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I need advise on substrate please
Posted: 26/09/2008 by lynne

hi iv just made a 6 foot tortoise table for my 2 tortoises and i was given some good advise the other night on the forum about substrates which everyone says the best is 50/50 playsand and topsoil,but when noris was nearly 2 year old i had him on calci sand which at the time i was given advise and thought it would be ok but not long after noris became poorly and i took him to a top tortoise vet and after doing xrays the calci sand had impacted and was blocking him up,after 3 weeks in the vets he was healthy again and im worried that the same thing will happen again with play sand and topsoil because my 2 seem to eat anything on the floor,at the moment their on newspaper and stones am i doing the right thing

Re: I need advise on substrate please
Posted: 26/09/2008 by tpgNina

Hi Lynne,

I can't remember the reason for it, but calci sand is different from play sand, and it definitely has a reputation for causing impaction, whereas playsand mixed with topsoil doesn't have that reputation. Many people use a 50/50 mixture, but others (myself included) prefer more topsoil and so use a 60/40 or 70/30 topsoil to playsand mixture. Newspaper is all right if your tortoise is, say, being wormed and you need to change the substrate every day, but it isn't an ideal substrate as they can't dig into it, and it isn't good for forming a microclimate. Soil/sand is more natural, and if you keep it very slightly damp in the warm end there won't be any dust problems either.
What species of tortoise do you keep? Most of them like to dig in some, and certainly Horsfields need a good depth of substrate because they are burrowers.



Re: I need advise on substrate please
Posted: 26/09/2008 by ElaineTPG

Click and drag me down to the editor Hi and welcome to the list! Calcisand is use quite differently from the playsand. Playsand is MIXED in with the topsoil just to maintains drainage and humidity thus preventing the substrate from drying out too much. Although it may need misting from time to time due to the heat lamps, avoiding it becomming to dusty. Newspaper and stones wont allow your tortoise to maintain what tempreture they need. Because tortoises can not sweat they need to 'dig down' into the substrat to cool them selves down if they are to hot OR by digging down they can maintain their body heat if the external heat is too cold. By providing newspaper they do not have this freedom of choice which they need. Do you provide them with calcium supplements? Often if they are chewing what is on the ground they can be looking for calcium. Please check out our care sheets: if you click on the menu to the laft of this page under THE TORTOISE and then click on what species you have hopefully this will explain things in more detail and you can come back with any more questions you may have.

Hope this helps a little,

ElaineClick and drag me down to the editor


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