Questions on temperature in South Florida

Julius DaVinci

New Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2024
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Pompano Beach
Hello! I just got my baby RF today!
I set up everything waiting to prepare/built a bigger enclosure after my baby adapt to the new environment.
Planning to keep him/her outside but now temperatures are above 90 degrees. Is this safe for baby RF? in some point was hiding.
Please help me with recommendations on this very first days.
Thank you!!!
 

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Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,188
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello! I just got my baby RF today!
I set up everything waiting to prepare/built a bigger enclosure after my baby gets use to the new environment.
Planning to keep him/her outside but now temperatures are above 90 degrees. Is this safe for baby RF?
Please help me with recommendations on this very first days.
Thank you!!!
Hello and welcome.

No, this is not safe and should not be done. Babies need to be raised in large closed chambers indoors. Climate doesn't matter. This is true for all species, even in their native ranges, like sulcata in Africa, or CA desert tortoises in CA.

The internet is full of all sorts of wrong info. The YT personalities and the FB groups usually give terrible advice and set a horrible example. Vets and pet stores will all tell you the same wrong stuff because they all learned the same wrong stuff from the same wrong sources. I know this because I learned all the wrong stuff from all the same wrong sources decades ago and and to figure this all out for myself. You don't have to. Here is all the correct care info for tortoises in general:

Your baby RF needs a large indoor closed chamber that is kept 82-86 day and night, and very humid, but with a dry surface to prevent shell rot. It can be outside for a couple of hours a day in a safe enclosure during nice weather, but its not good for babies to live outside full time. Once your baby is around 6 inches, you can move it outside full time with a heated shelter for night time, and your rare cold winter nights.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,466
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Hello and welcome to the forum! Cute baby🥰

A baby as young as yours can’t be housed outdoors full time, they need to be in a closed chamber indoor set up which I’ll walk you through below🙂

If using a light emitting heat source it should be an incandescent floodlight(example attached)on a 12 hour timer, using a CHE(ceramic heat emitter) for night heat.

However I think ceramics as a heat source are more suited to red foot’s.

Red foot’s don’t necessarily need a ‘basking area’ they aren’t typically a basking species coming from the forest floor(some do though, it depends on the individual) there’s no need for a ‘cooler end’ and ‘warmer end’ with these guys, aim for an overall ambient temperature range of 80-86(82-84 being optimal)temps shouldn’t ever be going below 80 for one as young as yours both night&day.
Personally we rely on CHE’s(ceramic heat emitters) as our heat source 24/7, on thermostats, they’re a non light emitting bulb and I think you’ll find it easier switching to these as your heat source to keep your temps nice and stable. When using multiple hang them equal distance to distribute the heat more evenly.
Dome fittings will help project the heat down, but don’t rely on the clamps that come with them, always hang them securely.

You can then hang some ambient lighting on a 12hour timer, it can being either a led strip or a led bulb in 5000k-65000k colour range. Create lots of shady areas with safe plants and hides, red foots don’t like things too bright.

Your little one needs around 80% humidity 24/7 to thrive, the right substrate and a good closed chamber set up goes a long way in making this work.

We personally keep our red foot on orchid bark, we focus on the under layer of the substrate being nice and damp to create the humidity, then the top layer being dry, the trouble with constantly spraying is, one, it can only lasts so long, and two, keeping that top layer constantly damp will leave them more prone to a fungal infection, avoid misters/foggers for this reason. To stop that top layer getting a little too dry because you don’t want dusty substrate, we mix it now n then, which also helps gives a humidity boost without extra water🙂to maintain our humidity we simply pour some lukewarm water into the corners of the substrate, not loads! Just enough to dampen the whole under layer. You can keep an eye on your monitors&substrate to do the pours as and when needed, which in a good closed chamber set up, you shouldn’t have to do loads😊
Substrate wise never add any kind of moss, that’s something some stores think nothing of, but it can actually cause lethal impactions, that needs removing immediately.
Don’t use any top soils or anything mixed with sand.
Safe substrate options are coco coir, damp and packed down by hand as a base, with orchid bark(fir not pine) on top, or forest floor on top, or just the orchid bark/ forest floor on their own🙂

This size in the photo is very small, a good cost effective closed chamber set up moving forward would be a greenhouse style enclosure, simply make your own large base out of a safe material, or even use a garden bed frame! For both these options line with some cheap pond liner, the lining going up the sides too and make sure those sides are high enough. Then simply secure a greenhouse topper on top, if you can’t find an exact fit place it over like the one with the white base in the photo, I’d place some lining under the cover and base though to avoid condensate getting on your floor.
Some people even hang their lighting and heat from the greenhouse frame! Simply wrap the wire around for the height you need(check with a temperature gun/add thermostats, roughly 18-21 inches for the uv) and secure with cable ties. Or you could make your own stands out of safe timber, again I’ll attach some pics.

