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I own a baby leopard tortoise and I have a few questions. I want her to be healthy and happy. I’ve had her since 23rd Feb 2024. She currently only has 2 hides however I’m looking to add some more bendy wood in to make little walls around to encourage her to explore and forage as I’ve read that it’s good for baby tortoises. I have attached a few photos below of her table and substrates that I currently own and use. Her current tank is 90 x 50cm. She’s a very active little tortoise and loves to climb things, I’ve also noticed that no matter how much food is in her bowl she will eat when she pleases and eats how ever much she wants, I always watch her when she’s eating so I can keep track on how much she is eating and drinking. She eats grated carrots, spinach, diced cucumber and her pellets. I also only give her volvic water and I always make sure that it is never to cold as she likes to lay in her water bowl for around 10mins a day.

My questions:

•how can I make her home better? (I’m open to anything any price as I want to make sure she has the best of the best)

•I know baby leopards like humid environments so I often mist the forest substrate and the moss area however I’m wondering just how often I mist.

•I get her out daily and let her lay with me in which she usually sleeps on my chest for around 30 mins as I don’t want her getting to cold, how long is she able to free roam?

•I turn her light off for around 8pm and then I turn it on around 8/9am, I’m wondering if there’s a specific time I should be turning this on and off (just want to double check what’s the best times for her)

•how can I make her sleeping area better for her as I feel like it’s very plain.

•can anyone recommend some sites to purchase good quality tortoise things (hides, bridges, snakes, plants/artificial plants)

•how often should I bath/soak her as she often soaks herself in her water bowl😂

•any extra things I should know please let me know.

Photos are linked below:

Thank you for reading this ridiculously long message😂 everytime I search google I get different answers every time but either way I think it’s best to ask real people that have experience with tortoises.
 

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Sarah2020

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Hi and welcome. Tortoise care is difficult to start with but really worth getting it right for smooth growth healthy tortoise.
Please read this composed by a breeder on this site....

Soak daily or 3 times a week and weigh weekly as nice to have a record for growth or reduction.
Soak should be in a high sided container in warm shallow water for around 30 mins.

I am in UK and use swell reptiles, local reptile shop, garden center and Amazon for supplies.
We recommend terracotta plant dish for fresh food to help the beak.

Please see if that helps and ask questions.
 

zolasmum

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Hello and welcome from Devon.It's great that you have found this forum, as you will get the best help and advice there is. I am not an expert at all, but I know two things at least - there shouldn't be any sand in the substrate, as it can be ingested when it sticks to food, and may cause impaction. So theTortoise Terrain stuff is not good. Also,if there is real moss in your photos, that is dangerous too - it cannot be digested if eaten, and can cause serious problems with impaction in the gut.
She looks very cute. Our tortoise, Zola, is 23 now, and the most important member of the family in many ways !
Angie
 

wellington

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No on the substrate, get orchid bark or fir bark
You must add better and more variety to the diet.
A tube florescent for uvb is needed. An incandescent flood bulb for basking of 95-100 and a ceramic heat emitter for added day and night heat of 80 all over never lower. Cover the enclosure so 80% humidity can be maintained, it's not possible with misting and an open top enclosure. Do not add any more items to the enclosure. It's barely big enough now and s/he needs to have room to roam to keep insides and legs working properly.
 
Joined
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Hi and welcome. Tortoise care is difficult to start with but really worth getting it right for smooth growth healthy tortoise.
Please read this composed by a breeder on this site....

Soak daily or 3 times a week and weigh weekly as nice to have a record for growth or reduction.
Soak should be in a high sided container in warm shallow water for around 30 mins.

I am in UK and use swell reptiles, local reptile shop, garden center and Amazon for supplies.
We recommend terracotta plant dish for fresh food to help the beak.

Please see if that helps and ask questions.
Thank you for your reply! I will definitely have a look at the page you’ve linked! I am also UK based so the places you’ve listed are very helpful thankyou! Also i did ask the person who I got her from about a terracotta pot but they sold me the bowls and everything else as like a huge deal and they said those bowls are perfect for her. Should I still swap for a terracotta pot anyways as I know shops often say things for their own benefit.
 
