Getting my first red foot

MaddieLynn

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10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 26, 2010
Messages
59
Hey all!

I joined this forum ages ago as a high school student who desperately wanted a red foot tortoise. Fast forward to now, I graduated college a year ago and am now finally in a place where I can consider making this dream a reality!

Several years ago I had done SO much research on red foot care, but now I’m a bit rusty and have a few questions.

I currently have a 55 gallon aquarium (48x12) that I’m wanting to use as a starter for a baby red foot. How long would this size enclosure work? What equipment will I need to buy in order to make this suitable? It’s currently set up for fish so I have the aquarium, lid, and stand but no other reptile equipment.

Thanks in advance for any feedback! I’m so thrilled to be in a place where I can finally seriously consider this.
 

spoilers

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Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Messages
96
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Southwest Ohio
well, I've never had a baby tort so I can't exactly help with exact temps or enclosure size, but I have a fully grown red foot so I can help a little bit.

Eventually, you need to get a very large enclosure (minimum 8 ft x 4 ft) my 25 yr old red foot's shell is 15 inched long and he weighs 15 pounds so they get to be pretty big once fully grown (which you probably know if you've done a lot of research). I've heard torts can't see glass and may hit the tank often. if they can see outside of their enclosure they will find ways to try and escape. Avoid using cedar if possible if you decide to build a larger enclosure when needed later on. ( I built mine, it was cheaper for me that way! I do try to make mine "better" when I have the extra cash though lol)

They don't NEED a basking spot but it's a debated topic. however, you DO need a UVB light. Do NOT buy a coil bulb for UVB lighting, they run cheaper than the really long UVB lights but have been known to damage their eyes.

Humidity needs to be really high especially for a baby. I believe 80% or higher readings on a hydrometer since they are a tropical species.

Temps need to be around 80 - 85f but if you go for a basking spot, basking should be around 90-100f and the cool side should be around 70-75f.
Night temps shouldn't go below 70f. at least for a fully grown tort, again hatchlings usually need to stay pretty warm so I'm not 100% on temps for them.

Many people use different substrates. I personally use coco coir and coco husk, but others use orchard bark, organic soil, and cypress often. ( no cedar or hay) This should be a few inches deep so they can burrow. (mine only buries himself at night, not much of a digger)

Most decor found at a local pet store is either wrong or dangerous for a tort so don't waste your time or money. for food and water, I use a tile to put food on to help keep his beak trimmed and a paint tray or terra cotta plant dish for water so he can fit in the dish and soak without getting stuck. I also have a large tub for weekly soaks (big enough for him to walk around in)

for hides, I have trouble finding anything big enough so I built mine myself or used plant potters. If you get a baby, you've got a bit of time so you could probably find some good hides until it gets bigger. Red foot torts like to hide, it makes them feel safe so make sure to give them a few hides. tort safe plants are good too. Plastic plants are fine as long as they don't try to eat them.

Red foot torts are omnivorous so they get lots of variety! I feed mine fresh food from the grocery. He gets mostly leafy greens like spring mix, kale, collards, mustard greens, dandelion he also gets fruits and veggies twice a week like apple, grape, peach, berries, plum, occasional banana, mango, kiwi, papaya, squash, pumpkin, bell pepper. once a month he gets a little protein as well, I'm still testing what he likes since I haven't had him long. so far he hates bugs and doesn't care for boiled egg. I hear a lot like shrimp so I'm going to try that next. I also give him a pinch of calcium powder once a week. Mazuri pellets are said to be pretty good too, I'm going to add it to his diet soon if he likes it. There are many large lists of what you can feed a red foot, just make sure to keep variety and experiment with what yours likes.

I hope this helps a little! I recently graduated from college too! I got my rescue red foot bonsai about a month ago (before I had a rescue Russian but that was years ago) and the people on here really helped with information, so anything I didn't quite cover for a hatchling I'm sure will be covered by someone else on here! If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to try to help the best I can. congrats on deciding to get a tort! Can't wait to see pics of him/her!
 

spoilers

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Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Messages
96
Location (City and/or State)
Southwest Ohio
Looks nice and big! It should be good to use for a quite some time. Lol i should have looked at Christmas tree boxes too, didn't think of that! My enclosure is currently open chamber and I'm having some humidity trouble. Luckily my tort is full grown and can handle it for the time being but i plan on fixing that this week and making it a closed chamber. Winter is coming soon so i need to make sure I get it right before then. Also he currently lives in my art studio/office room and I'm not exactly loving that the whole room feels tropical while im working lol.
 

Relic

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