Substrate for young egyptians

Cowgirl

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Hi, I would like to hear from people who have successfully raised egyptians, I have been over researching the care of this species and I see and hear so many different ideas on substrates. I know many people use Oyster Shell. I know many people use a sand and excavator clay mix. I know people do a mix of the two. I know there is some experience with tortoises becoming impacted from sand…I have been reading and listening to everything I can. I am probably over thinking but I want to give them the best life possible. They will be in a large Smart Enclosure made by Mark Wilson. 8’ long x 30” deep by 30” tall. I understand the lighting and heating requirements. Right now I am just tying to make the best decision on Substrate. For the sand/clay mix…are you preferring the Home Depot play sand or a sand like ExoTerra Desert Sand or Zoom Med Repti Sand? In your responses if you could help me understand your reasons for your choices I would greatly appreciate that. My breeder is also giving me excellent information and support.
 

Tom

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Sand causes impaction and should never be used.

I too have been researching this for years. I was all set to get a bunch of Egyptian hatchlings from three sources to prove my theory, and then Covid hit and the world shut down. This killed my plan, and I never got back around to it as I was over loaded with other projects and things to tend to.

Here are my thoughts on the matter. I have zero experience raising hatchling Egyptians, but I have raised every other Tesdtudo, desert tortoises, Texas tortoises, sulcatas, both types of leopards, Galapagos, both star species, pancakes... and I'm probably forgetting a couple. Most of the Egyptians I see are pyramided. Just like every other species used to be because we were all mistakenly told they needed dry conditions. I strongly suspect its the same with Egyptians. When the time comes, I will put them on damp coco coir, as I have done for countless other baby tortoises, and I predict they will grow smooth and healthy like every other species. I ask everyone I meet that keeps Egyptians about this, and I've found over dozen keepers that have deviated from the dry routine, and every single one of them has had no health problems and their Egyptians babies are much smoother than the norm.

I cannot make this assertion from first had experience, but based on 30+ years of tortoise keeping filled with experimentation on what works best, I am pretty sure how my experiment with Egyptian hatchlings is going to turn out.

Just like sulcatas, I am certain that the advice we've been given for decades is wrong. Baby Egyptian tortoises don't walk around out in the open air in the sun any more than any other species. Just like every other species, they would be eaten if they did. Instead, they seek cover, concealment and dampness in root balls and secluded areas, just like every other species.

If you follow the typical advice you will raise a dry, pyramided, dehydrated Egyptian tortoise like many before you have. Your tortoise will likely survive this dryness if you get enough moisture into it through food and soaks, but it will be permanently disfigured as most of them are. Your other choice is to lead by example and show the world how much better it works on damp coco coir with healthy, smooth, natural looking tortoises that are not pyramided.
 

Yvonne G

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It would be an interesting experiment because, as you know, years of egyptian keeping has told us to use crushed oyster shell for egyptian's substrate.
 

Cowgirl

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Sand causes impaction and should never be used.

I too have been researching this for years. I was all set to get a bunch of Egyptian hatchlings from three sources to prove my theory, and then Covid hit and the world shut down. This killed my plan, and I never got back around to it as I was over loaded with other projects and things to tend to.

Here are my thoughts on the matter. I have zero experience raising hatchling Egyptians, but I have raised every other Tesdtudo, desert tortoises, Texas tortoises, sulcatas, both types of leopards, Galapagos, both star species, pancakes... and I'm probably forgetting a couple. Most of the Egyptians I see are pyramided. Just like every other species used to be because we were all mistakenly told they needed dry conditions. I strongly suspect its the same with Egyptians. When the time comes, I will put them on damp coco coir, as I have done for countless other baby tortoises, and I predict they will grow smooth and healthy like every other species. I ask everyone I meet that keeps Egyptians about this, and I've found over dozen keepers that have deviated from the dry routine, and every single one of them has had no health problems and their Egyptians babies are much smoother than the norm.

I cannot make this assertion from first had experience, but based on 30+ years of tortoise keeping filled with experimentation on what works best, I am pretty sure how my experiment with Egyptian hatchlings is going to turn out.

Just like sulcatas, I am certain that the advice we've been given for decades is wrong. Baby Egyptian tortoises don't walk around out in the open air in the sun any more than any other species. Just like every other species, they would be eaten if they did. Instead, they seek cover, concealment and dampness in root balls and secluded areas, just like every other species.

If you follow the typical advice you will raise a dry, pyramided, dehydrated Egyptian tortoise like many before you have. Your tortoise will likely survive this dryness if you get enough moisture into it through food and soaks, but it will be permanently disfigured as most of them are. Your other choice is to lead by example and show the world how much better it works on damp coco coir with healthy, smooth, natural looking tortoises that are not pyramided.
Thank you, Tom. I have read your posts about the risk of impaction and share your concerns.
 

Tom

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Thank you, Tom. I have read your posts about the risk of impaction and share your concerns.
This forum should serve as a learning tool for everyone. I'll hope you will show us whatever you choose and the results it produces as time goes by.
 

Cowgirl

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This forum should serve as a learning tool for everyone. I'll hope you will show us whatever you choose and the results it produces as time goes by.
I will share. I sure hope you have the opportunity to raise Egyptians and try some new ideas. I am fortunate to have the closed chamber enclosures from Mark Wilson. I realize they need humidity.
 

Tom

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I will share. I sure hope you have the opportunity to raise Egyptians and try some new ideas. I am fortunate to have the closed chamber enclosures from Mark Wilson. I realize they need humidity.
I have several of Mark's Smart Enclosures, and I've helped several friends and family set theirs up too. They are the best tortoise life support system ever made. They make your life easy and the tortoise's life better. You will love it.
 

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