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Please critique my redfoot care sheet!(picture heavy)

Discussion in 'Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises' started by TechnoCheese, May 18, 2018.

  1. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    On another site (reptile amino), we are in desperate need a of a redfoot care sheet. So, I created one. I have never owned a redfoot, nor have I done extensive research of their care, so I definitely need people to check it for me.
    Here it is with all of the pictures- IMG_1526668111.585576.jpg IMG_1526668121.838409.jpg IMG_1526668132.993612.jpg IMG_1526668163.348720.jpg IMG_1526668196.338131.jpg IMG_1526668207.524645.jpg IMG_1526668224.995650.jpg IMG_1526668238.253651.jpg IMG_1526668248.962289.jpg IMG_1526668261.562719.jpg IMG_1526668272.146285.jpg IMG_1526668290.039634.jpg IMG_1526668319.293541.jpg IMG_1526668334.234114.jpg IMG_1526668386.530920.jpg IMG_1526668404.323072.jpg IMG_1526668418.243351.jpg IMG_1526668431.333918.jpg IMG_1526668443.395106.jpg IMG_1526668459.838963.jpg IMG_1526668490.235023.jpg IMG_1526668501.887128.jpg IMG_1526668524.300681.jpg IMG_1526668541.522737.jpg IMG_1526668583.632824.jpg IMG_1526668592.618138.jpg IMG_1526668616.771509.jpg IMG_1526668637.973719.jpg IMG_1526668647.433213.jpg IMG_1526668657.643942.jpg IMG_1526668666.144212.jpg IMG_1526668678.043447.jpg IMG_1526668691.146359.jpg IMG_1526668700.857075.jpg IMG_1526668722.499354.jpg IMG_1526668773.443110.jpg IMG_1526668794.945048.jpg IMG_1526668842.404655.jpg IMG_1526668907.856505.jpg IMG_1526668917.846855.jpg IMG_1526668934.315130.jpg IMG_1526668970.668500.jpg IMG_1526669007.535621.jpg IMG_1526669019.863263.jpg IMG_1526669038.486446.jpg IMG_1526669051.640894.jpg IMG_1526669071.335651.jpg IMG_1526669082.931506.jpg
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  2. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    And here’s a raw copy and paste, with no editing done or pictures added-
    [bc]OVERVIEW
    Redfoots are a colorful, forest dwelling species of tortoise that are wonderful to keep and care for. They are quite docile, and, unlike other tortoises, thrive in groups. They are omnivorous, but only eat protien once a month or so.
    They are commonly kept for their nice temperament and pretty colors, and are a blast to keep for someone with the space.
    There are also other ways to raise them, so always do your own research.

    [bc]REGION & NATURAL HABITAT
    Redfoot tortoises live in north South America.
    [IMG=S7L]( [Source|http://tortoiselibrary.com/species-information-2/chelonoidis/range-map/] )
    They live in warm, humid rainforests, where the temperatures rarely fluctuate, and stay in the 80’s year round. The ground is blanketed in vegetation, and small amounts of sunlight are let through the canopy of trees.
    Little of the vegetation has much nutritional value, and there is lots of competition for it. [IMG=Q8P] [IMG=J6N] [IMG=I8A]
    [bc]APPEARANCE AND SIZE
    Red-footed tortoises show sex, regional, and individual variations in color, shell shape, and minor anatomical characteristics. Adult carapaces are an elongated oval with sides that are nearly parallel, although the sides of males may curve inwards. They are highly domed and smooth with a rather flat back. Often, a high point over the hips is seen, with a small sloped section over the neck. Growth rings are clearly evident in most individuals, but become worn smooth with age. The shells are generally black, with a yellow areole in the center of each scute.[IMG=A3M]

    The head is relatively small with a squared-off profile and flat on top, longer than it is wide. The eye is large with a black iris, and rarely any sclera visible around it. The upper jaw is slightly hooked, and the upper jaw is notched in the front middle. About 15 to 20 ‘teeth’ or fine grooves occur on each side of each jaw. The head is usually colored with orange, yellow, and/or red markings. [IMG=K0D]

    Males are slightly larger and more colorful overall. The carapace of a male from north of the Amazon basin shows a 'wasp waist', or constrictions along the sides. The male's plastron is concave to help with positioning during mating. The male's tail is long and muscular, and generally carried along a side while the female's tail is short and conical.

