The Never Ending Bedding Question

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Nay

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I am having some difficulty figuring out what to use lately as a substrate for my RF and ornate Box. They like it moist, I know, but I now have run of my outside dirt that I brought in and mixed with bagged moss. (Everything is frozen and covered with a foot of snow outside) I have gotten that Aspen is really not the greatest for the retaining moisture, but you can use it for the Russians, right? So what about the sawdust that you used for the horses? It will hold the moisture?
I love Terry's pictures of her redfoots on what ever substrate she's using. Looks like mulch on top, but right now that is unavailable to us till spring at least. What's underneath?
So, I realize I just may be dense, but can someone help me really get clear on this? I have a leopard (on hay) a RF and Ornate on what's left of my dirt, which seems to dry out even mixed with moss, and 2 Russians. on dirt from outside.
Thanks Na
 

Yvonne G

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Nay said:
I am having some difficulty figuring out what to use lately as a substrate for my RF and ornate Box. They like it moist,

For the moisture loving (forest type) tortoises I use fine grade orchid bark. It is put out by the same folks who put up Super Soil. Its called Wonderbark and I buy it at Orchard Supply Hardware. I also like cypress mulch, but it is not readily available in large amounts here on the west coast. You can buy small bags under the names Forest Floor, Jungle Bedding, etc. These are put out by Zoo Med and can be found at any pet store. Thing about cypress mulch and orchid bark is you can keep them moist without them going sour-smelling.

Yvonne
 

Itort

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You'll want to keep the ornate drier than the RF. The aspen is probably the best choice for the ornate along with a moist hide. Remember easterns come from a forest habitat and the ornates are from a prairie habitat. When nurseries get going again, I would suggest getting some organic hardwood mulch for the RFs. I've had great luck with that.
 

Madkins007

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For Red-foots...

I've used Terry's long-fibered sphagnum moss (http://www.mosserlee.com available at Lowes often) until I stopped finding it locally. Works wonderfully! His site http://www.redfoots.com explains how to use it right. I especially like it for younger Red-foots.

Now, I am using the mix from http://www.tortoisetrust.org and other sites of 60% wet Bed-a-Beast coconut coir mixed with 40% (by weight) clean sand. I mixed in the last of my sphagnum moss to help bind it together. I like it well enough- it holds moisture OK (I use a humidity hide for high humidity) and does not smell, but it does hatch out fungus gnats occasionally. It is fairly cheap and easy for larger indoor habitats.

Similar mixes using peat moss or potting soils did not work as well in my opinion- smellier, harder to keep moistened, etc.
 

Nay

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Hi again, Ok I went to my local grain store and asked for Spaghum moss. They got me down a bag(bale) of spagnum moss peat.It is not long and stringy, but one gentleman says it is taken right out of the peat bog alive and then it's long and stringy. The girl there says she uses it for her bearded dragons and they are all very sure it would be good for the torts. It says spagnum moss right on the bag, but it's peat moss. Is this what we want for the red foots?they also had cypress bark and cedar mulch. Thanks Na
 

Itort

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Where do you live? Lowes carries Moserlee spaghum moss. If they can't direct you to it, tell them that it is used for growing orchids. Peat moss as substrat would just be a soggy mess. The cedar mulch or any other softwood mulch (i.e. pine,fir,redwood) is a no no (toxic). When you say cypress bark is it course or a medium grade?
 

Nay

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Hi there, I am in Mass and was at Lowes yesterday. They do have what seems to be a wonderful moss for Orchids,BUT it had miracle grow in it. Knew better than to get that. I did see a little bag of some kind of moss, but it was just a tiny amount and someone suggested the grain store. I have my guys in swimming pools and that wouldn't have made a dent. Should I use the peat moss anyway? Would it hurt anyone?
 

Itort

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Peat would make a soggy mess. The advantage of the long fiber is that it holds form and makes a soft substrat without worry of mold. How big is your RF? Are your torts seperated by specie? How often due you mist the RF?
 

Nay

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Itort said:
Peat would make a soggy mess. The advantage of the long fiber is that it holds form and makes a soft substrat without worry of mold. How big is your RF? Are your torts seperated by specie? How often due you mist the RF?

He's 10 inches, measured the way I was told here. He is in with an Ornate, but please I have had this discussion on this board before, and did try to separate them. It wasn't going to happen.(I'll be happy to share the sad story sometime)
He gets misted daily and self soaks lately, which happened within the last 2 months.(I used to soak him and read the redfoot.com site and they recommended misting more often and no forced soaks, so he decided to do it on his own.)
Do people mix the peat with the moss? On on of Terry's post she had what looked like peat,with bark mulch on top.
 

Itort

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You could try a one part soil, one part cypress, and one part peat. I still want to point out that ornates and RFs do have different habitat requirements and trying to satisfy both in one enclosure is going to be difficult.
 

terryo

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Nay said:
Thanks for the info,I'll try it,
I love this board!
Na

I use a mixture of peat moss, and forest floor, by zoo med, mixed with lots of leaf litter. In the hide I put long fibered moss. I notice he never goes into his hide until night time (if he does at all) He likes to stay under a plant that I got at Petsmart. It looks like long grass and is supposed to be turtle friendly. It was in the reptile department. I also put tropical moss on top of the mixture. All this, plus plants to water (small Rose of Shannon and Spring mix that I planted seeds, and chicks and hens) keep the humidity in for me.

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Nay

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What a great looking pen! When we loose winter here, I have hens and chix and rose a sharon. Course then they will be outside, but love seeing some inspiration. We have radiant heat so my guys are all on the floor(in pools) but seeing yours just gave me some ideas. Course the size of my Rf could mean the plants come down!
Thanks so much.
N
 

jenrell23

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Nay I was home depot today and found moss, It is in the area with all of the indoor plants, it says for use in terrariums. Just thought I would let you know.
 

Nay

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Hi there, Haven't gotten on here in about a week and feel I missing stuff!!
I did find the moss at our garden center ($$$$) and in going with my newfound attempt to get all my torts the proper habitat, I got a 5 gallon compound bucket and layered the bottom with damp moss for a nice moist hind for my RF Jack. Well it's been about a week and darn it, he will not go inside. (I had a smaller piece of a broken jug that I had in there for the ornate, and layered a cardboard box along side for him and that's what he always used.) He lays next to the bucket, but won't go in.He usually explores everything, but if he did explore this, he didn't like it.Any ideas. I could use the moss in the carboard, but how will it stay moist?
Na
 

terryo

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Ever since I re-did Pio's virvarium to a 75 gal. , he very rarely goes into his hide. He always goes under the little bush I have in there. I don't know why. Maybe it is a little more humid, or moist, or cooler. I haven't got a clue. I leave his hide in there anyway.
He also shares his home with my little three toed. They both like humidity. I would love to hear the story of why you keep your RF with your Ornate.
Also be careful about making the moss moist inside his hide. I did that and he got a fungus. He can't be too wet. They like humidity, but also need a dry place in there too. The same with the Ornate. My Ornate had the same set up when she was inside one winter while I was re doing my yard, but I made sure it was much drier. This is my Ornate inside.

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