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How long can a redfoot go without eating?


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Feb 15, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
It is tough to diagnose issues over the forum like this, and sadly there are a lot of strong opinions about what you should do that others will disagree with.

Here is my 2 cents worth.

1. This is a very bright tank. I would add a lot more shade- hides, plants, some blockers between the lights and lid, etc. Redfoots don't spend a ton of time in open areas.
2. The substrate looks dry and shallow. I like a nice deep substrate that I can keep dry on top and wet on bottom. I also warm the bottom of the tank and the water in the winter for more humidity.
3. The water dish seems to be taking up a lot of space, and looks kind of shallow. I like using the plastic plant saucers that have a clay-like texture, buried to the rim in the substrate. They should be big enough for the tort to rest in comfortably, and deep enough to go about 1/3 way up the shell, and be easy to get into and out of. You can add pebbles if needed to help it get in and out.
4. The temps bother me a bit. Are they more active at these temps or a bit cooler? In a medium-sized tank like this, it is hard to get a good thermocline, and the microclimates that DO form are not always what the gauges show. The climate in their habitat does vary, so you can slowly drop it for a while and see if that helps. You can always raise it again based on their behavior.

Next- how is its poop? Torts often poop in their soak water or soon after. Good pooping means good eating and digesting. A redfoots poop should be a dark greenish, hold together well, be rather fibrous, decently wet, and have a bit of a slimy exterior.

Soaks- I am not a fan of too-frequent soaks (preferring to keep a nice high humidity and good moisture levels in the food), but when I DO soak, I tend to use a bigger than necessary tub so it can hold more water than I need. That, and a heating pad, helps keep it warm. I angle the tub so it is shallower at the head end than at the tail. I do not add food items to the water (the idea is that nutrients are absorbed or eaten. Reptile skin is waterproof, so there is no absorption there. (There MAY be some at the cloaca- although this is not something most reptile vets recommend, or that has been shown in experiments.) Some electrolyte solution can be helpful for dehydrated torts, but I don't add stuff otherwise. A LOT of hobbyists swear by their 'added food or stuff' methods, though.

So, what do you feed, how much, and how often? Some things that usually get my guys eating are red things (strawberry, watermelon, apple, dyed banana), mushrooms, and edible flowers. Some redfoots really respond to worms and stuff, too.

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