For a water dish a large terracotta saucer, sitting flush with the substrate is safest, they have grip in the event the tortoise flips, the one you’re using is smooth and has very steep sides, it’s a hazard for a baby like yours so switch that as soon as you can👍

Id definitely recommend a temp gun to make sure your monitors are reading correctly. Have monitors that read both temp and humidity.

Ignore whatever else is in the photos in the enclosures, they’re just to give you an idea😊and ignore that some of the fittings in the pics are floodlights, ches will work great, just examples on how to hang your bulbs.

Let me know if you’d like a food list to help give you some ideas for variety, they have different diet requirements from most tortoises🙂
 

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Julius DaVinci

New Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2024
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Pompano Beach
Hello and welcome.

No, this is not safe and should not be done. Babies need to be raised in large closed chambers indoors. Climate doesn't matter. This is true for all species, even in their native ranges, like sulcata in Africa, or CA desert tortoises in CA.

The internet is full of all sorts of wrong info. The YT personalities and the FB groups usually give terrible advice and set a horrible example. Vets and pet stores will all tell you the same wrong stuff because they all learned the same wrong stuff from the same wrong sources. I know this because I learned all the wrong stuff from all the same wrong sources decades ago and and to figure this all out for myself. You don't have to. Here is all the correct care info for tortoises in general:

Your baby RF needs a large indoor closed chamber that is kept 82-86 day and night, and very humid, but with a dry surface to prevent shell rot. It can be outside for a couple of hours a day in a safe enclosure during nice weather, but its not good for babies to live outside full time. Once your baby is around 6 inches, you can move it outside full time with a heated shelter for night time, and your rare cold winter nights.
Thank you!
 

Julius DaVinci

New Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2024
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Pompano Beach
Hello and welcome to the forum! Cute baby🥰

A baby as young as yours can’t be housed outdoors full time, they need to be in a closed chamber indoor set up which I’ll walk you through below🙂

If using a light emitting heat source it should be an incandescent floodlight(example attached)on a 12 hour timer, using a CHE(ceramic heat emitter) for night heat.

However I think ceramics as a heat source are more suited to red foot’s.

Red foot’s don’t necessarily need a ‘basking area’ they aren’t typically a basking species coming from the forest floor(some do though, it depends on the individual) there’s no need for a ‘cooler end’ and ‘warmer end’ with these guys, aim for an overall ambient temperature range of 80-86(82-84 being optimal)temps shouldn’t ever be going below 80 for one as young as yours both night&day.
Personally we rely on CHE’s(ceramic heat emitters) as our heat source 24/7, on thermostats, they’re a non light emitting bulb and I think you’ll find it easier switching to these as your heat source to keep your temps nice and stable. When using multiple hang them equal distance to distribute the heat more evenly.
Dome fittings will help project the heat down, but don’t rely on the clamps that come with them, always hang them securely.

You can then hang some ambient lighting on a 12hour timer, it can being either a led strip or a led bulb in 5000k-65000k colour range. Create lots of shady areas with safe plants and hides, red foots don’t like things too bright.

Your little one needs around 80% humidity 24/7 to thrive, the right substrate and a good closed chamber set up goes a long way in making this work.

We personally keep our red foot on orchid bark, we focus on the under layer of the substrate being nice and damp to create the humidity, then the top layer being dry, the trouble with constantly spraying is, one, it can only lasts so long, and two, keeping that top layer constantly damp will leave them more prone to a fungal infection, avoid misters/foggers for this reason. To stop that top layer getting a little too dry because you don’t want dusty substrate, we mix it now n then, which also helps gives a humidity boost without extra water🙂to maintain our humidity we simply pour some lukewarm water into the corners of the substrate, not loads! Just enough to dampen the whole under layer. You can keep an eye on your monitors&substrate to do the pours as and when needed, which in a good closed chamber set up, you shouldn’t have to do loads😊
Substrate wise never add any kind of moss, that’s something some stores think nothing of, but it can actually cause lethal impactions, that needs removing immediately.
Don’t use any top soils or anything mixed with sand.
Safe substrate options are coco coir, damp and packed down by hand as a base, with orchid bark(fir not pine) on top, or forest floor on top, or just the orchid bark/ forest floor on their own🙂

