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High Humidity Species Details

The  requirements for the indoor maintenance of high humidity  species (G. carbonaria, G. denticulata, I. elongata,  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 increases ambient humidity.  The best substrate I have found for this purpose is a mixture of one part florist's sphagnum, one part sterilized top soil and one part leaf litter.  As most high humidity 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 sterilized coconut husks. (Bed-A-Beast) 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 in the hide box 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.

Habitats for high humidity species must be misted daily.  I have found the best tool for this to be a pump type garden sprayer bought exclusively for this purpose.  One can NOT clean a used sprayer adequately to make it usable.  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.

High humidity species  have access  to fruits, leafy greens and on rare occasions carrion and these should be reproduced in the diet. Most tropical species do not eat grasses.  Occasionally meat in the form of wetted, dry low-fat cat food may be offered (very small amounts once a month or so).  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 cannot 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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