    The anal scutes vary to allow the male's tail more mobility and allows more protection for the female's hind end. The gap between the points of the anal scales and the marginals is wider and the anal scutes form a broader angle- almost a straight line across- in males to allow the tail to move laterally. The angle is more closed (to about a 90° angle) and the points are closer to the marginals in females. [IMG=V2G]

    [bc]HANDLING AND TEMPERAMENT
    While redfoots are very docile, they, like most tortoises, are not very tolerant of frequent handling. It’s good to let them eat from your hand, pet their shells, touch their legs and head, etc., but I would not recommend taking them out of their enclosures and “snuggling” with them, or anything similar, for long periods of time. Tortoises are somewhat timid, and would rather be alone than be messed with.

    Handling has a few benefits, the most important being ease of handling for vets, and for me, reducing the chance of being peed on every time you pick them up.

    Never let your tortoise roam your floors, no matter how closely you’re watching. It is too cold, and so many things can go wrong.

    [bc]DIET
    Redfoots are very forgiving with diet, and in the wild, eat whatever they can find. Feed a large quantity of weeds and dark, leafy greens daily, big enough so that there is always a little left over at the end of the day. Also feed one piece of fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, watermelon, banana, raspberries, etc.) and one mushroom daily, each the size of the tortoise’s head. Don’t worry if the amounts aren’t exact, and be sure to feed a varied diet.

    Once or twice a month, feed them a(few) night crawler, a snail, a slug, an earthworm, a mealworm, etc.

    Dust greens with calcium/vitamins 1-2 times a week.

    Be sure to have a large, shallow water bowl( Terra Cotta saucer) available at all times.

    [BC]HOUSING
    Size
    A hatchling redfoot can be kept in a 40 gallon tank or tub with a completely closed top (which should last only a few months with proper care), but it is preferable to [Buy|https://apcages.com/collections/terrestrial-cages] or make your own closed chamber. A good size for hatchlings is 4x2 feet, which should last around a year. [IMG=U1H]([Source|http://www.tortoiseforum.org/members/daniellenc.99362/]) [IMG=F7W]
    After they outgrow the hatchling enclosure, it is best to put them in an adult sized enclosure, but you can also move them to larger enclosures as they grow.

    An adult should have a minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet, if being housed indoors. It is preferable to house them in a closed chamber, but they can be housed in tortoise tables if full grown.
    The adults can be housed outdoors full time if the climate is adequate: relatively humid, temperatures in the 70’s- low 90’s, and lots of places with shade and places to hide. If they cannot be housed outdoors during the winter, they should be kept in an 8x4 closed chamber/Table. [IMG=I2M] [IMG=I6C]
    Never house babies outdoors. They never do well, and sometimes even die after a few months.

    Substrate
    For hatchlings and babies, I recommend using coco coir [IMG=M3V] Or peat moss. [IMG=Q1R] However, mixing in sphagnum moss can be very beneficial to help hold moisture and humidity. Just be careful to make sure that the tortoise doesn’t eat it. Fine grade orchid bark is another good choice. [IMG=I8Q]

    For juveniles and adults, fine grade orchid bark is definitely superior. However, you can always use any of the previously stated, along with fine grade cypress mulch. [IMG=O0D]
    Be sure that anything you get is organic. You can find most of these in bulk at plant nurseries and hardware stores.

    Never mix any amount of sand into the substrate, as it is an impaction risk, as well as a skin, eye, nose, and cloaka irritant. I also don’t recommend using potting soil or top soil, because it gets muddy when wet, and you can’t be sure of the composition.
    Never use rabbit pellets, hay, aspen chips, or any type of rodent bedding. These are much too dry, and can even cause respiratory issues and impaction.

    Always keep the top layer of substrate just damp, and pour water in the corners to keep the humidity up. You never want the substrate(not in the corners) to be constantly wet, because that makes the redfoots very susceptible to shell rot.

    Food/Water dishes
    Terra cotta saucers are by far the best things to use for food and water dishes.
    For water, use one big enough for the entire tortoise to get into, and deep enough to come up to the bridge of the shell(where the plastron meets the carapace). [IMG=N8T]

    For food, use either a 4-6 inch terra cotta saucer, or a rough slate or flat rock.
    Don’t use anything tall, deep, or small for water or food. They are too hard to get into, and potential drowning hazards.

    DO NOT USE RAMP BOWLS! Ramp bowls are a huge flipping hazard, and are notorious for drowning tortoises. They’re great for lizards and snakes, but not tortoises. [IMG=N3S]

    Enrichment, hides, and decor
    Redfoots are relatively timid species, and need lots of places to hide. Provide lots of plant cover with (preferably) live plants, and other decorative items.

    Provide lots of hides, including humid hides. These can include half logs, caves, flower pots turned on their sides and buried, etc. Be creative! [IMG=Z2L]
    [IMG=N0R]
    Be sure to give 4-6+ inches of substrate to burrow in. The deeper, the better!

