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Substrate?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosure Substrate' started by Katybirdy, Nov 21, 2019.

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  1. Katybirdy

    Katybirdy New Member

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    Hi everyone!
    I’m new to all this, so I’m not too sure where to begin, but I wanted to talk about substrate and if anyone things the substrate I use is alright.
    I use beech chippings and he has a medium sized corner in his enclosure that is soil that he likes to nap in everyday, I know people don’t really like the beech chippings, but I have tried eco earth, orchid bark etc and he hates them (he doesn’t like to get dirty) to avoid touching that substrate he will sit in his food/water bowl or stay on the piece of slate in his enclosure or balance himself on his cutter bone and I felt as though he wasn’t sleeping properly, so after two weeks I switched it back to his beech chippings and soil and he became more active and looked more comfortable when sleeping. I obviously want what’s best and I think that makes him happy, but I wanted some more opinions. The soil is also the limestone one, but he doesn’t eat it, I don’t live close to any pet shops and the ones I do only have that type of soil, could I use normal gardening soil?
    Any responses would be appreciated thanks.
  2. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Well-Known Member

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    check out this thread https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beech-chips-as-substrate.121460/
    fine fir bark (Orchid Bark) is the best for mantaining moisture and have a dry surface. Check local lawn and garden shops for the bigger bags of the fine fir bark. There are smaller bags that are sold as Repti-Bark but the price in the US is $17 for 24 quarts where as the bulk fir could be $20-30 for a 2 cubic foot bag much cheaper
  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Beech chips are no good because you can't get them damp. Lightly damp substrate is needed to give the tortoise some moderate humidity. Otherwise, things are un-naturally and excessively dry in a heated indoor enclosure. Soil is no good because you can't know what composted yard waste material it is made from, and it could be something toxic. Soil usually has all sorts of additives in it too, like perlite,"wetting agents", fertilizers insecticides, or herbicides.

    Coco coir works best for little baby Testudo. If you make a thick layer and hand pack it down, it is a lot less messy. It takes about two weeks to settle in and get good. Fine grade orchid bark works best for older testudo and babies of any other species. Texture wise, it isn't much different from the beech chips, so your tortoise should be fine with it. Orchid bark is not messy and if kept slightly damp, there will be no dust from it either.
  4. Katybirdy

    Katybirdy New Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I have some coco bricks left from the last time I tried him with it, The only thing is that it seemed too thick for him to dig - he's not really a digger unless he's going to bed or napping then he burrows - and he doesn't like being dirty, which he was always covered in and I had to keep changing his water every few hours. Is that normal for them to hate dirt because I had to change his water bowl every hour or two because it was filled with dirt and he didn't seem to sleep properly. I knew with the beech chipping the hydration would be a problem, but I do spray him every few hours so he gets some moisture on his shell. I'm still a little new to this as the pet shop I got him from only used chippings and every other shop I've went to have never dealt with tortoises so I'm kind of learning as I go. I have orchid bark too but I thought the one I had was a little to hard and I wasn't sure if the texture would hurt him if that's not to silly because he is still young, but maybe if I try the bricks again, I won't use as much of the orchid bark.
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