Facebook Leopard Tortoise Group

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IkeLightner

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Hello all!!!

I just want to thank you all for the priceless knowledge I have gained from this forum and all of your wisdom and experience. I want to send a special thank you out to Tom for all of your work on the humidity and pyramiding issues!! I have been tryin to spread your word man!!

I have a pair of Leopards that are approaching 1 year of age now. They were unfortunately started incorrectly, but since we have had them, they have been cared for properly, if not spoiled!!!

Anyway, I will post a pic when I can figure out how, but until then, we are assembling a group on Facebook for leopard tortoise and sulcata enthusiasts! It is just now in the beginning phases, but we would LOVE LOVE LOVE the input and membership of everyone here!! I know this is THE actual forum, and the real place people should be hanging out, but I also know that almost everyone is one facebook and it is VERY easy to share pics etc on there quickly.

IF you use facebook, please come join our group!!! You can find us by typing "leopard tortoise" into the search bar on google, or you can simply click this link. http://www.facebook.com/sprucespill..._comment_reply#!/groups/173198212781350/Thank you!!!!!

Ike Lightner
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Ike:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

May we know where (appx.) you are?

Some of us still don't do Facebook. :p
 

IkeLightner

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ah yes, of course, I am sorry!!! Thanks for asking Yvonne. I am from Springfield, Missouri. Currently I live in Columbia, Missouri and am a law student at the University of Missouri, though I have a passion for reptiles and really any animal. I have always loved tortoises, but the two leopards we purchased for my mother (as a mothers day gift last year) are the first actual tortoises to live under my care. I have bred many reptiles throughout the years and am currently working with a 3.7 breeding group of high-end Brazilian Rainbow Boas, 1.1 Jungle Carpet Pythons and then the leopard torts!!!!
 

IkeLightner

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I think I got a pic posted, this is Marge. I still need to get a pic of Homer up. He has even more white than she does!!!
 

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Tom

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Ike that leopard picture is just gorgeous. So nice to see a smooth one. Great job raising that one!

Post some boa pics in the "Other Pets", "Snakes..." section. I love the Brazilian Rainbows. One of my favorite species.
 

Jacqui

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Very pretty little one! Another person from Springfield! :D My daughter lives there and I've spent some time there (my husband and I work for Prime). Love to visit just to get to go out to eat at the nearby town and enjoy the rolls they throw at ya. ;) :D
 

tortoisefanatic

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Welcome, Ike. I'm a snake lover also. Would love to own a BRB someday. Right now, I'm content with an Abbott's okeetee cornsnake and a coastal rosy boa, to go along with three juvenile pancake torts, one 4 year old leopard tort, and, in the next few weeks, another approximately 18 month old leopard tort.

Alan
 

IkeLightner

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WOW, thanks for all of the responses and greetings!!! This is obviously an active place!

To those who have joined the Facebook group, thanks a lot!!! Glad to have you, and please post pics and any other information you would like!! I am also working on sending people from the facebook page to these forums!!!

Hey Tom,
Thanks a lot, I am super excited to get your approval on Marge!!! She really has been quickly growing very smooth, white, and is looking nice! I gotta get a pic of Homer posted up on here!!!

Also, glad to hear you like BRBs and that off-topic posting is encouraged here!! I will post a BRB intro in the next day or two, I think you'll like what I'm working with!!! Got some fun stuff in the works!!! I will also post up some pics of my new pair of screaming Jungle Carpet Pythons!!!!

To Jacqui,
Thats awesome you are familiar with the Springfield area! You are referring to Lambert's in Ozark, Mo where you got the thrown rolls. Where are you located, and what do you keep?

To Alan,
Glad to have some other snake lovers in here!!! If you have even considered getting a BRB you seriously HAVE TO!!!!! You will not regret it, they're one of the neatest animals I have ever kept!!!!
 

IkeLightner

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ok I am trying to post up some more pics of my Leos!!! Hope this works!

