Redfoot care sheet draft(PLEASE CRITIQUE!)

TechnoCheese

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Messages
4,164
Location (City and/or State)
Lewisville, Texas
DISCLAIMER: I do not keep redfoots, and I only have one tortoise in total. With this in mind, remember that I am in no way an expert, and this should not be used as cold hard proof of how to raise a redfoot. I used information from great keepers on this forum to put everything together. I am mainly turning it into a post for convenience, to make sure it can be easily critiqued, and just for fun. This was originally posted on Reptiles Amino, which at the time of posting this, I moderate. However, when linking it to people outside the app, the pictures don’t show.

IF YOUR PICTURE IS INCLUDED IN THIS CARE SHEET AND YOU FEEL THAT I CREDITED YOU IMPROPERLY OR YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT DOWN, PLEASE TELL ME!

Species info​
Common name-Redfoot, Yellowfoot, Cherryhead

Family- Testudinidae

Species- Chelonoidis

Genus- C. Carbonarius

Lifespan- 80+ years

Social abilities- They do great Solitary or in groups of all females, or groups with at least three females and one male(but expect breeding). Don’t keep them in pairs.

Size-Varies greatly. Averages of 12-14 inches are normally seen, but it is not uncommon to find individuals 18 inches or larger.

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 twice 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.

REGION & NATURAL HABITAT​

Redfoot tortoises live in north South America. IMG_1547082418.084171.jpg
(Source)

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_0777.jpg IMG_0774.jpg IMG_0776.jpg
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_0779.jpg
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_0778.jpg
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_0780.jpg
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.

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.) or 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.

Twice a month, feed them (a) night crawler(s), snail(s), slug(s), earthworm(s), mealworm(s), etc. Do not use bugs from your yard, unless you are 100% sure they have not come in contact with pesticides, fertilizer, or any other chemicals.

Dust greens with calcium with D3/vitamins 2-3 times a week.

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

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 or make your own closed chamber. A good size for hatchlings is 4x2 feet, which should last around a year. IMG_0930.jpg
(Picture by daniellenc) IMG_0822.jpg IMG_1547083222.557842.jpg
(Picture belongs to Anyfoot)
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 BARE minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet (8x8 being much better) 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. However, it is so much better for them to be housed outside year round. They can live in outdoor sheds with access to outside year round if in a cold climate.

The adults can be housed outdoors full time if the climate is adequate: relatively humid, temperatures in the 60’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 8x8 closed chamber/Table/shed. IMG_0931.jpg IMG_0825.jpg
Never house babies outdoors. They almost never do well.

Substrate
For hatchlings and babies, I recommend using 2-4 inches of coco coir IMG_0784.jpg
Or peat moss. IMG_0785.jpg
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. Then, put a layer or orchid bark IMG_0782.jpg
Or cypress mulch IMG_0783.jpg
on top of half of the coco coir/peat moss. That gives them a dryer place to sit if they need to so that they’re not always sitting on wet substrate.

For juveniles and adults, fine grade orchid bark is definitely superior. However, you can always use any of the previously stated. It needs to be 4-6+ inches thick.
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 fungus and rot.

Food/Water dishes
Terra cotta saucers are by far the best dishes to use for food and water.
For water, use two 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) sunken into the substrate. IMG_0786.jpg
It’s best to have two in the enclosure, or at least one.

For food, use either a 4-6 inch terra cotta saucer sunken into the substrate, 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. Put the food dish under the UVB light.

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_0781.jpg
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_0788.jpg IMG_0787.jpg
TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY​
Redfoot tortoises require temps around 80-86 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 coolest 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%(preferably 90+%) at all times. Lack of humidity is what leads to pyramiding. Not protein, not calcium, not uvb. Just humidity. Pyramiding looks like this- IMG_0790.jpg
while a normal shell looks like this- IMG_0793.jpg
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 Hygrometers
Always use digital thermometers with probes, and digital hygrometer. I do not rely on pet stores for these, and I recommend getting them from hardware stores.

For thermometers, the best ones to use are temperature guns. IMG_0794.jpg
These are a miracle, and probably the greatest products ever invented. You can check the temperature of anything in the enclosure, anywhere, instantly. You can get these from Walmart and most hardware stores.

