Plastic Matt Substrate

Yurtle

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Looking at social media pages of turtle and tortoise keepers in Asia, I've noticed a lot of them use some kind of plastic matts as substrate. In addition to keeping some exceptionally rare species, the turtles I see in their photos alll have super smooth shells. I've always thought naturalistic enclosures are the best for chelonians since they're undomesticated and that seems to be popular thought on here as well. However, the success of these keepers (or at least what appears to be success) in keeping such beautifully raised specimens has me thinking. The matts appear to be mesh like, almost like the matts in a pool locker room. I'm assuming the humidity is kept really high and the excess water drains below the matt. Any thoughts on using this as a substrate or raising tortoises this way? Is this unsanitary at all? It seems like an interesting method for keeping tortoises indoors.
 

Jeddizon

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It is not just mat. Beneath it is forest floor bedding, cocoir and reptibark. I think they use the mat to keep the tortoises clean?
 

Lyn W

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Mine would nibble that too, and most torts like to dig so it would stop the tort from doing what comes naturally in the substrate.
 

Tom

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They also tend to mix species in Asian countries. What is not seen in public is all the private messages I get here on the forum from people in those countries asking why their tortoise(s) are dying and what to do about it. Disease runs rampant when species are mixed.

I'm not keen on rubber mats under tortoise. I prefer the ground outdoors, or orchid bark for younger torts indoors, but that doesn't mean mats can't or don't work. Its just not my cup of tea.
 

wellington

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@bouaboua might be some help here. He has dealt with trying to educate the Chinese on better tortoise care. He goes there frequently at least used too. He may know exactly what they do.
 

Jeddizon

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I also see a lot of my countrymen here in the Philippines who uses these "mats". Substrates like orchid bark are hard to find and not always available and a tad bit pricey too.
 

Ozziworld

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I am also in the Philippines and use the matting over two layers of towels that hold moisture. It makes maintaining humidity levels a lot easier. The towels are washed and disinfected for 10 minutes in the microwave once a week.

Since at this age they spend so much time sleeping anyway, it seemed the priority was to keep temps and humidity optimum. Also, since captive bred, I also got him from a breeder that also had his hatchlings on mats. I started out with a natural substrate and eventually decided to use the mat.

On natural substrate I had to deal with other critters taking up residence in the substrate. Others use matting over natural substrate apparently don't have that problem.

Soaking and feeding are outside time and he gets to roam for an hour or so everyday.

Never had any health issues in the 9 months I have had him. Has geown from 58g to 220g and am quite pleased with the growth and shell development.

My plan is to move him totally outdoors by next summer as he will be about 15 months by then. Summer here is March to May.
 

Blackdog1714

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I can see how it would make mass production easier! You could have water under them with no physical contact, easy decon after sale, cheap to purchase. The list is endless unless you truly want the best and most realistic to their natural environment.
 

Ozziworld

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I like to think of captive bred as similar to urban raised humans. We are born and raised under different conditions and take the good with the bad.

Having said that. I know many people that grew up in nature but end up in the big city and vice versa. Healthy and happy in either environment.

Putting soil down as a substrate with UVB bulbs as a substitute for natural sunlight is a a good example of providing what is necessary but not necessarily adhering 100 percent to all natural or all artificial.

We look at problems and see the variety of solutions. We then have more to pick and choose from. Sharing and learning is beneficial to all.
 

Ink

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Can you post a picture of the mat? Please
 

Ink

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Thank you.
 
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