Help with Redfoot that I took in as a rehome

jvhagerman

New Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
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9
Location (City and/or State)
95954
I've had Genus: Gopherus native desert tortoises since I was a child and have been licensed to have them by the State if California. I do not have them now so no need to segregate. I recently took in a red foot tortoise as a rescue. He was on Craig's List for so very long that I thought maybe I could take him and provide for him. I am now thinking I am in over my head. He is large, about 12 by 10 inches. He has pyramiding from being fed an inadequate diet.

My present concerns:

He doesn't seem very active. He always finds a spot to head in and sleeps most of the day. Is this normal?

He doesn't seem to want to eat much. I've tried spring mix, carrot and cabbage (in moderation), fruits and other vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, kale, water,melon, cantaloupe, peaches, plums, apples,romaine, roses, California poppies. Of those he seems to like some of the spring mix, the cantaloupe, roses, and a little of the peach. He loves nightcrawler worms but I am unsure how much of this to feed him. He has absolutely no interest in tortoise pellets. Am I feeding him the wrong things? How often do I let him have the worms?

I've provided a bath for him but he doesn't seen interested. He sometimes takes a drink but doesn't want to be in it for long. If I put him in he is soon out and does't defecate there. He does seem to like to play in the sprinkler and is most active then.

I have dogs which seem to want to attack him (never had a problem with the deserts and the dogs) so now I have to bring him in with me every time I let the dogs out. Is this okay or is it a severe disruption? I also bring him in at night so I won't disturb him when he is sleeping. I put in in a shallow cardboard box in the closet floor. Is this okay?

I am thinking I need to rehome him. I hate to admit failure but his life and well being are much more important than my feelings. I live in Northern California. So I guess I need help in doing this. I want to make sure he goes to somone who can provided a good home and provide for all of his needs. If any of you know someone who can do this I'd appreciate you showing them this thread. I have posted for rehome on the forum.

Thank you for answering any of my questions and all of your help.
 

TriciaStringer

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Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
1,184
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana
The tortoise needs an area all his own outside where your dogs cannot have access.

I don’t have redfoots so I’m not going to address the questions about it sleeping in your closet.

As to the hiding and sleeping, he is probably still adjusting to a new place and hiding as a survival tactic.

Pyramiding is caused by being raised too dry, not diet. Redfoots thrive in high humidity. I’m not familiar with your area so not sure about your climate.

I’m sure someone else will help more.
 

Minority2

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Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,059
Location (City and/or State)
Tortoise Hell
Your red foot tortoise is 10-12 inches. It's already too big to be used indoors, let alone a closet.

It's going to need a separate outdoor enclosure of it's own. Build a top with hardware cloth to protect them from other animals and or critters. Include a humid hide and pair that with a reptile heating panel set at about 75F for nights. What are your outdoor humidity levels? The Red foot is going to need stable and high humidity levels while outside.

You'll need to provide all this even if you're planning to re-home that tortoise. You don't want to hand them over to someone else in a worse than when you had it.
 

Kevinrrussell

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2018
Messages
164
Location (City and/or State)
Michigan
I've had Genus: Gopherus native desert tortoises since I was a child and have been licensed to have them by the State if California. I do not have them now so no need to segregate. I recently took in a red foot tortoise as a rescue. He was on Craig's List for so very long that I thought maybe I could take him and provide for him. I am now thinking I am in over my head. He is large, about 12 by 10 inches. He has pyramiding from being fed an inadequate diet.

My present concerns:

He doesn't seem very active. He always finds a spot to head in and sleeps most of the day. Is this normal?

He doesn't seem to want to eat much. I've tried spring mix, carrot and cabbage (in moderation), fruits and other vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, kale, water,melon, cantaloupe, peaches, plums, apples,romaine, roses, California poppies. Of those he seems to like some of the spring mix, the cantaloupe, roses, and a little of the peach. He loves nightcrawler worms but I am unsure how much of this to feed him. He has absolutely no interest in tortoise pellets. Am I feeding him the wrong things? How often do I let him have the worms?

I've provided a bath for him but he doesn't seen interested. He sometimes takes a drink but doesn't want to be in it for long. If I put him in he is soon out and does't defecate there. He does seem to like to play in the sprinkler and is most active then.

I have dogs which seem to want to attack him (never had a problem with the deserts and the dogs) so now I have to bring him in with me every time I let the dogs out. Is this okay or is it a severe disruption? I also bring him in at night so I won't disturb him when he is sleeping. I put in in a shallow cardboard box in the closet floor. Is this okay?

I am thinking I need to rehome him. I hate to admit failure but his life and well being are much more important than my feelings. I live in Northern California. So I guess I need help in doing this. I want to make sure he goes to somone who can provided a good home and provide for all of his needs. If any of you know someone who can do this I'd appreciate you showing them this thread. I have posted for rehome on the forum.