Always use digital Hygrometers. I prefer the ones that also tell temperature- IMG_0795.jpg
you can get these from most hardware stores.

Thermometers/Hygrometers 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 numbers. IMG_0796.jpg IMG_0798.jpg IMG_0799.jpg
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_0801.jpg
It is best(and very recommended)to use a thermostat like Habistat for ceramic heat emitters.

When using any heat sources that require fixtures, always use one with a ceramic top. IMG_0802.jpg
Without using one, you risk starting a fire, and it can even burn out heat lamps much faster.

Your CHE will likely create a hot spot. To fix this, you need to create a shield IMG_0803.jpg IMG_1547085176.945903.jpg
(Pictures by Anyfoot)
Or block off the area below it so that the tortoise can not get under it. You can use decorations, or even a large hide.

UVB
It’s best to go with a tropical tube light, in a T8 or T5 hood. Here’s an example- IMG_0847.jpg
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.
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_0921.jpg IMG_0920.jpg
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_0919.jpg IMG_0922.jpg
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_0923.jpg IMG_0924.jpg
Any UVB made for desert reptiles, or labeled as intense. These are too bright, and usually too strong. IMG_0925.jpg
Mercury vapor bulbs. Too bright, and much too intense and desiccating. IMG_0927.jpg IMG_0928.jpg
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.

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 post- http://aminoapps.com/p/wttnhp

Shell Fungus
This is a very common problem in redfoots due to being a very humid species.
Shell Fungus is caused by being on a substrate with a top layer that is too wet. IMG_1030.jpg
([URL-https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/What-Shell-Fungus-Looks-like.163109/]Source[/URL])

First, take a credit card or something similar, 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 Fungus is a very common occurrence in redfoots, so don’t worry if it happens.

Now, if you find shell ROT, contact a vet.
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 Kamp Kenan. While there are definitely some good ones out there, most 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.

SOURCES​
tortoiseforum.org
http://tortoiselibrary.com
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-footed_tortoise
 

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Yvonne G

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I appreciate that you took the time to put this together for us, Lacy. You've obviously spent a lot of time on it. I'm not all that familiar with RF care, so I won't be offering a critique, but it looks pretty darned good to me!
 

TechnoCheese

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5 Year Member
Joined
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Messages
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Lewisville, Texas
I appreciate that you took the time to put this together for us, Lacy. You've obviously spent a lot of time on it. I'm not all that familiar with RF care, so I won't be offering a critique, but it looks pretty darned good to me!

Thank you!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
@Anyfoot @cdmay @Redstrike

The information for this care sheet was compiled by a 15 year old girl from information she has gleaned from us, the tortoise library and others. Please take the time to read it and offer critique.
 

Relic

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I wish I had been half as smart or even a tenth as motivated at 15 to collate and present such a wide range of information. The only thing I would perhaps change is way up at the top: Redfoots and Yellowfoots are actually two separate species: Chelonoidis carbonarius and Chelonoidis denticulatus, respectively, with the yellowfoot occasionally growing substantially larger than the redfoot. Their ranges overlap in so many areas, most folks assign the same general husbandry to both. (I remain partial to the yellow foot variety.) Congrats!
 

Anyfoot

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DISCLAIMER: I do not keep redfoots, and I only have one tortoise in total. With this in mind, remember that I am in no way an expert, and this should not be used as cold hard proof of how to raise a redfoot. I used information from great keepers on this forum to put everything together. I am mainly turning it into a post for convenience, to make sure it can be easily critiqued, and just for fun. This was originally posted on Reptiles Amino, which at the time of posting this, I moderate. However, when linking it to people outside the app, the pictures don’t show.

IF YOUR PICTURE IS INCLUDED IN THIS CARE SHEET AND YOU FEEL THAT I CREDITED YOU IMPROPERLY OR YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT DOWN, PLEASE TELL ME!

Species info
Common name-Redfoot, Yellowfoot, Cherryhead

Family- Testudinidae

Species- Chelonoidis

Genus- C. Carbonarius

Lifespan- 80+ years

Social abilities- They do great Solitary or in groups of all females, or groups with at least three females and one male(but expect breeding). Don’t keep them in pairs.

