New Baby Egyptian Tortoise Owner Looking for Suggestions/Advice

Miki13

New Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Colorado
Hello everyone! I am a new tortoise owner and after researching for a while, I decided to get an Egyptian Tortoise a while ago. I’ve now had Milo (short for Meiolania, a turtle from the Pleistocene epoch. I’m a bit of a nerd) for two weeks and he seems to be doing really well! I would love some suggestions on how to care for him/her and give them their best life! Currently, Milo is a little over 4 months old and is living in a ZooMed Tortoise House with a 50/50 mix of reptiles and and organic soil (covers about 2 inches off the bottom of the enclosure) and crushed oyster shell on the top half inch. He has hides, a water dish, and I feed him daily a mix of some spring mix with dandelion when it’s been available at my local grocery store. I also have been mixing in some Mazuri pellets a few times a week with his greens and sprinkle a bit of calcium+D3 powder on his food three times per week. I have his basking spot around 95-100 degrees during the day and the rest of the enclosure stays about 85-95 degrees all day. I also have a he gets a soak for half-an-hour everyday and seems to love it! His enclosure also gets misted in the morning since I don’t have a fogger/humid area set up yet.
He doesn’t seem to spend much time over in the completely enclosed side of the house and prefers to stay in the open side. I’ve already noticed that he is incredibly curious, he comes up to me when I put his food down or change his water and never goes into his shell when I’m moving around or gently picking him up for his soak. I apologize for this being such a long post, I am new to the forum and new to keeping tortoises so I wanted to give as much detail as possible so I can get more input on how I’m doing so far. I absolutely love the little guy/girl already and he’s already a massive part of my life. I’ve attached a couple pictures of him and his current setup. Thank you and I’m glad that I’m now a forum member with a tortoise of my own now instead of admiring from afar!

D6CF1396-DC3C-4754-9237-B3BFBE74EBF3.jpeg CD66E842-7042-4B85-927F-A4A814A8178F.jpeg BB59984E-E628-4160-A9C4-3168301629A1.png 9E1470F2-1EBE-4F2C-BC1F-C6A869B7C3AC.png 6D2728F8-3D7C-46F5-AFD6-84278D031731.jpeg
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,256
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
What an adorable face! Welcome to both of you!

There are multiple things you need to change in your setup. There is so much old outdated info still circulating among breeders, pet stores, vets, and especially the internet. People get set in their ways, and don't want to change how they do stuff even when presented with irrefutable evidence that there is a better way. Sadly, you get bad advice from them.

Milo needs a new house. He needs to be in a closed chamber so you have control over heat, but also humidity. I know you spritz, but the humidity must be higher than 80% at all times. CO is not a humid place, so you need to enclose him.

Your temps sound good, but what is the temp in the coolest spot at night? It needs to be higher than 80° all the time, day and night.

I think your UVB bulb is in one of those domes. If it is a cfl type, spiral or twisty, turn it off now and get rid of it. They can and do burn baby's eyes. He'll be fine without it until you can get the proper kind.

The substrate is not good. He might try to eat the oyster shell. Also, it won't hold water to make the humidity needed. You don't need a fogger...the substrate gets water poured in it and you mix it up with your hands. Same with sphagnum moss....many torts eat it, and it is an impaction risk. Take it out.

His diet needs to be more varied. It's best if you can grow greens, grass, flowers, weeds, etc that are safe for him. If you have to do the grocery store food, endive and escarole are staples. I will put a long list of good tortoise food at the end of this post.

I've just touched on these changes. I'm linking a care sheet, along with links to other threads you need to read. They explain in much better detail what you need to do.





Compiled by Tom: Good foods for tortoises are "chicories," types of lettuce that are likely to be on the far side of the more common floppy green heads of lettuce most people buy. Anything labeled as simply "chicory" is good, as are radiccio, frisee, escarole, and endive; you might even find something labeled as dandelions. You may find a bag of "Spring" or "Spicy" mix that is good, just check the label to be sure it has some of the chicories I just mentioned. The leaves (just the leaves) of turnips and radishes are also good, as are carrot tops. Collards, mustard greens, bok choy, and other dark, leafy greens are okay as well. If you have any kind of Mexican/hispanic market near you, they will sell cactus, labeled "nopales." Cactus is a great food to rotate in the diet, as it is high in calcium. You don't need to feed all of these at one time, just make sure your tortoise is getting access to different types of food. As you get more experienced, you can find the better types of food listed on the care sheets. Here are a whole bunch of non-grocery store suggestions. Mulberry leaves Grape vine leaves Hibiscus leaves African hibiscus leaves Blue hibiscus leaves Rose of Sharon leaves Rose leaves Geraniums Gazanias Nasturtium Lavatera Pansies Petunias Hostas Honeysuckle Cape honeysuckle Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc... Young spineless opuntia cactus pads Weeds: There are soooooooo many... Dandelion Mallow Filaree Smooth Sow thistle Prickly Sow thistle Milk thistle Goat head weed Cats ear Nettles Trefoil Wild onion Wild mustard Wild Garlic Clovers Broadleaf plantain Narrow leaf plantain Chick weed Hawksbit Hensbit Hawksbeard Other good stuff: "Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html Homegrown alfalfa Mazuri Tortoise Chow ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food Ones that you can buy in every store: Arugula Lambs lettuce Chicory Kale Mustard greens Organic kohlrabi leafs Organic carrot leafs Organic radish leafs Dandelions Radiccio Their main diet should be broad leaf weeds, succulents and grasses. Store bought foods are okay, but not the best. Collards and dandelions are a good food, but neither should be used every day. Check out the plant ID section for lots of ideas on weeds to feed. You can get spineless opuntia cactus pads from most Mexican grocery stores, or grow them yourself. You can also easily grow grape leaves, african hibiscus, regular hibiscus (if it will survive in your area), and mulberry leaves. You can try red apple, ice plant, and jade plant too. Also look into Gazania, pansies, nasturtiums, carnations, geraniums and many others. At the grocery store, favor endive and escarole, but also use cilantro, carrot tops, mustard and turnip greens, bok choy, radiccio, swiss chard, watercress, parsley, all the lettuces, etc. Lots of variety is best. There are also tortoise "weed" seed mixes that you can grow. I like the "Testudo Mix" from Tortoisesupply.com. Buckwheat; cactus; vetch; Mohave aster; creosote bush; desert four o’clock; tacoma stans; bladderpod; globe mallow; goldenhead; burro weed; so many things!
 

