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baby red footed tortoise care

If you’ve recently come into possession of a baby Red-Footed Tortoise, you’ll need to learn how to properly care for it. Luckily, Red-Footed Tortoise babies are not too difficult to care for, but there are some important things that you need to know to ensure their well-being. In this article, we’ll discuss their environmental, dietary, and healthy needs to prepare you to raise a healthy, happy Red-Footed Tortoise.

How to Care for a Baby Red-Footed Tortoise  

The key to caring for a baby Red-Footed Tortoise is a humid environment with substrate and a UVB light. They also need a herbivore diet.

Environment 

When preparing your baby tortoise’s habitat, there are a few factors to keep in mind. The humidity and temperature of the habitat are the most important components to ensure your turtle’s health and well-being.

Red-Footed Tortoises thrive in 70-80% humidity levels. While you could get a humidifier, there are other ways to keep the humidity up. You can learn more in my guide on the best humidity for a red footed tortoise.

Furthermore, Red-Footed tortoises are generally tolerant of room temperatures (68 to 80 degrees). But, you should provide a basking area with a light that reaches 90 degrees. On top of the UVB light, I also recommend that you put the enclosure near a window where your tortoise has access to natural light.

In the habitat, provide a substrate to fully cover the bottom. Provide enough substrate to allow your baby Red-Footed Tortoise to burrow. As for the material of the substrate, consider natural options like cypress mulch or orchid bark. Provide rocky structures and materials for your tortoise to file its nails and hide under. Make sure to provide structures that offer shade. A great way to do this is with plants. You can also get a tortoise enclosure that is partially covered. 

Diet 

`Red-Footed Tortoises are primarily herbivores, meaning their diet should consist of primarily vegetables and fruits with the occasional protein supplement. A good combination of vegetables, leaves, fruits, and flowers should create a balanced palate.

Getting a spring mix from your local grocery store should be adequate for the majority of your tortoise’s diet. Kale, dark lettuce, turnip greens, or collard greens are good options if you choose to create their mix yourself.

Adding in flowers like hibiscus, clover, or rose petals will add some variation to their mealtimes as well.  As for fruits, there are many to choose from that are suitable for red-footed tortoises. Bananas, apples, or plums are good options.

If you’re planning on introducing a type of fruit or vegetable into your tortoise’s diet, make sure to do adequate research beforehand to make sure that it is safe and digestible. To make sure your tortoise is getting a proper amount of protein, feed them mealworms or earthworms around once a week. The ratio of their diet should be around 90% fruits and vegetables and 10% protein. 

You can learn more in my article about on red-footed tortoise diet. It is important that you remove any uneaten food from their enclosure. Not only will left over food smell, but it could cause mold in your tortoise enclosure.

Monitor

An important part of caring for a baby Red-Footed Tortoise is keeping an eye on its physical appearance and behaviors. Paying attention to any changes in their demeanor or appearance is important for maintaining their well-being.

It is normal for a baby Red-Footed Tortoises to spend a lot of time sleeping and moving around at a leisurely pace. However, you should notice increased activity during the daytime. Another healthy behavior that your baby Red-Footed Tortoise should exhibit is burrowing. Burrowing is a natural and healthy behavior that indicates your tortoise is feeling happy and healthy. It is important that you have a couple inches of substrate to allow them to do this.

Note, Red-Footed Tortoises generally don’t enjoy being picked up and handled. This can bring them a lot of anxiety, so you should limit the amount of time you spend handling them. If they are stressed, they may exhibit fearful behaviors like nipping or biting.

Try not to handle them excessively in order to not cause them unnecessary amounts of stress or anxiety. Additionally, watch their shells and faces closely to make sure there aren’t any abnormalities. Their shell should be solid throughout and their faces and noses should be clear of any blockages or excessive runniness.

Making sure that your turtle looks okay and is acting normal is very important, especially while they are a baby. If you notice any abnormalities, check with your veterinarian. 

Final Thoughts 

Raising a Red-Footed Tortoise baby can be intimidating, but you’ll be okay if you do a proper amount of research. Hopefully, this article provided an introduction to taking care of a baby Red-Footed Tortoise and covered the bases.

However, you should always be doing more research and keep up to date with what is healthy and what is not for your tortoise. Additionally, make sure to get registered with a veterinarian to get professional eyes on your tortoise.

Overall, if you create a well-tempered environment, a well-rounded diet, and keep an eye on their external appearance, you are on track to raise a healthy and happy Red-Footed Tortoise!

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