Soil, coco, for indoor night enclosure help

Tanyabobanya

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Hello! I’m asking a question I’ve asked for months and still am not sure.. what kind of soil to use for an indoor enclosure I use for rainy days/ cold nights? For my outdoor one I went as far as mentioning this to my gardener who drove to the mountains and brought back the finest soil you could sculpt with it, because all the “top soil” at orchard, Home Depot, any garden store carry tons of soil but they all include something like grow agents or unidentifiable objects... even if they say organic. To save a trip to the mountains... could someone suggest one name brand I can buy at a store? .
 

Maro2Bear

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Greetings. Have you considered fine grade orchid bark, coco coir and/or cypress mulch or peatmoss. All of these are easily purchased at garden centers, HD, Lowe’s...etc, 100% product, no additives, fertilizers, etc. these all make good substrates instead of topsoil. Also saves a trip to the mountains.

What kind of enclosure and Tortoise?

Good luck.
 
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Tanyabobanya

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Greetings. Have you considered fine grade orchid bark, coco coir and/or cypress mulch or peatmoss. All of these are easily purchased at garden centers, HD, Lowe’s...etc, 100% product, no additives, fertilizers, etc. these all make good substrates instead of topsoil. Also saves a trip to the mountains.

What kind of enclosure and Tortoise?

Good luck.

I have coco coir but it always smells like tobacco to me, I’ve had peatmoss but it’s grown mold in the past, I haven’t tried orchid bark. Do you think one or a combo of these is a better indoor enclosure option than soil or a mix of soil and these? I have 2, I believe female, sibling desert tortoises who are a little over 3 years old now. I made an indoor enclosure out of a bookshelf which they’ve been sharing at night or on rainy days, but they are getting big and one is what looks like bullying the other and one morning my son found that they had somehow knocked off the top grated metal piece I put to prevent them from climbing out because one end of the enclosure has 2 caves they can climb up on to.
I just finally got another bookshelf to separate them and since I’ve never fully changed their original enclosure which has the magical mountain soil, I thought I’d dig out a cave and redesign it so the one who stays there can’t knock the top off, which also has 2 heating lamps hanging over it. The soil in there is dry.. I never totally understood the moisture necessities and used to spray it with water but stopped because.. I haven’t. I give them water and baths. The outdoor enclosure gets water and I’m growing stuff that they don’t like to eat so plan on planting some hay they hopefully do. Sorry this is so long. Last thing I’ll say is, because they are both female, I wonder how humane, although they are pampered here at home, is it to raise them alone like this. Eventually they’ll want to find mates and live a full life! Do I give them up to a sanctuary? These are offspring from tortoises my mom still has, or possibly from the male and one offspring she kept (she says incest is fine for the first generation). They’ve been in the family since I was in kindergarten which was decades ago. Thank you!!! Over and out! Here’s a photo of them
 

Tom

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At three years old they all look female. You won't know the sexes until they are older.

Tortoises should never be kept in pairs, so its a very good thing you separated them.

I prefer coco coir for this species when they are babies, but I switch to fine grade orchid bark once they get around 3-4 inches.

Your idea of them longing for a better life with a mate and living a full life is a human fantasy. Reproduction in the tortoise word is largely rape. They have no desire to have anything to do with any other tortoise, and I can assure you that a planted yard with fresh clean water and an all you can eat tortoise buffet is heaven on earth to them. No predators, no starvation, no death from dehydration, no parasites, no other tortoises invading their territory, displacing them or raping them, shelter, heat if needed, constant source of clean fresh water… How does life get better for a tortoise? And no "sanctuary" will care for them as well as you do.

Care for them is that same as it is for a russian tortoise. Check these out:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

Most of the care info you will find for DTs is wrong. Following it usually results in their death within a few years.
 

Tanyabobanya

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Woe. Do you think I should put a separating wall in their outdoor enclosure? They have separate areas for sleeping with ramps but sometimes I find them in the same one. Someone told me they were sure they were both female.. and my mom thought so too because of where the eggs were laid in her yard. I grew up with the parents of mine now.. and remember the male constantly wanting to mate with the female.. how awful .. even with 2 it’s considered rape? I’ll look for fine grade orchid bark. I have organic “soil” but it looks like it has sticks and a lot like.. not like dirt. Will they try and eat the sticks? Is this ok for indoor enclosed? I miss trying to upload photos but not working..
 

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