Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
58,683
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
A few weeks ago we got a Brazilian Cherryhead red footed tortoise, but we are first timers and learning. It was born 6/3/2022. I bought a larger enclosure for it so it will last it a couple of years before we transition them outside. I have looked through threads for hours and figured it was time to ask for specific advice. Since the top is mesh we purchased plexi glass and cut it to fit the front half and then I put foil besides the lamps to try and retain heat and humidity/moisture. I have a sensor by the bulbs to keep the temp there at 92, and then I have a sensor on the opposite end that usually is around 80. Do you have any tips on how I can keep the temperatures higher in the “non-bulb” areas? And keep humidity higher and more consistent? Currently I spray down the enclosure morning and night and it usually keeps around 60% humidity in between.
Open topped enclosures do not, and cannot work, as you are experiencing first hand. Having the heat lamps and CHEs outside on top creates a chimney effect that draws all the heat and humidity up and out and pulls in cold dry room air to replace it. Most of the electricity you are burning is just going up and into the room. Covering the top is better than nothing, but it doesn't solve this problem.

What you need is a large closed chamber with all of the heating and lighting inside. For a CH, I would also eliminate the basking area in favor of just having a warm over all ambient temp. Radiant heat panels mounted on the ceiling are a much better way to go than CHEs too. Either heating method needs that thermostat. When you switch to a closed chamber, you will be amazed at how little electricity it takes to maintain the correct warmth and how easy it is to keep things both humid and dry at the same time.

Your tortoise needs humidity, but be careful that you don't cause a case of shell rot on the plastron from having substrate that is too wet too much of the time. Having a large closed camber allows you to easily maintain 80%+ humidity with dry substrate.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
58,683
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Tom, with glass enclosures…since most come with mesh tops, do you know of a solution to retain the humidity in easier? I have put plexi glass on the front half and foil on the back half in between the CHE lamps.
You have to have all the heat and lighting inside. It just doesn't work any other way. I experimented and tried so many things over so many years, and now I've entirely switched to closed chambers for every species. It makes my life easier, and their lives better.

Our own @Markw84 makes the best ones. The price includes everything needed and its all set up and pre-wired. His price is cheaper than if you bought all the raw materials and supplies and built the darn thing yourself. Animal Plastics is another good one, but their wait time is ridiculous.
 

Morgan P

New Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2022
Messages
16
Location (City and/or State)
Fairview, TX
You have to have all the heat and lighting inside. It just doesn't work any other way. I experimented and tried so many things over so many years, and now I've entirely switched to closed chambers for every species. It makes my life easier, and their lives better.

Our own @Markw84 makes the best ones. The price includes everything needed and its all set up and pre-wired. His price is cheaper than if you bought all the raw materials and supplies and built the darn thing yourself. Animal Plastics is another good one, but their wait time is ridiculous.
You have to have all the heat and lighting inside. It just doesn't work any other way. I experimented and tried so many things over so many years, and now I've entirely switched to closed chambers for every species. It makes my life easier, and their lives better.

Our own @Markw84 makes the best ones. The price includes everything needed and its all set up and pre-wired. His price is cheaper than if you bought all the raw materials and supplies and built the darn thing yourself. Animal Plastics is another good one, but their wait time is ridiculous.
Thank you Tom! Your advice is always so helpful, I appreciate it!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom

herschel

New Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
belleville ontario
If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
I apologize as I am new here and can't seem to find where to post something but our red foot Herschel outgrew his 'home' and the next size up was huge (maybe for a lizard?), so I went to a nursery and bought a plant holder within a metal frame (which we modified somewhat) and it is made of coconut husk (people put plants in them with baskets - it's like a basket for your basket if you will), and I asked of course if it was natural etc. and it seems to be working - does anyone have experience with this. Sorry so long. Thank you!
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
43,770
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I apologize as I am new here and can't seem to find where to post something but our red foot Herschel outgrew his 'home' and the next size up was huge (maybe for a lizard?), so I went to a nursery and bought a plant holder within a metal frame (which we modified somewhat) and it is made of coconut husk (people put plants in them with baskets - it's like a basket for your basket if you will), and I asked of course if it was natural etc. and it seems to be working - does anyone have experience with this. Sorry so long. Thank you!
I know what you are talking about. It is coconut husk/coir. I have no clue if they add anything to it or not, likely not. I would though chop it up into tiny pieces not leave it in long strands.
 

