AM I A BAD TORT DADDDDD????!helppppp

GGambleGG

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So I’ve always wanted a tortoise since I can remember and it’s only been in about the past 3-4 months I’ve seriously considered taking in the responsibility so I started doing research and read about everything I could find on redfoots since they seem easier to keep comfortable for a first timer, we’ll I had kind of planned on waiting until spring or summer as I’m from Charlotte NC so it’ll get down to the 30’s, but between being excited about a tortoise and wanting a pet my fiancé got a baby red foot for us as an early Christmas present the 24th from a non chain pet store (the same store I bought my spider who was healthy), the place is kind of sketchy. he doesn’t immediately seem unhealthy, but the pet store lady helped her pick the stuff out and and sold her just a t8 bulb, not the actual light, and told her she doesn’t need a heat lamp?. Being as it was closed along with Walmart and anywhere else I could get a heat lamp/uvb lamp from until after Christmas. I’ve been trying Reddit and Google and everyone says something different so I’m lost, I just want him to live till I can get him what he needs when Walmart or petco opens. All I could think is just try and make it as close to a jungle in South America for him so I’ve got a legitimate heating pad, like one for humans, under just one corner of a plastic box with some substrate that seems like garden mulch and is straight up lumber to him to try and crawl through, but I added some clean soil I screened, not much just enough so it wasn’t all wood in there, I’ve misted him pretty generously and I’ve given him if anything a little extra soak as he was disgusting when i got him but his butt was clean, and he’s been pretty active, I’ve seen him taking a few bites of greens and he had a few bites of a strawberry during his soak, but he’s not pooped yet, I’m guessing stress? I know how important the sun is so I made sure to get him in some direct sunlight for about 15/20 mins but left him a shady spot in case he wanted to chill I’m hell bent and determined to make sure this guy stays happy and healthy but it’s hard to know what’s good information because everyone seems to say differently and I figured this would be the best place to weigh the advice so my questions are
1. What is the actual temp range I’m looking for

2. How fragile are these guys biologically, I know physically they’re prone to blockages and I know about shell rot but I mean how resilient are they to climates, stress, environment changes, I know he’s not the happiest at the moment but like how tough are they really?
3. What should I be using for substrate? I’m not sure if the exact age, not a hatchling but I wouldn’t guess any more than 2 years, but I know rough stuff helps file them up but I worry about the splinters in his eyes and food hurting him

4. He’s not got the smoothest shell, it’s not cracking but do babies have rougher shells? It’s not terrible but one ridge is pretty deep, which is why I gave him extra soaks and sprays and and so worried about the light

5. The house stays roughly 65-70, and while he’ll have his uvb today and a nice humid spot, is humidity And temperature outside of the uvb/heat lamp super bad for just 2 days I see people walking redfoots around their living room and stuff so at what point is too much time for them away from the proper moisture levels and temp?

any help would be awesome, thank you!

and I say “his” because his name is Clyde but we know nothing about how to tell their gender lol
 

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Maro2Bear

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Greetings Happy Holidays.

There’s lots of good info buried in this care sheet below. Hopefully you can pop out to a few stores today - (not necessarily over priced “pet stores”) to get the things you need to create a good safe habitat for your Redfoot. Soil is never recommended as a substrate for tortoise enclosures. Many will recommend medium sized orchid bark, cypress mulch or coco coir all work.

Optimal temps are all in the care guide (below), but you will want to make sure you have proper temps & humidity 24/7. Your current room temps are too low. Lastly, it’s never a good idea to have your tort roaming about your room/floor.

➡️➡️ Redfoot Care - https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/redfoot-tortoise-caresheet.172531/

I only have a 100# Sulcata that is happily sleeping away at the moment in a nice dry, warm nightbox in her enclosure. That said, I’m sure a few owner experts can help you get to where you need to be. Folks like @ZEROPILOT or @Toddrickfl1 or @Tom can assist.

I forgot to ask you about your current enclosure. What size? Lidded or not?

Good Luck
 

GGambleGG

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Mooresville, Nc
Greetings Happy Holidays.

There’s lots of good info buried in this care sheet below. Hopefully you can pop out to a few stores today - (not necessarily over priced “pet stores”) to get the things you need to create a good safe habitat for your Redfoot. Soil is never recommended as a substrate for tortoise enclosures. Many will recommend medium sized orchid bark, cypress mulch or coco coir all work.

Optimal temps are all in the care guide (below), but you will want to make sure you have proper temps & humidity 24/7. Your current room temps are too low. Lastly, it’s never a good idea to have your tort roaming about your room/floor.

➡️➡️ Redfoot Care - https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/redfoot-tortoise-caresheet.172531/

I only have a 100# Sulcata that is happily sleeping away at the moment in a nice dry, warm nightbox in her enclosure. That said, I’m sure a few owner experts can help you get to where you need to be. Folks like @ZEROPILOT or @Toddrickfl1 or @Tom can assist.

