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Desert Tortoise

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by Seandeezy, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    I haven't been on this forum in awhile! Anyways, I'm back with questions!

    My girlfriend is "obsessed" with turtles so I got her a Desert Tortoise. My dad has had tortoises for about 15yrs and they've lived in the backyard in a little hole and eat the flowers we have. Probably about 2-3yrs ago they had babies and I've recently asked my girlfriend if she wanted one and she of course said yes. The baby tortoise is only about 2yrs old and is probably no bigger/longer than a tennis ball, still very small. I had an extra 10gal tank that I was going to use for my African Fat-tail gecko's babies (which never did happen). So I got a tank for her with some cage carpet, but I'm going to get some sifted dirt out of the backyard for it instead. (Dad's friend said sifted dirt is the best choice, and he's a reptile man so I believed him). Anyways, so I have a lamp with a 75 watt red heat light for the nighttime, and I have a daylight bulb for the daytime. I have a coconut shelter for it, that should tell you how small the baby is :) small enough to fit inside one of the smaller coconut homes.

    I'm just wondering what do I need to do get her setup with? I was told the Desert Tortoise could eat collard greens, mustard greens, and like romain lettuce with vitamin supplement. We feed ours like plums and things every so often when we can just for like a treat.

    If anybody can upload a picture of a Desert Tortoise setup, that would be awesome, and also a list of things I might need for the baby. :)

    Thanks guys. :D
  2. Jacqui

    Jacqui Elite Member

    I couldn't get my links to work, so I sent you a PM.

    Can we see pictures of the little guy?

    I would suggest first thing to do, is to get a bigger enclosure. 10 gal is simply not big enough. 20 gal long is minimum, but try using one of the long totes...especially if you could still find on clearance the ones made to store Christmas wrapping paper under a bed.

    Check to see what actual temps at the surface of the bedding those lights are getting it...and what is the temp on the cooler side? Is it a UV light or will the little guy get supervised time out in the sunshine?
  3. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    Yeah I talked to her about having a bigger tank, she's going to save up to buy a 20gal tank. I think we've done a pretty good job in creating a little enclosure for him/her. Not too sure what it is yet, but we definitely have a name for it! It's name is Sandee. :)

    I got the temps. High: 85 / Low: 70-72ish.

    Let me know what you think. :D

    Attached Files:

  4. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    i would skip the 20 gal, soon your tort will out grow it, and you will have a pricey 20 gal, plus a 10 gal to deal with sitting around... of course that gives you a chance to fill them!

    The totes are much bigger and much cheaper.

    Do you have a UVB light?
  5. Jacqui

    Jacqui Elite Member

    What did you finally use for the bedding? Old eyes here can't see things clearly. :rolleyes: Before you mentioned a hide hut, but am I just over looking it? Or can it get under the rock in the corner for a hide? I would suggest something inside the hut to add humidity (like long spag. moss).

    He's eating okay? What all are you now feeding him?
  6. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    Yeah before I got the dirt put in, I just had cage carpet and a coconut hide that I use for my AFT's. The next day I came over to her house with a paint bucket filled with sifted dirt that I got from my backyard. I sifted it 3 times. :) Then I washed a few rocks and placed them in there. He dug under the one in the corner and that's where he sleeps. The other rock is just one to climb on and the water bowl in the other corner of course. :)

    I'm going to be buying her another lamp so she can have both heat and UV going on at the same time. Right now during the day we use a UV bulb and at night we use the red light bulb, the temps don't seem to alter much, they stay at the same, but I'm going to be buying her a new lamp so she'll have both going on at the same time. :)

    I went to Petco and bought some vitamin supplement that could be used on his vegi's. He eats A LOT! She feeds him romaine lettuce and one grape. He's a hyper little guy and he's so much fun to watch. He trucks around his tank non-stop.
  7. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Romaine lettuce is just water. You want to go for mustard and collard greens for the majority of the diet. If it's some sort of desert tortoise, he will need a basking spot. You can do this with a simple house hold bulb.
  8. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    Yeah I am going to buy her another lamp that will be the basking light during the day so the red heating lamp can always be on. The basking UV bulb I bought is the Clear looking blue bulb. I got it at petco and it says it provides UV and heat, so I was like oh sweet. So yeah, getting another lamp is definitely on my list. ;)
  9. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Make sure its heat and UVB. Many places sell backing bulbs that provide UVA but not UVB rays. Your tortoise needs UVB. Mercury vapor bulbs do UVB, UVA and heat. If you got one of those, it should have been about $50. If it was any less, its not providing UVB.
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    That is a simple basking bulb. It does put out UV and heat.
    But its UVA, just like a household light bulb. What you need will say specifically that it provides UVB.
  11. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    I bought her the Zoo Med Daylight Blue bulb, but unfortunately it broke somehow? It's brand new but she told me it wasn't working so I shook it; sure enough I could hear the jingling noise and it was broken. I'm going to get a new bulb for her tomorrow.