Thank you for answering any of my questions and all of your help.
Try protein after you soak your RF, 40 mins. RF is creature of habits and yours doesn't understand what is happening. I rescued mine, stan.lee, it took months for her to understand.
 

Yvonne G

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RF tortoises come frm South America and don't live out in the open. They come from heavily planted areas with not much direct sunlight. So if your enclosure is wide open, you may need to add quite a few plants and bushes to make him feel comfortable.

Try feeding more greens. . . endive, escarole, raddichio, mustard, kale, squash leaves, grape leaves, mulberry leaves. Two or three times a week you can add fruit to that. They prefer over ripe fruit, and fruit with small seeds, such as mango.

They also love a moist warm environment. Try setting up a misting system in his enclosure and turn it on on hot days.

"The preferred habitat of the red-footed tortoise varies somewhat by region, but generally includes fairly consistent seasonal temperatures near 30 °C (86 °F) that rarely get lower than 20 °C (68 °F) or over 35 °C (95 °F), generally with high humidity and plenty of rainfall, although some of the areas can get quite dry. Most of the range experiences cooler wet seasons (April to August) and warmer dry seasons (September to March), but some parts of the southern range have occasional cold snaps. Red-footed tortoises are often found in or near transitional areas between forest and savannah, such as forest clearings, wood edges, or along waterways."
 

TammyJ

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Jun 21, 2016
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
From your post it seems as if you have already decided to re-home him, and if so, I hope all the good advice here will be passed on to whoever ends up with him! Maybe even you!:)
 

Leesa

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Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
11
I may get criticized for this but we live in downtown Chicago, no yard. My 17 yo redfoot goes out on our balcony, our rooftop deck, and sleeps in our closet, or in the bathroom (his choice). He has outgrown every habitat we have created for him and yes, we could get something bigger, but he tries to get out, flips himself over and then is stuck like that until we get home from work. So now he's 'free range' (much to the dismay of our cleaning lady). Our veterinarian (tortoise specialist) says what we are doing is fine. It's okay if you bring yours inside, it's okay to sleep in the closet (ours likes quiet/dark places to hide when he sleeps). Also, his appetite ebbs and flows with seasons, weather and probably also his mood. In winter he is much less active and eats a LOT less. During this season he sleeps for days, wakes up to eat maybe every 3 - 4 days (our home is 72 - 74 degrees, before anyone tells me he's sleeping this much because he's too cold), and even when he eats, it's not often very much. In the summer he sleeps at night but he's active every day, eats every day and follows us around the house. He stays outside on our rooftop deck where he has water, shade and ample room to roam. We bring him in at night.

For food he gets redfoot tortoise pellets all the time, plus a rotation of greens (spring mix is a fav here too, dandelion leaves, etc.), fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, payaya, banana, etc.). We don't give him protein.

I think it sounds like you're doing fine. You do have to keep him separated from your dogs because our vet said that the worst enemy of an urban turtle (ours) is a dog that bites. It can kill them due to the infection and it's a slow, painful way for them to die.

We've had our redfoot for 14+ years. He's healthy, happy and while condo life in a city with a long winter may not be perfect, he's doing fine and we love him so we're not going to give him away.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,035
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I may get criticized for this but we live in downtown Chicago, no yard. My 17 yo redfoot goes out on our balcony, our rooftop deck, and sleeps in our closet, or in the bathroom (his choice). He has outgrown every habitat we have created for him and yes, we could get something bigger, but he tries to get out, flips himself over and then is stuck like that until we get home from work. So now he's 'free range' (much to the dismay of our cleaning lady). Our veterinarian (tortoise specialist) says what we are doing is fine. It's okay if you bring yours inside, it's okay to sleep in the closet (ours likes quiet/dark places to hide when he sleeps). Also, his appetite ebbs and flows with seasons, weather and probably also his mood. In winter he is much less active and eats a LOT less. During this season he sleeps for days, wakes up to eat maybe every 3 - 4 days (our home is 72 - 74 degrees, before anyone tells me he's sleeping this much because he's too cold), and even when he eats, it's not often very much. In the summer he sleeps at night but he's active every day, eats every day and follows us around the house. He stays outside on our rooftop deck where he has water, shade and ample room to roam. We bring him in at night.

For food he gets redfoot tortoise pellets all the time, plus a rotation of greens (spring mix is a fav here too, dandelion leaves, etc.), fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, payaya, banana, etc.). We don't give him protein.

I think it sounds like you're doing fine. You do have to keep him separated from your dogs because our vet said that the worst enemy of an urban turtle (ours) is a dog that bites. It can kill them due to the infection and it's a slow, painful way for them to die.

We've had our redfoot for 14+ years. He's healthy, happy and while condo life in a city with a long winter may not be perfect, he's doing fine and we love him so we're not going to give him away.
As long as the tortoise's needs are met, there is no criticism from us! We have many members who live in cities with no yards and are perfectly able to provide for the tortoise's needs.
 
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