Lesson 2: Redfoot Tortoise Heat Temperature

TEXT VERSION: Redfoot Tortoise Temperature & Heat Needs

….with exotic animal specialist (herpetologist) Danielle Inman & redfoot tortoise keeper Shannon Cutts

SHANNON: What is the best temperature range for a pet redfoot tortoise in captivity?

DANIELLE: The quick answer to that is an ambient daytime temperature of 80 to 85°F, a basking temperature of 90 to 95°F, and an overnight temperature that can drop to about 75°F.

Now it is particularly important that you stay within those parameters for a hatchling or juvenile that doesn’t have the same ability to thermo-regulate as a large adult.

NOTE from Shannon

If you do have an adult redfoot tortoise, and especially if you are keeping them outdoors, you can expose them to temperatures into the low 60’s very safely and warmer basking temperatures that can reach 100°F because they will be able to seek shade and thermo-regulate on their own.

One thing I didn’t realize early enough about hatchling tortoises is that it is vitally important to measure the temperature in the area where they are buried or tucked away in hiding.

Redfoot hatchlings that get chilled are not going to come out to bask in the sun (it took my Malti about four years to get the hang of walking over into the sunbeam or the light beam to warm up….I’m not even kidding about that).

So if your hatchling or juvenile gets too cold in the area where they are hiding under their moss or leaves or whatever they are hiding under, they are probably just going to stay too cold and then you have the likelihood of a devastating respiratory infection setting in and expensive veterinary bills and stress and tears and you get the point…..

If you catch yourself thinking, “well how on earth do redfoot hatchlings ever survive in a wild setting if they don’t know enough to do this?,” the answer is that most of them don’t survive. Very few of them survive even into the juvenile life stage, let alone make it all the way to adulthood.

While there are drawbacks to keeping any wild species in a captive setting, one undeniable advantage from a longevity standpoint is that you are there to help your hatchling survive and thrive.

At least that is the goal and the best outcome and what Dani and I hope this quick start course will help you achieve!

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