I forgot to ask you about your current enclosure. What size? Lidded or not?

Good Luck
Thank you! And happy holidays!!! Currently has a lid to try and keep the moisture in and I have probably a 2ft-1ft plastic tote, but we’ll have a proper tort table for him today. He only had probably of 1-2 inches of really big coarse mulchy forest floor stuff so I just added a little soil to give it some volume so I could get him at least a little spot to burrow, are There reasons for not using soil other than the possibly they could become compact in it? Also that was another question, what’s the pros and cons of lidded vs lidless
 

Maro2Bear

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There are people all over who use garden soil as substrate material, but you will see that here on TFO that other items are suggested instead. Substrates like fine grade orchid bark, coco coir and or cypress mulch, or Even a mix of all three, work better. They can be misted or soaked, stay clean, maintain moisture.

“Clean Garden Soil”…you never really know what’s in it and it is hard to maintain a good consistent moisture level. Soil plus water = mud. Clean soil can still have unseen fertilizers or pesticides of other nasty toxic chemicals present. Redfoots are prone to contracting shell rot, it’s easier to keep enclosure/substrate damp (not wet) with non-soil substrates. Lastly, even if you purchase “100% organic garden soil” - you still don’t know what was used to make it. Many organic plants are toxic to tortoises. It’s meant to grow plants, not marketed for close contact with tortoises.

Using a lid on your enclosure helps maintain proper heat & humidity levels. Without a lid you are always fighting the evaporative process.


Good luck. Happy Torting
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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Here’s a shopping tip for you! Petco has Reptibark (100% fine grade fir bark) on sale. You can check availability in store on their site. Chewy.com also has it on sale right now. This is the go to substrate for all tortoise species.


 

ZEROPILOT

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First off. Let me discourage you from spending your good money at pet shops

You need a T5 HO UVB light. NOT a T8. And that T5 can supply all of his UVB needs as well as being the only light. A T8 doesn't produce much UVB and very quickly starts to fail.
Redfoot dislike bright lights.
You need the heat to be over 80 24/7 day and night. Your target is between 80 and 85 degrees. Easy with a thermostat. But nearly impossible without one. The best option is to use one or a pair of CHE or Ceramic Heat Emitters on a thermostat day and night. I don't recommend heat bulbs with light for a Redfoot.
For substrate I'd use 100% fine grade Orchid Bark. Lowes and Home Depot sells it. It holds moisture and gives off humidity as it evaporates.
Humidity needs to be over 70% also day and night
I'm not sure who told you that RF are the easiest to keep. I mean they ARE if you live in south Florida. But in most other areas they require a lot of very special care.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Here’s a shopping tip for you! Petco has Reptibark (100% fine grade fir bark) on sale. You can check availability in store on their site. Chewy.com also has it on sale right now. This is the go to substrate for all tortoise species.


That's a pretty large bag. And the price is also good.
 

GGambleGG

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First off. Let me discourage you from spending your good money at pet shops

You need a T5 HO UVB light. NOT a T8. And that T5 can supply all of his UVB needs as well as being the only light. A T8 doesn't produce much UVB and very quickly starts to fail.
Redfoot dislike bright lights.
You need the heat to be over 80 24/7 day and night. Your target is between 80 and 85 degrees. Easy with a thermostat. But nearly impossible without one. The best option is to use one or a pair of CHE or Ceramic Heat Emitters on a thermostat day and night. I don't recommend heat bulbs with light for a Redfoot.
For substrate I'd use 100% fine grade Orchid Bark. Lowes and Home Depot sells it. It holds moisture and gives off humidity as it evaporates.
Humidity needs to be over 70% also day and night
I'm not sure who told you that RF are the easiest to keep. I mean they ARE if you live in south Florida. But in most other areas they require a lot of very special care.
Thank you! He’s set up now right at 82 and the humidities staying right around 70-80, have him in fresh substrate that’s probably 70-30 of the cedar bark stuff from Petco and the reptile soil, mixed in, also got him a succulent, made him a basking spot, was just trying to clear up the uvb situation which you just did for me so he’ll have a little hideout that’s about 85 and 80 on one side and about 80-75ish outside his hideout and just a little cooler on his far side so he can pick where he wants to be, also I know them becoming compacted can be an issue when using soil or in general with too much of any substrate but what would you consider a safe way to estimate how deep their sub should be
 

Canadian Mojo

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Your instinct for making things like a south American jungle is good. They like warm, wet, shady, and lots of places to hide. The only thing to add to what others have said is make sure he has a constant source of water and you should be pretty good to go.

