African Sulcata Tortoise Substrate

Here at tortoise town, we use a 50/50 combo of potting mix, and potting soil as our main substrate.  On top, we provide a layer of forest floor type cypress mulch.  As a substrate, a mixture of topsoil and children play sand or cypress bark also works well.  As an alternative, you could use hat. Hay as an additional food source also provides nourishment if they nibble it.  While babies, African Sulcata tortoises do well in humid areas with little to no air flow.  Sulcatas’ seem to grow much better in terms of speed and shape if kept humid while small.  When using the proper substrate, you can re-hydrate it weekly by pouring some water back into the corners of the habitat.  By doing this, you allow the substrate to slowly evaporate the water, providing a humid micro-climate. If sand is used in the substrate this area should also not have food placed directly upon it as the sand can build up in the tortoises GI tract leading to possible impaction and even death. A completely separate sand-free area in the habitat should be utilized to feed.

African Sulcata tortoise substrate continued

In one corner of the environment, a heat spot lamp should be positioned to provide artificial basking facilities. This should be positioned to provide a basking spot of 90 degrees F in that section of the habitat, while the rest of the enclosure can be heated to 80-90 F during the day with a drop at night. Heating sources should always be run through a thermostat. The enclosure should also be equipped with a full spectrum fluorescent light to provide for UVB. A UVB source is necessary for Vitamin D3 syntheses (needed in calcium metabolism). There should be a hide box located in the corner away from the basking spot to allow the animal a cooler dim retreat.

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