TurtleTary

Diamondback Terrapin Breeder - Sales - Care / Redfoot Tortoise Care


 

REFRESH/RELOAD NOW

 

Come see us on our Facebook Group - "Redfoot Tortoises Don't Read"

 

Immediately below are excerpts from "Original" Caresheet from early on -
2005 or so - read FIRST -


NEW PREFACE -

This Caresheet is designed to get the 4 BASIC parameters BALANCED.. starting with "hatchling's"!
The ONLY thing different with ADULTS, etc. is size of living space and how often and how much is fed!

 

SERIOUS EDITING IS GOING ON NOW!
BE SURE TO RE-LOAD BEFORE READING ANY FURTHER.
OFTEN WHAT "SEEMED" TO HAVE WORKED BEFORE...
DOESN'T MEAN IT IS ADVISABLE TODAY.


** BASICALLY EVERYTHING ELSE IS THE SAME
-
I use the size of their head as a guage to how muc
h is fed **

FEED:
hatchling's 1X ( size of head ).. every-day -
juvenile's [ 4" - 6" SCL ] 3X .. 'every-other day' -
adult's [ 6+" SCL ] 6X .. every 3rd day.
Over-feeding is too common.. and easy to do!

[ BE SURE TO SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN FOR "REVISED" CARESHEET..
especially note the links on feeding by Andy Highfield ]

 

********

SHELL ROT CONCERNS:
"Over-misting" substrate can easily lead to 'shell-rot' on plastron!
It is not vital that substrate [ other than in hide ] be moist.. in fact staying almost
completely dry is far better. It IS critical to keep the carapace moist to ensure
healthy growth. A number of times everyday "mist-them-til-they-drip"!!!

[ AVOID SHELL ROT BY KEEPING SUBSTRATE
CLEAN AND VIRTUALLY DRY ]


********

BEGIN HERE -

HIDE/TEMPS: A vital part of health and well-being!


A flower pot cut in half or a log "tunnel" turned 'away' from the light source-
( you don't sleep with the light on.. do you? ) is ideal for hatchlings.

AFTER SEEING TOO MANY PICS OF CLIMBING 'UP ON' LOGS.. AND TIPPING OVER..
CAUTION IS ENCOURAGED.. IT IS TOO EASY FOR THEM TO CLIMB!
I'M SEEING THIS ESPECIALLY IN ENCLOSURES WITH "TOO MANY"
UNEEDED PLANTS/DECORATIONS - THAT REALLY ONLY TAKES UP FLOOR SPACE!

They need more space to walk around.. REMOVE all the extras and you will see more activity -
( as long as you provide enough "hide"/totally dark space ) !!!

Moistened LONG-FIBER "spag moss".. which has been pulled apart to become "fluffy"..
is placed inside the pot.
A "heat-emitter" directly over the "hide" will keep the temps up..
and a daily misting of the moss will help keep the humidity up inside.. also.
Only mist the moss enough to keep it moist.. not so much as to saturate!

Mid- upper 80's F is fine "in their hide".. low 80's F is ideal ambient temperature.
Expect your hatchling to spend "most"of their time..IN their hide!
You may have to experiment with the temps.

 

Recently was asked how I heat the building mine live in.
A small " 7-inch Ceramic-cube " heater works fine -
be sure it has a good "thermostat" to control the temps.

 

********

DIET: The main source of D3!

I agree with other principle tortoise breeders..
" Allowing your young tortoise "daily" natural sunlight..
is the best thing for them ( amount based on breed )..
however in the winter this is not always possible.
Being a redfoot tortoise breeder.. I have never been concerned with the D3 issue..
since mine receive the best "high calcium" greens
and "animal protein" as their diet.. year round.
"We" agree that too much Vit. D is much worse than not enough.
The only "supplements" I have ever used.. is pure Calcium Carbonate with NO D3.

About "Half?" of my redfoot tortoise's diet consists of fruit & protein.. combined!
A source of animal protein is vital also..
{ redfoot tortoises are much more carnivorous than most believe or will accept! }.
Their main source of D3 is derived from their diet. Sound like I'm trying to make a point?
I also ( per Andy Highfield.. see link below ) use a "weight-management"
type dry catfood every 7 days or so.. well moistened until soft..
and "dowsed" with pure Calcium Carbonate powder (no D3)..
( wait until your hatchling is 6 months old/over 3" or so before "supplementing"
with protein and calcium on a weekly basis )

Rule of thumb is: hatchling feed amount is about the size of their head.. no more!
I doubt their stomach is any bigger.

Always remember.. protein and calcium goes a long way!

