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Cherry Head Tortoise Care Guide

Before investing in a new pet, make sure you find a turtle breeder that only sells loggerhead, yellow-footed, and loggerhead turtles.

Large examples of sea turtles have been recorded, but they are usually less than a foot long. Because it is a tropical species, it requires different precautions than Mediterranean species.

Cherry Head Tortoise Habitat

Cherry Head Tortoise
Source: istock.com

A warm habitat with a high infection of 82 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, a hot spot of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and darkness temperatures that drop to 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit can be secondhand to grow cherry turtles for sale. As the again hatched cherry turtles rise, they can be stimulated to an outside attachment only on hot days. Don’t forget to bring cherry blossoms home at night. Find different cherry turtle habitats below.

Cherry Head Tortoise Habitat Types

Many different types of cherry head tortoise habitats can work just as well. It is really about dialing in the parameters necessary for your baby cherry-head tortoise to thrive. The first thing to consider is what you will use for a habitat. We recommend using something large enough that you should not have to change the habitat for at least 2 years. For this reason, provide at least something that is approx—36″x 18″ minimum.

For adult cherry head tortoises you should provide at least 6’x3′ per tortoise. As they get older they will reach sizes over 12″ and need room to stroll around their habitat, get exercise, and not feel cramped. It is also normal to have both an indoor and outdoor habitat for your cherry head. Using an aquarium for babies for example is fine, you will just need to be mindful of having to give them a larger area as they mature.

Tortoise tables, aquariums, and tortoise house kits

Other options include making a tortoise table, using a zoo med tortoise house, etc. The main concern will be maintaining the high humidity that cherry tortoises require. We recommend using a reptile fogger with all types of habitats to ensure they are getting proper humidity and hydration.

Cherry Head Tortoise Temperature

Like most forest species, cherry tortoise thrives in tropical conditions. This means an ambient temperature of about 86 degrees during the day, that drops to no less than 78 degrees in the evenings. Since cherry tortoises require higher humidity than most “nonforest species”, it is important that evening temperatures do not fall below 78 degrees. If temperatures are too low, your baby cherry tortoise could come down with an upper respiratory infection.

Also, do not forget to always provide a temperature gradient for your tortoise. Temperature gradients for the cherry tortoise should be 95 degrees on the basking spot. Lastly, the coolest spot of the habitat should be around 80 degrees during the day. Night-time temperatures should be in the neighborhood of 80 degrees throughout the enclosure.

Cherry Head Tortoise Humidity

Since cherry tortoises are a forest species, they require higher humidity than almost any other species of tortoise. Other relatives of the cherry head, including the cherry tortoise and yellow-footed tortoise also have similar humidity requirements. For these reasons, we recommend always purchasing a reptile fogger when you buy your new baby tortoise. Using a fogger every morning that is connected to the same timer as your lighting is best.

Average humidity should be around 75% for cherry tortoises throughout their lifespan. Babies can take even higher humidity as some cherry tortoise breeders recommend humidity as high as 85% for hatchlings. Regardless of age, humidity is always a key component to successfully raising any forest tortoise species. We recommend a 75% humidity. Humidity can be achieved by using a reptile fogger, room humidifier, or even just spraying down the habitat walls and substrate multiple times daily. Other options include using a reptile misting system.

Cherry Head Tortoise UVB Lighting

Whilst the tortoise is maintained in a Vivarium, it is vital that it receives the correct UVB lighting to aid vitamin D3 production and utilization. In their native habitat little light reaches the forest floor so 5% UVB should be used. In the summer, when the temperature permits, the tortoises can be kept outside to benefit from natural sunlight. It is imperative that if you put your tortoise out in natural sunlight you also provide it with a shaded area. This can be done either with a hide or with clumps of hay or grass.

Being a rainforest species, cherry heads require a rather high humidity so humidity levels in the vivarium should be maintained at around 70% – 90%. Too low a humidity can result in respiratory problems and inflammation around the eyes.

Cherry Head Tortoise Diet

Your baby or adult cherry head tortoise will thrive on a diet consisting largely of fruit and leafy vegetables. Tomato, melon a grapes are suitable as well as carrots, and this can be mixed with various leafy green vegetables. Include dark leafy greens like Collard, Mustard greens, Kale, Greens, Brussell Tops, Parsley, and Watercress.

