Leopard Tortoise substrate

Crystal Buckner

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Hi you guys,
I'm new to this. I'm getting a Leopard tortoise this weekend. I was just wondering what would be the best substrate to use? I've been doing my research and looking up what I should use. I have bought coconut coir and play sand and wanted to try this first. My question now is how do I mix that? Do put it in while I'm letting the bricks dissolve if that's the word I'm looking for? Or how?
 

Neal

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Are you getting a hatchling?

It would be a good idea to ditch the sand all together as it can cause problems if the tortoise were to consume some of it.

For hatchings, I use good old fashion back yard dirt that hasn't been treated with any insecticide or fertilizer. I prefer this because I plant grass and other things directly into their enclosure, and the dirt helps these things grow better than coco coir or peat moss.
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome!

Glad you found us BEFORE you got your tortoise. Most of the info out in the world is old, out-dated, based on incorrect assumptions about the wild and wrong. Even most of the breeders and "expert" still haven't figured this out.

No sand. It is a big impaction risk and possible skin and eye irritant. Fine grade orchid bark works best. I've raise literally dozens of leopards on orchid bark and it works the best. I've tried everything over the last three decades and orchid bark is my first choice. You can buy a huge 2.0 cubic foot bag at a garden center for about $10. You won't find it at Home Depot or Lowes.

Read these BEFORE you buy. This will tell you what to ask the breeder about how your baby was started and whether or not it is likely to survive.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/

Then read these for proper care and feeding tips:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

This was written for sulcatas, but if you skip the text and scroll down there is a good list of foods for your leopard:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/


Please please please take a few minutes to read these threads. It could save you from A LOT of heartache and expense down the road.
 

Crystal Buckner

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Oct 26, 2016
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Yes I'm getting a hatchling

And thank you guys! I really appreciate the information! I'll definitely take these into consideration!
 

Crystal Buckner

New Member
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Oct 26, 2016
Messages
3
And Tom I was reading the links you gave me and you recommend the coco coir is that just by itself or would I need to add something else?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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And Tom I was reading the links you gave me and you recommend the coco coir is that just by itself or would I need to add something else?

Coco coir would be my distant second choice for a leopard tortoise baby. Orchid bark works best. Both are fine all by themselves. I see lots of people mixed different substrates, but I cannot see the need or utility of it. If the right substrates are used, it shouldn't hurt anything, but its not necessary.

I find it easiest to just go get a big cheap bag of fine orchid bark, dump it in, wet it, and move on with my day.
 
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