Find a DRY Catfood with the highest PROTEIN % you can find - what I used back then
Is no longer made. A weight management is usually the best.

If you don't do anything else for your Redfoot tortoise.......

Read and adhere to these guidelines in these links..
when you want a healthy and happy redfoot tortoise for life.
These links have been an important source
in the successful rearing of my hatchlings - adults.


Finally..

Many of the "outdated" thoughts on protein and humidity..
that has produced serious "PYRAMIDING".. are now changing.

The "up-to-date" guidelines.. that produce smooth and healthy juveniles..
are now gradually being accepted!


****BE SURE TO READ "REVISED" DIET BELOW****

http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/feeding_redfoots.html

http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/webdiet.htm

Seldom banana.. never tomato ( too messy and creates the "runs" )..
light on kale.. if at all.. no spinach. Strawberry, peaches,
pineapple, plums [ black ].. whatever is in season.
Grape leaves, Hibiscus leaves and flowers, dandelion greens,
endive, escarole, turnip greens.. and collards are greens of choice.

Feed your hatchling "once" daily.. whatever they don't eat at one setting..
discard.. PERIOD.. too much is bad for their kidneys!
A good plentiful water source is Vital also!

DO NOT RUSH THEIR GROWTH!!

FEEDING SCHEDULE.. first 2 days "greens alone".. next day "fruit alone"..
next 2 days "greens alone".. next day "fruit treat" - pineapple or something different..
next day "animal protein" ALONE.. ( NOT Mazuri.. protein level too low & not animal source ).
Sprinkle re-hydrated cat food with Calcium Carbonate powder (no D3).
"Chop/slice" everything small enough.. "bite-size"
-- Again.. these are all at least 6 months/3"

********

HOUSING: They have to be comfortable for good health!

I start hatchlings in a "sweater box" ( 16"x24"x6" ) with an 18"
( kitchen under-cabinet type ) fluorescent fixture..
laid across the top.. remove the cover and turn away from the back half.
Moistened "spag moss" is where they "hide".. where they crawl up into.
A small "butter-lid" works fine as a water dish.. and no "substrate" is really needed at this point.

When you are ready to provide a "juvenile" set-up.

I have recently re-built the "tort-tables".. and am using the "Spag-moss"
( used to start these little guys ).. as their substrate.
They love digging into it to hide. And remember once a substrate is added..
be sure to provide large feeding "plate" to help avoid possibilty of ingesting it.

************

" Diet-options "

In order of calcium content:

Grape Leaves, Dandelion Greens, Curly Endive (not belgian) /Chicory,
Escarole and Collard Greens and last but not least.. Hibiscus (blooms & leaves).

Although a variety is good no doubt..feed what is available per season..
or what the "Produce Mgr." can order for you..
you may be surprised what you can get when you ask!
No reason to feel that you are betraying your baby
because you can only find a few things in the winter.. for example!

The feeding "schedule" should be as follows:
Days 1 and 2: Greens only as above..avoid Kale and no Spinach! Why??
Kale is high in everything - like a 'steroid' - not a staple!
Spinach has similar!
On "greens" day we do not feed fruit because they often sort thru
and only want to eat the fruit.. like a kid and candy!

Day 3: Fruits only such as Strawberry, cantaloupe, plum, peach, pineapple, etc.
Most anything from "south of the border"!
I seldom if ever feed citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons..
( inside especially ).. maybe outside.
Tomatoes are high in acid and tends to cause 'runny-stool'!
"Seldom" Bananas!!! They would probly become addicted.. given the chance!

Repeat days 1-3

At 6 months the hatchling diet can now be supplemented.
This is at about 3" SCL... if he's bigger...it's DIET TIME!!!

6 Months - Yearlings

The main 2 differences at 6 months and older would be that they
can now be offered a source of animal protein.
Again this is the schedule that we have used and
the results speak for themselves.

Nothing has changed much from above as far as the "protein-source".

Adjust for amount as they grow..
this is the basic "procedure" of how to prepare..

I would place the catfood into their bucket and add enough "filtered" water
to cover the catfood. [ you'll learn the amount of water with experience ].
Stir it a few times while it is absorbing the water.
It will about double in size and still have a 'firm' consistency..
it should not become mushy!
Offer a 6-12 month old 2 to 3 pellets ONCE a week.

Rule of thumb is: feed amount is about twice the size of their head.. no more!
I doubt their stomach is any bigger.
Always remember.. protein and calcium goes a long way!


Sprinkle lightly with the Calcium carbonate powder above..
( a 'cuttlebone' can also be made available for them to nibble at will )
Calcium carbonate is 'water-soluable' which means it is
not retained in their system.. it washes right out.
It is virtually impossible to O.D.!
The catfood also contains D3 for those concerned about that!

