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Pet owners that are used to caring for dogs and cats may be used to situations in which bedding isn’t especially important. Using newspapers is often good enough for a puppy, and beds for dogs and cats are simple purchases. The situation is completely different for tortoises. The need that tortoises have for substrates truly demonstrates the profound biological differences between reptiles and humans.
Some people have tried to use rabbit pellets as tortoise substrates. Their tortoises probably experienced dehydration as a result, or else the rabbit pellets developed mold and the tortoises suffered the consequences. Newspaper doesn’t work at all as a substrate for tortoises. Some people use alfalfa hay for tortoise substrates, but too many tortoises will start chewing on it, and they will be ingesting too much protein in the process.
Substrates are part of a tortoise’s ideal environment. Using their substrates, tortoises construct pallets, which can allow them to maintain their health and well-being in many different ways. Pallets help tortoises stay comfortable at night. Tortoises can also reduce fluid losses when they are able to make their pallets. Russian tortoises that go without the right substrates for an extended period of time can eventually develop kidney issues and bladder calculi. Using substrates is part of a tortoise’s nature, so having adequate substrate materials is probably important for a tortoise’s general well-being as well.
The outdoor substrates for Russian tortoises should be relatively dry. The area shouldn’t necessarily be bone-dry, but pet owners shouldn’t choose a damp area for a Russian tortoise’s habitat. A combination of play sand and garden loam is as ideal outside as it is inside for a Russian tortoise’s substrate. However, pet owners need to pay closer attention to moisture levels if they are dealing with a tortoise that is currently living outdoors.
It is harder to control moisture levels in that environment, which is why it may be more important to monitor the quality of a tortoise’s substrate while the tortoise is living outdoors. A ground covering of the right substrate materials is usually enough to do the trick, however. Pet owners just need to make sure that these materials interact with the surrounding environment correctly.
A substrate that is half garden loam and half play sand is ideal for Russian tortoises, but it may be difficult to come by for some pet owners. Garden loam isn’t always widely available. Coconut coir can be used instead of garden loam. Customers can thoroughly mix the coconut coir and sand together thoroughly to create the substrates that they want. Customers shouldn’t try to use only play sand, however, since it will prove to be overly dry.
The ingredients for an indoor substrate should always be purchase, not gathered from outside. Many people may find the idea of going outdoors and collecting the ingredients appealing, thinking that this means that they are providing a particularly natural living environment for their tortoises. However, few residential areas are perfectly natural, and they may be accidentally exposing their tortoises to chemicals in the process.
Tortoises and humans will absorb chemicals at different rates. Very small tortoises like Russian tortoises will be particularly vulnerable to artificial chemicals. Accidentally exposing tortoises to excrement from other animals can be dangerous, putting them at risk for diseases. Pet owners should be able to purchase everything that they need in order to create the right substrates for their tortoises.
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Plenty of pet owners assume that their tortoises should have dry substrates, given the dry conditions in which they live in the wild. However, tortoises are often able to maintain moister conditions in their burrows, so their substrates are often comparatively moist. However, Russian tortoises are also very sensitive to excessive moisture, so it’s important to maintain the right levels of moisture when it comes to tortoise substrates.
Tortoise substrates should not be completely flat. Elevation changes that are between seven and twenty centimeters high should do the trick. Dirt mounds can form the basis of these elevation changes outside. When it comes to indoor tortoise habitats, pet owners can use their substrate materials in order to create the necessary mounds.
Pet owners can create a slope that eventually reaches this height, so their tortoises will have an incline to use. Pet owners may look at that elevation with some concern, but they should remember that Russian tortoises enjoy climbing, even if it isn’t obvious when looking at them. The elevation changes can give tortoises more to work with and create a more hospitable environment for them.
Where to buy
Home improvement stores and garden centers should be able to sell all of the ingredients that pet owners will need for the substrates. If their local garden centers don’t have what they’re looking for, they can usually order those very same materials over the Internet. Tortoise owners that communicate with other tortoise owners online will probably also be able to share tips on where to get their substrate materials.
Pet stores will also sell tortoise substrates, but it is important to choose these very carefully. Plenty of pet stores will sell inadequate substrates to pet owners. Pet owners that research types of substrates in advance will probably make the most informed decisions about what to buy for their tortoises. Tortoise substrates are very important, and pet owners need to make sure that they’re not taking any unnecessary risks with the health of their tortoises.