After proper full-spectrum UV lighting and humidity, heat is the most important need your redfoot tortoise has in terms of maintaining metabolic health.
This is because the redfoot tortoise is a reptile and is cold-blooded (ectothermic), which means your tortoise needs an outside source of warmth to regulate body temperature.
You will want to monitor the heat and temperature inside your tortoise’s habitat on a continual basis. It is important to be able to tell at a glance (or a reading) whether your redfoot’s habitat is providing the right amount of heat and the right balance of heat and humidity to promote healthy growth and regulate metabolism while still repelling mold/mildew/bacteria growth and guarding against damp/wet health issues like shell rot.
If this sounds a little (or a lot) complicated, that is because it is.
Happily, the products you are about to read about can help you do spot checks as well as monitor the habitat environment as a whole and add heat as needed. This list is not meant to suggest that you have to choose these exact products, but rather to give you a good general idea of the types of products available to help you monitor and regulate your redfoot’s habitat.
The links below will send you directly to the manufacturer’s own website so you can read about each product. However, for price comparison purposes, be aware you can find these and similar products in many online stores as well as local pet stores. And where I have personally used a product with my Malti, I will note that.
SAFETY NOTE: I do NOT recommend the use of heat rocks for multiple reasons!! It is so much safer to provide a contact-less option for adding back heat to your redfoot’s enclosure.
- Zoo Med Repti-Temp Digital Infrared Thermometer (I LOVE this product and use it a lot – you can point it at any area inside your tortoise’s habitat and it will tell you the temperature at that spot right a way)
- ExoTerra Infrared Thermometer (same deal – just point to see the temperature in any spot)
- ZooMed Dual Analog Terrarium Thermometer/Humidity Gauge (I have used this with Malti – it is handy because it doesn’t need power, is easy to read and also measures humidity)
- ExoTerra THermo-Hygro Combination (I have used this with Malti – it needs a battery and I found it somewhat challenging to keep it in place once she got bigger)
- ZooMed ReptiCare Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter (I have used this with Malti. Be aware you need to adjust the wattage of the bulb you choose to match the size of the habitat you provide for your redfoot! And you MUST use this with an appropriate lamp fixture that can handle high heat output – see below here for a recommendation)
- ExoTerra Ceramic Heat Emitter (Comes in different wattages and needs to be paired with an appropriate lamp fixture)
- ExoTerra Heat Mat (comes in different sizes and specifications say for use with glass tank)
- ZooMed ReptiTherm Heat Mat (I have used this with Malti. Be aware there are different sizes and some pair with either glass or plastic enclosures while others are for use with glass enclosures only)
- ZooMed ReptiTherm Habitat Heater (I have not used this yet with Malti but I may do so this winter now that she is older and can stay outdoors in colder temperatures)
- ExoTerra Wire Light / Porcelain Wire Lamp (pair this with the ceramic heat bulb)
- ZooMed Wire Cage Clamp Lamp (Pair this with the ceramic heat bulb)
- ZooMed ReptiCare Terrarium Timer (I have used this with Malti – it is so useful because you can set it to automate heat/light cycles within the enclosure)