Size-Varies greatly. Averages of 12-14 inches are normally seen, but it is not uncommon to find individuals 18 inches or larger.

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 twice 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.

REGION & NATURAL HABITAT

Redfoot tortoises live in north South America. View attachment 261830
(Source)

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. View attachment 261831 View attachment 261832 View attachment 261833
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. View attachment 261834
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. View attachment 261835
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. View attachment 261836
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.

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.) or 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.

Twice a month, feed them (a) night crawler(s), snail(s), slug(s), earthworm(s), mealworm(s), etc. Do not use bugs from your yard, unless you are 100% sure they have not come in contact with pesticides, fertilizer, or any other chemicals.

Dust greens with calcium with D3/vitamins 2-3 times a week.

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

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 or make your own closed chamber. A good size for hatchlings is 4x2 feet, which should last around a year. View attachment 261837
(Picture by daniellenc) View attachment 261838 View attachment 261840
(Picture belongs to Anyfoot)
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 BARE minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet (8x8 being much better) 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. However, it is so much better for them to be housed outside year round. They can live in outdoor sheds with access to outside year round if in a cold climate.

The adults can be housed outdoors full time if the climate is adequate: relatively humid, temperatures in the 60’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 8x8 closed chamber/Table/shed. View attachment 261841 View attachment 261842
Never house babies outdoors. They almost never do well.

Substrate
For hatchlings and babies, I recommend using 2-4 inches of coco coir View attachment 261843
Or peat moss. View attachment 261844
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. Then, put a layer or orchid bark View attachment 261849
Or cypress mulch View attachment 261850
on top of half of the coco coir/peat moss. That gives them a dryer place to sit if they need to so that they’re not always sitting on wet substrate.

For juveniles and adults, fine grade orchid bark is definitely superior. However, you can always use any of the previously stated. It needs to be 4-6+ inches thick.
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 fungus and rot.

Food/Water dishes
Terra cotta saucers are by far the best dishes to use for food and water.
For water, use two 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) sunken into the substrate. View attachment 261851
It’s best to have two in the enclosure, or at least one.

For food, use either a 4-6 inch terra cotta saucer sunken into the substrate, 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. Put the food dish under the UVB light.

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. View attachment 261852
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! View attachment 261853 View attachment 261854
TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY
Redfoot tortoises require temps around 80-86 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 coolest 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%(preferably 90+%) at all times. Lack of humidity is what leads to pyramiding. Not protein, not calcium, not uvb. Just humidity. Pyramiding looks like this- View attachment 261855
while a normal shell looks like this- View attachment 261856
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 Hygrometers
Always use digital thermometers with probes, and digital hygrometer. I do not rely on pet stores for these, and I recommend getting them from hardware stores.

For thermometers, the best ones to use are temperature guns. View attachment 261857
These are a miracle, and probably the greatest products ever invented. You can check the temperature of anything in the enclosure, anywhere, instantly. You can get these from Walmart and most hardware stores.

Always use digital Hygrometers. I prefer the ones that also tell temperature- View attachment 261858
you can get these from most hardware stores.

Thermometers/Hygrometers 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 numbers. View attachment 261859 View attachment 261860 View attachment 261861
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. View attachment 261862
It is best(and very recommended)to use a thermostat like Habistat for ceramic heat emitters.

When using any heat sources that require fixtures, always use one with a ceramic top. View attachment 261863
Without using one, you risk starting a fire, and it can even burn out heat lamps much faster.

Your CHE will likely create a hot spot. To fix this, you need to create a shield View attachment 261864 View attachment 261865
(Pictures by Anyfoot)
Or block off the area below it so that the tortoise can not get under it. You can use decorations, or even a large hide.

UVB
It’s best to go with a tropical tube light, in a T8 or T5 hood. Here’s an example- View attachment 261866
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.
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. View attachment 261867 View attachment 261868
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. View attachment 261869 View attachment 261870
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). View attachment 261871 View attachment 261872
Any UVB made for desert reptiles, or labeled as intense. These are too bright, and usually too strong. View attachment 261873
Mercury vapor bulbs. Too bright, and much too intense and desiccating. View attachment 261874 View attachment 261875
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.