Foods to stay away from

Do not feed your tortoise Iceberg or Round Lettuce although you can provide “Mixed Lettuce” sold in supermarkets that consist of Chinese Lettuce, Raddico, etc. Lettuce should be viewed as a once-a-week feed as it contains high amounts of water and not as much goodness as the other foods mentioned.

Cherry Head Tortoise Has a Unique Varied Diet

Cherry head tortoises are opportunistic feeders and in the wild, they will also eat meat if it is available so once a fortnight it is advisable to offer a low-fat cat food to your tortoise to provide it with the animal proteins it would have in its natural diet.

Because of the higher protein diet, it is even more important for fresh water to be available at all times and should be provided in a shallow dish, but deep enough so that your tortoise can submerge both its nose and mouth to drink. Be sure your cherry head tortoise can climb in and out of the bowl with ease.

We primarily feed mature tortoise chow along with collard greens, mustard greens, papaya, green squash, yellow squash, shaved carrots, endive, mango, and strawberries as a treat.

Cherry Head Tortoise Lifespan

A long-lived species of tropical forest tortoise, the cherry head tortoise can live as long as 90 years. Averages are anywhere from 50-90 years, however, in captivity, it is believed they can live even longer if properly cared for. Raising your baby cherry head tortoise for sale into a long-lived adult is a result of proper care. Proper care includes not only diet, but all habitat parameters that are required. This includes temperatures, humidity, substrate, diet, soaking schedule, etc. It is not uncommon for a baby cherry head tortoise to reach the ripe old age of 75 years old, when properly taken care of!

Cherry Tortoise Size

Considered a medium-sized tortoise, the cherry head tortoise reaches sizes of up to 15″. Most cherry heads will grow to around 12-14″. There are also giant Amazon basin cherry head subspecies that reach over 16″. This is the same for the yellow-footed tortoise. The cherry head tortoise will be the smaller of the group of 3, only reaching 10-12″ on average.

Depending on the exact locale of the cherry head tortoise, size can be anywhere from 10-16″ with most falling closer to 13-14″. When you consider the adult size of the cherry head tortoise, think about the overall habitat required once mature. For this reason, you may want to build a larger habitat from day one.

Cleaning the Cherry Head Tortoise Habitat

Check the cherry head tortoise habitat a few times a week for poop, and spot clean by removing it. Also, always rinse the food and water dishes out at least every other day, not daily. Always remember to place your Cherry Head Tortoise in an escape-proof container while cleaning its habitat if you cannot leave it in the habitat while cleaning.

Cherry Head Tortoise Substrate

Substrate for your cherry head tortoise habitat can be many things. First, look at the depth… We try to provide at least 4″ of substrate depth. Providing this depth of substrate, it allows your baby tortoise to burrow into its own desired micro-climate. This means there is a high humidity-based climate that is beneath the top layer of the substrate. Spraying down the soil and walls of the habitat every day, as well as using a reptile fogger helps keep humidity high at 80%. Microclimates are a key to successfully raising a baby cherry head tortoise, cherry head tortoise for sale or yellow foot tortoise to adulthood.

Types of substrate for cherry head tortoises

Types of substrate include potting mix, potting soil, play sand, etc. We recommend using 50/50 play sand to potting mix and using a top layer of forest floor cypress mulch to complete your substrate. Other options include coco coir, hay, dried grasses, and other commercial tortoise substrates.

Bioactive Cherry Head Tortoise Habitat

If you decide to go “bioactive” with your substrate and setup, cleaning is needed much less often. When you set up a bioactive setup, it is more of a self-sufficient closed system, that maintains itself. Using isopods as well as red worms, and other different insects can create a very nice, self-contained bioactive cherry head tortoise habitat.

Baby Cherry Head Care

Every morning we recommend that you soak your baby cherry head tortoise in a dish, and clean a new cat litter tray or shallow bowl. Never use cold tap water as this will be a shock to them and cause them to not drink. Soak your tortoise for approximately 10-15 minutes and then offer them fresh food by placing them on top of their salad. If the baby cherry head tortoise is sluggish or looking tired in opening its eyes, they may be dry and need a soak.

When soaking your tortoise, if the water is warm, they will poop quite a bit. This is good, not bad as it helps keep the enclosure clean. For this reason, we recommend taking them out of the soaking dish if/once they have soiled the water.

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