Joined
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No on the substrate, get orchid bark or fir bark
You must add better and more variety to the diet.
A tube florescent for uvb is needed. An incandescent flood bulb for basking of 95-100 and a ceramic heat emitter for added day and night heat of 80 all over never lower. Cover the enclosure so 80% humidity can be maintained, it's not possible with misting and an open top enclosure. Do not add any more items to the enclosure. It's barely big enough now and s/he needs to have room to roam to keep insides and legs working properly.
Thank you for your response, i will purchase the substrate you have recommended but the forest terrain one I currently have is fir bark so shall I keep that one? Also all of the lights and stuff you’ve mentioned do I have to get 1 of all of them? only because I’m not quite sure how/where to put them and I also don’t want her getting over heated. Also any recommendations on what I can cover her enclosure with? I have been told by other leopard tortoise owners that an open top is highly recommended as it allows a lot of air flow and breathing space for them so I’m slightly confused, I do cover her tank at night time so that the heat stays trapped but during the day I take it off. Also you said her enclosure is small shall I size up as soon as possible? Only wondering because she gets a lot of free roaming time anyways. Also I have tried her with other foods but spinach cucumber and the grated carrots is the only thing she eats properly at the moment so I figured id let her get used to that and then try her with other foods or would it be better to just keep trying? just don’t want her to lose an appetite or something😅
 
Joined
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Hello and welcome from Devon.It's great that you have found this forum, as you will get the best help and advice there is. I am not an expert at all, but I know two things at least - there shouldn't be any sand in the substrate, as it can be ingested when it sticks to food, and may cause impaction. So theTortoise Terrain stuff is not good. Also,if there is real moss in your photos, that is dangerous too - it cannot be digested if eaten, and can cause serious problems with impaction in the gut.
She looks very cute. Our tortoise, Zola, is 23 now, and the most important member of the family in many ways !
Angie
Hello! I will remove the soily/sand substrate right away and I got the moss stuff from a tortoise shop like 2 days ago shall I take out the moss hide aswell? Or just the moss wall and flooring part. And I love the name Zola! Very cute I’ve had my little one for barely a week and she’s a huge part of my family already I can’t stop watching her😂
 

zolasmum

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Hello! I will remove the soily/sand substrate right away and I got the moss stuff from a tortoise shop like 2 days ago shall I take out the moss hide aswell? Or just the moss wall and flooring part. And I love the name Zola! Very cute I’ve had my little one for barely a week and she’s a huge part of my family already I can’t stop watching her😂
I would remove any sort of moss at all- even fake moss - she might try to eat artificial moss, which would be a very bad idea too.! When you mention free roaming, do you mean on the floor of a room ? That again is very dangerous, especially for such a little creature - you can never be sure what might be there - pins, paperclips, bits of wrapping, - lots of stuff for her to experiment eating - also the floor is the coldest part of the room, so she will get cold very quickly. And if you are able to take her outside, watch her every second, as they are incredibly quick at hiding (I speak from experience)
Angie
 

wellington

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Whoever told you and open top table is better have no clue what they are talking about. Do not listen to vets, pet stores, FB or any other sites about care. They all do the old wrong stuff
Yes, all those lights and heat are needed. You need a digital thermostat and point and shoot temp gun so the temps can be set correct and no over heating.
Look/Google search for a pop up greenhouse and portable raised garden bed with a plastic cover like pictured below. A larger enclosure will be easier to get temps and lighting correct and give you more time before you would have to make it larger.
As for the diet, you have to stop spinach and try the others. Arugula, escarole, endive, water cress, ridicchio, dandelion. Chop up finely and add it to the stuff that you know he likes, also chopped finely. Spritz it all with water. Do this daily and as he gets better at eating it, use less and less of the old foods and more of the new better foods. It might take days, weeks, months to get him to eat better but it needs to be done.
20240215_075123-COLLAGE.jpgScreenshot_20240215-074821.png
 
