1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Tips for my cherry hatchling!

Discussion in 'Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises' started by Edian, May 14, 2019.

Help Support Tortoise Forums by donating:

  1. Edian

    Edian New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Miami, Fl
    I tried to make this clear and concise. I may seem to be asking a lot of questions, but I have a deep passion for understanding things and later being able to share the info I’ve acquired with others! Sorry in advance for all the words!!!!


    Hello everyone, I’ve spent countless hours reading posts here and learning from everyone back when I was getting ready to adopt my first tort (baba , the Russian tortoise) I’ve had him living in his outdoor enclosure and he seems pretty happy. I ended up becoming extremely fascinated with all tortoises the more I learned about them and decided to make an attempt at providing a wonderful life for a 4 -8 week old cherry head. I’ve been reading and asking questions on Facebook and I have received tons of excellent information, some of you I’m sure will be reading this, so thanks again! I’m posting here now with my current setup for the baby, and with some comments and suggestions that people have offered me. I really want to get a couple more hatchlings but only once I have the setup near perfect. Any info is greatly appreciated!

    Here’s what Taika and I are working with as of now. I don’t mind redoing the entire setup. The health of my baby is my priority. (This is her :) )
    IMG_3398.jpg

    40 gallon tank covered with a metal screen and foil (to trap humidity)

    Substrate bottom level is sphagnum. Apprx 2 inches moistened, not soaked (fear of shell rot)

    On top of that i added some coco coir mulch today and misted it down to try and raise the humidity/keep it from drying while I’m at work.

    He has a log hide in the “cool” corner on some not-as-damp sphagnum.

    I’m currently using the zoomed tropical dual light set that was suggested to me but have since learned that it could be harmful to the eyes and would like to use a reptisun top with a radiated heat panel as was suggested by a wonderful member of the forum. If someone can help me out with selecting that for my tank size, or explaining how to calculate it, I would appreciate it! I assume I would need a different cover than my current half screen half foil cover. Also, any comments on why or why not to change to this would be awesome!

    I’m using a CHE at night for warmth.

    I have a single hygrometer in the center, a little closer to the “hot” side at substrate level to keep an eye on things.

    Taika has been eating squash, which is his primary choice from what I’ve seen. She really likes spineless opuntia as well. She loves plantain (the plant not the fruit) also nibbles some endive leaves as well as red leaf lettuce and some curly lettuce. Nibbles some papaya, ate a quarter of a strawberry on the first day. She also ate a beetle when she was free roaming 2 days ago so I got some little mealworms that are now in a container eating carrots. I haven’t fed her the worms yet because I would like opinions. I’ve read not to give animal protein at this age but if she went looking for it on her own... I believe in nature and instincts.

    I have a cuttlebone in her tank , which she is not yet interested in.

    I am not adding calcium supplements because I “believe” she will get her requirements from the varied diet. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

    I live in Miami, weekdays I take her out when I get home after work for some free roaming foraging. She doesn’t eat as much as my Russian does, but I feel she might just not feel safe yet in the yard. On the weekend, Taika and Baba, spend a good couple of hours a day out in the yard getting some sun and fresh weeds. (They eat the weeds, not us)

    I soak her in the morning for a couple of minutes while I prep breakfast for the two and re-mist the substrate while she’s out. I also mist her while she eats or right before I leave for work if she’s not back under the log. She pooped this morning while soaking and it looked fine.

    I’m worried about over dampening the sphagnum to maintain humidity because I don’t want her to get plastron/shell rot. How wet is too wet?

    I put a large wine glass of water in the enclosure, it’s heavy enough that she can’t knock it down and tall enough that she can’t climb in , with a thin footprint so it doesn’t take up her walking space - I’m hoping it adds humidity while evaporating so that I don’t have to moisten the substrate too much. Maybe a bad idea? Better tips? I plan on getting a humidifier but am overwhelmed with the options. I need to have it sense the levels and activate accordingly since I can not control it while at work. If anyone wants to help me with this I’ll love you forever!



    Ok - I think that’s it for now. If you read all of this, you’re awesome! Thanks again to everyone who’s offered suggestions already! Can’t wait to see my little lady grow big , strong and healthy!
    TammyJ and aqualungs like this.
  2. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2018
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    650
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location (City and/or State):
    Richmond, VA
    Edian likes this.
  3. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator 10 Year Member!

