Is my hay-obssessed Greek tortoise getting enough light?

daddy_frankenstein

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Hey everyone!

I've got a 9 month old Greek tortoise who's had a little extension put in on her enclosure about 2 weeks ago- At the start all I put in the extension was hay (she loves sleeping and digging in hay), and she seems to enjoy it. But now she spends all of her time in there.


Doorway to the extension The extension























(Doorway to extension) (Extension / Hay Paradise)


She started so much time in there during the day for about a week that I was worried she would get too cold, so have now put a ceramic heat bulb in there. I'm not sure what best to do - she clearly loves it in there, but she also needs light.

The suggestions I have so far are:

  • Close off the extension during the day, so she can only access it at night - then manually put her under her heat bulb each morning to wake up
  • Place a UVB strip in the extension so she's at least aware it's day
Does anyone have any other ideas? Is she fine as is and I'm over thinking it?

All suggestions welcome, (but I'm not prepared to remove all hay from her enclosure as she loves it so much!)




18B9EA79-1AE0-457D-8F7E-5222C9092A46_1_105_c.jpeg
(For reference, this is the rest of her enclosure)
 

ZenHerper

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What types of light and uvb radiation bulbs are you using over the main habitat?

What is the humidity level down on the surface of the substrate?

How often do you wet the substrate?
 

daddy_frankenstein

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Jan 4, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
Edinburgh, U.K.
What types of light and uvb radiation bulbs are you using over the main habitat?

What is the humidity level down on the surface of the substrate?

How often do you wet the substrate?

Main light is an Exo-Terra Daylight basking bulb 150W
UVB is a T5 bulb linked here

I spray the Coco coir daily when the tortoise is having her bath, I also put a plastic sheet over the top of the enclosure during the day to keep humidity in.

Humidity is about 90% just after spraying and about 75% just before her bath.
 

ZenHerper

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Great!

Babies like to hide. Strike that - they have a genetic imperative to hide. From predators, from hot sun, from other tortoises...

So your wee one is hiding because that is what they do. Hay is not great, though, because it will mold very easily. This can cause respiratory infections.

The good news: make the main enclosure more baby-friendly. In the wild, wee torts hide in weeds, tall grasses, underbrush, etc.. Captive keepers who plant out their habitats find that their babies are more relaxed and apt to wander more actively between meals. They also choose daytime resting spots closer to their main heat and uvb sources.

Plants that adapt well to high-humidity and low-full-spectrum light habitats:
Pothos
Spider plants
Viola/heartsease

If you add a full-spectrum LED fixture, you can branch out into other planters for:
African violet
Prayer plants
broad leaf weeds (can double as healthful foods)

Use small pots so that your tort cannot wreck the plants. If you have friends who can give you pesticide-free cuttings, perfect! If you have to buy greenhouse plants: unpot them, throw out the soil/perlite mix, re-pot in organic soil that does not contain any perlite or other mineral grit.

Potted plants additionally help to hold humidity more stable through the day.

If your wee one has more cover to move between, you will both be more comfortable.

Welcome to TFO and let us know how you get on!
 
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