    [BC]TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY
    Redfoot tortoises require temps around 81-85 degrees at all times, day and night. There should be no basking spot, as redfoots are not a basking species, and temperatures being too hot or lights being too bright is greatly stressful for them.
    Never let the temperature in the cooled part of the enclosure fall below 80. That will make the redfoot susceptible to respiratory infections, and can make them less active and not want to eat.

    Humidity is very important for redfoots, and it needs to be 75-100% at all times. Lack of humidity is what leads to pyramiding. Not protein, not calcium, not uvb. Just humidity. Pyramiding looks like this- [IMG=V6J] while a normal shell looks like this- [IMG=S0H]
    To achieve this humidity, you need to use a closed chamber enclosure. Not with a mesh or open top, but completely enclosed with no ventilation. It is also best to mount the heating equipment inside the enclosure, because when it’s on top or outside, it creates a chimney affect and draws the humidity and warm air out, and the cold, dry air in.

    Spray the enclosure daily, and mix water into the substrate weekly to help achieve the humidity.
    Thermometers and Hydrometers
    Always use digital thermometers with probes, and digital hydrometer. I do not rely on pet stores for these, and I recommend getting them from hardware stores.

    For thermometers, the best things to use are temperature guns. [IMG=R5H]These are a miracle, and probably the greatest thing ever invented. You can check the temperature of anything in the enclosure, anywhere, instantly. You can get these from Walmart and most hardware stores.

    Hydrometers
    Always use digital Hydrometers. I prefer the ones that also tell temperature- [IMG=X3Z] you can get these from most hardware stores.

    Thermometers/Hydrometers to avoid
    Never get any non-digital gauges, especially the sticky round ones with the analog dials, or button types. These are notoriously inaccurate, and you could pull 20 off of one shelf, and they would all read different things. [IMG=N8E] [IMG=E4L] [IMG=V0Y]

    [bc]LIGHTING AND HEATING
    Being forest tortoises that usually have very little sunlight because of the thick canopy of trees, and very constant, warm temperatures, Redfoots are not very tolerant of bright lights or temperatures being too hot or too cold. That’s why it is very important to make sure that your heating and lighting are adequate.

    Heating
    Normal light-producing heat lamps should not be used with redfoots, because it creates a hot-spot, and they are too bright. Instead, ceramic heat emitters should be used to keep temperatures constantly above 80 degrees. [IMG=M2F]
    It is best(and very recommended)to use a thermostat like Habistat for ceramic heat emitters, but it is possible to achieve the correct temperatures without one.

    When using any heat sources that require fixtures, always use one with a ceramic top. [IMG=P8H]Without using one, you risk starting a fire, and it can even burn out heat lamps much faster.

    UVB
    It’s best to go with a tropical tube light, in a T8 or T5 hood. Here’s an example-
    [IMG=I1W]
    There are multiple brands you can go with, but you should always use the long “tube” types, and not any compact fluorescents.

    It’s best to put the lighting on one side of the enclosure(along the length or width), so that the majority of the enclosure isn’t too bright. However, this isn’t always completely necessary.
    Lighting to avoid
    Any kind of colored lighting. Tortoises can see the light and the color, so it keeps them up at night, along with making them eat their substrate and messing with their heads because it makes their world red. This goes for any species of tortoise, and most, if not all, species of reptiles. [IMG=X5H] [IMG=T6F]

    Any kind of coil or compact bulbs. Not only do these produce very little uvb, but they are also known to cause terrible eye burns, and even temporary blindness. These should not be used for any reptile. [IMG=G6K]
    [IMG=L3C]

    Any spot bulbs. They are much too desiccating on the shells, and much too bright and hot for redfoots. These shouldn’t be used for any tortoises, but are fine for most desert species of reptiles(other than tortoises). [IMG=X0A] [IMG=L5T]

    Any UVB made for desert reptiles, or labeled as intense. These are too bright, and usually too strong. [IMG=N3W] [IMG=P7Y]

    Mercury vapor bulbs. Too bright, and much too intense and desiccating. [IMG=W1A] [IMG=L6U]

    [cb]CLEANING AND DAILY CARE
    Cleaning
    Daily, spot clean the enclosure for any poop or leftover food. Also remove any mold growing on the surface of the substrate if you find any.
    Daily care
    Daily,
    -soak hatchling-100 gram tortoises for 15-45 minutes, or more. After the 100 gram mark, you can start lowering it to every other day, and gradually to once a week for an adult. You can also soak daily for its entire life. Nothing like good hydration!
    -Feed and replace water
    -mist the tank well, and be sure to pour water into the substrate and mix it up weekly.
    -Be sure that humidity and temperatures are correct.

