CDT questions

Subersibo

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Just adopted 2 desert tortoises.
One is about 5” and the other about 8”.
They are slightly pyramided but nothing crazy.
They have full access to the backyard where a lot of weeds are growing. I also have opuntia, grasses, succulents and hibiscus planted for them.
I made a burrow for them but they’ve chosen to sleep outside under the fallen leaves.
Aside from soaking them regularly, should I increase humidity in the hide to prevent further pyramiding? I’m afraid if I increase humidity they might get sick coz nights are chilly here (50’s)
Daytime temp now is in the 80’s to low 90’s. Soon it will be extremely hot and over a hundred degrees.
I just read that having a heated night box is good for them (I live in Elk Grove, Ca).
Before this, I’ve only read care sheets that say to just make a burrow.
 

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Tom

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Just adopted 2 desert tortoises.
One is about 5” and the other about 8”.
They are slightly pyramided but nothing crazy.
They have full access to the backyard where a lot of weeds are growing. I also have opuntia, grasses, succulents and hibiscus planted for them.
I made a burrow for them but they’ve chosen to sleep outside under the fallen leaves.
Aside from soaking them regularly, should I increase humidity in the hide to prevent further pyramiding? I’m afraid if I increase humidity they might get sick coz nights are chilly here (50’s)
Daytime temp now is in the 80’s to low 90’s. Soon it will be extremely hot and over a hundred degrees.
I just read that having a heated night box is good for them (I live in Elk Grove, Ca).
Before this, I’ve only read care sheets that say to just make a burrow.
All of those care sheets are rubbish. I've never seen a single one that was half way decent.

First and foremost, separate them immediately. They should NEVER be in pairs and this is one of the worst species for that.

Man made burrows and self-dug burrows are ideal for summertime when temps are near or over 100 every day. The rest of the year they need a heated shelter to stay in over night. You don't need to heat it to 80 like a tropical species, but keeping it about 60-65 suits them well. Then next problem is what to do on those unseasonably cold spring days, like what we are have here down in the L.A. basin right now. Heat lamp on a timer. BOOM! Problem solved.

All of that and more is explained here:

More info here:
 

Subersibo

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Ok, I’ll try to find a home for the other one.
Is the pyramiding not a concern at their size anymore as long as I soak them regularly and give water daily?
 

Maggie3fan

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CDT are not prone to pyramiding like sulcata. You seem to have a fairly good hold on what you should do. No humidity when it's cooler, and let them dig their own burrow. When I lived in California and kept CDT, mine lived in a wooden shed...mine was heated and I never would have let the temps drop to 50....but that's just me...do separate the 2 soon, altho honestly I have not ever seen CDT get aggressive, they are wonderful tortoises and sweet tempered..1625168193785.jpg
 

Tom

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Ok, I’ll try to find a home for the other one.
Is the pyramiding not a concern at their size anymore as long as I soak them regularly and give water daily?
No. Its no big deal if all else is good.
 

Subersibo

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No. Its no big deal if all else is good.
I’ll go with the heated house. I have a heat panel lying around. I didn’t read about a substrate for the heated box or I might’ve missed it. Soil ok to use? If I used something like orchid bark to retain moisture and keep the temp at just 60 would it cause problems? What humidity level should I strive for?
 

Tom

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I’ll go with the heated house. I have a heat panel lying around. I didn’t read about a substrate for the heated box or I might’ve missed it. Soil ok to use? If I used something like orchid bark to retain moisture and keep the temp at just 60 would it cause problems? What humidity level should I strive for?
No substrate inside unless you want to go to the trouble of water proofing the inside with non toxic boat paint, or Pond Sheild. Its really not necessary.

Soil should never be used. I use a thin layer of plain dry native dirt inside boxes for adults of drier species. This makes clean up very easy. You can have a bucket, or some water tubs inside the box for some humidity. I have never had any problem with humidity done this way in these boxes at low temps. Most of the year I keep the boxes at 60-65 for temperate species, but I begin dropping it in November December for brumation, and it still works great with temps in the 30s and 40s inside the box during brumation.

Your heat panel might not be enough. Your thermometer will tell you, not me. The basking lamp will help warm things up significantly on the days that you need it.
 

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