Substrate, or bedding, is important for tortoise health and happiness. Learn how to pick out a good tortoise bedding with tips from a reptile expert in this free pet care video.
Expert: Cordell Jacques
Bio: Cordell Jacques has worked in the pet industry for more than 10 years, currently working at Huron Pet Supply in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Filmmaker: Travis Waack
Best substrate for Greek? | Tortoise Forum
Shy and light-sensitive, cover is important for this species. A standard tortoise tank measuring about 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 18 inches tall can house up to three or four adults, or a bunch of babies. Use ground or shredded coconut core as a substrate. Place a shallow water bowl at one end that’s large enough for a tortoise to sit in. Place various hides about the tank, making sure there’s enough to accommodate each tortoise. Place a layer of sphagnum moss on top of the coconut bedding and under the hides. Moisten the substrate with water to create a humid tank but not sopping wet. Spray or pour water into the tank substrate as needed to keep a humidity of about 77 to 85 percent. An automatic mister can work well for this purpose.
Tortoise Enclosure Substrate | Tortoise Forum
If your leopard tortoise is only housed indoors at night or during brief winter periods, newspaper works as a substrate. For a permanent indoor enclosure, substrates such as grass clippings, peat moss or potting soil work well. Also include different microclimates, including a warm, moist hide box and dry area with a basking light. The size of the leopard tortoise also plays a role. Hatchlings are raised almost exclusively inside. This allows better monitoring of food intake, temperature control and protection from predators.
Desert Tortoise substrate | Tortoise Forum
These are coconut fiber (coir) and are similar to peat moss. They come in compressed bricks. The bricks are expanded by soaking in hot water. Some site express concern for gut impaction due to the fiber expanding in the intestines. However if properly "expanded" it poses no threat. It does not shrink when it dries. For most tortoise species its too moist (or too dry) to be used by itself. However mixed with play sand its a great substrate.Hemp /aspen shavings:
In Europe hemp is a popular substrate . Those that use it highly recommend it, but its unavailable in the US. Some people are using aspen instead and it seems to work well. Both may work for some species, however they are not suitable for Russian tortoises.