Reptiles/Red foot help


I need help! So I recently got a red foot a week ago from a pet store. The guy said she was about 4 to 5 months old. So I brought everything the guy said I need UVB lamp, heat lamp, night time heat lamp, 50 gallon tank and he gave me this bedding that I don't know what it's called but it look like pills or capsules (he said if she try's to eat it it won't harm her and its organic). Ok so this stuff was fine she has no problem with it but I can't keep the humidity up in her tank ( I have a 100w heat lamp with a UVB). Her eyes keep watering up and I read its because of the humidity in the tank, so I go out and buy this 100% forest floor cypress mulch. Well now she's trying to eat it, I've had her for a week and love her but what should I do now. I put the stuff that looks like pills back in her tank. I need help

You're correct, redfoots do need high humidity.  One of the most recommended substrates is a 50/50 mix of coconut coir and play sand, kept moist.  Cypress mulch IS a recommended bedding for these tortoises, as well.  If your tortoise is trying to eat it, are you sure she's getting enough food?  If she has proper food that is easy to eat available, she's much less likely to try to eat bedding. It's normal for them to taste the mulch, but much less common for them to actually eat it.

The compressed paper bedding is not good for these tortoises, because, as you've noted, it doesn't maintain humidity.  He's also wrong that it won't harm her if she eats it - it's less safe than the mulch, in that respect, as it will absorb water and swell when wet.  Proper humidity is vital for the health of these tortoises.

One of the first rules of reptile-keeping, is never take advice from pet store personnel. 99% of the time, they don't have proper information on how to care for reptiles.  Instead, buy a recent book on care for your species, and consult high-quality online reptile communities and sites.  

For example: While you have the right equipment, how far above the turtle is your UVB light?  If you have a fluorescent UVB light, it is virtually useless if it's further than 8 inches from the animal.  Redfoots have lower UVB needs than some other tortoises, but they still require quite a bit of it.

Here are two excellent sites with information on tortoise care, including diet (which can be quite complex), equipment, etc:

(They're not much for site design, but the information is sound).


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Donna Fernstrom


My particular focus is on snakes and lizards, but I have a decent smattering of knowledge of turtles and crocodilians as well, plus the experience to get relevant information quickly if I don't have it on hand in my brain. I can answer questions on captive care, diet, breeding, incubation of eggs, starting hatchlings, and more. I am particularly experienced with ball pythons, Lygodactylus geckos and other small lizards with similar care requirements, leopard geckos, and garter snakes.


I am a professional breeder of ball python morphs, Lygodactylus (dwarf) geckos, and mourning geckos. I have begun working with Irian Jaya carpet pythons, and plan to expand to include more gecko species in the future. I also have a background breeding leopard geckos, and have kept several other species of small lizards, snakes, and a water turtle.

Nebraska Herpetological Society (

I have many care sheets published on my own website.

High School Graduate. Extensively self-taught due to high interest in wildlife and reptile care.

Awards and Honors
Fauna Classifieds board of inquiry Good Guy Certification

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