Tortoise eating substrate

LLG

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My tortoise, Francis, has been eating the substrate I have been using. It resulted in an impaction and vet visit. I have used coconut fiber and cyprus mulch.
Any ideas on other types of substrate that is less likely to be eaten? I know that sometimes the coconut fiber will get on his food, but he ate a whole piece of mulch.
 

jaizei

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How long have you had him? Can you post pictures of the enclosure?

If the tortoise is eating substrate purposefully, it's hard to find something that can't cause impaction, so you have to try to find out why he's eating the substrate and find ways to stop it.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Are you using a RED light bulb, by any chance?
I ask because red bulbs make substrate look red. And red is a color that most tortoises associate with something good to eat.
 

Tom

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My tortoise, Francis, has been eating the substrate I have been using. It resulted in an impaction and vet visit. I have used coconut fiber and cyprus mulch.
Any ideas on other types of substrate that is less likely to be eaten? I know that sometimes the coconut fiber will get on his food, but he ate a whole piece of mulch.
In addition to the red bulb, they will also eat substrate, or other inappropriate things, when fed a diet of mostly grocery store greens, and sometimes certain diseases will cause them to do this too.

What species?
What size and age?
Where did you get it?
What do you feed it?
What size enclosure?
What type of bulbs are you using?
 

LLG

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Are you using a RED light bulb, by any chance?
I ask because red bulbs make substrate look red. And red is a color that most tortoises associate with something good to eat.
I do not use a red bulb at night. I just keep the curtain open so he gets sunlight. And I keep him on a heating pad at night to help with temp.
 

LLG

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In addition to the red bulb, they will also eat substrate, or other inappropriate things, when fed a diet of mostly grocery store greens, and sometimes certain diseases will cause them to do this too.

What species?
What size and age?
Where did you get it?
What do you feed it?
What size enclosure?
What type of bulbs are you using?
He is a red footed tortoise, about 10 years old. I got him at a repitle expo. I try to vary his diet with the main source being leafy greens. Then I add (uncooked produce) food scraps from what I cook and fruit.
I use a full spectrum light during the day on a timer.
 

LLG

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How long have you had him? Can you post pictures of the enclosure?

If the tortoise is eating substrate purposefully, it's hard to find something that can't cause impaction, so you have to try to find out why he's eating the substrate and find ways to stop it.
I have had him for about 10 years. He only started to do that in the past couple years. Its not all the time, but like I said the big one caused a lot of problems.

I do not have pictures but I made the enclosure out of a dog crate, with acrylic sheeting on the sides to catch the humidifier.I also attached a "porch" outside of the crate with an opening to give him extra space. The entire crate and porch is on a full sized closet door, about 2.5 feet wide and about 6.5 feet long.
 

ZEROPILOT

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I have had him for about 10 years. He only started to do that in the past couple years. Its not all the time, but like I said the big one caused a lot of problems.

I do not have pictures but I made the enclosure out of a dog crate, with acrylic sheeting on the sides to catch the humidifier.I also attached a "porch" outside of the crate with an opening to give him extra space. The entire crate and porch is on a full sized closet door, about 2.5 feet wide and about 6.5 feet long.
That's less than 1/4 of the space required.
But I'm sure you're aware of that.
(A 10'x10' would be small.)
Everyone's situation is different. I know. We can only do what we can do in that situation.
Are you providing a cuttlebone?
Eating substrate might also be from a mineral imbalance.
Try tossing one in the enclosure. They're only a few bucks.
 

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