Advice on substrate please

Olive and Ernie

New Member
Mar 23, 2017
hi I'm new to the site, Iv got two Herman's 7 years old . I keep them in a tortoise table until warm enough for outdoors. Iv recently been advised to use cypress mulch , I spot clean regularly but how often to I start from scratch or can the mulch be washed/cleaned they both hibernated for 10'weeks but then started to lose weight so are now wake


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Oct 26, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Hello and welcome

Spot cleaning is usually sufficient.

Have you read the TFO care sheets? They're written by species experts working hard to correct the outdated information widely available on the internet and from pet stores and, sadly, from some breeders and vets too.

Beginner Mistakes

Hermann's Care

I also need to advise you that Hermann's torts are not social creatures. They don't get lonely and see other torts only as rivals for food and territory. Bullying, both physical and mental, is common regardless of gender or being hatch mates.

If one fails to thrive or grow as well as the other then they will need to be separated on a permanent basis.

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Because I only use substrate for indoor habitats, I start fresh every year. After they've all been put outside for the summer, I toss the substrate, clean the enclosures and equipment and store it. Then in the Fall when I bring some of them back in, I start over with new substrate.

Every so often I have to dig out spoonsful of the packed down food around the feeder, and daily I pick out the poop I can see. Other than that, the substrate is used all season.