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I would remove any sort of moss at all- even fake moss - she might try to eat artificial moss, which would be a very bad idea too.! When you mention free roaming, do you mean on the floor of a room ? That again is very dangerous, especially for such a little creature - you can never be sure what might be there - pins, paperclips, bits of wrapping, - lots of stuff for her to experiment eating - also the floor is the coldest part of the room, so she will get cold very quickly. And if you are able to take her outside, watch her every second, as they are incredibly quick at hiding (I speak from experience)
Angie
I have taken the moss out already since reading your last comment, I often let her free roam in a little pen in my room I make sure to hoover the floor before hand i put like a sheet thing down which I’ve seen tortoise owners on tiktok use. my room is always warm as I always have my heaters on so I thought placing her onto the floor would be the smartest way to let her free roam but now I’m rethinking my whole knowledge on baby tortoises since everything I’ve been told from others has been totally wrong! I currently dont put her outside as in the uk where I am it’s cold, also when I let her free roam I usually put her table in the pen and remove the glass wall so that she can walk inside and outside of it. I have only had her for 4 days now I know it probably doesn’t seem like it but I did do a lot of research before getting her and spoke to a lot of people but clearly I’ve spoken to the wrong people and seen the wrong websites so I’m going to start from scratch and make sure to buy her all of the necessary things starting with substrates and then a new enclosure for her, glad I’ve found this forum so early! I feel so bad for her now these past 4 days have probably been hell for her! So glad to receive the information I need!
 
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Whoever told you and open top table is better have no clue what they are talking about. Do not listen to vets, pet stores, FB or any other sites about care. They all do the old wrong stuff
Yes, all those lights and heat are needed. You need a digital thermostat and point and shoot temp gun so the temps can be set correct and no over heating.
Look/Google search for a pop up greenhouse and portable raised garden bed with a plastic cover like pictured below. A larger enclosure will be easier to get temps and lighting correct and give you more time before you would have to make it larger.
As for the diet, you have to stop spinach and try the others. Arugula, escarole, endive, water cress, ridicchio, dandelion. Chop up finely and add it to the stuff that you know he likes, also chopped finely. Spritz it all with water. Do this daily and as he gets better at eating it, use less and less of the old foods and more of the new better foods. It might take days, weeks, months to get him to eat better but it needs to be done.
View attachment 366986View attachment 366987
Since reading all of these comments I’m now very aware that the people I’ve been talking to and the websites and stuff I’ve been looking at is all totally wrong!! I’m honestly so happy to find this forum as I can now actually give her the actual care and stuff she needs. I’m going to order the lights and stuff you’ve said, not sure if this sounds stupid or not but will she be okay for around a week or 2 until all of the stuff finally arrives and I can set it up? I don’t want to end up losing her. Also, the food you’ve mentioned her favourite actually seems to be the spinach so do you think I should mix things with the spinach and slowly remove it over the next week or so? Thank you for taking the time to message and stuff by the way I really appreciate it.
 

wellington

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Yes she will be fine until your stuff arrives. Just be sure you keep her no lower than 80 day and night and dampen the substrate you do have and try to keep it covered more than just night time.
I would not use the spinach. Most love romaine, see if she does and use that as the staple to use to get her to eat the other better stuff.
 

ryan57

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Whoever told you and open top table is better have no clue what they are talking about. Do not listen to vets, pet stores, FB or any other sites about care. They all do the old wrong stuff
Yes, all those lights and heat are needed. You need a digital thermostat and point and shoot temp gun so the temps can be set correct and no over heating.
Look/Google search for a pop up greenhouse and portable raised garden bed with a plastic cover like pictured below. A larger enclosure will be easier to get temps and lighting correct and give you more time before you would have to make it larger.
As for the diet, you have to stop spinach and try the others. Arugula, escarole, endive, water cress, ridicchio, dandelion. Chop up finely and add it to the stuff that you know he likes, also chopped finely. Spritz it all with water. Do this daily and as he gets better at eating it, use less and less of the old foods and more of the new better foods. It might take days, weeks, months to get him to eat better but it needs to be done.
View attachment 366986View attachment 366987
That one for $89 is awesome for a little one. Add light & CHE on an adjustable stand and a temp gun, substrate and food/water dishes and you're good.
 

