Egyptian tortoises, the smallest tortoise species in the Northern Hemisphere, will be leaving Newport Aquarium on March 1.
Hatchlings do best when kept in a temperature gradient (meaning gradual variation from one end to another in habitat) of 75 to 90°F during the day falling to 70 to 75°F at night. A temperature gradient can be achieved by heating one end of the enclosure using tank using a heating pad set on low, an under tank heating pad, or a UVB light bulb and leaving the other end unheated. The temperatures generated by these methods will depend upon the size of the habitat aquarium or terrarium, and on the temperature of the room it is located in. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature, preferably one of the weather station min/max type to ensure accurate temperature info. Vitalite and other full spectrum lights DO NOT provide required UVB rays for vitamin D3 formation to utilize calcium; heat pads and heat rocks can and do "cook" hatchling tortoises and are not natural heat sources as is light from above. Types of UVB lighting include fluorescent tubes (provide no heat and lose efficiency quickly, lasting 6 months maximum), or one of the UVB/Heat bulbs (provide heat and UVB), using care to maintain sufficient height above the tortoise so as to not exceed 90°F in the basking area). The tortoise must have sufficient space to escape the heat as in "temperature gradient" above. The light should be turned off at night. Use extreme caution with the Active Heat/UVB bulbs on aquariums as the heat buildup can be fatal to small tortoises. Without making specific "brand" recommendations here, the UVB meter owners group on Yahoo Groups has tested all the lights there are.
IMPORTANT: Desert tortoise hatchlings spend 95% of their lives underground in burrows with temps of 70's-80's F and excessive time at 95°F+ can "cook" them. Keeping them unnaturally under excessive dry heat conditions is why they are often seen soaking in the water dishes in aquariums-often for hours at a time - which is not natural, healthy behavior but rather an attempt to keep hydrated and save their own lives. This dehydration, possible with excessive heat, heat pads and heat rocks, aquariums, being kept up during winter in gas heated houses, air conditioning, lack of the burrow micro-climate, etc., is believed by many keepers and veterinarians to be the main root cause of bladder stones, as well as possibly implicated in "pyramiding" and soft/sunken in shells and swollen eyes.
1 x Aquarium Artificial Tortoise Terrace Cave
Baby tortoise and my DIY smallest baby fish aquarium - Duration: 0:52
Bravo, the famous 650-pound the Galapagos tortoise, isn’t the only species leaving Newport Aquarium March 1. Say goodbye to the Spider tortoise and Egyptian tortoise too! These tortoises may not weigh as much as Bravo, but they have their own unique characteristics that make them just as cool!Aquarium staff took notice of her interest in the massive tortoise and decided to give her a once-in-a-lifetime experience to thank her for her dedication and loyalty to Newport Aquarium.Michelle Ridder (center) touches Bravo the shell of Galapagos tortoise while Newport Aquarium exhibits staffers Kevin Sommerkamp (left) and Will Gosnell (right) assist. If this is not possible or in winter you are uncomfortable brumating ("hibernating") them, it is preferable to utilize "tortoise tables" rather than the previously recommended large glass aquarium (glass absorbs and radiates heat from lights) which did not allow for areas of thermo-regulation and promoted climbing and flipping due tortoise being able to see out trying to escape. If you must temporarily use one, cover the bottom 8-10 inches of the walls with a solid paper/tape barrier so they cannot see out. Ensure thar it is large enough to allow for a hot end of 80 to 90°F and cooler end of 70 to 75°F to prevent overheating.