Questions Before Diving In!

Parasite68

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I am attending a Reptile Show in my hometown tomorrow and am about to take the tortoise plunge. In the past, I've kept box turtles with success, so I have an idea of what to expect.

After doing research, I've decided that the Cherry Red Head would be a great companion to start my journey with. They're pretty to look at and the size is perfect for my home. I do have questions, though.

I'm planning on getting a baby and keep him/her indoors. I'm planning on getting the enclosure from the show. I'm starting with the 3'x2' size. As it gets older, I'll work on a pen outside, but baby steps first! No pun intended! Can you give me recommendations as far as brand (zoo med tortoise house?), what enclosures to expect for purchase, and what kind of prices do you think they'll have. The same goes for lighting. What types of lighting do you recommend as far as fixtures? Domes or strips. I'm planning on having a ceramic heating element as well as a good UV bulb.

As for the tortoise itself, what's a reasonable price to expect for a cherry red head?

What's the best pellet food? Can I leave it in the bowl during the day and feed a good meal of greens in the evening?
I've got other questions, but I guess this is a good start!

Thanks in advance!

Brian
 

Toddrickfl1

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Your going to need to keep the humidity really high for at least the first year for smooth growth. This isn't really done easy with tortoise tables. Your best bet would be to get a large plastic tote from the store and modify the lid for your heat source and lights. I don't have any pictures right now but do a quick search on the forum for "Closed Chambers". That would be your best bet. Cherry head Redfoots usually go for $150-300, Depending on the source. I'd be hesitant to get one from a reptile show too. Reputable breeders are your best bet. Make sure you examine the tort thoroughly and that it has good weight, bright clear eyes, and if at all possible see if you can watch it eat before purchasing. Mazuri is the pellet most people use. I only use pellets for mine about twice a week though. You should offer a good amount of food each day and then remove whatever hasn't been eaten by the end of the day. Good luck and post pics when you get your new buddy!
 

Parasite68

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Your going to need to keep the humidity really high for at least the first year for smooth growth. This isn't really done easy with tortoise tables. Your best bet would be to get a large plastic tote from the store and modify the lid for your heat source and lights. I don't have any pictures right now but do a quick search on the forum for "Closed Chambers". That would be your best bet. Cherry head Redfoots usually go for $150-300, Depending on the source. I'd be hesitant to get one from a reptile show too. Reputable breeders are your best bet. Make sure you examine the tort thoroughly and that it has good weight, bright clear eyes, and if at all possible see if you can watch it eat before purchasing. Mazuri is the pellet most people use. I only use pellets for mine about twice a week though. You should offer a good amount of food each day and then remove whatever hasn't been eaten by the end of the day. Good luck and post pics when you get your new buddy!

Thanks! I live in New Orleans, so humidity wont be too much of a problem. I’m going to be putting down a moisture barrier to keep moisture in instead of letting it dry. I’ll be misting the enclosure daily. I’ve kept pythons and boas, so I’m ready to experiment with the heat and humidity!

The cherry heads like it a bit more humid than other species, correct?
 

ZEROPILOT

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Cherry head and "regular" Redfoot have the same requirements.
Generally a cherry will remain somewhat smaller.
You'll need an ambient heat of about 80 to 85 and humidity up over 75%.
DON'T BUY A COILED U. V. LIGHT BULB. Buy a strip florescent in 5.0.
You'll see those and lots of other garbage at reptile shows.
No bright lights.
Warm. Not hot.
High humidity= happy Redfoot. Happy keeper.
I would also recommend not buying a tortoise at a reptile show unless you can be sure it has been started correctly.
Also, many "breeders" use old, bad information.
Be kind. Then get all of your information off of this forum and forget most of what you've been told elsewhere.
Use Mazuri 5m21 if you can find it. Redfoot can eat a much wider assortment of foods than any other tortoise. So don't go wild on pellets.
Offer fruit. Mushrooms. Flowers. Greens. Protein and then some Mazuri.
Here, a baby Redfoot is $80.
A baby Cherryhead is $125. But a lot of highly colored non Cherryheads are sold as true Cherryheads. An easy way to spot a true Cherryheads is that they have darker plastron than others.
Welcome.
You've found a great place here.
 
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Toddrickfl1

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Thanks! I live in New Orleans, so humidity wont be too much of a problem. I’m going to be putting down a moisture barrier to keep moisture in instead of letting it dry. I’ll be misting the enclosure daily. I’ve kept pythons and boas, so I’m ready to experiment with the heat and humidity!

