Redfoot staying in hide all day every day?

brodie7838

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My 10yo female redfoot has been with me for a few months now and all she does most days is hang out in one hide or the other, rarely coming out or walking around. She also doesn't eat every day, more like every other or every 3rd day which has me concerned because if I put food right in front of her she'll happily dig in and act very hungry, but will otherwise ignore it more often than not in its usual location. Some days she'll walk over to her dish and chow down as soon as I put the food in so it's kind of random.

If I take her out of her indoor enclosure and let her have the room (it is tortoise-proofed, supervised, & only for a few hours per day) she's happy to slowly walk around exploring and will chow down on any food I put out for her. If I take her out to the lawn enclosure area she's also exploring everything at a liesure, eating dandilions and thistles as she goes. In both cases I always put a hide or two out and she'll check them out or hang out inside for a bit before resuming her previous exploration; like night and day difference personality compared to the enclosure.

Her indoor enclosure is three of those Aivituvin Tortoise Habitats secured together. The middle one has its original box hide and the two on the ends I removed the hides so I could use them for various features: rock hide, warming slate (in the hot area), large shallow terracota dish with water, food dish, a mud pit, and a few visual barriers. The substrate is still 'premier sphagnum peat moss' which I keep moist by pouring water in the corners. She likes to dig little shallows to sleep in and overall not a bad starter substrate for now. Temps are between 80-85f during the day, 79-82f at night, and one warm spot that's 85-90f. Humidity is still a struggle until I complete her larger permanent enclosure but I can keep the box hide between 70-90rh while the open area of the enclosure is is 40-50rh.

I soak her daily or every other day and she gets fresh water, fruits, veggies, and greens daily as well. I keep her enclosure very clean. She typically poops once per day or every other day during the morning soak so there are no droppings ever in the enclosure.

Is this abnormal behavior? Anything you think I should change?
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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My 10yo female redfoot has been with me for a few months now and all she does most days is hang out in one hide or the other, rarely coming out or walking around. She also doesn't eat every day, more like every other or every 3rd day which has me concerned because if I put food right in front of her she'll happily dig in and act very hungry, but will otherwise ignore it more often than not in its usual location. Some days she'll walk over to her dish and chow down as soon as I put the food in so it's kind of random.

If I take her out of her indoor enclosure and let her have the room (it is tortoise-proofed, supervised, & only for a few hours per day) she's happy to slowly walk around exploring and will chow down on any food I put out for her. If I take her out to the lawn enclosure area she's also exploring everything at a liesure, eating dandilions and thistles as she goes. In both cases I always put a hide or two out and she'll check them out or hang out inside for a bit before resuming her previous exploration; like night and day difference personality compared to the enclosure.

Her indoor enclosure is three of those Aivituvin Tortoise Habitats secured together. The middle one has its original box hide and the two on the ends I removed the hides so I could use them for various features: rock hide, warming slate (in the hot area), large shallow terracota dish with water, food dish, a mud pit, and a few visual barriers. The substrate is still 'premier sphagnum peat moss' which I keep moist by pouring water in the corners. She likes to dig little shallows to sleep in and overall not a bad starter substrate for now. Temps are between 80-85f during the day, 79-82f at night, and one warm spot that's 85-90f. Humidity is still a struggle until I complete her larger permanent enclosure but I can keep the box hide between 70-90rh while the open area of the enclosure is is 40-50rh.

I soak her daily or every other day and she gets fresh water, fruits, veggies, and greens daily as well. I keep her enclosure very clean. She typically poops once per day or every other day during the morning soak so there are no droppings ever in the enclosure.

Is this abnormal behavior? Anything you think I should change?
I’d personally recommend changing the substrate for something like orchid bark, I’ve heard the sphagnum moss can cause them to become impacted if eaten. Also when you say warming slate, I’m guessing you just mean a piece of slate under their bulb? Not one of those ‘heat rocks’ you can get? Because those can be dangerous.
Other than that nothing particularly stands out apart from your struggle with the humidity, which I’m sure will be sorted once you move them into a new set up.
Perhaps @Alex and the Redfoot can help you further in regards to your other concerns🙂
 

brodie7838

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Fort Collins, CO
I'm still a bit confused by the sphagnum moss thing maybe you can set me straight: Attached are the two different types of "sphagnum moss" I found at my local big box, Mosser Lee Long Fiber, and Premier Sphagnum Peat Moss. I initially used both mixed together, but after reading about about the impact problem I removed everything and instead replaced it with a mix of only the Premier stuff and Coconut Coir, which for all intents and purposes it comes out looking and feeling like a nice topsoil that holds a ton of water without everything being soggy and muddy, but there are no strands or fibers in it. Do you think the Premier stuff is ok or no?

Edit: Forgot about the slate question, yes it is just a piece of slate under the warming bulb, no 'heat rocks'!
 

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ZEROPILOT

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Moss is a big no-no for tortoises.
Hopefully he/she hasn't already eaten any of it. It gets eaten bit can't be digested.

Please photograph your entire enclosure and the heating, uvb and lights. Something is stressful to your tort.
Let's get things figured out.
The enclosure itself when it's the correct type, will remedy the humidity issue.
You'll need a closed chamber type enclosure
 

brodie7838

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Thanks, so is that to say both variations I mentioned are not good? I had seen her try to eat the long-fiber type which is what led me to remove that but she hasn't shown any interest in the Premier topsoil type stuff at all. Nonetheless I will look around some more for orchid bark, so far all I've been able to find locally is the stuff from Miracle-Gro that includes fertilizers which is the only reason I don't already have some.

I'm still building a permanent closed chamber type enclosure, it's just taking some time to get together the way I want but it's going to be lightyears better than the current setup. It was supposed to be a week-long project but I've had a few setbacks along the way.

