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Redfoot refuses to stay in enclosure

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by RVtort, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. RVtort

    RVtort New Member

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    I have a 9year old red foot tortoise who will spend hours trying to climb out of her enclosure. As soon as I let her out she stomps through my apartment and under my bed. She will make her happy groaking sounds under there all day or until I put her back. (One time as an experiment- I left her two days to see how it would take for her to back out- she came out from under the bed, but fell asleep in another bedroom corner- without making it back to her enclosure).

    I work from home and so I can keep an eye on her. However, I doubt she is getting the right humidity or even any basking time.

    Every morning, I put her in the shower (she loves this) and she soaks probably for an hour or more while I work (tub filled- the shower is not running constantly).

    I got her when she was about two and she had some bad pyramiding. I am unsure if it has increased as she has grown ( if it has, it is minimal). She did go to the vet at that time.

    What can I do to make her stay in the enclosure? What is the appeal about under the bed(it is definitely her spot). She shares this “spot” with a small dog who completely ignores her.. but still- I would rather her stay in the enclosure.

    The enclosure is a black cattle watering trough - 3x5ft. Two flower pot hides on either end of enclosure. One water bowl big enough to easily fit her. Coconut husks and moss substrate.

    This behaviour started in June and has increased to the point where she won’t spend an hour in her enclosure without demanding out- climbing the edges and slamming back down.
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  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    First, just leave her in there. Its your choice, not hers. Next, are you sure its a female? Post pics of the tail and anal scutes for verification. Third step: Let's have a look at the enclosure to see if maybe something is off. Post some pics? RFs don't tend to like bright lighting and basking lamps. What type of UV bulb are you using? What type of basking lamp? Next up: Shelter? What sort of hides are in the enclosure? Finally, 3x5 is WAAYYYYYY too small for a 9 year old RF. Tortoises need a lot of space to roam around. If she is small and a slow grower, she'd be cramped in a 4x8 enclosure. If she's normal sized, she needs a whole heated room up there in the frozen north.
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  3. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with @Tom 3 x 5 is way too small for an adult Redfoot. That's probably why your Tortoise isn't happy in there.
  4. RVtort

    RVtort New Member

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    She has two flower pot hides.

    Does it matter if the tortoise is a female or male? She’ll is 13 inches top to bottom.

    I just tried to send photos and nothing will upload.

    The light is an overhead reptisun 5.0 120v

    The heat lamp is a 100w exo.
    What would be a realistic size of enclosure. We are looking at building from scratch.


    Thank you for the help.
  5. RVtort

    RVtort New Member

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  6. RVtort

    RVtort New Member

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    Hides and water bowl

    436F3F0E-190C-44CB-A327-4B7FF3148630.jpeg 4F99C2F7-2A63-4B8B-ABD0-4AEBD7D31367.jpeg
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Ahh.... the plot thickens!

    Those cfl bulbs sometimes burn tortoise eyes. They are not effective UV sources either, and so should never be used.

    No red bulbs. No one wants to live in a red world. Tortoises have better color vision than we do. They don't like everything to be all red all the time.

    I asked about the sex because males tend to want to wander more, and the grunting noises under the bed sound more like something a male would do.

    I will leave the specifics on RF care to people who have more experience with that species than me, but these generalities we've discussed are a good starting point for you. At least you now know of three potential problems that are easy to fix.
    Kaliman1962 and RVtort like this.
  8. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member

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    The red bulbs are bad they really throw Torts off from what I've read also the coil UVB bulbs like the one your using have been known to cause problems with Torts eyes I've experienced it personally. Glass or plexiglass filters out UVB so the way you've got your UVB light sitting on it like that it's basically not serving any purpose unless there's a hole cut in the glass I can't tell. I would ditch the red bulb for a ceramic heat emitter and ditch the coil bulb for a tube uvb
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  9. RVtort

    RVtort New Member

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    Okay great!
    This is very helpful.
  10. RVtort

    RVtort New Member

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    The light and the glass is a new thing because the tortoise kept knocking everything down.