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 post- http://aminoapps.com/p/wttnhp

Shell Fungus
This is a very common problem in redfoots due to being a very humid species.
Shell Fungus is caused by being on a substrate with a top layer that is too wet. View attachment 261876
([URL-https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/What-Shell-Fungus-Looks-like.163109/]Source[/URL])

First, take a credit card or something similar, 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 Fungus is a very common occurrence in redfoots, so don’t worry if it happens.

Now, if you find shell ROT, contact a vet.
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 Kamp Kenan. While there are definitely some good ones out there, most 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.

SOURCES
tortoiseforum.org
http://tortoiselibrary.com
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-footed_tortoise
I will sit down this weekend and read through this when I get enough time to myself to be able to absorb and comment on your hard work.
Huh, that’s a laugh, “ when I get enough time to myself”.
 

TechnoCheese

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I wish I had been half as smart or even a tenth as motivated at 15 to collate and present such a wide range of information. The only thing I would perhaps change is way up at the top: Redfoots and Yellowfoots are actually two separate species: Chelonoidis carbonarius and Chelonoidis denticulatus, respectively, with the yellowfoot occasionally growing substantially larger than the redfoot. Their ranges overlap in so many areas, most folks assign the same general husbandry to both. (I remain partial to the yellow foot variety.) Congrats!

Ah, thank you! I’ll definitely edit that :)
 

cdmay

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Nice work, it is thorough and thoughtfully done.
Once again, although I have a fair amount of experience maintaining and breeding this species of tortoise outdoors, my experiences with long term indoor care are limited. So when it comes to what bedding, lighting and heat to employ I’m not comfortable commenting on.
However, I totally agree with the cautions put forth regarding the use of spot lights and heat lamps. In my situation I provide UVB lighting for my young indoor tortoises...but I make sure that, they have plenty of nice humid hiding places and that the actual light source is fairly high about the animals. In other words, not right over their heads.
As I get my young outside into places that are shady...yet do get sunlight for part of the day (usually in the morning) I am not too worried about them missing out on optimal lighting.
The portion on shell fungus contains solid information. I would add that this problem occurs much more commonly with terrarium housed tortoises. Not only does the moist environment contribute, but not changing out the bedding where the tortoise spends its time resting is a major factor as well.
 

Redstrike

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I have limited time with two kids under 4 but will provide input, I just haven't had a chance yet. I quickly scanned the sheet and from what I saw it looked excellent. I will try to provide feedback by this weekend at the latest.
 

TechnoCheese

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Nice work, it is thorough and thoughtfully done.
Once again, although I have a fair amount of experience maintaining and breeding this species of tortoise outdoors, my experiences with long term indoor care are limited. So when it comes to what bedding, lighting and heat to employ I’m not comfortable commenting on.
However, I totally agree with the cautions put forth regarding the use of spot lights and heat lamps. In my situation I provide UVB lighting for my young indoor tortoises...but I make sure that, they have plenty of nice humid hiding places and that the actual light source is fairly high about the animals. In other words, not right over their heads.
As I get my young outside into places that are shady...yet do get sunlight for part of the day (usually in the morning) I am not too worried about them missing out on optimal lighting.
The portion on shell fungus contains solid information. I would add that this problem occurs much more commonly with terrarium housed tortoises. Not only does the moist environment contribute, but not changing out the bedding where the tortoise spends its time resting is a major factor as well.

Thanks for the great input! I’ll add that in :)
 

TechnoCheese

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I have limited time with two kids under 4 but will provide input, I just haven't had a chance yet. I quickly scanned the sheet and from what I saw it looked excellent. I will try to provide feedback by this weekend at the latest.

I will sit down this weekend and read through this when I get enough time to myself to be able to absorb and comment on your hard work.
Huh, that’s a laugh, “ when I get enough time to myself”.

Take all the time you need! I’m not in a hurry ;)
 

Madkins007

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This is a great effort, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the map I spent so much time on posted! Having said that, there are some things that caught my eye that you may want to change. Unfortunately, the long post and all the photos make it kind of tricky to edit. I'll try, though, so you can tweak it. Keep in mind- while my list may look long, it is just a few things that I think you should consider.