    [bc]TROUBLESHOOTING
    Not eating/Lethargic/inactive
    -Did you just get your tortoise? New tortoises can take up to a month to become acclimated to their new enclosure. Leave your tortoise alone for a week, and don’t handle much. If your conditions are correct, they should start being active in no time.

    -Check your temperatures and lighting. Are they above 80 and below 90? Do you have any bright lights? Temperatures being too low will cause tortoises to become sluggish, and unable to digest food. Temperatures being too high or lights too bright can be too stressful, and can cause them to hide. Fixing your lighting and heating may fix this problem.
    -does your tortoise have a respiratory infection? Follow this post- http://aminoapps.com/p/wttnhp

    Respiratory infection
    Follow [This|http://aminoapps.com/p/wttnhp] post

    Shell rot
    This is a very common problem in redfoots due to being a very humid species.
    Shell rot is caused by being on a substrate with a top layer that is too wet.

    First, take a credit card, and use it to scrape off all of the fungus.
    Then, apply an athletes foot cream(you can get it from the dollar store) to the plastron, or where the fungus was.
    Third, keep the substrate dry until it goes away.
    Shell rot is a very common occurrence in redfoots, so don’t worry if it happens.

    [bc]FURTHER READING
    tortoiseforum.com (also have an app) is the best resource by far for any tortoise owner. Everyone with, or plans to buy, a tortoise should join.

    http://tortoiselibrary.com Is a great resource for redfoot info.

    Dont follow the advice of
    Anyone from YouTube, including(and especially) Kamp Kenan. Most, if not all, of these people are spreading incorrect and outdated info that can lead to a dead, sick, or not thriving tortoise. Stick with tortoiseforum.com , and the tortoise library.

    [bc]SOURCES
    tortoiseforum.com
    http://tortoiselibrary.com
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-footed_tortoise
  3. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Also, would anyone want me to post it here on the TFO when I’m done? We don’t seem to have a redfoot care sheet.
  4. Jay Bagley

    Jay Bagley Well-Known Member

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  5. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! It took me like 3 weeks lmao
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  6. tortoiseplanet

    tortoiseplanet Active Member

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    IMG_1526670407.865025.jpg
    Very very informative! This is a very minor change but if you remove “things” it isn’t necessary and it will look more professional. Great job!
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  7. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member

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    Good job, looks good!
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  8. tortoiseplanet

    tortoiseplanet Active Member

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    IMG_1526670846.207963.jpg
    Redfoots do bask and need an over head basking light in the 90-degree range.
  9. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, I’ll make that change! Should you use an actual basking light for it, or just the hot spot of the CHE? Or would it work either way? And if you should use a lamp, what kind would you use?
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  10. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, I guess that’s like essay writing 101 lmao. Thank you!
  11. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member

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    This is different then I've been led to believe in the forum. I was told they don't bask, and bright light would cause stress. So I don't provide a place to bask for my RF. Is that correct though? I'm just a beginner at this. @Anyfoot knows his stuff
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  12. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    I don’t provide a basking spot for mine. It dries out the carapace and contributes to pyramiding.
    An ambient temp of 80/86f is fine. Humidity in my opinion wants to be s minimum of 90%+. I’m seeing some very minor stacking when kept at 80% humidity. If a dry basking spot is provided then the stacking is more severe.
    Feed a good varied diet with plenty of calcium and vitamins in a humid climate with no basking spot in my opinion is the way to go for a tort up to 2yrs old.
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  13. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! Would you recommend using one for an adult?
  14. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    I don’t use one for my adults. But I do let them out and they do bask.
    It’s my opinion that it’s programmed into them to want to bask. But in nature I suspect that predators keep them at bay. They just have to keep hidden for fear of being eaten. These hiding spots are very humid. As they grow the bones become stronger and basking does not have the impact that it has on a soft supple baby. This coincides with them being bigger and less vulnerable so venturing out into the open is more likely. An adult redfoot has one main predator, the jaguar. A baby has many predators.
    In captivity they become tame, they stop hiding and will bask for hours on end. It’s up to us keepers to imitate the micro climates they are forced to live in whilst at the vulnerable stage of life in the wild. No basking. Or at least limited basking.
  15. tortoiseplanet

    tortoiseplanet Active Member

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    IMG_1526679655.666190.jpg
    I use deep dome reflector lamp fixtures. A regular non-colored bulb or CHE could be used.
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  16. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Ok, thank you!
  17. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone else have recommendations? Or is it ready to be posted?
  18. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Also, does anything look wrong with the diet or substrate?
  19. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    You need to create an ambient temp with no concentrated heat spots for redfoots. Hugh humidity. Use a uvb strip light over the feeding area for vitamin D.
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  20. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    And did I explain shell rot treatment correctly?
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