Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding for desert tortoises?

Tanyabobanya

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I don’t have any cococoir on hand but would like to add something for my 2 desert tortoises to burrow/sleep in in their outdoor enclosure. Would zoo med aspen snake bedding be ok? For snakes but includes tortoises on back. I also have half a bag of “reptile bedding and litter” says it’s “premium alfalfa substrate ideal all habitats” and listed tortoises as one of the ok reptiles. It’ll be 64 degrees at the lowest tonight.
 

Tanyabobanya

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What species do you have?
How old?
How many?
If it’s outside I wouldn’t put any Substrate.
They are California desert tortoises.
2 males about 6 years old. Their outdoor enclosure is filled with dirt, like actual dirt. But some areas mixed with topsoil where grass grows and some weeds etc.
it’s like a wooden garden bed with 3 lids covered in chicken wire.
if they spend the night outside they’ll be on the dirt under a wooden box they used to climb up a ramp into. They’ve already dug some but the ground doesn’t go very far. And where they sleep it’s pretty solid.
I had caves I bought on amazon but they’ve grown out of them I’m sure. Or they try to climb on top.
I could throw in some towels for warmth and security? Not sure. Or bring them inside.
 

Tom

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They are California desert tortoises.
2 males about 6 years old. Their outdoor enclosure is filled with dirt, like actual dirt. But some areas mixed with topsoil where grass grows and some weeds etc.
it’s like a wooden garden bed with 3 lids covered in chicken wire.
if they spend the night outside they’ll be on the dirt under a wooden box they used to climb up a ramp into. They’ve already dug some but the ground doesn’t go very far. And where they sleep it’s pretty solid.
I had caves I bought on amazon but they’ve grown out of them I’m sure. Or they try to climb on top.
I could throw in some towels for warmth and security? Not sure. Or bring them inside.
At six years old they should be in large outdoor enclosures on the ground. You shouldn't need any bedding for them other than the dirt they are on.

They also need separate enclosures. Tortoises should never live in pairs. Especially not two males, and especially not desert tortoises. I think Russians are the only ones worse than DTs about territoriality and fighting. You are going to come home one day and find a missing eye, bloody legs, and possibly a dead tortoise that has been overturned and cooked in the sun. They don't want to be together, they don't like each other, and one day they are going to fight to the death about it.
 

Tanyabobanya

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At six years old they should be in large outdoor enclosures on the ground. You shouldn't need any bedding for them other than the dirt they are on.

They also need separate enclosures. Tortoises should never live in pairs. Especially not two males, and especially not desert tortoises. I think Russians are the only ones worse than DTs about territoriality and fighting. You are going to come home one day and find a missing eye, bloody legs, and possibly a dead tortoise that has been overturned and cooked in the sun. They don't want to be together, they don't like each other, and one day they are going to fight to the death about it.
And now they are fighting. (They are on dirt I was just thinking of warmth in burrowing areas). But I need to either divide their existing enclosure or better, make a new one. Only thing holding me back is how. I own a drill so technically make a wall but even that is daunting as I’m not handy with building. Making an entire new one is even more daunting. I have one roaming the backyard and I’m checking on him because we have a pool. Help. One of them has also taken interest in a flower pot on its side in the enclosure and hopefully flower pots can’t get pregnant because otherwise I’d be in for it. I need to find homes them. A rescue. An amazing home. Is there anyone in Los Angeles who wants to adopt a male teen tortoise?
 

Tom

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I re-read what I wrote to you before and that was a bit abrupt. Even for me.

I use slumpstone blocks to make walls for smaller tortoises. Smaller as in less than giant sulcata size. Start your first row up against a wall, and then buy a half block to start the second row so that the two rows are off set a little bit. 2 rows will probably be enough for smaller DTs, but go three rows to be extra safe.

Some examples:
IMG_0381.jpg
IMG_0261.jpg
IMG_0232.jpg
IMG_0295.jpg
 

ZEROPILOT

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If you are indeed over your head with your two male DTs.(as you've mentioned)
I suggest posting a new thread about finding a new home for one and then picking and choosing the best candidate.
 

