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Temperate Species Details

The  requirements for the indoor maintenance of temperate or medium humidity species (T. ibera, T. hermanni  etc.) tortoise hatchlings are adaptations of the basic setup detailed earlier.  Again I must stress that first and foremost the more you know about your hatchling the easier it is to "tune" your habitat to it.

Much can be done to control ambient humidity by merely choosing the proper substrate. As a substrate one should use a material that maintains ambient humidity.  The best substrate I have found for this purpose is rabbit pellets (extruded alfalfa)    As most temperate species dig out a pad or scrape under a bush they should be supplied with two to three inches of this substrate to encourage  this natural behavior. Another mixture that shows some promise is one part sterilized top soil and one part leaf litter.  Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE use a soil mix that contains perlite as they will eat it.   In addition to this I connect a micro climate humidity booster to  the hide box in order to mimic the slightly more humid nature of the scrapes,  pads or resting forms used by these species.  Cleaning is done daily in the habitat with a substrate replacement being done once a month at the very least based on substrate condition.Please note that wet rabbit pellets molds and rots easily.  Wet pellets must be removed on a daily basis.

Habitats for temperate species may be misted (unless rabbit pellets are used) but I have found such misting to be not necessary.   These hatchlings should be soaked on a daily basis.  Soaking as a part of daily care encourages defecation and also ensures against dehydration.  In addition to this a regular soaking offers the scheduled opportunity to examine your hatchling for any physical problem.

Temperate species eat leafy greens with seasonal access  to fruits.  The vast majority of the food consists of leafy greens.  When available feed dandelion and  plantain as a base.  Most medium humidity species do not eat grasses.  And under no circumstance should meat be fed. Care must be taken not to overfeed.  Rather than skipping feedings, reduce the amount fed.  Your tortoise should be able to pull all the way into its shell including pulling its front legs together in front of its head.  If it can not do this without causing its back legs and tail to stick out it is too fat and the amount fed must be reduced.  Remember,  SLOW , NATURAL GROWTH is the key to a healthy tortoise.

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