New Desert Tortoise owner

CDTNoob

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Joined
Oct 12, 2021
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33
Location (City and/or State)
Anaheim
I recently received three hatchlings from a friend whos tortoise had a surprise clutch hatch. They haven't had her around the male for a couple years so they can hold the sperm for a loooong time. They didn't notice any nesting behavior either but all of a sudden baby tortoise were all over their back yard. I have set up a temporary enclosure and think I have it right but would love some constructive criticism if I am doing something wrong. I am using organic topsoil and coconut coir in a 50-50 ratio as bedding. On one side I have a spot heat lamp that keeps the temps at 95-100 on one side of the tank on the other side is a hide. It seems to be about 15-20 degrees cooler on the other side of the enclosure. I also have a reptisun 10.0 bulb for their uva/uvb needs. I also have a CHE set on a thermostat to keep the cool side at least 70 at night, usually the room doesn't get that cool. I keep the substrate humid by spraying it 1-2 times a day. There is a shallow dish of fresh water as well as fresh greens for them to munch when they want. I am currently feeding baby spring salad mix, grape leaves, hibiscus leaves and flowers, prickly pear cactus and repashy grassland grazer gel food. I am dusting the food with repashy calcium plus HyD powder. One of the tortoise looks like it might have a little shell rot I am using chlorhexidine from the vet to stop the spread and hopefully it will reverse with time. I received him with the issue it was not caused by my lack of care.
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Yvonne G

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Hi, CDT noobie, and welcome to the Forum!

CDT. . . one of my favorites! Try to figure out a way to cover the enclosure. If you make a light stand, then you can drape plastic sheeting over the stand, lights and all. Of course, if you can afford to buy a covered enclosure, that would be better. Here's a light stand I made for my first covered enclosure:

light stand a.jpglight stand b.jpglight stand c.jpglight stand d.jpglight stand e.jpglight stand g.jpg

I have since been gifted a couple nice Vision cages and they work much better:

Vision Cages a.jpgVision cages e.jpg

I think that your UVB light is probably one of those curly shaped compact bulbs. Those are very hard on baby tortoise's eyes. Turn it off immediately. Buy a tube type fluorescent bulb and reflector like this:


UVB light.jpg

Baby tortoises are prey, and as such, they stay hidden most of the time. Your new babies would benefit by having more cover in their enclosure - lots of plants, etc.
 

CDTNoob

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2021
Messages
33
Location (City and/or State)
Anaheim
Hi, CDT noobie, and welcome to the Forum!

CDT. . . one of my favorites! Try to figure out a way to cover the enclosure. If you make a light stand, then you can drape plastic sheeting over the stand, lights and all. Of course, if you can afford to buy a covered enclosure, that would be better. Here's a light stand I made for my first covered enclosure:

View attachment 334558View attachment 334559View attachment 334560View attachment 334561View attachment 334562View attachment 334563

I have since been gifted a couple nice Vision cages and they work much better:

View attachment 334564View attachment 334565

I think that your UVB light is probably one of those curly shaped compact bulbs. Those are very hard on baby tortoise's eyes. Turn it off immediately. Buy a tube type fluorescent bulb and reflector like this:


View attachment 334566

Baby tortoises are prey, and as such, they stay hidden most of the time. Your new babies would benefit by having more cover in their enclosure - lots of plants, etc.
It is the reptisun 10.0 compact which is the bent type but not the curly type. Are they both bad for the eyes?1634158840117.png
 

Yvonne G

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Ray--Opo

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Tom

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ZenHerper

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This article states that they no longer have issues they were fixed in 2009?
Since these bulbs are sold for the Pet market (not Human), there really is no regulation of what wavelengths they radiate, and whether they are harmful (these are the same companies marketing calcium supplements that are not analyzed for actual calcium content per unit of weight/volume). Purchasers are at the mercy of the corporations in regard to quality control and efficacy.

Compact bulb fixtures also encourage people to hang them incorrectly so that the radiation beams hit animals from the side, irradiating the corneas of the eyes directly. Reptiles have evolved those large eye brow bumps no doubt, at least in part, to protect the eyes as animals bask (not under a narrow beam of concentrated sunlight, but under an open zone of diffuse radiation).

Physics and physiology support overhead use of the long tubes, and monitoring of the radiation dosage by height and over time.
 

CDTNoob

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Joined
Oct 12, 2021
Messages
33
Location (City and/or State)
Anaheim
I have modified my enclosure in the following ways thanks for all the help everyone!!!
  • I got rid of the compact florescent bulb and switched to a t5 tube style light.
  • I also added some basking rocks for them, which should help keep their nails in check as well.
  • I took out the wooden log and put in two hides for them that offer a deeper shade.
  • I am using a floodlight bulb to provide heat instead of the reptisun basking bulb.
I have a good temperature gradient daytime 75 cool side 95-100 hot side never falling below 70 at night. I believe proper humidity in the tank as well, 90% in their hides to 0 on the basking rocks.

I am sure now that they are setup properly they will grow like weeds. I am working on an outdoor enclosure but for now they have this little slice of heaven.
 

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