And if you haven't already researched it, check out the dietary requirements for Redfoots, they are very different from most other torts.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Thank you! He’s set up now right at 82 and the humidities staying right around 70-80, have him in fresh substrate that’s probably 70-30 of the cedar bark stuff from Petco and the reptile soil, mixed in, also got him a succulent, made him a basking spot, was just trying to clear up the uvb situation which you just did for me so he’ll have a little hideout that’s about 85 and 80 on one side and about 80-75ish outside his hideout and just a little cooler on his far side so he can pick where he wants to be, also I know them becoming compacted can be an issue when using soil or in general with too much of any substrate but what would you consider a safe way to estimate how deep their sub should be
Can you describe those CEDAR "bark" chips?
Cedar contains oils that can cause issues. Cedar is mostly used for small mammals because it absorbs pee and smells good.
Not ideal for a tortoise.
 

GGambleGG

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Can you describe those CEDAR "bark" chips?
Cedar contains oils that can cause issues. Cedar is mostly used for small mammals because it absorbs pee and smells good.
Not ideal for a tortoise.
Sorry was looking at the nogo list when I wrote the, it’s repti bark, have that mixed about 30% with repti soil and then like a light inch if the coconut fiber stuff on top just because the repti bark so moist and fine that it was stuck over his eye every time I turn around now I’m just trying to work on getting the humidity up since it’s 82 right now at night but during the day he’ll need more
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome,
You won't find better advice anywhere else so stick with TFO.
If you post pics of his enclosure, members can help you set it up to make it as safe as possible for your tort
 

GGambleGG

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Hello and thank you! I had a different thread where I ran his enclosure by the community and thankfully I did because it was my impression moss was okay, but we got that out of there so he doesn’t eat it or get stuck, he’s warm and wet but the only time he’ll really eat or walk around is when we put him back after us soaks which is when I give him his daily fruit but other than that he seems pretty normal, but I haven’t seen him poop yet after 2 days so I’m starting worry, no poop in the soaks and no poop on his way home from where he came from which is surprising cuz from what I’ve read car rides and soaks are messssssyyyyy
 

Maro2Bear

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Time for a nice updated pix of the enclosure ?

I think you possibly asked how deep the substrate should be? A few inches for sure, but you want to make sure you don’t decrease the area between tort’s top shell & any heating element, etc. that you have. So, just be careful.

A few inches inches for sure….
 

GGambleGG

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Time for a nice updated pix of the enclosure ?

I think you possibly asked how deep the substrate should be? A few inches for sure, but you want to make sure you don’t decrease the area between tort’s top shell & any heating element, etc. that you have. So, just be careful.

A few inches inches for sure….
I did! I went with 4-6 inches, I’m just using a common sense measuring cup and putting enough down that he can bury himself but not trap himself, I’d say it’s 4-6 inches, I have a tort table that’s set up, but since it wasn’t ready when I got him he still seems kinda stressed from the change and still hides a lot so do I just do it to him and put him in the bigger table? Or let him de stress and then re stress him with a switch
 

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ZEROPILOT

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Hello and thank you! I had a different thread where I ran his enclosure by the community and thankfully I did because it was my impression moss was okay, but we got that out of there so he doesn’t eat it or get stuck, he’s warm and wet but the only time he’ll really eat or walk around is when we put him back after us soaks which is when I give him his daily fruit but other than that he seems pretty normal, but I haven’t seen him poop yet after 2 days so I’m starting worry, no poop in the soaks and no poop on his way home from where he came from which is surprising cuz from what I’ve read car rides and soaks are messssssyyyyy
Warm is good.
Wet we want to avoid.
If you have the correct amount of water in the Orchid bark it will give off humidity as it evaporates and leave the top layer of substrate relatively dry.
He must be allowed to dry off during the day or shell fungus will start developing. Luckily it's very easy to cure.
Getting that water/humidity dialed in just right can be difficult and even discouraging. But once you find the right balance, it's all easy after that.
For now. Use a little less water.
 

Jan A

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I did! I went with 4-6 inches, I’m just using a common sense measuring cup and putting enough down that he can bury himself but not trap himself, I’d say it’s 4-6 inches, I have a tort table that’s set up, but since it wasn’t ready when I got him he still seems kinda stressed from the change and still hides a lot so do I just do it to him and put him in the bigger table? Or let him de stress and then re stress him with a switch
Hey welcome to the forum. Your tort is going to be stressed no matter what you do, but get him in the best enclosure for now & the next several months while you both adjust to each other, preferably closed so that it's easier to maintain both temp & humidity. My redfoot hates bright lights. He also doesn't burrow much, if at all. But he's 3 or so. Yours looks much, much younger. He may sleep a lot because he's younger & it's winter. And every tort is different.

If you don't already have one, the best present you can buy yourself is a temp gun. You can determine what outdoor temps in the sun & shade are, as well as any part of your indoor enclosure.

Please read thru the care sheet & ask lots of questions. We love photos!!.
 

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