zolasmum

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Tortoises are very resilient, and I'm sure she hasn't suffered from any mistakes you made ! Zola loves dandelion leaves, but at the moment they haven't really got going this year - soon our garden will be full of them. His other favourite is radicchio - most tortoises seem to like it, but round here you can only get little scraps of it in bags of mixed salad. So we make a long journey to a large warehouse place where we can stock up every few weeks. This is him with some several years ago - you can see he likes it !
Angie Zola-food 2.jpg
 
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Yes she will be fine until your stuff arrives. Just be sure you keep her no lower than 80 day and night and dampen the substrate you do have and try to keep it covered more than just night time.
I would not use the spinach. Most love romaine, see if she does and use that as the staple to use to get her to eat the other better stuff.
Thank you I really appreciate your time an effort! 😊
Tortoises are very resilient, and I'm sure she hasn't suffered from any mistakes you made ! Zola loves dandelion leaves, but at the moment they haven't really got going this year - soon our garden will be full of them. His other favourite is radicchio - most tortoises seem to like it, but round here you can only get little scraps of it in bags of mixed salad. So we make a long journey to a large warehouse place where we can stock up every few weeks. This is him with some several years ago - you can see he likes it !
Angie View attachment 366991
oh he is super cute! And I still can’t get my head round how people can just sell their baby tortoises with false information on how to care for them! I am definitely going to be sharing this forum to every tortoise/soon to be tortoise owner I know! and I will definitely give those radicchios a try thankyou!!
 
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That one for $89 is awesome for a little one. Add light & CHE on an adjustable stand and a temp gun, substrate and food/water dishes and you're good.
it says it is bottomless? Do I have to buy a separate new tortoise table type of enclosure? as I can’t just place her on the floor..
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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it says it is bottomless? Do I have to buy a separate new tortoise table type of enclosure? as I can’t just place her on the floor..
You don't necessary need a table to place it. Any waterproof surface will work - tarp, vinyl flooring, plywood or OCB board, coroplast, play mats and so on. Cover it with a shower curtain from the inside of the enclosure and you are good to go.
 

Maggie3fan

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Thank you for your reply! I will definitely have a look at the page you’ve linked! I am also UK based so the places you’ve listed are very helpful thankyou! Also i did ask the person who I got her from about a terracotta pot but they sold me the bowls and everything else as like a huge deal and they said those bowls are perfect for her. Should I still swap for a terracotta pot anyways as I know shops often say things for their own benefit.
There is NO doubt that the pet shop has no clue or cares a whit. All they want is your money...seriously. Please understand it's not you who are wrong, it s the people who told you..that baby needs humidity and that means a closed top...I don't keep Leo's but here is the same idea for my Redfoot...DSCN2331.JPG
LaylaView attachment 367007
 

zolasmum

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Hello again - there were a couple of things I wanted to mention - in case you didn't know, Arugula is the American word for wild rocket - that's quite common in shops in the UK, and also is easy to grow outside - and regarding the water dish, the reason terracotta saucers are mentioned is because they are shalow, and have a slightly rough surface, which would make it easier for a little tortoise to climb out, if they fell in - you push it down into the substrate until the top edge is level with it - then the baby doesn't have to reach up to get a drink, and maybe overbalance. Little tortoises can easily fall on their backs and not be able to get up.
Zola is very cute - he is also very friendly and funny and loving - when we got him, his shell was split along his back from his neck - you can see in his photo - (we think he may have been stepped on) and he wasn't doing too well - but we gave him a lot of care and love, and now he is very strong and fit - and he sort of bonded with us, and us with him. Tortoises are wonderful creatures, and I'm sure Myrtle will be a lovely little friend , in time.
Angie
 

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