Pic 1 is of Homer on the day we got him (you can see some pyramiding coming in and just how tiny he looked)

Pic 2 is of Homer and Marge feeding on roddiccio, home-grown grass, and some carrots (which i feed a lot less often than the other items)

Pic 3 is of Homer and is more recent
 

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Neal

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Those are some of the best looking leopards I have seen, both shell pattern and shape.

Would you mind telling us the details of your husbandry?

Also, would you mind sharing where you got Homer? I am interested in possibly one of his siblings. Feel free to PM me if you would rather not say on the open forum.
 

IkeLightner

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Neal, thank you so much for your response!!!! This really excites me/fires me up to hear this from you!!!! We got Homer from a breeder in Texas who sells them out of one of my friends Serpentariums in Ozark, Mo. Homer was started VERY dry, probably for the first 3 or so months of his life (not sure how old he was).

Marge came from even more humble upbringings (; I rescued Marge from a friend who took her in because the (insert expletive) person was going to release this tort in the backyard if she didn't pick it up that day. Lucky for us, and Marge, she fell into the right hands!! Marge was VERY young and smooth when we first got her, I feel like she could have been just as old as Homer, or even older, but I do NOT think she was fed properly or kept in the right enclosure so she didn’t really put on any growth prior to us getting her. I feel like this was a blessing in disguise, because once we got her, she went into the correct habitat and began to thrive!!!

I will detail my husbandry, but I unfortunately do not have any good pics yet of it. I keep them in a large, IRIS tub called a VE-175 (made to store artificial Christmas trees and sold in Wal-Mart every winter, $20 after Christmas) This tub has dimensions of 52(L) X 20(w) X 14(h). I operate an Exo Terra Solar-Glo High Intensity Self-Ballasted UV/Heat Mercury Vapor Lamp 160 Watts. (We used a 100 watt at the beginning, but replaced that after 8 month or so with a 160 watt). This light is run on a 12/12 timer and has a hot spot of 100 give or take. I also have one red heat lamp that comes on at night, and a heat mat on a rheostat runs under their humid hide box 24/7. I shoot for 80-90 degrees at floor level in their humid hide. The far end of the enclosure (the cooler side) is about 70 degrees, maybe 75 in a warm day. They have enough room to decide what temp they prefer though!

I currently use cypress mulch as my substrate. I like it fine, at first though, I thought the larger pieces of cypress were making it difficult on the Leos, but not anymore!!! I use a 1 ft. X 1 ft. tile as their dinner plate, and keep the tile on the opposite end of the enclosure from their humid hide (forces them to stay active and use the entire cage)!!! The LARGE water dish (clay pot tray) is located between the feed tile and their humid hide box. I also use a piece of cuttlebone which I prop up for them to munch on at this pleasure.

These tortoises are spoiled, let me tell you that! We feed mustard greens, turnip greens, radicchio, kale, endive, shredded carrots (in moderation), dandelions, spring mix, occasionally we feed some zoo-med grazing tortoise pellet things (the Leos hate these, but will eat them if we moisten them up and mix them into their greens) and a few other odds and ends. We supplement with calcium a few times per week. We also have begun growing our own grazing tortoise seed mix. I purchased a small bag of the seed mix from Carolina Pet supply, and have been VERY happy with it so far. I actually just grew a 14 inch long tray for the past month that I put into their cage today!! Can't wait to see how long they take to consume it all!!!

The humidity is the MOST important aspect in my humble opinion. We mist their shells 1 time per day at minimum. If I am there, and my mom is around, the tortoises will often be misted 2, 3 or even 4 times per day. I like to really drench their shells when I do this! I also have found that they love to drink running, fresh water. I will sometimes put them on a plastic plate, or just the top of their humid hide box, and begin misting/pouring lukewarm (70-80 degrees) water on them. If they are thirsty, they will oftentimes start stretching out their necks and lapping up the water as it runs past them. This, I actually do have a picture of. I’ll post it once I can. They will many times spend minutes upon minutes (seems like a Long time, and lots of water) drinking water when I do this for them!!!