The other difference with your youngster is how often they are fed!
Don't be afraid to skip a day feeding each 5-6 days.
It is always better that they be hungry than overfed!!!
Remember it takes probly 5 days to digest for a redfoot tortoise!

Yearlings thru Sub-adults

Redfoot tortoises grow real fast the first 4 or so years!
My yearlings are typically 4".
My '05's are approaching 8" SCL.
{ new pics ASAP }
Generally speaking once they are 7-8" SCL
they are all together with the adults!

The only real difference is AMOUNT and how OFTEN they are fed.

Outside in the early spring and summer..
when the weeds are sprouting, etc. they are allowed to "graze"
and I'll scatter some fruit a couple times a week around their enclosures
so they have to "hunt" for it! Then in large trays I'll offer the catfood
about each 10 days or so.

Adults

They are all fed about every 3 days..
and they seldom walk away from anything.
I will seldom if ever feed them anything that is not on the list..
even Romaine lettuce! They have water available at all times
and outside the sprinkler system is run if it doesn't rain
at least every other day.. which saturates everything.

********

*************************

TREATMENT of FUNGUS/Shell Rot:

 

Editing / Pics ASAP [ 10/23/2017 ]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

( From Admin of Redfoots.com )

Recently I found out that my Brazilian's had a fungus growing on their plastrons. When I first got them they were in perfect condition and only noticed this after about 6 months. So I started treating them with a daily ritual of cleaning the area first with a soft toothbrush dipped in Betadine, rinsing and then putting a 1% Clotrimazole anti-fungus cream on the infected areas with a Q-Tip. I also put them in a small 10 gal aquarium with no substrate to keep them clean and dry.

NOTE: THE REASON THIS OCCURRED IS NOT THE ISSUE!
This post is here to show how to treat it.

The following pictures are of the progress of this treatment.


May 10, 2007 Above - before any fungus

October 24, 2007 First notice of fungus

November 17, 2007 2 days after first treatment

November 18, 2007 3 days after first treatment

November 19, 2007 4 days after first treatment


November 22, 2007 7 days after first treatment


November 27, 2007 12 days after first treatment

As you can see, the fungus is almost cleared up.

I have also noticed that since the treatments and correct eating regime started, the above healing has resulted.

I will update this post as they improve.

I want to thank Terry for helping me find out how to take care of this problem and I also want to mention that the 'Only' redfoots that this happened to were Brazilians (Cherryheads) and none of them came from Terry.

*************************

 

"Redfoot Tortoise" CARESHEET

{ This below was originally written in 2005.. 'tweeked' in 2008..
and being "revived" now - exactly 8 years later }

Come see us on our Facebook Group - "Redfoot Tortoises Don't Read"

 

If raising hatchlings to become "proven" breeders.. and "starting" their hatchlings to "eat right out of the box" means anything .. then you may want to consider the following. And since it has taken several years by dedicated tortoise breeders to compile this info.. unless you have a "photographic" memory ( we certainly don't have.. which is why it has taken us several years ).. you definitely will want to refer to this on a regular basis.


To date.. ( Dec. '08 ).. we have hatched well over 200 redfoot tortoises.. something is working!

I am here to help in any way that I can. When you have a Q? about redfoot tortoises.. there's a real good chance you can find the answer here!

Please do yourself and me a favor..please read over the area that you have in Q at least 3 times.. and THEN if it's still not clear - do yourself and me and especially your redfoot a favor..
email.. turtletaryterps@turtletary.com and ask!


This "Caresheet" has been compiled from various sources..and now over 10 years of my own personal experience with Redfoot Tortoises.
My female breeders , raised from hatchlings, must be healthy and happy.. they are producing consistently!
They started laying eggs in their 6th year.. at about 10 1/2"-11".
The males were young (10").. so I suspect they hadn't yet reached their sexual maturity.
"Most" of their first eggs were dead.. .. and there were several.. the girls were doing their part!

'07 produced the highest % of fertile eggs.. so they are becoming 'proven' breeders!


Notice that this "Caresheet" focuses on getting your tortoise started right.. the first year!
We believe it's too easy to "over-supplement" the first year.. especially!!!
In fact.. quoting a major sulcata breeder..

"One of the biggest medical problems..
with hatchling tortoises today.. is overdosing of vitamins."


************

I'm "updating" as the Q's come in.. read thru first.. feel free to ask -

 

Once the temps are close to 70F I will take the "yearlings".. (and younger).. outside for fresh air!
They will eat and then run for cover.. they don't like the sunshine.

