Greek Tortoise, Coconut Fiber Mat and Loam Mix

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Hello,
I couldn't find the info so I dont know if it has already been discussed here.

Basically I have an 8 months old Golden Greek Tortoise.
I am still doing research to make his/her life better.

From the shop we got a big fish tank (recommendation from the shop owner (cheaper ans large) ) and it has a substrate inside which I don't know what is it but from Google image I think it might be hemp? (I'm in Korea so I didn't ask as I dont speak korean)

Anyway, the humidity is very low. (About 40 maybe less under the heat light)
I read that coconut coir can increase humidity and I read that mix topsoil (which I don't know what is it but I will try to find something that contains loam) and children's play sand (I'm thinning trying a 70:30 ratio)
I saw online a coconut Fiber mat ans I thought it seemed nice.

My question is... I was thinking to make a first layer of the coconut mat hydrated (to keep humidity under) and then the soil/sand mix (About 5cm(2inches))

Does that sound like a good idea. I am worried it might make it hard to clean the mat 🤔 I haven't seen anyone doing this.

Thank you
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
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Hello,
I couldn't find the info so I dont know if it has already been discussed here.

Basically I have an 8 months old Golden Greek Tortoise.
I am still doing research to make his/her life better.

From the shop we got a big fish tank (recommendation from the shop owner (cheaper ans large) ) and it has a substrate inside which I don't know what is it but from Google image I think it might be hemp? (I'm in Korea so I didn't ask as I dont speak korean)

Anyway, the humidity is very low. (About 40 maybe less under the heat light)
I read that coconut coir can increase humidity and I read that mix topsoil (which I don't know what is it but I will try to find something that contains loam) and children's play sand (I'm thinning trying a 70:30 ratio)
I saw online a coconut Fiber mat ans I thought it seemed nice.

My question is... I was thinking to make a first layer of the coconut mat hydrated (to keep humidity under) and then the soil/sand mix (About 5cm(2inches))

Does that sound like a good idea. I am worried it might make it hard to clean the mat 🤔 I haven't seen anyone doing this.

Thank you
Hello!
Mat won't allow him to burrow. And adding sand and soil is not recommended. So you can get just a plain coco coir (sold in bricks and can be found in gardening shops as well), hydrate it and make a nice 4-6 inch thick layer. Don't forget to pack it down with your hand (7-8 inches to 4-6 inches) - this will make it less messy and dusty.
 
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
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Thank you for your answer.
This is very confusing because I saw the mix soil + sand in many posts and YouTube videos.

For the mat, I thought to put the soil on top of it so the Tortoise can dig and would be closer to the mat, which would be humid 🤔
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
2,076
Location (City and/or State)
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Thank you for your answer.
This is very confusing because I saw the mix soil + sand in many posts and YouTube videos.

For the mat, I thought to put the soil on top of it so the Tortoise can dig and would be closer to the mat, which would be humid 🤔
Many use soil and sand to imitate "natural" conditions, that's true. However, it doesn't work well in tortoise enclosures. Sand often causes impaction (because pieces of food are dragged down on substrate and sand sticks, foods we offer are often lacking fiber to push sand through the intestines and so on). Soil, we buy, may contain left-overs of garden waste - chemical, toxic plants and such. So it's just an unnecessary risk.

Also, soil itself should be damp enough to create humid microclimates when tortoise burrow.

You may read through this post and temperate species care sheet linked at the end of it:
This is the perfect guide "How not to kill your tortoise while you're learning", skip YouTube videos and FB groups for now.

Any questions are welcome!
 
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
65
Location (City and/or State)
South Korea
Many use soil and sand to imitate "natural" conditions, that's true. However, it doesn't work well in tortoise enclosures. Sand often causes impaction (because pieces of food are dragged down on substrate and sand sticks, foods we offer are often lacking fiber to push sand through the intestines and so on). Soil, we buy, may contain left-overs of garden waste - chemical, toxic plants and such. So it's just an unnecessary risk.

Also, soil itself should be damp enough to create humid microclimates when tortoise burrow.

You may read through this post and temperate species care sheet linked at the end of it:
This is the perfect guide "How not to kill your tortoise while you're learning", skip YouTube videos and FB groups for now.

Any questions are welcome!
Hello, Alex I have a small question. But I don't know if it is because of translation in Korea
I found this online.
It says coco peat. I googled and coco peat is less fibrous than coco coir.
But I couldn't find coco coir.

Do you think it is coco coir, or is it okay to use coco peat too?
Also I am thinking to add some medium size reptile bark to add some texture on top. Maybe just half of the space so she can still dig on the other half.

Oh and at 8 months old, is there ways I can check if it is a female or male?

Thanks 😅
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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Joined
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Location (City and/or State)
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Hello, Alex I have a small question. But I don't know if it is because of translation in Korea
I found this online.
It says coco peat. I googled and coco peat is less fibrous than coco coir.
But I couldn't find coco coir.

Do you think it is coco coir, or is it okay to use coco peat too?
Also I am thinking to add some medium size reptile bark to add some texture on top. Maybe just half of the space so she can still dig on the other half.

Oh and at 8 months old, is there ways I can check if it is a female or male?

Thanks 😅
Yes, coco peat is fine. It's basically the same thing. I suppose, "coco coir" is just a common name for it in US.

For a 8 months old tortoise you can use just coco peat. Don't forget to hand-pack it :)

At 8 months it is early to tell the sex reliably. If you can post a photo of its tail we can *guess*. Sometimes it's pretty obvious, sometimes - not.
 
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Coir refers to the fiber itself so all derived products might call themselves coir. The 'peat' part is because coir is used as substitute for sphagnum peat moss.
And is it good for the tortoise? I think I ordered that one I showed on the picture. I couldn't find coir anyway.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Yes, coco peat is fine. It's basically the same thing. I suppose, "coco coir" is just a common name for it in US.

For a 8 months old tortoise you can use just coco peat. Don't forget to hand-pack it :)

At 8 months it is early to tell the sex reliably. If you can post a photo of its tail we can *guess*. Sometimes it's pretty obvious, sometimes - not.
Hello, I succeeded to get a picture of its tail (first time I saw it has a tail 🤣) do you think it's a male or female?
(Or is there a special thread I need to post it in ?)

It seems a bit aggressive I think it might be a male . But I kept calling it "she" so I hope it's a female 🤣

I will love it all the same no matter what ❤️ (even though it always try to go for my fingers 🤣)

Thank you
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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Ok I will update some pictures when she gets older.
Around what age it starts to get more obvious? (1 year? 2 years?)
It's different for every tortoise. Some reach maturity at 4-5 years, some "flash" their keepers at 1-2 years. You can see male "early signs" like tail growing longer and cloaka opening gets a "slit" shape (|) instead of star (*) and positioned closer to the end of the tail. With a female tortoise tail will look more or less the same as now.

Here is a photo of "definitely a male" tail:
 
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