Beyond misting daily, providing a large, shallow, clean water bowl, and creating a “mini river” for them to drink from, I also provide them with a humid hide box. I would like to think I’m pretty good at building and maintaining humid hide boxes, as I have been doing this for YEARS for my Brazilian Rainbow Boas. I use New Zealand Sphagnum moss (purchased in bales over the internet, much better quality, and cheaper prices than I can find locally). If anyone uses any type of sphagnum or green moss etc. in their humid hides, I would recommend you PM me for details on this New Zealand Sphagnum, it is by far and away the best moss I have ever been able to find, anywhere!!! And I have been keeping BRBs and using different types of sphagnum throughout the years until I found this stuff!!!!

My humid hides are built maybe a little differently than many people. I took a large Rubbermaid container, removed the lid, flipped it upside down, and drilled holes all the way around the top (end opposite where the lid would be), about 4-6 inches down. Then, I threaded the holes up with some kite string until I created a good hammock/net up there in the top of the box. I then fill this with moist sphagnum moss (just to the point of dripping out water when squeezed, but not CRAZY wet). Once that is done, I fill in the area under the tub with moist sphagnum moss. The last thing to do is cut out a door, just a bit larger than the tortoise. I like to start with small doorways so as not to let out too much humidity, and then I just cut them larger as the torts grow. I also feel like my Leos like the darkness of their hides, so I will duct tape around the outside of the tub (wouldn’t be necessary to do so if you used opaque/darker colored tubs, but mine have always been clear). I feel that proper heat is very important for us to keep these torts humid like this, so I run a heat pad, which I mentioned earlier, I shoot for a hot spot of 85 degrees in the hid box.

Please let me know what I have missed, or if you have any further questions!!! The last thing I want to note is that I live in Southwest Missouri, definitely NOT a tortoise friendly climate. I house my leopards indoors for the bulk of the year. On sunny, warm days, we take them outside and let them roam in a good sized box on our back deck. This gives them an hour or two of natural sunlight, and VERY humid air (SW Mo has severe humidity in the summers). We make sure to provide them access to shade and plenty of water when we take them outside! Can’t wait for summer, I’m going to build them an outdoor play pen that is completely planted and secure for them!!! The eventual goal is to put them into a greenhouse in my backyard for at least 3 or 4 months of the year (maybe more if we can stabilize temps and provide a nice Kane heat mat). I just want to go slow, and wait till they are big enough before I do this!!! Ok, I’m done rambling for now!!!!
 

Neal

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Fantastic explanation, I think you are spot on with everything. The only thing I would recommend is maybe adding some more lighting to your set up. What you have is good, but as a matter of going from good to great I would recommend a couple of long tube florescent's...some combination of UVB emitting and full spectrum.

I am interested in getting some more information on the New Zealand sphagnum. The stuff I get from Home Depot is what we use in our humid hides, but I am curious as to why you think it is better. Does it retain moisture longer?
 

IkeLightner

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Springfield, Missouri
Hey Neal, thanks a lot!!! Good to hear! I have learned probably 95% of what I know about leopard tortoises from simply lurking here!! Do you have a specific lightbulb that you use or recommend? I will definitely look into this. The bulb I have claims to be a UVB/UVA bulb, is this correct?

oh yeah, my bad. On the New Zealand sphagnum....... I have GREATLY preferred it to any other type of sphagnum I've found. I have probably tried atleast 8 different sources and varieties throughout the years. I do not know for sure if it retains moisture for longer, but I believe so. The moss is better because it is WAY cleaner, comes in big pieces and doesn't get nasty fast at all. My BRBs are harder on their moss hide boxes than my leopard torts, and it works great for them. The new zealand is very pure and is a much lighter color than the standard type I have found. It really just seems to be much much fresher and stays in better shape for longer. I think it MIGHT even soak in more water than other types.
 
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