New Yellowfoot Tortoise Owner, Help?

xKin

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Hello there! Recently, I decided I'd get a yellowfoot tortoise, and was wondering if I could get any tips on how to raise my baby YF tortoise, along with habitat and food suggestions. I did my research (or attempted to), but it seemed that some food charts seemed to contradict others (ex. One food chart said to give your tort. Iceberg lettuce because it was good for them, while another said not to because it was damaging (?)) Before getting this YF tortoise, I had another one, baby as well, but passed away. I had no idea what happened. The baby tortoise was eating normally and got its 10 hours of light (that's what the pet store owner told me to give the tortoise) I awoke one morning, and found that "Raph" wouldn't move. Worried, I took him to the area where I bathe him and let him sit in shallow warm water for a while; nothing. His body was freezing and I was so worried. Took him to the vet and it turned out that the pet shop owner had given me an already sick tortoise.

So I went to a new pet shop, and got a new tortoise; which I'm naming "Leo". I want Leo to live happily, and thus I'm determined to provide Leo with everything he needs. But it seems whatever research I do contradicts itself so I've decided to sign up in a forum for help. Could anyone point me in the right direction to what I should be giving Leo to eat (I know he needs to eat a different food daily, but what should I be giving him and where should I be buying it?), as well as his habitat (like for how long should the light be on, or how often should Leo get showered?) Since he's a tropical tortoise (assuming what I read was correct), should I let him roam outside or keep him in his tank until he's older? So many things I'm worried about, I just want Leo to be happy. (Leo is also ignoring his food, and that's beginning to worry me, I just got Leo; is it normal for him not to eat?) Should I even allow Leo to roam the yard during winter? Anything and everything to know about having a yellow foot tortoise helps (maybe even links to other things I could read up is good too!) He also seems to be digging under his mini home to hide under, is this bad?


Any help is greatly appreciated (I'll have to read up on already posted forums about this)
 

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SarahChelonoidis

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Sorry to hear about your old tortoise Raph. If his body was freezing when you found him, it's because he was kept too cold, not because he got sick. Tortoise body temperature is determined by the ambient temperature.

For this new baby, it's critical you keep him warm at all times. Temperatures should not be lower than 80F anywhere in the enclosure, day or night. Don't let him out in the yard if it is not warm enough. He can't digest his food of his body isn't warm enough so he won't eat if kept too cold. This is a tropical species and needs to be kept as if he is in a tropical rainforest.

You also need to keep him hydrated. A 30 minute soak once a day is strongly recommended. As is access to a shallow saucer of clean water at all time so he can drink and soak outside of the daily bath.

Iceberg lettuce doesn't have much in the way of nutrients so it isn't recommended. Yellow foots are great because they can eat so many more things than many species - greens, fruit, protein - you have many options. Read more here: https://sites.google.com/site/tortoiselibrary/nutrition/good-foods-list

Key things needed: warmth, hydration, access to unfiltered UVB light, good food, calcium, and a safe enclosure.
 

xKin

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Sorry to hear about your old tortoise Raph. If his body was freezing when you found him, it's because he was kept too cold, not because he got sick. Tortoise body temperature is determined by the ambient temperature.

For this new baby, it's critical you keep him warm at all times. Temperatures should not be lower than 80F anywhere in the enclosure, day or night. Don't let him out in the yard if it is not warm enough. He can't digest his food of his body isn't warm enough so he won't eat if kept too cold.

You also need to keep him hydrated. A 30 minute soak once a day is strongly recommended. As is access to a shallow saucer of clean water at all time so he can drink and soak outside of the daily bath.

Iceberg lettuce doesn't have much in the way of nutrients so it isn't recommended. Yellow foots are great because they can eat so many more things than many species - greens, fruit, protein - you have many options.

Key things needed: warmth, hydration, access to unfiltered UVB light, good food, calcium, and a safe enclosure.
Thank you for such a quick reply! Do you recommend any specific foods? I have a light for him, but I have no idea how hot it is, is there a way I can tell, or should I get a normal thermometer?
 

SarahChelonoidis

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You need a thermometer- many, realistically. Monitoring temperatures is essential for keeping tortoises healthy.

The link above suggests food.
 

dmmj

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lettuce in general is very low nutritional food calorie wise fiber nutrition the average tortoise has to eat pounds and pounds of it to get their daily requirement so with hatchlings I just avoid it completely.
 

DutchieAmanda

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What a cute tort!

I recommend using a thermostate hooked up to a ceramic heath emitter (CHE) to keep temps up to the right level.

If the temps are correct, start working on humidity. It should be >70-80%. So you also need a (digital) humidity meter. At the moment it looks quite dry in there.

For food: they need a combination of nutricious greens, some fruit and some animal protein. Both the Tortoise Library (see link above) and The Tortoise Table have very good suggestions for healthy food items. Try to vary different things.

For a new tort it can take some time to adjust to a new surrounding. But if it's too cold he certainly will not eat. So get a digital thermometer asap and start measuring!

