Winterizing the YF Tortoises

Yvonne G

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I have six Geochelone denticulata (Yellowfooted) tortoises, two males and four females. Two of the females hatched out of eggs I incubated here at Kapidolo Farms North. I kept them because they were my first hatched YF tortoises.

The YF tortoises share a divided shed with the Babcock leopard tortoises, with a 4'x8' section inside the shed, with a smaller, heated night area, and a 'porch' tacked onto the east side of the shed that's 6'x8'.

In good weather, the tortoises have access to a large, rain foresty yard, but this time of year, I wrap their porch with sheet plastic, and block off the door so they can't go outside. Because the porch is on the east side of the shed, and there are no trees or other encumbrances out that way to keep the sun off the porch, wrapping it in plastic works like a greenhouse and traps the heat from the sun shining on it. Even on the coldest winter day, if the sun is shining, the inside of the porch is warm enough for the tortoises to be out there.

This is what the porch looks like from the east side:

YF winter enclosure a.jpg

And here it is from the south side. The part outside the shed covered with shade cloth is a small outdoor yard for a very young YF:

YF winter enclosure g.jpg

In these next shots, I'm standing on the Babcock side of the shed looking out the YF door into the porch area:

YF winter enclosure b.jpg YF winter enclosure c.jpg YF winter enclosure d.jpg

And at night, or on foggy days, I close the door so they can't go out onto the porch:

YF winter enclosure e.jpg

In the above picture you get a glimpse of the smaller, heated, night area. I'm going to place a 1x6 or a fence picket across the tops of the cinder blocks and staple vinyl strips to it to cover the opening to the smaller area and keep the heat in.

Here's a look at three of the inhabitants this a.m.:

YF winter enclosure f.jpg

Last winter my electric bill was more than I could afford, so this year I've changed out all the pig blankets for radiant heat panels with thermostats. And instead of heating the entire 8'x10' shed, I'm only heating two smaller night areas and a tort table.
 

Relic

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I envy you - yellowfoots are my favorite species, but I only have a single. Maybe someday....
 

Redstrike

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This is great, thanks for sharing.

Beautiful yellow foots!
 

Yvonne G

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This is great, thanks for sharing.

Beautiful yellow foots!
In the last picture, the tortoise on the left is a young male that came to me as a rescue. He was stunted, and I figured he'd always be small, but you can see the amount of growth he's made since I've had him. He may catch up in size to 'normal' yet. The one on the right is one of the first of my YF clutches to hatch. At that time I was unaware of the humidity/pyramiding thought process, so they are pretty pine-cone looking.
 

Redstrike

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In the last picture, the tortoise on the left is a young male that came to me as a rescue. He was stunted, and I figured he'd always be small, but you can see the amount of growth he's made since I've had him. He may catch up in size to 'normal' yet. The one on the right is one of the first of my YF clutches to hatch. At that time I was unaware of the humidity/pyramiding thought process, so they are pretty pine-cone looking.


Pine-cone or not, they are great looking tortoises! A couple of my redfoots have some bumps. Nothing major but bumpy none-the-less. I suspect it was from moving; they received a lot of mazuri/zoo med for convenience and were kept in temporary enclosures where the parameters weren't as tight. Doesn't take much to get a little bumpy...
 

Yvonne G

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Once I'm finished making the smaller night area in their shed, I'll be putting down fir bark substrate over the rubber mat. All that's left to do is staple vinyl strips across the doorway and add the thermostat to the RHP.
 
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