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Substrate question


Jul 20, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
Have his and hers Sulcata hatchling in a 2x6 divided enclosure. They are doing well
so far but I have a question about what they should have as a substrate. The breeder uses coconut husks, it’s a commercial product that I can’t imagine replicates what these animals roam on in nature. I place there grits on a flat surface but they occasionally seem to ingest small strands of
this material. Is this the best stuff to use and is it harmful if eaten in quantity.
I’ve been trying to wean them off of the kale
they were being fed with a mixture of store bought mixed greens, sprouts
and yard greens.
Thanks all.

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi, and welcome!

I don't like coco fiber for that very reason. They eat the strings and you see it hanging out their cloaca. My favorite substrate for young, indoor tortoises is orchid bark. If you can't find a product specifically labelled for orchids, it's made out of the bark of fir trees, so you can look for fir bark. But I like the stuff that's fine or small particles. Orchid bark is a very clean product with no additives at all and if they accidentally eat it, it doesn't cause impaction.

I wanted to mention, just so you won't be surprised or disappointed when your babies get big enough to sex, sexing hatchling sulcatas is a crap shoot. You really won't know which sex they are until they get to a size where they are becoming sexually mature.
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The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 9, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I don't like coco fiber for tortoises in most cases, because it is too messy. Fine grade orchid bark works best. You can get in in bulk from garden centers much cheaper than pet stores.

Most of the care info for this species is simply wrong. It was based on incorrect assumptions f

Here is all the sulcata info. Diet, substrate and much more info is in these:

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