    I was under the impression that tortoises can’t see red light- I have no experience with ceramic heaters. Will get on that research train.

    Would it sit in one corner of the enclosure? If the enclosure isn’t glass wouldn’t it melt or burn it? If we are building an enclosure it will most likely be made of wood (cedar).

    Do you recommend a lighting bulb type? What is too bright for a red foot when looking into tube lighting?
  11. RVtort

    RVtort New Member

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    Ignore ceramic heat emitter question. Figured it out.

    Also thank you, poor tortoise has been living in a red world for awhile. I think this will really help.
  12. Minority2

    Minority2 Active Member

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    Quite the opposite, tortoises are particularly fond of the colors red and yellow.

    A good cost effective setup is 2x linear florescent bulbs; (1x UVB, 1x 6500k regular florescent bulb) and a ceramic heat emitter/reptile heating panel. Run the UV(B) on for 4 hours during peak hours daily cyles and the other florescent bulb on for 12-14 hour daily cycles. Keep the ceramic heat running 24/7 paired with a thermostat. Higher upfront cost but much lower replacement costs. The savings will be very apparent in a couple of years.

    If you're unable to permanently house your tortoise outside I believe the lowest you should go is 8 x 4 ft. It would be better if you're able to give them an entire bedroom. I generally recommend adult 13+ inch Red Foot tortoises to have at least a 20 x 20 ft or 30 x 30 ft enclosure if owners are able to provide it.
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  13. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I just wanted to add that cedar emits toxic fumes and should not be used for a tortoise enclosure.
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  14. William Lee Kohler

    William Lee Kohler Active Member

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    "Quite the opposite, tortoises are particularly fond of the colors red and yellow."

    I was given to believe that the red "pigment" of food/objects under white light is completely different from the red "spectrum" of a light in the eyes of tortoises or reptiles in general. Used the red lights for heat for years before getting CHEs and they at least acted like it was night under them once all the lights were out.
  15. Minority2

    Minority2 Active Member

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    I can't say for certain but from the numerous publications I've read on tortoises and turtles; many of these results seem to point out that food typology may be more important than the difference in pigment shading. They may be able to recognize the difference in color between the reds but if some material is shaped like a food they know and like, chances are they'll go after it regardless of how difference the spectrum level is between them.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29031945
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24911428
    http://savetheseaturtle.org/Sea-Turtles-Have-Color-Vision.html
    https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news...uggests-dinosaurs-had-bird-like-colour-vision
  16. William Lee Kohler

    William Lee Kohler Active Member

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    Ya missed my point. Pigment is something coloring objects(as opposed to something shining on it). Light spectrum colors are parts of the electromagnetic(radiational)spectrum. Who knows why they like certain foods except sometimes smell(protein like cat food and carrion)sometimes color. As for "shape" cut up red strawberries and tomatoes look a lot alike but my tortoises like tomatoes and won't touch strawberries, like banana(sometimes)but nothing else yellow. Who knows why.
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  17. Cathie G

    Cathie G Member

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    You are always right Tom. Cedar is used for repelling moths in a closet. I always love to see and read your opinion. Pine or white board is cheaper and with a pleasant odor.
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  18. Cathie G

    Cathie G Member

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    I think you've spoiled the darling. And I'm not putting you down for that at all. He she has a pet dog. A giant hide and a whole room to play in. It's fun if you don't have carpet. Fix up your room and be prepared to sleep on the couch. Believe me I'm not being a smart alec. I've done it and enjoyed every moment.
  19. Cathie G

    Cathie G Member

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    With all this color conversation going on I have to say...my little Horsefield will eat something that is blue even if it is yarn with something shiny. He sniffs every blade of grass or other weeds before he eats. But if he sees blue he chomps without smelling first. I guess it depends on what they like. That's a tortoise for you. They're an in duh vidual. Don't you just love em!
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