New to the forum

GreatScott

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Indianapolis
Hi everyone -- I should've joined this great resource when I acquired my RF 7 years ago! :)

Before getting Agent 99 (aka Peaches), I'd never cared for a reptile before so it has been a new and interesting learning experience. Just glancing through the forum I'm anxious to learn a whole lot more.

She's outgrowing her current enclosure so I want to build a small-footprint, multi-level design that will give her a ton more room with the possibility of adding more space up if she outgrows it.

99 is active and loves to climb and knock around anything I put in with her. I swap out items to add some variety. She has an outdoor enclosure in the summer for daytime.

The issues that continue to be challenges are maintaining humidity levels and her shell pyramiding. I've read different thoughts on pyramiding from improper diet to lack of moisture/humidity. She soaks herself a lot and her diet is varied with the right foods. Although I've also read different ratios of protein, fruits and vegetables so I don't know what's right.

Thanks for letting me join the forum. I'm looking forward to reading all about the various types of tortoises and learning how to better care for mine. I expect her to live a long time!

Kathy
 

Herman_WA

Active Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2020
Messages
222
Location (City and/or State)
Washington
Welcome to the forum!
By any chance, is you tort named after agent 99 in the older show, " Get Smart"?
(I believe that's what its called its been a little while since I've seen it)

Also a tip for keeping the humidity up, they recommend a closed/covered enclosure to trap that humidity in. Also lots of soaks, and a nice spritz of water here and there on the substrate. At least that is what helps the humidity in my torts enclosure!
 

GreatScott

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Indianapolis
Yes, she's named after Diana Rigg's character! (shows my age doesn't it? ha!)

Her enclosure is completely covered and clipped down with visqueen, the substrate is downright wet where her soaking dish is and still the humidity is under 50%. Temps are 80-85. I put a humidifier in there which raised it but she kept climbing on it and knocking it over. Still working on how to pipe in the fog from outside the enclosure. I also spray her almost daily and still her shell looks dry. I used to put coconut oil on it but someone told me not to. Not sure why as it's an antifungal and wore off after a week.
 

Herman_WA

Active Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2020
Messages
222
Location (City and/or State)
Washington
Yes, she's named after Diana Rigg's character! (shows my age doesn't it? ha!)

Her enclosure is completely covered and clipped down with visqueen, the substrate is downright wet where her soaking dish is and still the humidity is under 50%. Temps are 80-85. I put a humidifier in there which raised it but she kept climbing on it and knocking it over. Still working on how to pipe in the fog from outside the enclosure. I also spray her almost daily and still her shell looks dry. I used to put coconut oil on it but someone told me not to. Not sure why as it's an antifungal and wore off after a week.
Love that show!

Himm... the others will, probably have a better opinion on the humidity.
I have used coconut oil on my torts shell and has never done any harm, it has actually always done good.
 

Armadillogroomer

Active Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
164
Location (City and/or State)
NC
Hey there! Welcome! 👋

If you want some input for the current enclosure, you can post some pics of it (either here or in the redfoot section). I know I want to see pics of 99 :)

My guess is that you're probably doing fine with the diet. But you can also post her diet if you think it is contributing to pyramiding. If you haven't seen it yet, this is my favorite care sheet on the forum because it focuses so much on how redfoots live in the wild. You'll see that even our old-timers will post slightly different suggestions. Different people may feed the "occasional" foods like protein/fruit at different frequencies.

Natural oils (edit: like coconut and avocado) are just fine for an indoor tort's shell. It doesn't give additional moisture, it's just a sealant (like how Vaseline can't take the place of an actual lip moisturizer). But it probably feels good on a dry itchy shell.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,501
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Hey there! Welcome! 👋
Natural oils (edit: like coconut and avocado) are just fine for an indoor tort's shell. It doesn't give additional moisture, it's just a sealant (like how Vaseline can't take the place of an actual lip moisturizer). But it probably feels good on a dry itchy shell.
Do you really think it doesn't add any moisture?

I use coconut oil on my tort's shell weekly, and I agree it probably doesn't actually soak into the shell itself. But I do think it helps keep the newly forming keratin of the growth lines softer and more supple. You know how sometimes growth lines look like they're so flaky and are losing their caulking? That's what I'm trying to avoid.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,501
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
The issues that continue to be challenges are maintaining humidity levels and her shell pyramiding. I've read different thoughts on pyramiding from improper diet to lack of moisture/humidity. She soaks herself a lot and her diet is varied with the right foods. Although I've also read different ratios of protein, fruits and vegetables so I don't know what's right.
Kathy
Welcome to TFO!

Pyramiding has been thoroughly studied by a few members here on the forum, and 2 causes only have been identified, humidity and lighting.

This is why we sound like broken records when we keep hounding keepers to raise humidity levels and to use proper types of lights in tort enclosures.

