Red Footed Tortoises are hardy, active and very friendly. Of all the tortoises they are said to have a lot of personality. They can be trained to eat right out of your hand. Some keepers have even noted that they behave much like “dogs” and will follow their keeper around the pen “begging” for treats. Since they can live for up to 50+ years they are truly a commitment in every sense of the word, yet surprisingly easy to care for—-if you live in the right climate and don’t need to keep them inside.
We are novice Tortoise owners of just 3 days but I wanted to share some Tort facts with our fellow homeschoolers. We are by no means “experts” so I want a full disclaimer on this post!
Redlegs reach maturity at 10 to 12 inches with a maximum length of 18 inches.
Adults may weigh up to 30 pounds. (Per Turtlebunker.com)
What they eat:
Fruits, Vegetables and some protein.
There is also a suggested meal plan for Tortoises—-and you know how I love and appreciate a plan.
Miner-All or Nutrobal 2x per week
Calcium Carbonate (Now brand)
I just want to interject the name of the calcium supplements I take……..yeah, nothing.
What they should not eat:
Red- and Green-leaf lettuce
The housing of the tortoise almost gave me a nervous breakdown. Seriously, I was stressed. The humidity levels, basking temps and cool temps was all giving me an ulcer. However we’ve come up with something that we are assured is safe and a good outside environment for our Tort and so here it is:
The Tub is from Home Depot and costs around $8. That’s all you need. It’s a mortar mixing tub. Some call it a cement mixing tub. Since we are keeping this outside we drilled drain holes into ours.
Since Lady is in our courtyard in Florida we do not need to worry about humidity! The courtyard gets varied sun throughout the day but I make sure she has one side that is ALWAYS shady, plus she has a hide box (overturned flower pot or you can buy a log sold at most pet stores).
The Substrate (fancy word for bedding, see I’m learning something) is something that has differing opinions. We started with Cypress mulch but are planning on using Sprigham Moss, potting soil and some gravel. The gravel is at the bottom of the entire box, followed by a little potting soil in the hide/cool area (area that we keep shaded and has the hide box), and sprigham moss over the entire area.
There is a water dish (very shallow) that is both for soaking and drinking.
I change it daily.
There is also a food dish. She eats once per day and I leave the food out for most of the day and pick it up at night.
Downloadable Tortoise guides:
I am also very excited about the Florida Reptile and Alternative Pet Show that we attended and the people who run and manage it. Just have to give them props because our experience was a good one because of their efforts and compassion. Since we brought Lady home I’ve exchanged countless emails with them regarding her care. I look forward to going next year and being a year wiser!