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Tiny small bugs in my torts enclosure?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosure Substrate' started by JaySparks, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. JaySparks

    JaySparks Member

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    I just noticed that theres these very small white bugs crawling around the substrate. I noticed that they jump pretty far too. I'm using cocoir and topsoil. does anyone know what they are?
  2. eric joranson

    eric joranson Well-Known Member

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    there are several different species of substrate flies....all of which are harmless to your tortoise. To prevent this from happening; some recommend boiling the coconut coir before adding it to enclosure. Others recommend adding pill bugs (aka rolly pollies) that will eat them; and leave your tortoises alone. Although some tortoise enjoy eating a pill bug now and then.
    JoesMum likes this.
  3. eric joranson

    eric joranson Well-Known Member

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    the fact that you say they jump...indicates they could be springtails; also harmless to tortoises.
  4. JaySparks

    JaySparks Member

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    I've been meaning to get rid of the cococoir because my tort seems to eat it and I find strands undigested on his poops. I was thinking 50/50 topsoil and playsand. what do you think?
  5. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    No playsand, it is being thought to cause bowel impaction and blockage (serious surgical emergency in torts). Coir is a great substrate. People also like orchid bark. Whatever you use get a big flat piece of rock (slate tiles are the best for this) to put the food on, this way whatever substrate the tort gets to eat it off clean rock rather than mixed in with dirt.
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  6. JaySparks

    JaySparks Member

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    I've been using cocoir and tbh no real signs of damage to my tortoise from it but I HATE the little fibres that stick out and my tortoise sometimes ingest them. Do you know if eco earth is earth like? or are all the cococoir substrates fibrous.
  7. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Substrate should be damp... not wet and not just on the surface... all if it should be damp.

    Take the decor out, tip water in and mix it thoroughly with your hands. Repeat until you have it damp.

    This not only raises humidity, but also enables you to pat it down with your hands to reduce it going everywhere.

    Having a large piece of flat slate, or the back (rough side) of a wall tile, as a food plate reduces the chances of ingesting substrate. Surrounding the water dish with stones helps to stop substrate being dragged into that.

    While eating substrate is not to be encouraged, the fibres of coco coir pass through the gut easily and don't cause problems. Sand is another matter completely and impacts in the gut.

    @Tom prefers fine grade orchid bark. Get it from a garden centre or online. If you really want to switch then O'd try that.
  8. PJay

    PJay Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like springtails. They are harmless and will keep your enclosure clean. People who keep vivariums buy springtail cultures to add as housekeepers.
    Eric Phillips likes this.
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