You posted:
Common name-Redfoot, Yellowfoot, Cherryhead
Family- Testudinidae
Species- Chelonoidis
Genus- C. Carbonarius

It should be:
Common name- Redfoot, redfooted tortoise. Some color variations are unofficially called 'cherry-head'.
Family- Testudinidea
Genus- Chelonoidis
Species- C. carbonaria
(Remember- the yellowfoot is a different species- C. denticulata)

You: "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."

Me: While some do, redfoots live in a space about the size of the US. In that range, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, mostly what is called 'wet savannah', which are grasslands with lots of rain, and often marshy areas. Even in forested areas, they are more likely to live in breaks or edges than deep woods. The temps also fluctuate a lot more than some people think. Some of their range even freezes once in a while for short periods.

You:
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.) or 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.
Twice a month, feed them (a) night crawler(s), snail(s), slug(s), earthworm(s), mealworm(s), etc. Do not use bugs from your yard, unless you are 100% sure they have not come in contact with pesticides, fertilizer, or any other chemicals.
Dust greens with calcium with D3/vitamins 2-3 times a week.

Me: Diet is hard to write about. You are right about the forgiving and variety part, but a little off track on a couple other points. For example:
FRUIT- when field researchers and experts write about redfoots eating a lot of fruit, they mean something different than what we find in the grocery store. Most of the fruits they eat in the wild have a lot more calcium and other nutrients and a lot less water and sugar than ours do. Also, there are things in the store that are actually fruits that we call vegetables. This includes peppers, squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, corn, peas, beans, and anything else with seeds. Most of these are actually better choices than things like watermelon and banana. Some GREAT fruits are the weird things- cactus fruits (and pads), figs, the small harder melons, papaya, and the like.
Mushrooms are great, especially wild mushrooms that have not been sprayed. In fact, there are a lot of outdoor plants that are fantastic as long as they have not been sprayed or treated, like mulberry and dandelion.
Meats are tricky too. Bugs and invertebrates are very different from poultry and that is different from red meats, eggs, etc. While wild redfoots do eat carrion and such, most of them only eat bugs and invertebrates in the wild- oddly enough, mostly butterflies! The reason they eat this is for nutrients that are lacking in the rest of their diet. Most of the fruits, veggies, and greens we can get at the store don't have that problem so they probably don't need hardly any 'meats'.
It is hard to talk about portions and ratios. The bottom line is that torts can eat pretty much all the dark leafy greens, flowers, leaves, and vegetables (shredded carrot, broccoli, etc.) they want, but fruits and proteins should be limited. Serving it less often is one good way to do that, as is only offering small amounts at a time.

You:
Redfoot tortoises require temps around 80-86 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 coolest 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.

Me: The basking comment is misleading. They are documented to bask in the wild throughout their range. They most often bask in the morning, after a rain, or after a cold snap. They also get a lot of UVB since it can penetrate a fairly thick leaf layer (one of the hard things to remember about infrared and ultraviolet light is that it does not work quite the same as the colors we can see. For example, infrared goes through things like black plastic, while UVB is blocked by glass and even some fine mesh screen.) It is true that you don't need a 'hot spot', but these generally don't work for any tortoise since they don't let the tortoise completely and evenly warm up. (There are some great thermal images showing this on the Tortoise Trust site.)
Warmth and humidity are really hard for beginners and there are a lot of ways to do it, and a lot of traps to watch out for. We DO want to avoid chilling our torts, but one of the problems we can run into is a damp, clammy substrate and overhead heating. That can result in a warm back but a cold belly- which will cause health and digestive issues.

You: Humidity is very important for redfoots, and it needs to be 75-100%(preferably 90+%) at all times. Lack of humidity is what leads to pyramiding. Not protein, not calcium, not uvb. Just humidity.

Me: I was not aware this issue had been solved. My last understanding was that pyramiding happens when the various layers of the shell develop at different rates and that the things that make that happen are environmental issues (humidity, warmth, UVB) and dietary issues (growing too fast, too much or little calcium and other key nutrients, etc.)

You: 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.

Me: Misting the tank and torts can be a bad thing if it reduces the temps. It is also a very temporary solution. It is better to find a way to provide warm humidity on an ongoing basis. There are several ways to do this, but they take some discussion and planning.
Soaking babies is actually kind of controversial even though it may not seem like it here or in other discussion areas. My personal opinion is that as long as my humidities are good, the food is fresh and has moisture in it, and the poop is wet, I just do a weekly soak in water I keep warm.

