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Posted: 22/09/2009 by HelenandBrian

I've just got a new tortoise and I'm so confused about conflicting advise on substrates. We started with Aspen which I've got rid of now after reading warnings about it. We now have Corn cob which I was advised is safe and digestible if eaten, is this true?

Re: Substrates
Posted: 22/09/2009 by tortoise7

Hi Click and drag me down to the editor 

What tortoise have you got? if it is a Mediterranean then really your best substrate is 50/50 mix of playsand and Topsoil, this allows your tortoise to behave how it would in the wild, e.g. burying to thermoregulate, not being damp which could cause shell rot, and nothing to for them to digest which could cause impaction in the gut. You can't go wrong if you read the caresheets that the TPG have produced see on the left hand side under Tortoise & then care sheet for whichever species you have.
Good luck, you will enjoy being  a tortoise owner and you definately came to the right site for help and people glad to learn with you

Jane , Keya & Molly


Re: Substrates
Posted: 16/10/2009 by HelenandBrian

Click and drag me down to the editor  Thanks for you advice, I changed his substrate to top soil and sand and he loves it. Still not very good at digging, he stratches around for ages but someone ends up on the top!!


Re: Substrates
Posted: 09/01/2010 by Katie

Hi there,

Thanks for that.


I have 2 x 2 year old Hermans (Chester & Herbie!).


Yes, I have playsand which I'll mix with the top soil. I was just keen to ensure the B & Q topsoil was okay. Could you possibly advise what depth of sand / topsoil I should have to allow burrying. Also how often should I spray it?


The remainder of the enclosure is part corn cob pellets (away from food and water bowl to avoid ingestion - I've put them on newspaper), bits of slate and some stones to clamber over. I also have some straw under their little shelter. Does that sound ok?

Also (sorry I know this is not under the correct heading) but can you possibly recommed any other foods to feed them over winter - whilst the availability of grasses etc is sparse. At the min I give them a range of different types of lettuce mostly (not iceberg), very occasional carrott, cucumber, marrow, buttersquash etc. I have Tlady's seeds which I'll plant so I have them for next winter but I'm just keen to expand their diet just now. Also they're greedy guts and happily munch what I give them! Any pointers as to how much to feed them? I keep reading about pyramiding etc and don't want to risk this.


Sorry for all the questions - I really appreciate any advice you can give me.

Katie & Click and drag me down to the editorClick and drag me down to the editor

Re: Substrates
Posted: 10/01/2010 by TPGDarren

Hi Katie,

Best to make it at least 2x the depth of your tortoise, so it can dig down easily. Ive not heard of cob pellets being used before, I would be more inclined to sick with a sand/soil, slate and stone substrate. Straw has share edges and may pierce the eye soil will be fine:-)

Here are some ideas for winter feeding:-

They should consume roughly the area of their shell each day.

May I ask what species your tortoise is please?


Re: Substrates
Posted: 11/01/2010 by Katie

Hi Darren,


Thanks for that. I have 2 x Hermanns.


I bought a heated propogator at the weekend and have potted some seeds. The article you have given me is great - I have some of the plants growing indoors so I will supplement their diet with these.


On the substrate I have added some sand and soil. I notice though that my tortoises seem to scratch their eyes more. I bath them a couple of times a  week but I'm worried it's the sand that's causing it. How often would you spray the sand / soil?I've read  (I think) Hermanns are not great with humidity so I didn't want their enclosure to get too damp.


Thanks for your advice,


Re: Substrates
Posted: 11/01/2010 by VivTPG

Hi Katie, you can finely mist the sand and soil with water to keep the dust down, this is best done first thing in the morning to replicate morning dew, the have the rest of the day to dry off then.

Regards VivienneClick and drag me down to the editorClick and drag me down to the editor

Re: Substrates
Posted: 12/01/2010 by Katie

Thanks Vivienne - will do that


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