We don't advocate using humidifiers. Breathing in water droplets in the air is not the same as humidity. Also, most humidifiers pump in cold air, defeating your heating efforts. If a closed chamber is truly closed, humidity will stay up for at least a day or two with regular additions of water to the substrate.

If your enclosure is completely covered on the top, depending on the type of enclosure, are there any ventilation holes in the sides or back? If so, tape them over. They are sucking your humidity right out.

Are there large gaps at the door/lid/doors? Are your lights completely inside the enclosure, under the lid? Or do they sit on top, either on a screen or over holes cut out for them?

Several pictures showing lights, details of the enclosure, and 99 herself will help tremendously in helping us help you.

We're glad you're here!
 

Armadillogroomer

Active Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
164
Location (City and/or State)
NC
Do you really think it doesn't add any moisture?

I use coconut oil on my tort's shell weekly, and I agree it probably doesn't actually soak into the shell itself. But I do think it helps keep the newly forming keratin of the growth lines softer and more supple. You know how sometimes growth lines look like they're so flaky and are losing their caulking? That's what I'm trying to avoid.
Me being too cautious! I love coconut oil myself, but I often have to talk it down because many pet owners see it as a holistic miracle. It has some moisture for sure! Just not enough to replace soaking/humidity. It can help seal in moisture from a recent soak. I do personally think that it could aid a tiny bit in helping them grow since we do have a ton of anecdotal evidence that it helps strengthen fingernails. Since torts are pretty new to the pet scene, we don't have any long-term studies over whether it is beneficial or not.

I at least get a lot of compliments on how shiny my redfoot is :)
 

GreatScott

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Indianapolis
Here are pix of her stock tank enclosure. The humidity was 74% before I lifted the plastic. The visqueen is clipped to the tank but I worry about mold and lack of air flow trying to keep the humidity high. It needs a big remodel! She does get floor time inside in the winter.

Even with that level of humidity her shell is dry. The pyramiding makes me sick. Can it be corrected? (Can I sand down the bumps??lol) I suspect it's due to ongoing humidity issues. Her diet includes a large variety of fruits (mango, berries, peaches, apple, etc) and leafy salad greens. In summer she gets an even wider variety from my yard and garden. Protein sources include fish, shrimp, chicken, scallops on occasion, cat kibble on occasion, earthworms, mealworms, and I drop pillbugs in in the summer. Please let me know what else I need to do to give her the best diet amd environment possible. Thanks! 20210220_194340.jpg 20210220_193835.jpg 20210220_193828.jpg 20210220_192112.jpg 20210220_192007.jpg 20210220_191847.jpg
 

GreatScott

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Indianapolis
Hello and welcome.
Yes.
Pyramiding is caused by lack of humidity. And in Redfoot, pyramiding can be pretty common because they need high humidity 24/7
With proper humidity, can her current pyramiding be corrected over time? Or will the top of her shell always look like that?
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
23,343
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
With proper humidity, can her current pyramiding be corrected over time? Or will the top of her shell always look like that?
What's there will remain, but all new growth will be smoother.
My Redfoot group were all born and raised outside here with constantly very high humidity in the warmer months and a "rain system" that turns on every day during the winter and NONE of my RF are glassy smooth like a wild import either.
We just do the best we can do.
 

Sarah2020

Active Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 16, 2020
Messages
281
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
Welcome. Pyramids are in place for life but you can focus on the new growth and try to get that smooth with food, diet, soaks and humidity. Look to get a lid over top of the enclosure many ideas on this forum for coverings but be careful not to cause a fire with heat lamp!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
87,307
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
You can help her shell by changing out the Mercury Vapor Bulb for a T-5 fluorescent UVB bulb instead.
 

GreatScott

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Indianapolis
Welcome. Pyramids are in place for life but you can focus on the new growth and try to get that smooth with food, diet, soaks and humidity. Look to get a lid over top of the enclosure many ideas on this forum for coverings but be careful not to cause a fire with heat lamp!
Its completely covered now but her future enclosure will have a plexiglass top. Havent had a problem with the visqueen but she did manage to move her plastic cave too close to the heat/light and the corners melted! Yes the new enclosure will be designed to avoid issues like that. lol
 

Armadillogroomer

Active Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
164
Location (City and/or State)
NC
Oh, that last picture is sassy :)

Did you already start planning the new enclosure or is it all in the air right now?

The plexiglass will help. The height of the enclosure may also factor in.

For the pyramids, Yvonne's advice is golden. Mercury vapor and basking bulbs are really harsh. 99 is a little bumpy but she looks healthy! Don't put yourself down.

I am curious if too much time in the mud can actually suck moisture from a tort like it does with mammals. When my redfoot was just hanging out in a flooded den (unknown to me for maybe a few days), her skin became much more dry and pale and took a week or so to bounce back. They like what they like.

That being said, I'm a big fan of fir bark and it holds humidity surprisingly well.
 
Top