OVERALL: A for effort, B+ for accuracy and information, and a few points off for LOTS of photos that break things up awkwardly.

My personal advice is this. Newcomers want simple to follow instructions. They want plans and diagrams for housing, they want exact guidelines for heat and light. They want shopping lists and menus for diet, and so on. This is the problem- the advice you give someone living on an acreage in southern Florida is very different than the advice someone in an apartment in downtown Minneapolis needs.

I would cut the description and natural history sections and just include a link to Wikipedia for that (snicker- you may want to take a peak at who wrote a lot of that :) ) I would also cut out a lot of the photos, replacing many of them (especially product photos) with links instead. The photos just chop up your narrative and make it harder to read.

Again- great job!!
 

TechnoCheese

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Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Messages
4,164
Location (City and/or State)
Lewisville, Texas
This is a great effort, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the map I spent so much time on posted! Having said that, there are some things that caught my eye that you may want to change. Unfortunately, the long post and all the photos make it kind of tricky to edit. I'll try, though, so you can tweak it. Keep in mind- while my list may look long, it is just a few things that I think you should consider.

You posted:
Common name-Redfoot, Yellowfoot, Cherryhead
Family- Testudinidae
Species- Chelonoidis
Genus- C. Carbonarius

It should be:
Common name- Redfoot, redfooted tortoise. Some color variations are unofficially called 'cherry-head'.
Family- Testudinidea
Genus- Chelonoidis
Species- C. carbonaria
(Remember- the yellowfoot is a different species- C. denticulata)

You: "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."

Me: While some do, redfoots live in a space about the size of the US. In that range, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, mostly what is called 'wet savannah', which are grasslands with lots of rain, and often marshy areas. Even in forested areas, they are more likely to live in breaks or edges than deep woods. The temps also fluctuate a lot more than some people think. Some of their range even freezes once in a while for short periods.

You:
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.) or 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.
Twice a month, feed them (a) night crawler(s), snail(s), slug(s), earthworm(s), mealworm(s), etc. Do not use bugs from your yard, unless you are 100% sure they have not come in contact with pesticides, fertilizer, or any other chemicals.
Dust greens with calcium with D3/vitamins 2-3 times a week.

Me: Diet is hard to write about. You are right about the forgiving and variety part, but a little off track on a couple other points. For example:
FRUIT- when field researchers and experts write about redfoots eating a lot of fruit, they mean something different than what we find in the grocery store. Most of the fruits they eat in the wild have a lot more calcium and other nutrients and a lot less water and sugar than ours do. Also, there are things in the store that are actually fruits that we call vegetables. This includes peppers, squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, corn, peas, beans, and anything else with seeds. Most of these are actually better choices than things like watermelon and banana. Some GREAT fruits are the weird things- cactus fruits (and pads), figs, the small harder melons, papaya, and the like.
Mushrooms are great, especially wild mushrooms that have not been sprayed. In fact, there are a lot of outdoor plants that are fantastic as long as they have not been sprayed or treated, like mulberry and dandelion.
Meats are tricky too. Bugs and invertebrates are very different from poultry and that is different from red meats, eggs, etc. While wild redfoots do eat carrion and such, most of them only eat bugs and invertebrates in the wild- oddly enough, mostly butterflies! The reason they eat this is for nutrients that are lacking in the rest of their diet. Most of the fruits, veggies, and greens we can get at the store don't have that problem so they probably don't need hardly any 'meats'.
It is hard to talk about portions and ratios. The bottom line is that torts can eat pretty much all the dark leafy greens, flowers, leaves, and vegetables (shredded carrot, broccoli, etc.) they want, but fruits and proteins should be limited. Serving it less often is one good way to do that, as is only offering small amounts at a time.

You:
Redfoot tortoises require temps around 80-86 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 coolest 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.