This size in the photo is very small, a good cost effective closed chamber set up moving forward would be a greenhouse style enclosure, simply make your own large base out of a safe material, or even use a garden bed frame! For both these options line with some cheap pond liner, the lining going up the sides too and make sure those sides are high enough. Then simply secure a greenhouse topper on top, if you can’t find an exact fit place it over like the one with the white base in the photo, I’d place some lining under the cover and base though to avoid condensate getting on your floor.
Some people even hang their lighting and heat from the greenhouse frame! Simply wrap the wire around for the height you need(check with a temperature gun/add thermostats, roughly 18-21 inches for the uv) and secure with cable ties. Or you could make your own stands out of safe timber, again I’ll attach some pics.

For a water dish a large terracotta saucer, sitting flush with the substrate is safest, they have grip in the event the tortoise flips, the one you’re using is smooth and has very steep sides, it’s a hazard for a baby like yours so switch that as soon as you can👍

Id definitely recommend a temp gun to make sure your monitors are reading correctly. Have monitors that read both temp and humidity.

Ignore whatever else is in the photos in the enclosures, they’re just to give you an idea😊and ignore that some of the fittings in the pics are floodlights, ches will work great, just examples on how to hang your bulbs.

Let me know if you’d like a food list to help give you some ideas for variety, they have different diet requirements from most tortoises🙂
Can you share the food list please! Im following your recommendations to environment and climate control…
I read your message like 50 times a day …. My baby routine: soaking in the morning, eat and then he goes under a half trunk and hide ….. sometimes explore but not too much… is that behavior normal for this time? Also pooping in the water every time…..can you share any daily routines too?
Thank you!!!!!
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,466
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Absolutely😊 these are thing we personally feed but I’m always on the look out for more additions because the more variety the better😁this is a great start though so hopefully it helps!

These are some greens to feed(bear in mind the lettuce isn’t the most nutritional but fine to add as part of a varied diet);

Lambs lettuce
Romaine
Red leaf lettuce
Frisèe lettuce
Endive(chicory)
Spring greens
Kale
Rocket
Cress on occasion
The odd Brussel sprout on occasion

There’s also plenty of different weeds you can add! Providing you’re sourcing them from an area that is free of any harmful chemicals like pesticides and fertiliser, so be WARY! There’s lots of lookalikes that can be toxic, it might be best to grow your own from seeds online. We add dandelions and broadleaf plantain, I’ll add a link below you might find useful to look through🙂


Now let’s talk fruit! We remove any pips/seed/stones that are either toxic or a chocking hazard, so for my list, we’d remove the mango stone, plum stone, peach stone, nectarine stone, cherry stones(chocking hazard!), apricot stones, appel&pear seeds(toxic)

Ones we feed more regularly(but rotate cause variety is key):
Mango
Papaya
Pineapple
Raspberries
Melon
Strawberries
Watermelon(not super nutritional but a good hydration boost)
Plum
Peach
Nectarines
Cherries
Apricot
Blueberries
Figs
Guava
Prickly pear

Ones we feel less regularly:
Appel
Banana
Blackberries
Grapes
Pear

Those last ones are more of a treat basis. You can also try cherry tomatoes on occasion but not often.
We also sometimes grate a bit of carrot on our red foots food(not a lot) or some courgette, you can also add bell peppers on occasion, and they’ll also enjoy some mushroom once a week or so!

Hope this helps give you some ideas for variety🙂 we try not to give ours too much of just the one type of fruit in any given week, however she gets papaya pretty much daily, it makes up a large majority of their diet in the wild so definitely get your hands on some!

Also they’ll need some protein every 7-10 days, we personally give ours a head sized protein of steamed chicken breast, or a mouse we defrost from the reptile shop.
Calcium power can be added on 3 feeds a week.


Routine wise, because our girl is much older than your little one, she doesn’t need daily soaks, but we make sure she gets 2-3 a week😊we get up and do her feed more or less the time her lighting goes on, the earlier the better for feeds, gives them the day to digest it and graze🙂we check her substrate, do the humidity if needed, spot clean where needed, check our monitors/temp gun checks, clean her water dishes and give her fresh, always make sure any bits of food that were pushed off the slate is picked up, give her a quick check over during after her soaks, like making sure her plastron is looking good, her skin etc and yeah that’s pretty much it tbh😁we’ve also started doing monthly weighings👍
 
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