The cherry heads like it a bit more humid than other species, correct?
They do come from South America where it's very humid. Also remember even though it's really humid outside it will be much lower indoors. It might take a little tweaking but you'll figure out what works for you.
 

Parasite68

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Cherry head and "regular" Redfoot have the same requirements.
Generally a cherry will remain somewhat smaller.
You'll need an ambient heat of about 80 to 85 and humidity up over 75%.
DON'T BUY A COILED U. V. LIGHT BULB. Buy a strip florescent in 5.0.
You'll see those and lots of other garbage at reptile shows.
No bright lights.
Warm. Not hot.
High humidity= happy Redfoot. Happy keeper.
I would also recommend not buying a tortoise at a reptile show unless you can be sure it has been started correctly.
Also, many "breeders" use old, bad information.
Be kind. Then get all of your information off of this forum and forget most of what you've been told elsewhere.
Use Mazuri 5m21 if you can find it. Redfoot can eat a much wider assortment of foods than any other tortoise. So don't go wild on pellets.
Offer fruit. Mushrooms. Flowers. Greens. Protein and then some Mazuri.
Here, a baby Redfoot is $80.
A baby Cherryhead is $125. But a lot of highly colored non Cherryheads are sold as true Cherryheads. An easy way to spot a true Cherryheads is that they have darker plastron than others.
Welcome.
You've found a great place here.

Thanks for the info! One of my concerns is correctly identifying a true cherry from the red foot in person. I’ve seen enough photos to where I think I’m confident, but it’s hard if you get caught in the moment whether at a show or private dealer!

As for info, this website seems to be best source for it! Pet stores and the like seem to sell torts but have no idea WHAT kind they’re even selling!
 

ZEROPILOT

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Thanks for the info! One of my concerns is correctly identifying a true cherry from the red foot in person. I’ve seen enough photos to where I think I’m confident, but it’s hard if you get caught in the moment whether at a show or private dealer!

As for info, this website seems to be best source for it! Pet stores and the like seem to sell torts but have no idea WHAT kind they’re even selling!
Don't assume that everyone you see selling baby tortoises.....even if they are their own babies, knows what they're doing.
Being started correctly will determine if that tortoise will ever have a shot at surviving into adulthood.
I know a guy who owns a large retail reptile shop. He sells animals all over the country. But he keeps his baby Redfoot on dry rabbit pellet substrate because it's "easiest for him". The tiny Redfoot have actual dust on them.
Doing this will almost guarantee that every one of these babies will be sold in bad shape and with issues. But the dollar is his highest priority.
Be careful.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Thanks for the info! One of my concerns is correctly identifying a true cherry from the red foot in person. I’ve seen enough photos to where I think I’m confident, but it’s hard if you get caught in the moment whether at a show or private dealer!

As for info, this website seems to be best source for it! Pet stores and the like seem to sell torts but have no idea WHAT kind they’re even selling!
For some reason the forum isn't letting me upload pics today but Besides the obvious brightly colored red head, look for a plastron that's dark colored all over and not just in the middle.
 

Toddrickfl1

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What about substrate??? I’m thinking a mix of coconut shavings along with a mix of topsoil??? I’m going to get a cheap shower curtain from the dollar store as a moisture barrier at the bottom and up the sides.
You can use topsoil as long as it has no additives. You can also use Cypress mulch, Coco coir, or orchid bark they all work well. For me a couple inches of potting soil covered by a top layer of orchid bark seems to work best for humidity.
 

Parasite68

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Tried to upload pics of items that I collected tonight but it won’t let me upload!

Anywhoo, I purchased a 24 inch light strip with a reptile UVB 150 bulb, 1 Fluker’s Deluxe clamp lamp with 1 exoterra 100w ceramic heater, 1 brick of coco husk, 2 bags of topsoil 40lb size,1 24 hour timer for uvb light, and 1 thermometer/humidity gauge that is indoor and outdoor so I’ll be able to check the warm side and cool side of the enclosure. I’m on the fence about getting a mist fogger, but I’m prepared to get one if I need it. I think I mentioned it before but I’m planning on using the Zoo Med Tortoise House or something comparable. Based on everything I have listed, I think I have everything needed for bare essentials. Only thing I’m picking up in the morning is a shower curtain to like the house with before dropping the substrate.

Other items still needed are, of course, food and water bowls, calcium bone, and a tortoise, eventually! Lol!

Oh, what about plants??? Are artificial ones okay, for ambiance??? Are there any real ones that he/she may enjoy that will survive in the enclosure???

Thanks again for all y’all’s time! You don’t know how much help you’ve all been!
 

Parasite68

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Parasite68

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