Me: The basking comment is misleading. They are documented to bask in the wild throughout their range. They most often bask in the morning, after a rain, or after a cold snap. They also get a lot of UVB since it can penetrate a fairly thick leaf layer (one of the hard things to remember about infrared and ultraviolet light is that it does not work quite the same as the colors we can see. For example, infrared goes through things like black plastic, while UVB is blocked by glass and even some fine mesh screen.) It is true that you don't need a 'hot spot', but these generally don't work for any tortoise since they don't let the tortoise completely and evenly warm up. (There are some great thermal images showing this on the Tortoise Trust site.)
Warmth and humidity are really hard for beginners and there are a lot of ways to do it, and a lot of traps to watch out for. We DO want to avoid chilling our torts, but one of the problems we can run into is a damp, clammy substrate and overhead heating. That can result in a warm back but a cold belly- which will cause health and digestive issues.

You: Humidity is very important for redfoots, and it needs to be 75-100%(preferably 90+%) at all times. Lack of humidity is what leads to pyramiding. Not protein, not calcium, not uvb. Just humidity.

Me: I was not aware this issue had been solved. My last understanding was that pyramiding happens when the various layers of the shell develop at different rates and that the things that make that happen are environmental issues (humidity, warmth, UVB) and dietary issues (growing too fast, too much or little calcium and other key nutrients, etc.)

You: 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.

Me: Misting the tank and torts can be a bad thing if it reduces the temps. It is also a very temporary solution. It is better to find a way to provide warm humidity on an ongoing basis. There are several ways to do this, but they take some discussion and planning.
Soaking babies is actually kind of controversial even though it may not seem like it here or in other discussion areas. My personal opinion is that as long as my humidities are good, the food is fresh and has moisture in it, and the poop is wet, I just do a weekly soak in water I keep warm.

OVERALL: A for effort, B+ for accuracy and information, and a few points off for LOTS of photos that break things up awkwardly.

My personal advice is this. Newcomers want simple to follow instructions. They want plans and diagrams for housing, they want exact guidelines for heat and light. They want shopping lists and menus for diet, and so on. This is the problem- the advice you give someone living on an acreage in southern Florida is very different than the advice someone in an apartment in downtown Minneapolis needs.

I would cut the description and natural history sections and just include a link to Wikipedia for that (snicker- you may want to take a peak at who wrote a lot of that :) ) I would also cut out a lot of the photos, replacing many of them (especially product photos) with links instead. The photos just chop up your narrative and make it harder to read.

Again- great job!!

Alright, thank you! I agree, there are a lot of photos, lol. They flow a lot better on the app I originally had it on, and since this sheet was for young keepers (mostly ages 9-16) who usually don’t know what most of those are, I figured I’d include them to give a visual. However, I doubt I’d have to do that for most of the people here.

“Me: I was not aware this issue had been solved. My last understanding was that pyramiding happens when the various layers of the shell develop at different rates and that the things that make that happen are environmental issues (humidity, warmth, UVB) and dietary issues (growing too fast, too much or little calcium and other key nutrients, etc.)”

There have recently been multiple studies that have come to the conclusion that, while important for having a healthy tortoise, protein, calcium, etc. really don’t have much impact on pyramiding. Here are a few-
http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Turtles-Tortoises/Turtle-Care/Pyramiding-in-Tortoises/

https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-end-of-pyramiding.15137/


“It should be:
Common name- Redfoot, redfooted tortoise. Some color variations are unofficially called 'cherry-head'.
Family- Testudinidea
Genus- Chelonoidis
Species- C. carbonaria
(Remember- the yellowfoot is a different species- C. denticulata)”

Thank you, I’ll definitely fix that!

“Me: While some do, redfoots live in a space about the size of the US. In that range, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, mostly what is called 'wet savannah', which are grasslands with lots of rain, and often marshy areas. Even in forested areas, they are more likely to live in breaks or edges than deep woods. The temps also fluctuate a lot more than some people think. Some of their range even freezes once in a while for short periods.”

Definitely makes sense, and I’ll be sure to add that in. However, should I change the temperatures I recommend? Or is 80-86 fine?