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    19,741
    Likes Received:
    6,977
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    CA
    You've included a lot of information which is good but the one thing I didn't re tcall seeing was temperatures?
    Edian likes this.
  4. Edian

    Edian New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Miami, Fl
    I just started measuring humidity yesterday. Temp has been between 78.8-84ish

    Humidity goes from 70-90(usually on the lower side especially by the time I’m ack home from work). It doesn’t stay at or over 90 very long, I assume from the bulbs.
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    80,508
    Likes Received:
    51,787
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Clovis, CA
    What a beautiful little RF tortoise!
    Edian likes this.
  6. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    18,778
    Likes Received:
    33,736
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
    The most common florescent UV light fixture is an 18" long one.
    And that size should be good for you either what is referred to as a 5.0 tube.
    They are relatively inexpensive and put out light without it being very harsh. Redfoot don't need or want bright lighting.
    As far as warmth, a CHE would work well.
    You are looking for an overall temp of 78 to 85 (ish)
    Edian likes this.
  7. Edian

    Edian New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Miami, Fl
    Thanks! So from what I understand - the tube and a Che are enough? No need for the harsh dual zoo-med “tropical set?”

    Instead of a Che, would a radiated Heater strip ( I think that’s what it’s called) help with keeping the humidity?
    ZEROPILOT likes this.
  8. Edian

    Edian New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Miami, Fl
    Here’s a pic of the webcam I have setup on the enclosure, as well as an actual pic of the tank. I’m gonna try stuffing some bamboo from my backyard with soaked sphagnum to replace the wine glass idea I had :-/
    IMG_3439.jpg IMG_3437.jpg
    TammyJ and aqualungs like this.
  9. aqualungs

    aqualungs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    322
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Perry, OH
    Hey stranger! Good to see you on here!
    -Marty
    Edian likes this.
  10. Greta16

    Greta16 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    378
    Likes Received:
    172
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Western Maine
    Beautiful tort, alas, I don't knkw much about this type. I'm wondering what fb groups you've joined that have members of the Tortoise Forum in them? Best of luck, looks like you've done your research and really want to learn.
    Edian likes this.
  11. Edian

    Edian New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Miami, Fl
    Mainly a really great Florida tortoise keeper group and I just joined a couple of big Redfoot groups -
    Greta16 likes this.
  12. Greta16

    Greta16 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    378
    Likes Received:
    172
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Western Maine
    Ahhh, I see. You must be from Florida.
    Edian likes this.
  13. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Messages:
    6,828
    Likes Received:
    22,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
    aqualungs likes this.
  14. aqualungs

    aqualungs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    322
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Perry, OH
    I love the radiant heat panels. I got a lot of advice and help from Tom. I also like you had a current enclosure while I worked on a second new enclosure with the heat panels. I’m sure some heat panel users will chime in. The benefit I think.. is the heat is evenly distributed instead of a hot spot like CHEs. They don’t need to move in and out of heat. It is more like being under the warm sun and they love it. Mine pass out sleeping out in the open under it.
    Edian likes this.
  15. aqualungs

    aqualungs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    322
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Perry, OH
    Oh yes, they are also safer!
    Edian likes this.
  16. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    18,778
    Likes Received:
    33,736
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
    Closing in the top or most of it with a strip of plexiglass is what I would do.
    It's inexpensive and uncomplicated
    TammyJ likes this.
  17. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Well-Known Member Moderator 10 Year Member!

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Messages:
    5,370
    Likes Received:
    292
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location (City and/or State):
    Nebraska
    Also consider a lot more shade. Redfoots are shy and hiders. The Tortoise Library, if you can find it, has a lot of info in it.
    aqualungs likes this.
  18. Edian

    Edian New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Miami, Fl
    Thanks, Ive made use of the ttt quite a good amount! Does anyone have a list of plants that can live in the enclosure and not have detrimental effects on the baby? I know I can check the safe feeds list but I prefer experience from people who are actually doing it :)
    ZEROPILOT likes this.
  19. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    18,778
    Likes Received:
    33,736
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
    You can grow small pathos indoors with little light.
    But most plants in an indoors tortoise enclosure die after a while. So be prepared to replace them.
    Edian likes this.
  20. aqualungs

    aqualungs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    322
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Perry, OH
    Dracaena varieties (far right) will do very well too. IMG_2339.jpg . I stripped all of the soil and repotted in a clay pot out of reach. I was told there were no chemicals but I’m not taking any chances. I have plenty to feed him. These will provide cover, a nice decoration, as well as visual stimulation for them.
    Edian likes this.
Similar Threads: Tips cherry
Forum Title Date
Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises cherry head food tips Nov 16, 2017
Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises New Cherry Head youngster. Tips? Jan 18, 2016
Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises New enclosure, tips helpful Feb 15, 2019
Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises Oral antibiotic administration tips Mar 19, 2018
Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises Adopting in the new year, need advice and tips! Dec 28, 2017

Share This Page