Researching Sand

ascott

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The Zoos I referenced are all accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The vast majority of Zookeepers have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and many have a masters. Zoos that are accredited by the AZA are required to participate in Species Survival Plans - science based programs that strive to maintain and create populations of animals that are genetically diverse and healthy, often with the goal of, or in support of, reintroduction programs. Most of the large, well known zoos have an entire division dedicated to wildlife conservation through science.
There are zoos that have failed to advance with the times, but they are pretty easy to spot.

"failed to advance with the times"

There are some very tried and true methods that still work....the flash of the advance is not always the awesomeness some promote....just my two cents worth :)
 

CandyAss

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"failed to advance with the times"

There are some very tried and true methods that still work....the flash of the advance is not always the awesomeness some promote....just my two cents worth :)

"Advance with the times" doesn't mean abandoning tried and true methods. You're describing a fad. Advancement means building on what works, examining what doesn't and trying to figure out why - and then doing something about.
This is exactly what the OP is trying to do - advance our knowledge and understanding in order to better care for a tortoise species. I think it's a worthwhile endeavor to look more into reasons why some people have had no problems using sand and others have had disastrous results. Is it possible that the culprit could be grain size or shape? Or unnatural feeding method? I don't think it comes down to pure luck. Advances aren't made without questioning the status quo.
I'll see your two cents and raise you a dollar✌
 

TammyJ

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Is there an actual, proven benefit to any species of tortoise of having a substrate of sand? Or is the benefit actually perhaps going to be to the owner/keeper as sand is inexpensive and attractive? What good does sand do for the tortoise, especially as a single type of substrate in an indoor enclosure? I can see using it in some areas of natural outdoor spaces along with other substrates like rocks, earth, leaves, mulch, etc. I use a bit of sand mixed with earth in a small area of my outdoor enclosure for my redfoots.
 

ascott

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"Advance with the times" doesn't mean abandoning tried and true methods. You're describing a fad. Advancement means building on what works, examining what doesn't and trying to figure out why - and then doing something about.
This is exactly what the OP is trying to do - advance our knowledge and understanding in order to better care for a tortoise species. I think it's a worthwhile endeavor to look more into reasons why some people have had no problems using sand and others have had disastrous results. Is it possible that the culprit could be grain size or shape? Or unnatural feeding method? I don't think it comes down to pure luck. Advances aren't made without questioning the status quo.
I'll see your two cents and raise you a dollar✌

I don't need your dollar babe.....I said my piece. What one thinks does not work...another finds perfect. There is no way to know why what works for me (in the High Desert, CDT, Redfoot, Red Ear Sliders) may not work for you (where ever you may be) or Joe Blow In the middle of BFEgypt, right? But each sharing what works (old ways and new) gives others an index to pull from.

Oh and since you do not know ME AT ALL....I am the last person to go with the FAD. But thanks for your baseless opinion. Peace out.
 

CandyAss

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I don't need your dollar babe.....I said my piece. What one thinks does not work...another finds perfect. There is no way to know why what works for me (in the High Desert, CDT, Redfoot, Red Ear Sliders) may not work for you (where ever you may be) or Joe Blow In the middle of BFEgypt, right? But each sharing what works (old ways and new) gives others an index to pull from.

Oh and since you do not know ME AT ALL....I am the last person to go with the FAD. But thanks for your baseless opinion. Peace out.
I take it you're not familiar with poker, or the scientific method. Cool, cool.
 

TylerStewart

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I had a minute and thought I would reply.... We have used sand and partial sand (mixes) more and more, and have not seen any problems from it. There's a few key things to consider, though.... Sand in a natural habitat isn't really being eaten direct off of. The plants that they normally eat are up off the ground to varying degrees. If it's a grass, grass doesn't really grow out of sand, so the grass they'd eat in the wild is growing out of "dirt," not sand. I have seen photos of Egyptians in their natural habitat and they are buried in sand dune sand, just like beach sand. It is 100% sand, at least in that area. Again, they aren't eating wet spring mix off of dry sand (which would invite a lot of sand into their systems).

Obviously every tortoise lives on "dirt" in nature, but natural "dirt" isn't loose like sand in an indoor enclosure would be. Dirt that has been in the weather is usually hard packed and not blowing around unless it has been disturbed. In an indoor setup, because of no weather and a high degree of tortoise activity per square foot, the substrate will generally remain loose instead of firm like it would be in nature. If you dump a bucket of sand in an outdoor enclosure, a month later, it's hardly recognizable as sand (mixes in with dirt, and becomes hard packed).

We got some baby Egyptians that are now almost 2 years old, and I asked the breeder (a less known guy in Southern California) to tell me exactly how he had been raising them so I could duplicate it. He was using a 50-50 mix of coco coir and sand, like a beach sand. We are regulars at the sand dunes so I brought home a bucket and mixed it with coir, and for 2 years they could not have done better (other than the one that flipped over in the water dish and drowned in 1/4" of water - that breeder had a water dish in with his, so I did the same, regrettably). They grew perfectly smooth, shockingly smooth, in an open top, simple tub on this substrate. I kept some moisture in it particularly in the hide area, and this mix remained pretty firm, not soft and mushy like straight sand would be.

We recently redid their enclosure and went to a 1/4" minus DG (decomposed granite) substrate that I really like. It's a crushed rock that starts as small as sand and has been screened through a 1/4" screen, so the largest parts are 1/4" in size. It's commonly used in landscapeing here in Las Vegas, and it's very cheap with many colors available ($20-25 per TON, or about $5 for a 50 pound bag). I threw a few handfuls of crushed oyster shell in there just to have a few bits and pieces of calcium around, and I keep a chunk of two of cuttlebone in there also that slowly shrinks in size. They are fed from a bowl that keeps the substrate out, and we have a shallow water dish in there with a rock layer on the bottom of it that I add a tiny amount of water to almost daily (it dries up daily). I'll still soak them manually, I'm just scared to use a quarter inch of water in bowls anymore, I have had multiple babies drown in water bowls, and they are never that deep.

There is risks to any substrate, but for me and my Egyptians, we are going to try DG for a while.
 
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