“Me: Diet is hard to write about. You are right about the forgiving and variety part, but a little off track on a couple other points. For example:
FRUIT- when field researchers and experts write about redfoots eating a lot of fruit, they mean something different than what we find in the grocery store. Most of the fruits they eat in the wild have a lot more calcium and other nutrients and a lot less water and sugar than ours do. Also, there are things in the store that are actually fruits that we call vegetables. This includes peppers, squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, corn, peas, beans, and anything else with seeds. Most of these are actually better choices than things like watermelon and banana. Some GREAT fruits are the weird things- cactus fruits (and pads), figs, the small harder melons, papaya, and the like.
Mushrooms are great, especially wild mushrooms that have not been sprayed. In fact, there are a lot of outdoor plants that are fantastic as long as they have not been sprayed or treated, like mulberry and dandelion.
Meats are tricky too. Bugs and invertebrates are very different from poultry and that is different from red meats, eggs, etc. While wild redfoots do eat carrion and such, most of them only eat bugs and invertebrates in the wild- oddly enough, mostly butterflies! The reason they eat this is for nutrients that are lacking in the rest of their diet. Most of the fruits, veggies, and greens we can get at the store don't have that problem so they probably don't need hardly any 'meats'.
It is hard to talk about portions and ratios. The bottom line is that torts can eat pretty much all the dark leafy greens, flowers, leaves, and vegetables (shredded carrot, broccoli, etc.) they want, but fruits and proteins should be limited. Serving it less often is one good way to do that, as is only offering small amounts at a time.”


I completely agree with you about portions and ratios. Redfoots seem to thrive on all kinds of diets, so just limiting it to an exact amount can be tricky. This was actually one of the hardest bits to put together just because of how everyone’s diets seem to differ, even (and especially) on this forum. I’ll be sure to edit that section.

I’ll respond to the other points soon, I’m a bit short on time :)
 

Kapidolo Farms

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With so many illustrations and photos you have to realize many people are just going to read the pictures.

use these upload_2019-1-11_12-42-41.png next to, say the red heat lamp, and these upload_2019-1-11_12-44-2.png next to recommending things.

Content is already pretty well covered by others.
 

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Madkins007

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Alright, thank you! I agree, there are a lot of photos, lol. They flow a lot better on the app I originally had it on, and since this sheet was for young keepers (mostly ages 9-16) who usually don’t know what most of those are, I figured I’d include them to give a visual. However, I doubt I’d have to do that for most of the people here.

“Me: I was not aware this issue had been solved. My last understanding was that pyramiding happens when the various layers of the shell develop at different rates and that the things that make that happen are environmental issues (humidity, warmth, UVB) and dietary issues (growing too fast, too much or little calcium and other key nutrients, etc.)”

There have recently been multiple studies that have come to the conclusion that, while important for having a healthy tortoise, protein, calcium, etc. really don’t have much impact on pyramiding. Here are a few-
http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Turtles-Tortoises/Turtle-Care/Pyramiding-in-Tortoises/

https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-end-of-pyramiding.15137/

Thank you for that information. I am afraid I am not going to take Mr. Fife or Tom as a definitive answer, although I respect both of them.

In 2012, Zoo Biology #31:705‐717, found that torts with a longer shell length for their age tend to be more pyramided than those whose shell length is more typical for their age and species- suggesting that rapid growth is a key factor. Another study in 2010 in the same journal opined that the captive low fiber, easy digestibility diet contributed to pramiding by promoting rapid growth in leopard and other African tortoises in the study. The Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, #25/1, Jan 2016, found that leopard and spurred tortoises pyramided when provided with supplemental heat, encouraging more rapid growth, even when the humidity and diet was the same as a control population.

Based on my research- but not on any clinical studies I have done- pyramiding most commonly happens when tortoises grow quickly. They might grow fast because they are getting lots of calories and nutrients, maybe because they can more quickly digest their lower-fiber diet, or their phosphorus/calcium ratios are off and boosting growth. Maybe their environmental temps are boosting their metabolism, or the humidity is slowing the growth down somehow. I don't know, and I have not found a lot of definitive answers online that are widely accepted.

I suspect that the reason the One True Answer To Pyramiding has eluded us is because it caused by anything that messes up the balance of the growth of the shell. Person A has a great diet, not overfeeding at all, but is getting pyramiding because their temps are high and raising the metabolic rate. Person B is getting it because they are trying to get their torts to breeding size more rapidly. Person C has low humidity in their tortoise room and they are not effectively counteracting that.

Again- this is all just my thinking based on my research and I ain't no expert.
 
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