Miki13

New Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Colorado
What an adorable face! Welcome to both of you!

There are multiple things you need to change in your setup. There is so much old outdated info still circulating among breeders, pet stores, vets, and especially the internet. People get set in their ways, and don't want to change how they do stuff even when presented with irrefutable evidence that there is a better way. Sadly, you get bad advice from them.

Milo needs a new house. He needs to be in a closed chamber so you have control over heat, but also humidity. I know you spritz, but the humidity must be higher than 80% at all times. CO is not a humid place, so you need to enclose him.

Your temps sound good, but what is the temp in the coolest spot at night? It needs to be higher than 80° all the time, day and night.

I think your UVB bulb is in one of those domes. If it is a cfl type, spiral or twisty, turn it off now and get rid of it. They can and do burn baby's eyes. He'll be fine without it until you can get the proper kind.

The substrate is not good. He might try to eat the oyster shell. Also, it won't hold water to make the humidity needed. You don't need a fogger...the substrate gets water poured in it and you mix it up with your hands. Same with sphagnum moss....many torts eat it, and it is an impaction risk. Take it out.

His diet needs to be more varied. It's best if you can grow greens, grass, flowers, weeds, etc that are safe for him. If you have to do the grocery store food, endive and escarole are staples. I will put a long list of good tortoise food at the end of this post.

I've just touched on these changes. I'm linking a care sheet, along with links to other threads you need to read. They explain in much better detail what you need to do.





Compiled by Tom: Good foods for tortoises are "chicories," types of lettuce that are likely to be on the far side of the more common floppy green heads of lettuce most people buy. Anything labeled as simply "chicory" is good, as are radiccio, frisee, escarole, and endive; you might even find something labeled as dandelions. You may find a bag of "Spring" or "Spicy" mix that is good, just check the label to be sure it has some of the chicories I just mentioned. The leaves (just the leaves) of turnips and radishes are also good, as are carrot tops. Collards, mustard greens, bok choy, and other dark, leafy greens are okay as well. If you have any kind of Mexican/hispanic market near you, they will sell cactus, labeled "nopales." Cactus is a great food to rotate in the diet, as it is high in calcium. You don't need to feed all of these at one time, just make sure your tortoise is getting access to different types of food. As you get more experienced, you can find the better types of food listed on the care sheets. Here are a whole bunch of non-grocery store suggestions. Mulberry leaves Grape vine leaves Hibiscus leaves African hibiscus leaves Blue hibiscus leaves Rose of Sharon leaves Rose leaves Geraniums Gazanias Nasturtium Lavatera Pansies Petunias Hostas Honeysuckle Cape honeysuckle Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc... Young spineless opuntia cactus pads Weeds: There are soooooooo many... Dandelion Mallow Filaree Smooth Sow thistle Prickly Sow thistle Milk thistle Goat head weed Cats ear Nettles Trefoil Wild onion Wild mustard Wild Garlic Clovers Broadleaf plantain Narrow leaf plantain Chick weed Hawksbit Hensbit Hawksbeard Other good stuff: "Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html Homegrown alfalfa Mazuri Tortoise Chow ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food Ones that you can buy in every store: Arugula Lambs lettuce Chicory Kale Mustard greens Organic kohlrabi leafs Organic carrot leafs Organic radish leafs Dandelions Radiccio Their main diet should be broad leaf weeds, succulents and grasses. Store bought foods are okay, but not the best. Collards and dandelions are a good food, but neither should be used every day. Check out the plant ID section for lots of ideas on weeds to feed. You can get spineless opuntia cactus pads from most Mexican grocery stores, or grow them yourself. You can also easily grow grape leaves, african hibiscus, regular hibiscus (if it will survive in your area), and mulberry leaves. You can try red apple, ice plant, and jade plant too. Also look into Gazania, pansies, nasturtiums, carnations, geraniums and many others. At the grocery store, favor endive and escarole, but also use cilantro, carrot tops, mustard and turnip greens, bok choy, radiccio, swiss chard, watercress, parsley, all the lettuces, etc. Lots of variety is best. There are also tortoise "weed" seed mixes that you can grow. I like the "Testudo Mix" from Tortoisesupply.com. Buckwheat; cactus; vetch; Mohave aster; creosote bush; desert four o’clock; tacoma stans; bladderpod; globe mallow; goldenhead; burro weed; so many things!
Amazing! Thank you so much! I read through what you linked briefly tonight but will go through them thoroughly in the morning and start making the right changes as soon as possible! I seriously appreciate all the help, Milo is so important to me that I definitely want to make sure he’s set up right!
 
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