The adults are out for the summer as soon as it gets above 65F consistently.. but brought in in the fall when it gets in the mid-60's or less!

tekspots@gmail.com

************

 

 

LIGHTING:
Redfoot tortoises are near "Rainforest" tortoises.

They live on the edges of the forest.. which means they don't need a "basking" area.
My "indoor" enclosure ( for my breeders ) has ( 2 ) 18" strip lights at two different locations..
with "plant/aquarium" bulbs so they can see what they are eating!
UVB is NOT an issue with redfoot tortoises.. D3 is derived primarily from their diet.
Mine breed and lay eggs inside .. sometimes in the dark!

While outside, they are grazing.. or napping in the shade/tall clover, but most of the time they are in their "hide"!
So if adults are happy with virtually no UVB.. your hatchling certainly does not need their eyes fried out with it.
They spend the first couple of years laying low.. away from preditors.. out of the direct sun and sight.. wouldn't you think???
Many believe.. and I agree.. " too much" UVB is bad for little hatchling eyes!

IF YOUR HATCHLING/YOUNGSTER IS UNDER THE LIGHT A LOT..
THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE HE'S TRYING TO GET WARMER!

************

 

HUMIDITY: The # 1 priority for redfoot hatchlings!

 

These tortoises start out as eggs (brilliant observation.. huh?).. in almost muddy soil.

 

 

They require high levels of humidity. As soon as these hatchlings are out of the 'nursery'.. and eating on their own.. they are "misted".. while eating as well as in their hide. This can be accomplished by "misting" with a simple "spray-bottle" [ NOT throughout the entire enclosure ] "til they drip".. daily. These little guys do require some care daily!
My adults are most active during a summer rain! You can't get redfoot tortoises too wet!

I have never "soaked" any of my tortoises.. just provide a water dish for them.. they somehow "mess-it-up" almost daily.. anyway!!! The water dish is "chin-deep".. so it's easy to climb out of.. so you don't need to "force" soaking.. on them.. they will figure it out for themselves!!!!!!!!!

 

************

HIDE/TEMPS: A vital part of health and well-being!

 

Since I have a "room" separate from our living quarters.. I can keep the temps up! Therefore I don't need to use a heat emitter.

A flower pot cut in half or a log "tunnel" ( pointed 'away' from the light source - you don't sleep with the light on.. do you? ) is ideal for hatchlings. Moistened "spag moss".. which has been pulled apart to become "fluffy".. is placed inside the pot. A "heat-emitter" directly over the "hide" will keep the temps up.. and a daily misting of the moss will help keep the humidity up inside their hide.. also.
Only mist the moss enough to keep it moist.. not so much as to saturate!

Mid-upper 80's F is fine "in their hide".. low 80's F is ideal ambient temperature.
A hiding spot away from the light and heat is a good idea also.. and expect your hatchling to spend "most"of their time..IN their hide!
You may have to experiment with the temps.

This is the "spag moss" I like and is used to get your tort "started"!



about 2-3" deep.. they love to bury into it.

************

DIET: The main source of D3!

 

I agree with other principle tortoise breeders.. they maintain that allowing your young tortoise "daily" natural sunlight.. is the best thing for them ( amount based on breed )..however in the winter this is not always possible.


Being a redfoot tortoise breeder.. I have never been concerned with the D3 issue..
since mine receive the best "high calcium" greens and "animal protein" as their diet.. year round.
"We" agree that too much Vit. D is much worse than not enough.
The only "supplements" I have ever used.. is pure Calcium Carbonate with NO D3.

About "Half?" of my redfoot tortoise's diet consists of fruit & protein.. combined!
A source of animal protein is vital also.. { redfoot tortoises are much more carnivorous than most believe or will accept! }.
Their main source of D3 is derived from their diet. Sound like I'm trying to make a point?
I also ( per Andy Highfield.. see link below ) use a "weight-management" type dry catfood every 7 days or so..
well moistened until soft.. and "dowsed" with pure Calcium Carbonate powder (no D3)..
( wait until your hatchling is 6 monthsold/over3" or so before "supplementing" with protein and calcium on a weekly basis )
Always remember.. protein and calcium goes a long way!

This is what I am now using..

My choice on Cat food..

[ in 2016 Purina no longer makes the "Weight Managment" I used in 2008..
find the highest 'animal-protein' % you can find ]

 

My choice on Calcium..



You should be able to find this in just about any "Health-food" store.

 

If you don't do anything else for your Redfoot tortoise.......

Read and adhere to these guidelines in these links.. when you want a healthy/happy redfoot tortoise for life.
These links have been an important source in the successful rearing of my hatchlings - adults.

 

Back to Top