Tanyabobanya

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If you are indeed over your head with your two male DTs.(as you've mentioned)
I suggest posting a new thread about finding a new home for one and then picking and choosing the best candidate.
I’ll do that thank you.
 

Tanyabobanya

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I re-read what I wrote to you before and that was a bit abrupt. Even for me.

I use slumpstone blocks to make walls for smaller tortoises. Smaller as in less than giant sulcata size. Start your first row up against a wall, and then buy a half block to start the second row so that the two rows are off set a little bit. 2 rows will probably be enough for smaller DTs, but go three rows to be extra safe.

Some examples:
View attachment 296388
View attachment 296389
View attachment 296390
View attachment 296391
 

Tanyabobanya

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That’s ok. I’m sure reading the same questions over and over, but yes the first time I posted here I was jolted by the responses I got. But I needed the help!
I was going nail together a shelf from a bookshelf and another piece of plywood, but slump stone, is that the same as cinder block?, sounds easier. I do worry, even if staggered, they’ll topple in over because they are strong and try to climb the walls constantly. I put on piece of ply wood into the dirt last year and they demolished it. It wasn’t secure enough. Thanks for the advice!
 

Tom

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That’s ok. I’m sure reading the same questions over and over, but yes the first time I posted here I was jolted by the responses I got. But I needed the help!
I was going nail together a shelf from a bookshelf and another piece of plywood, but slump stone, is that the same as cinder block?, sounds easier. I do worry, even if staggered, they’ll topple in over because they are strong and try to climb the walls constantly. I put on piece of ply wood into the dirt last year and they demolished it. It wasn’t secure enough. Thanks for the advice!
The sulcatas have to be at least 40 pounds before they can challenge the walls, and they almost never do. I have one 80-90 pounder that gets a wild hair once in a while, but an 8 foot strip of plywood inside the wall ended his shenanigans. No way any size DT will push over a staggered slumpstone or cinderblock wall. Slumpstone is similar to cinderblock, it just looks a little bit nicer and as you can see in the pic with the three sulcatas, it matches the decor of the rest of the ranch. You can add caps on top to make it look even better if you want.

Where in LA are you? I'm up in Santa Clarita. I wouldn't mind helping, and I can bring you some cactus pads to plant if you want too.
 

Tanyabobanya

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I’m in Los feliz. I went to cal arts years ago so I know Santa Clarita a little bit. It’s so simple what I need to do and for some reason it’s taken over my life. I started putting the wood in to see if it would work..but abandoned ship. I’m out back all day because I’m switching them out and don’t want to lose one. That’s so nice of you to offer. Lemme see how tomorrow goes and I may take you up on that! I have a baby tortoise as well as these 2. All from my mom’s 2 that I grew up with, and I’m older than young. I love them but regret taking them on. And my kids were wowed by the hatching but no help. One will be sad if I adopt them out, but I think they’d be happier someplace that can give them all they need. 🤦🏻‍♀️. I’ll look for slump stone tomorrow!
 

Tom

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I’m in Los feliz. I went to cal arts years ago so I know Santa Clarita a little bit. It’s so simple what I need to do and for some reason it’s taken over my life. I started putting the wood in to see if it would work..but abandoned ship. I’m out back all day because I’m switching them out and don’t want to lose one. That’s so nice of you to offer. Lemme see how tomorrow goes and I may take you up on that! I have a baby tortoise as well as these 2. All from my mom’s 2 that I grew up with, and I’m older than young. I love them but regret taking them on. And my kids were wowed by the hatching but no help. One will be sad if I adopt them out, but I think they’d be happier someplace that can give them all they need. 🤦🏻‍♀️. I’ll look for slump stone tomorrow!
Slumpstone or cinder block can be found at Home Depot. I looked all over and never found it cheaper, even when ordered by the truck load. One pallet will give you roughly 45 feet of wall if you are going 3 high.
 

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