She originally had one of those mini CFL UVB bulbs; I opted not to use it and recently ordered a T5 UVB Bulb instead. I only added the LED light on the left today, previously it was a bit darker on that side.
 

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brodie7838

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She just had a medium diarrhea in her enclosure a few minutes ago. I took her to the bathroom for a soak and she passed a small firm poop, and when I took her out she walked a few feet and had a large diarrhea followed by a medium firm poop. Never seen her do any of that before but I don't see anything I don't recognize in any of the droppings. Her most recent meals have been a mix of Squash, Romaine Lettuce, Button Mushroom, Papaya, Dates, Tomato (1/day or less), Blackberries, Chard, Spinach, Kale,(limited amounts) following the ratios I've read here.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Is there a Home Depot nearby?
This is what you want and it is long lasting and inexpensive.
"Pure potting media" means pure Orchid bark (Fir bark)
Avoid any that says "Potting mix" or anything that has other ingredients added.
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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If I remember, peat moss has rather high acidity level which is not good. If can't find orchid bark or cypress mulch you can opt for the coco coir (aka coco peat, it's a soil-like substrate too).

Did you check her plastron for shell fungus?

If temperatures in the enclosure are 80-85F, it's on the lower margin. Have you seen her basking under the lamps?
 

ZEROPILOT

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She just had a medium diarrhea in her enclosure a few minutes ago. I took her to the bathroom for a soak and she passed a small firm poop, and when I took her out she walked a few feet and had a large diarrhea followed by a medium firm poop. Never seen her do any of that before but I don't see anything I don't recognize in any of the droppings. Her most recent meals have been a mix of Squash, Romaine Lettuce, Button Mushroom, Papaya, Dates, Tomato (1/day or less), Blackberries, Chard, Spinach, Kale,(limited amounts) following the ratios I've read here.
Don't be too concerned about ratios. Just use variety and that list you mentioned sounds good.
Remember that he needs to be at least 80ish degrees to digest his food correctly. And over 90ish causes stress that might also interfere. Find that balance. You will. His digestive tract should settle down.
 
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brodie7838

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Is there a Home Depot nearby?
This is what you want and it is long lasting and inexpensive.
"Pure potting media" means pure Orchid bark (Fir bark)
Avoid any that says "Potting mix" or anything that has other ingredients added.
There is but they don't stock this or anything like it. Same for Lowe's here but both list it online so I'll get some ordered tonight
Did you check her plastron for shell fungus?
Yes, not seeing any
If temperatures in the enclosure are 80-85F, it's on the lower margin. Have you seen her basking under the lamps?
Yeah I've had to resort to heating/humidifying the entire room since these enclosures weren't cutting it otherwise. Once I get the permanent enclosure done I'll have a much better handle on the environmental elements. I have not seen her basking at all, I've moved that lamp a few times but have yet to see her hang out under it.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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There is but they don't stock this or anything like it. Same for Lowe's here but both list it online so I'll get some ordered tonight

Yes, not seeing any

Yeah I've had to resort to heating/humidifying the entire room since these enclosures weren't cutting it otherwise. Once I get the permanent enclosure done I'll have a much better handle on the environmental elements. I have not seen her basking at all, I've moved that lamp a few times but have yet to see her hang out under it.
As a quick hack you may put a greenhouse top over the enclosure. If you haven't seen her basking, likely she doesn't get warm enough - this might explain the runny stool. You can move the lamp to the front of her night hide, maybe this will help. Or move the CHE instead to raise up night temperatures to 84F in the hide.

Anyway, since she is able to graze outside and behaves totally normal there - I would not be very concerned. My RF is almost a full day outside now and almost doesn't move around indoors enclosure - just seeks for a place to tuck in for a nap.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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If I remember, peat moss has rather high acidity level which is not good.
Yeah, and another thing is that peat moss (composed spaghnum moss that is) becomes extremely dusty when dry. This is important to remember when you struggle with humidity. I have only been able to successfully use it in enclosures with 90% humidity with my snail. When peat moss gets all dried up it doesn't retain moisture very well anymore and it is almost impossible to re-hydrate.

So yeah, there are many reasons why peat moss isn't recomended.
 

brodie7838

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Good to know on the peat moss. I've ordered 4 of those orchid barks, but here's my concern: I used about 2 cu/ya of peat moss to get 6" depth in the current enclosure, and the new enclosure I'm building is bigger and will be much deeper. Should I anticipate using only orchid bark for the whole depth (expensive!), or can I have other types of substrate beneath a nice layer of orchid bark?
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Good to know on the peat moss. I've ordered 4 of those orchid barks, but here's my concern: I used about 2 cu/ya of peat moss to get 6" depth in the current enclosure, and the new enclosure I'm building is bigger and will be much deeper. Should I anticipate using only orchid bark for the whole depth (expensive!), or can I have other types of substrate beneath a nice layer of orchid bark?
You may use coco coir and lay some bark on top. Or make different zones. I don't like mixing substrates as it somewhat defeats the benefits of orchid bark (less mess) and makes it impossible to do substrate "turnovers". You may fill areas around water and food dishes and under the night hides with bark and go with coco coir for the rest of the enclosure. This way there will be no mess in dishes, more or less dry top in the hides and a large space where you can even plant something (coir isn't superb for growing plants but you may expect to have some sprouts).
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Good to know on the peat moss. I've ordered 4 of those orchid barks, but here's my concern: I used about 2 cu/ya of peat moss to get 6" depth in the current enclosure, and the new enclosure I'm building is bigger and will be much deeper. Should I anticipate using only orchid bark for the whole depth (expensive!), or can I have other types of substrate beneath a nice layer of orchid bark?
Yeah like Alex said, you can mix substrates up😊
 

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