Moisture retention is one of the most important role of bedding in the tortoise cage. This is because all tortoises require a fair degree of humidity at ground level in order to stay healthy. So, it is important to get the best bedding for tortoise that is fit for your pet species.
An important factor to consider in the choice of substrates is that not all are the same in terms of moisture retention. Both too much moisture and lack of moisture in the substrate are not good for the health of tortoises.
#1 Humidity requirement in the tortoise cage
Tortoises need plenty of hydration to grow healthy. They drink to get water but can also absorb moisture in the ambient air and the bedding through their skin. Even Mediterranean and desert tortoises spend much of their time burrowed into sandy ground, this is because they need the moisture under a few inches under the dry surface.
#2 Best moisture retention bedding
Actually, each species of tortoise requires different levels of humidity. There is no one “best” bedding that works for everyone. You’ll need to adjust your bedding choice based on your tortoise species.
If you are currently taking care of a baby tortoise, it requires a lot of moisture in order to grow healthy prevent pyramiding. It would be fine if its terrarium is a bit moisturized than normal. So apart from moisture bedding, baby tortoises should be soaked in water few time a day.
If you are keeping a tortoise that live in the forests and needs mid to high levels of humidity such as Red Footed Tortoises and Elongated Tortoises, then you should choose a substrate that can hold moisture well. Looking for a substrate that contains sphagnum moss, coconut coir, or peat moss like Zoo Med’s New Zealand Sphagnum Moss, Galapagos Terrarium Moss.
if your tortoise requires a dry climate, dry-loving species, like the African Spurred Tortoise or the Russian Tortoise, they might have issues with too much moisture. Then you can provide it with a substrate that includes dry clippings, or coconut coir.
#3 Maintain the correct level of humidity
Too much moisture in the bedding can turn it into a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. If you leave the tortoise too wet for a long time, it can lead to problems like shell rot, respiratory infection, and other nasty diseases for your pets.
The best way to maintain the good level of humidity in tortoise cage is get the best bedding that be able to retain a lot of moisture, but only enough that it dries up after a few hours. Besides, you also should use the bedding that can be able to drain properly.