herschel

New Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
belleville ontario
I know what you are talking about. It is coconut husk/coir. I have no clue if they add anything to it or not, likely not. I would though chop it up into tiny pieces not leave it in long strands.
Why the long strands? The opening has been cut diagonally in strips (we thought he might like to scratch himself), but what is the reason? Am I hurting him in some way?!!!! Thank you!
p.s. I am computer illiterate but I will try and show some photos.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
43,770
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Why the long strands? The opening has been cut diagonally in strips (we thought he might like to scratch himself), but what is the reason? Am I hurting him in some way?!!!! Thank you!
p.s. I am computer illiterate but I will try and show some photos.
I guess I'm not sure how you are using it. The long strands on moss can tangle limbs and if they eat it can tangle their insides. Same goes for the long strands of coconut coir. The coconut coir that is made for reptiles is in the form of a saw dust type substrate. If he doesn't ever eat it, it wouldn't be a problem on the inside but if they are long enough they could get tangled around limbs or neck. An adult it wouldn't be able to wrap around a young/baby it can.
 

herschel

New Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
belleville ontario
I guess I'm not sure how you are using it. The long strands on moss can tangle limbs and if they eat it can tangle their insides. Same goes for the long strands of coconut coir. The coconut coir that is made for reptiles is in the form of a saw dust type substrate. If he doesn't ever eat it, it wouldn't be a problem on the inside but if they are long enough they could get tangled around limbs or neck. An adult it wouldn't be able to wrap around a young/baby it can.
As soon as my brother returns I will upload a photo so it will be easier to see - I am a bit worried now and will be keeping a close eye - thank you so much for your quick response!
 

Mrs.Jennifer

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
641
Location (City and/or State)
Norwich CT
I guess I'm not sure how you are using it. The long strands on moss can tangle limbs and if they eat it can tangle their insides. Same goes for the long strands of coconut coir. The coconut coir that is made for reptiles is in the form of a saw dust type substrate. If he doesn't ever eat it, it wouldn't be a problem on the inside but if they are long enough they could get tangled around limbs or neck. An adult it wouldn't be able to wrap around a young/baby it can.
I think I know what Morgan P is talking about. You can get coco fiber liners for basket planters in a variety of sizes and shapes. It sounds like they are using one for a hide. I cut a coco mat to fit my Russian’s PVC ramp and feeding platform for traction, and I replace it every so often if it starts to shred.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
43,770
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I think I know what Morgan P is talking about. You can get coco fiber liners for basket planters in a variety of sizes and shapes. It sounds like they are using one for a hide. I cut a coco mat to fit my Russian’s PVC ramp and feeding platform for traction, and I replace it every so often if it starts to shred.
Yes I understand what they are using. Not sure how they are using it.
 

herschel

New Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
belleville ontario
Yes I understand what they are using. Not sure how they are using it.
I'm frustrated that I cannot upload the pics til I have some tech support - ha! I'm really glad I found this forum and when I do show you all I hope you are amazed and not horrified! I sure pray for the amazed part:) But seriously, I am checking on him constantly because you have made me aware of a potential problem and I appreciate that!
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
43,770
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I'm frustrated that I cannot upload the pics til I have some tech support - ha! I'm really glad I found this forum and when I do show you all I hope you are amazed and not horrified! I sure pray for the amazed part:) But seriously, I am checking on him constantly because you have made me aware of a potential problem and I appreciate that!
At the bottom of the box where you write your post, you should see a box on left that says attach files. Click on that to attach pics.
 

New Posts

Top