plus.
But thank you @DutchieAmanda for all of that work.
Most if not all of what you gathered there is still accurate.
I, however would never use an MVB. They do provide heat and U.V. But they also throw out far too much light for a Redfoot. (In my opinion).
One of the key things for keeping Redfoot is shade. You want the warmth without the bright lights. Something like the glow from a strip florescent is perfect.
A MVB also super heats a small area. With the center of that area very hot. Redfoot can and will overheat. Shells can also become very dry. So for this reason I prefer a CHE. The lowest wattage one that will do the job.
In a large enclosure, that might mean using two instead of one that is of a high wattage in the center of the enclosure.
 

jsheffield

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Anyfoot

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The RF info in the Tortoise Library IS our care sheet.
Yvonne. I’ve not looked at the tortoise library for a couple yrs now. Maybe it’s been updated. I’ll have a look.

But.
This forum has a care sheet for almost every species except redfoots. Last I looked at the library it was very vague.
 
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