Sri Lankan Stars last summer and this summer

g4mobile

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Of the three Burmese Stars that I raised up from hatchlings at the same time the smallest one always was a bit bumpier. I think some are just predisposed to it. But, it is possible something else plays a part that I am just not aware of.
I've kept mine in a closed chamber since it was a baby and maintained 80%+ humidity and mine is a bit bumpy as well. I had uvb lighting in the enclosure for the first 2 years and wonder if it plays a part or possibly genetics or both.
 

gummybearpoop

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Yes, still in Chandler.

I need some alternatives for my fountain grass plants. I love fountain grass because it grows large, fast and is the perfect plant for tortoises to tuck into and hide during the day, but they are also clumpy and cricket breeding grounds. I can tolerate some crickets, but they get out of control when the plants get too big.

Your pictures are inspiring. I need to find some good seed sources for plants that will do well here. Do you use any sort of mixed/bulk package seeds?
Thank you! Fountain grass is great for hiding spots!
I do use seed mixes that tend to be a little more drought tolerant, and I will plant heat sensitive plants in the more shaded areas
 

gummybearpoop

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I’m in South Carolina, working with a half dozen species at present: leopard, Indian / Burmese star, cherryhead redfoot, chaco, spider.

I have made major enclosure changes this year, both indoor / outdoor, and relocated my irrigation system to keep them wetter and more densely vegetated. However, between the tortoises feeding habits and plant growth rates, the pens always revert to a monoculture of whatever grass is least appetizing to the inhabitants.
Nice collection! At first I find there tends to be a collection of 3-4 plants because the tortoise eat down the other species more, but I rotate the pens a lot and supplement with various veggies. I also grow plants in pens that tortoises don’t get any access too
 

gummybearpoop

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Come on Norman, show them pics of the outdoor enclosures. They are heavily planted and I’d bet the humidity at tortoise level is hovering at least in the 50-60% even on a hot and dry day. Might be a good experiment to get some readings of the most humid spots in there.
I put a thermometer with humidity reading in two of the more popular hiding areas. I didn’t water the pens for 3 days and I went out of town for a couple of days. I checked the thermometer this morning.

The lowest humidity reading was 55% and the highest was a surprising 99%, while temps essentially ranged in the 75-95f range. There are cooler places for them to retreat to. During this time frame, the ambient temps here were 111-116F and humidity was in the 15% range.

Microhabitats are so important and make a huge difference in conditions. I’ve personally spent thousands of hours looking for reptiles in the southwestern deserts and have seen how vital microhabitats are.
 

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G-stars

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I put a thermometer with humidity reading in two of the more popular hiding areas. I didn’t water the pens for 3 days and I went out of town for a couple of days. I checked the thermometer this morning.

The lowest humidity reading was 55% and the highest was a surprising 99%, while temps essentially ranged in the 75-95f range. There are cooler places for them to retreat to. During this time frame, the ambient temps here were 111-116F and humidity was in the 15% range.

Microhabitats are so important and make a huge difference in conditions. I’ve personally spent thousands of hours looking for reptiles in the southwestern deserts and have seen how vital microhabitats are.
That’s incredible. Those numbers are a lot more surprising than what I had imagined they would be.
 

Markw84

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I put a thermometer with humidity reading in two of the more popular hiding areas. I didn’t water the pens for 3 days and I went out of town for a couple of days. I checked the thermometer this morning.

The lowest humidity reading was 55% and the highest was a surprising 99%, while temps essentially ranged in the 75-95f range. There are cooler places for them to retreat to. During this time frame, the ambient temps here were 111-116F and humidity was in the 15% range.

Microhabitats are so important and make a huge difference in conditions. I’ve personally spent thousands of hours looking for reptiles in the southwestern deserts and have seen how vital microhabitats are.
Agree completely, Norman. That is why I am always encouraging as many plants as possible be used in enclosures - inside and out. There is a huge difference in the humidity under a plant - both indoors and out. Watching my tortoises of several species, I see them always pick a spot where there is plants that actually overhang and contact their carapace for preferred hiding spots.

I did a brief comparison of temps and humidity in one of my Burmese Star pens. Placed a SensorPush under a favoriite hide - that is a large tuft of carex grass. Placed another one under in the shade, about 6' off the ground for a more "official" temp reading of a weather station. The results are below. The humidity swung between a daytime 25% and a night time 84% for this springtime test. Yet, under the cover of the favorite hiding spot in the carex, the humidity stayed at 100%.

I think most people totally discount and grossly underestimate the power of a plant hide and a burrow to hold 100% humidity even in desert conditions.

Hide temp vs air temp and humidity.jpg
 

Jodipg82

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Here are some of my pens in different stages
Those are amazing! Did you use seed or is most of this naturally growing where you live? I am in Central Florida and we have our fair share of weeds but not what I need for my Leo tort. When he gets bigger and can have an outdoor enclosure, I'll need to spread seed to get what I need.
 

gummybearpoop

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Agree completely, Norman. That is why I am always encouraging as many plants as possible be used in enclosures - inside and out. There is a huge difference in the humidity under a plant - both indoors and out. Watching my tortoises of several species, I see them always pick a spot where there is plants that actually overhang and contact their carapace for preferred hiding spots.

I did a brief comparison of temps and humidity in one of my Burmese Star pens. Placed a SensorPush under a favoriite hide - that is a large tuft of carex grass. Placed another one under in the shade, about 6' off the ground for a more "official" temp reading of a weather station. The results are below. The humidity swung between a daytime 25% and a night time 84% for this springtime test. Yet, under the cover of the favorite hiding spot in the carex, the humidity stayed at 100%.

I think most people totally discount and grossly underestimate the power of a plant hide and a burrow to hold 100% humidity even in desert conditions.

View attachment 305300
I love your data tracking Mark. I completely agree on plants in indoor and outdoor enclosures- not only for function, but aesthetics as well. I find it easier to maintain humidity with plants
 

gummybearpoop

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Those are amazing! Did you use seed or is most of this naturally growing where you live? I am in Central Florida and we have our fair share of weeds but not what I need for my Leo tort. When he gets bigger and can have an outdoor enclosure, I'll need to spread seed to get what I need.
Thank you. The plants are a combination of purchased seeds and naturally grown weeds, especially depending on the season (not many native weeds here in the summer?
 

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