Meet Stormy

dovelett15

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Stormy was born in Aug 20, 2023 the day both a quake and a tropical storm hit S. California. Stormy will soon be going to a wonderful new keeper. Photo then and now.
 

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Tom

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Very nice!

I'm trying to learn about this species from other people's experience. What substrate do you keep the babies on, and what is ambient humidity in the enclosure?
 

dovelett15

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Very nice!

I'm trying to learn about this species from other people's experience. What substrate do you keep the babies on, and what is ambient humidity in the enclosure?
Thank you, Tom! Half the enclosure is crushed oyster shell and the other half is comprised of a mix of clay and sand 1:1.
Humidity is anywhere from 40-60 percent. I find it can be a challenge to aim for perfectly smooth shell growth as some of them prefer the drier side. On observation the newly hatched to about 4 months of age the preference is the more humid end and the older they get them seem to spend more time at the drier end.
 

Tom

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Thank you, Tom! Half the enclosure is crushed oyster shell and the other half is comprised of a mix of clay and sand 1:1.
Humidity is anywhere from 40-60 percent. I find it can be a challenge to aim for perfectly smooth shell growth as some of them prefer the drier side. On observation the newly hatched to about 4 months of age the preference is the more humid end and the older they get them seem to spend more time at the drier end.
Thank you. Have you ever tried raising them with more humidity, like on damp coco coir? I had planned to do it and had made the arrangements to get hatchlings right before covid hit and shut down my income, so I didn't follow through. I've always wondered if these would be any different than other testudo in that regard. I know a guy here in Southern CA that is doing something similar and having good results.
 

dovelett15

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Thank you. Have you ever tried raising them with more humidity, like on damp coco coir? I had planned to do it and had made the arrangements to get hatchlings right before covid hit and shut down my income, so I didn't follow through. I've always wondered if these would be any different than other testudo in that regard. I know a guy here in Southern CA that is doing something similar and having good results.
Actually, I have used a more moisture retaining medium. I decided to experiment by using peat moss by EB Stone. I prefer this because of it's acidic content and that it does not promote growth of mold. I have done this for the past three years with good results. I find that the babies love to bury in it. I only use it in a portion of the enclosure that is warm. I also like that they have accessibility to various substrate depending on their needs.
 

Tom

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Actually, I have used a more moisture retaining medium. I decided to experiment by using peat moss by EB Stone. I prefer this because of it's acidic content and that it does not promote growth of mold. I have done this for the past three years with good results. I find that the babies love to bury in it. I only use it in a portion of the enclosure that is warm. I also like that they have accessibility to various substrate depending on their needs.
Long fibered peat moss is usually eaten and can cause impaction. The dirt-like peat moss can burn their carapace. I've seen it happen. Just wanted you to know that so you didn't have to learn it the hard way with such wonderful animals.

Thank you for sharing your info. I've met a few people now that have experimented with damp substrates and no one has had any problem yet. In each case their animals are smoother than what is typically seen with captive hatched individuals of this species.
 

dovelett15

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Long fibered peat moss is usually eaten and can cause impaction. The dirt-like peat moss can burn their carapace. I've seen it happen. Just wanted you to know that so you didn't have to learn it the hard way with such wonderful animals.

Thank you for sharing your info. I've met a few people now that have experimented with damp substrates and no one has had any problem yet. In each case their animals are smoother than what is typically seen with captive hatched individuals of this species.
I have used the dirt type peat moss. Do you think it is the acidity in it that can burn the carapace ? I once got one of the babies munch on loose fiber moss. I cleaned it all out and fortunately nothing happened to the baby. Since I have warned others against using it.
 

Tom

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I have used the dirt type peat moss. Do you think it is the acidity in it that can burn the carapace ? I once got one of the babies munch on loose fiber moss. I cleaned it all out and fortunately nothing happened to the baby. Since I have warned others against using it.
I assume it is the acidity. That seems the most logical cause. I saw it in person on the plastrons of several young leopard torts, and since then several other tortoise keepers related similar stories involving peat.

All of my tortoises of all species always tried to eat the long fibered moss, so that info is first hand with my own animals.

Coco coir has similar physical properties and allows them to dig, but it is also resistant to bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus.
 

dovelett15

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I assume it is the acidity. That seems the most logical cause. I saw it in person on the plastrons of several young leopard torts, and since then several other tortoise keepers related similar stories involving peat.

All of my tortoises of all species always tried to eat the long fibered moss, so that info is first hand with my own animals.

Coco coir has similar physical properties and allows them to dig, but it is also resistant to bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus.
Thank you for your insights. I will certainly be switching to coco fiber as I do not want to further press my luck. Nice chat!
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you for your insights. I will certainly be switching to coco fiber as I do not want to further press my luck. Nice chat!
Just to clarify: you need coco *coir*, not coco fiber or coco husks. Coco coir is a fine grind, soil-like thing, without long strands, sold dried and pressed in bricks usually.
 
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dovelett15

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Just to clarify: you need coco *coir*, not coco fiber or coco husks. Coco coir is a fine grind, soil-like thing, without long strands, sold dried and pressed in bricks usually
Thank you for catching that.
Just to clarify: you need coco *coir*, not coco fiber or coco husks. Coco coir is a fine grind, soil-like thing, without long strands, sold dried and pressed in bricks usually.
Thank you for noting that. Yes, I meant coco coir, there is a big difference.
 

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