On top of keeping a moderate humidity level in the enclosure, all baby red-footed tortoises raised indoors should have access to a humid hiding area where they can snuggle in and get a dose of humidity, much like they would in a natural burrow. This more humid microclimate helps their shells to grow smoothly and helps in keeping the tortoise hydrated. Tortoises raised without proper humidity tend to dehydrate quickly and form “bumpy” shells as they grow.
Many different substrates can be used for indoor red-footed tortoise enclosures. For all sizes of tortoise, cypress mulch has proven to be a great bedding. It’s absorbent, safe and relatively low cost. Other good options include coconut coir or peat moss. Outdoor enclosures don’t need fancy substrates, provided that the soil is natural and not tainted with any chemicals or fertilizers. We also include a few large, flat rocks in the enclosure. They help file down the tortoises’ nails and give them a clean surface for food.
The needs of redfoot hatchlings and juveniles are in a similar fashion to that of adults. However, they are much more sensitive to drafts and dehydration. Breeders often keep them on dry substrates and feed improperly which leads to pyramiding at an early age.