Help! Substrate

Charlotteandherbert

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Joined
Nov 13, 2021
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49
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United Kingdom
I have put some orchid bark in the base of my 10 month old tortoise home. He won’t leave the basking slate or the stones.

He runs towards me when I put my hand in, but won’t go further than the stones.

Iv placed him on top of the bark but he goes right into his shell and won’t move, it’s like he’s treating it like larva!!

It’s been 3 days, he won’t step off the slate to go to his food, even when I’m gone for work the food is still there. Iv had to feed him on his slate this evening.

Shall I remove it?? Or persevere?
 

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Tom

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I have put some orchid bark in the base of my 10 month old tortoise home. He won’t leave the basking slate or the stones.

He runs towards me when I put my hand in, but won’t go further than the stones.

Iv placed him on top of the bark but he goes right into his shell and won’t move, it’s like he’s treating it like larva!!

It’s been 3 days, he won’t step off the slate to go to his food, even when I’m gone for work the food is still there. Iv had to feed him on his slate this evening.

Shall I remove it?? Or persevere?
You should dampen the o bark. It looks very dry.

You should also remove the moss as it is an impaction risk, and all of them eventually eat it.

I've ever seen a tortoise behave this way. I'd put him on the bark and walk away. He isn't going to stay there forever.
 

Charlotteandherbert

Active Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2021
Messages
49
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
You should dampen the o bark. It looks very dry.

You should also remove the moss as it is an impaction risk, and all of them eventually eat it.

I've ever seen a tortoise behave this way. I'd put him on the bark and walk away. He isn't going to stay there forever.
Thanks Tom, what could I use for bedding rather than sphagnum moss? He burrows himself in the sphagnum moss.

Iv read hay is no good as it can get mouldy and cause respiratory problems
 

Sarah2020

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Hi Just use the orchid bark that is really good and if you make it deep in an area they may burrow in overnight. Have you provided a hide? They will shift it around with claws to make comfy. I use a water mister to dampen rocks and substrate every morning and lightly rearrange the dislodged substrate. It will get used to it, with a tortoise patience is required. Also check heat and light settings as it is very cold here (UK) at the moment. Your tortoise may just want the warm place under the heat lamp so not moving around.
 

Avuwyy

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Jan 29, 2019
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Liverpool, Merseyside
I have put some orchid bark in the base of my 10 month old tortoise home. He won’t leave the basking slate or the stones.

He runs towards me when I put my hand in, but won’t go further than the stones.

Iv placed him on top of the bark but he goes right into his shell and won’t move, it’s like he’s treating it like larva!!

It’s been 3 days, he won’t step off the slate to go to his food, even when I’m gone for work the food is still there. Iv had to feed him on his slate this evening.

Shall I remove it?? Or persevere?

Oh, this is probably a stupid question maybe. But just considering since slate and stones will retain heat more than other materials found in the enclosure, it could be that they are sticking close to them in order to take in the heat? Have you done temperature checks away from the stones to ensure it isn’t too cold? Just as 10 months is still hatchling age and they are more sensitive to low temperatures.

Just asking incase you haven’t checked this already, I’m by no means an expert but if I was in a cold room shivering, and there lay my bed with a lovely hot water bottle warming up the mattress and duvet, I would throw the covers over me and refuse to leave the bed until the rest of the room is of a bearable temperature.
 
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