Good luck and enjoy your new little friend!
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hello fellow Floridian.
First get over to Home Depot and buy a bag of Orchid bark to replace that substrate that you now have. Orchid bark will hold humidity and your new tortoise needs high humidity. while at Home Depot and still in the garden department, also get a combination digital thermometer and humidity gauge. The manufacturer is "Accu-temp".
Secondly, post a photo of the type of lighting that you are using and the entire enclosure.
There are many options for housing your new tortoise outdoors here in south Florida. However, I would not let a small one walk around outside without at least a basic enclosure.
Lastly, that log hut is too small for your tortoise to crawl under but tall enough to be a flipping over hazard. I'd take it out.
 

xKin

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Hello fellow Floridian.
First get over to Home Depot and buy a bag of Orchid bark to replace that substrate that you now have. Orchid bark will hold humidity and your new tortoise needs high humidity. while at Home Depot and still in the garden department, also get a combination digital thermometer and humidity gauge. The manufacturer is "Accu-temp".
Secondly, post a photo of the type of lighting that you are using and the entire enclosure.
There are many options for housing your new tortoise outdoors here in south Florida. However, I would not let a small one walk around outside without at least a basic enclosure.
Lastly, that log hut is too small for your tortoise to crawl under but tall enough to be a flipping over hazard. I'd take it out.
That's his entire enclosure, from there you can see the brand of lightening the pet shop owner suggested "Zoomed". Sorry for such a late reply. I'll try and go to Home Depot and get the things you suggested.
 

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xKin

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What a cute tort!

I recommend using a thermostate hooked up to a ceramic heath emitter (CHE) to keep temps up to the right level.

If the temps are correct, start working on humidity. It should be >70-80%. So you also need a (digital) humidity meter. At the moment it looks quite dry in there.

For food: they need a combination of nutricious greens, some fruit and some animal protein. Both the Tortoise Library (see link above) and The Tortoise Table have very good suggestions for healthy food items. Try to vary different things.

For a new tort it can take some time to adjust to a new surrounding. But if it's too cold he certainly will not eat. So get a digital thermometer asap and start measuring!

Good luck and enjoy your new little friend!
could you maybe provide any links to lights you would suggest? I feel like Leo's tank is a bit too similar to the houses temp., and the house is at 70 degrees. Thank you for the info, he just at a small banana slice and some red lettuce.
 

DutchieAmanda

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I'm not from the US so don't know any stores that are suitable for you. However, this is a CHE:
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1453960723.186677.jpg

If you use this in combination with a thermostate you can keep the temps stable. He definitely needs a higher temperature to stay healthy (at least 80F).

Good luck!
 

ZEROPILOT

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I have seen fixtures like yours before. It contained a tinted incandescent bulb and a spiral compact florescent bulb. The compact florescent is the one you need to stop using. (If it is what is inside of that combination light.)
Most pet shops are in the business of selling and aren't interested in learning about how to correctly care for a tortoise.
Can you post a photo of the actual lights? (BULBS)
 

ZEROPILOT

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could you maybe provide any links to lights you would suggest? I feel like Leo's tank is a bit too similar to the houses temp., and the house is at 70 degrees. Thank you for the info, he just at a small banana slice and some red lettuce.
As already stated you need a minimum of 80 degrees. (80-90) The digital temp and humidity gauge is only about ten bucks.
A small mercury vapor bulb (MVB) might be all that you need in one bulb. It will bring up the temps and provide the correct lighting spectrum for you.
I know it sounds complicated, but when you get things sorted out, it really gets nice and easy.
 

ZEROPILOT

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These are some easy outdoor houses.
My Redfoot clan live just a few miles away from you and they require almost the same care.
The last photo is the digital gauge I mentioned.
Red or Yellow foot tortoises living outside here in South Florida are an almost perfect fit.
No lighting required, either!!
 

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xKin

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I have seen fixtures like yours before. It contained a tinted incandescent bulb and a spiral compact florescent bulb. The compact florescent is the one you need to stop using. (If it is what is inside of that combination light.)
Most pet shops are in the business of selling and aren't interested in learning about how to correctly care for a tortoise.
Can you post a photo of the actual lights? (BULBS)
Here it is, both on and off, would I be able to purchase an MVP light at homedepot as well?
 

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xKin

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As already stated you need a minimum of 80 degrees. (80-90) The digital temp and humidity gauge is only about ten bucks.
A small mercury vapor bulb (MVB) might be all that you need in one bulb. It will bring up the temps and provide the correct lighting spectrum for you.
I know it sounds complicated, but when you get things sorted out, it really gets nice and easy.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-...ity-Discharge-HID-Light-Bulb-140798/100204241 would you recommend this light? I just want to make sure before I go off and buy it.
 

xKin

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These are some easy outdoor houses.
My Redfoot clan live just a few miles away from you and they require almost the same care.
The last photo is the digital gauge I mentioned.
Red or Yellow foot tortoises living outside here in South Florida are an almost perfect fit.
No lighting required, either!!
Just went and got the digital temp and humidity gauge, its at 90°F, the humidity is dropping to 60 it seems. I think the temperature is fine for now, but I'm rather nervous about the humidity. Is it high enough? I still haven't bought the orchid bark.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Just went and got the digital temp and humidity gauge, its at 90°F, the humidity is dropping to 60 it seems. I think the temperature is fine for now, but I'm rather nervous about the humidity. Is it high enough? I still haven't bought the orchid bark.
90 degrees is good. The humidity needs to be higher. Can you close off some of the top?
 

ZEROPILOT

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Here it is, both on and off, would I be able to purchase an MVP light at homedepot as well?
Two things. Both bad.
The bulb on the right IS the type that can blind tortoises. I would get rid of it right away. The bulb on the left is the red tinted type that often confuses tortoises into thinking that things like the substrate look like food. (Because they look red. Tortoises LOVE red) Pet shops LOVE selling that junk.
Just screw in some inexpensive "frosted" U.V. bulbs. The ones that look like regular light bulbs. The pet stores also have them. I've also found them at Walmart. These will work for now as long as your temperatures stay within the 80-95 mark. Yellow foot like it a little warmer than Redfoot. At least this way you can re-use your light fixture and the money you have to lay out will be at a minimum.
 
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