    So I need a UVB bulb...and the box will for sure state this?
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    That Zoomed bulb is just a heating light bulb. No UVB.
    It will specifically state UVB on the box.
    And the bulb will cost you at least 20 bucks or more.
  13. Jacqui

    Jacqui Elite Member

    Isn't it unfortunate that the type we need, is of course the one that costs so very much more then the rest?

    Try getting clean (chemical free) weeds from the yard if possible, spineless cactus (the cactus pears too), grape leaves, hibiscus leaves and blooms, mulberry leaves, ect..,. For a hatchling buying from the produce department what is usually called Spring mix is a good idea. It has a sulection of several types of greens and works well for hatchlings. Try to not get one with spinach in it if you can.

    Getting the little guy outside into natural sunlight as much as possible will help a lot. Just keep well supervised, protected, and allow it to get out of the sun as it wants.
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You have to be careful about that "spring mix". The stuff sold here by that name is nothing but different colors of lettuce.
  15. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    Alright, but what's funny is the Daylight Blue bulb actually said it provided ultraviolet light and heat, that's the main reason why I bought it. I know now that the bulb she needs is a pricey bulb haha.

    As for the spring mix. How come we should stay away from spinach? Just curious.

    So as long as the daylight basking bulb says UVB we are in good hands!
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    It does,...but its UVA, not UVB. Thats one of my personal gripes with the supply industry. They package things in a way that it can be misleading! And as a general rule the "Daylight basking bulbs" are just a colored light bulb. If it generates UVB it will clearly state that it generates UVB.

    A bit of spinach now and then won't hurt but it isn't necessary either. It should not be fed often. It contains a substance that will bind up the calcium in the diet and make it unavailable to the animal.
  17. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    Alright that's good to know. So almost all the time, when the bulb states that is gives off ultraviolet light, that's usually UVA? When I go to the store I'll make sure to look all over the box to make sure it provides UVB.

    Went to the market today and bought some collard greens and dandelion greens, so he'll have a nutritious diet. :)

    So what is the difference between UVA bulbs and UVB bulbs?
  18. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    all lights have uva, uvb is what you can make vitamin d from but it is also what causes skin cancer, things fading, and deteriorating in the sun. I think. anyway we don't want it in our lights but reptiles need it.
  19. Seandeezy

    Seandeezy Elite Member

    So basically UVA bulbs are just average bulbs that we could use inside our homes as lighting....and UVB bulbs are imitations of the sun.
  20. LLoydene

    LLoydene Elite Member

    Pretty much!!
    The sun has 3 rays it sends out.. UVC, UVA and UVB..
    UVC doesn't make it into our atmosphere.. If it did, we wouldn't be talking to each other.. No one would be.. It would disintegrate us in a second. [that is why they have everyone worried about global warming..]
    UVA out of the 3 rays, second strongest, the sun sends it too earth and is the one we use to see with. It also is the one that does/can cause a severe sunburn as it penetrates the skin deeper than UVB in a short time... Ever hear the term "you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day", that is because these rays are coming thru and you don't realize it.. Also major skin cancer material.. Any bulb that you use to see with is known as UVA.. UVA is also the sunlight you see coming through your windows.. UVA is also the ray that allows you to see at night with a full moon and the stars. Without the UVA rays from the sun, we wouldn't see these things.. Household bulbs = UVA. Any light you use to see with..

    UVB, being the weakest ray, we can not see it, but boy is it still functional. This ray just barely penetrates the surface of the skin .. that is what helps with the D3 process. But with prolonged exposure can/does cause skin cancer.. This is the one utilized for our digestive systems...
    In my thoughts if you have been in the sun long enough to have the UVB be the factor of skin cancer, then ouch for the sunburn!!!

    A very complex subject, but I do feel more people need to know what is what. Even the basics and this should also be a research prompt too.. Even if you don't understand the first time around.. Eventualy you will get it and boy will your reptiles thank you for it..

    So see, both UVA and UVB are essential in the well being of us and our reptiles..

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