Redfoot Tortoise Recommended Products: Substrate

This list is not meant to suggest these are the “best” or “only” pre-packaged substrates that are suitable for redfoot tortoises.

Rather, I have put together this list just to give you a general idea of what types of pre-packaged substrate (bedding) products might get you off to a good start in setting up your redfoot’s habitat.

I am sending you to the manufacturer’s webpage so you can read more about each option, but be aware for price-comparison purposes that many of these products are also sold through online stores and in local pet stores. And where I have personally used a specific substrate on this list with Malti, you will see a note to that effect.

You want to steer clear of any bedding or substrate product labeled for use with desert tortoise species. Redfoots are a tropical tortoise species that need the extra moisture-retaining properties the right substrate can provide.

It is also important to mention that none of these substrate products should necessarily be used on their own as your redfoot’s sole bedding option. I have always combined two or three or even four different substrates together.  This approach can be ideal because using something like a coconut coir on its own might be too fine-grained and could irritate your tortoise’s eyes and nasal passages and end up mixed up with the food you serve (redfoots are NOT neat eaters), which then brings up a risk of your redfoot swallowing it and ending up with an intestinal obstruction.

When in doubt about what and how much to use, always seek out the guidance of your exotic veterinary specialist.

Coconut Coir (Fiber) Substrate

Sphagnum (Terrarium) Moss

  • ExoTerra Forest Moss (I have used this with Malti)
  • ZooMed Terrarium Sphagnum Moss
  • Many garden centers and home stores also carry sphagnum moss – just be sure the package is sealed to guard against bringing pests or bacteria/fungi into your redfoot’s habitat.

Hardwood Bark

Unfertilized Topsoil

Hardwood Mulch

  • ZooMed Forest Floor Cypress Mulch Bedding (I have used this with Malti)
  • Most garden centers and home stores have plain hardwood mulch as well – remember, you do NOT want to use pine, cedar or other softwoods that produce irritating phenols. To  be safe, avoid blends and stick to hardwoods like cypress or fir.
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