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Tom
Last Activity:
Sep 21, 2018 at 1:03 PM
Joined:
Jan 9, 2010
Messages:
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113
Gender:
Male
Location (City and/or State):
Southern California
Occupation:
Animal Trainer

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Tom

The Dog Trainer, Male, from Southern California

5 Year Member

Ask me questions in a forum post. Not enough space to answer correctly here. Jul 19, 2018

Tom was last seen:
Sep 21, 2018 at 1:03 PM
    1. astock64
      astock64
      Tom, lately our sulcata has begun to make a loud squeaking or squealing sound, loud enough to hear beyond a closed door appettite and other functions appear normal, no visiable injuries. Any thoughts or just normal Thx Art
      1. Tom
        Tom
        What size and age? How often do you soak? What do you feed? Is it having regular bowel movements?
        Nov 30, 2015
      2. astock64
        astock64
        about two pounds prob 6 yrs old we acquired her about 3 yrs ago( I reported her situation in earlier posts) in our care she has a proper habitat, and grazes in the lawn and i grow a mixed blend of grasses, bowel movements normal has grown steadily in our care
        Dec 1, 2015
      3. Tom
        Tom
        Noises are usually a respiratory infection starting or constipation. Does the tortoise live outside? Where? How are you heating it? How often do you soak?

        We would have more room to discuss if you put this question on a thread in the sulcata section.
        Dec 1, 2015
    2. Nik
      Nik
      Guyz please help me y my star tortoise pair don't like to bask in sun.. Wen I leav them in sun they move back to shade and sleeps..
      1. Tom
        Tom
        That is normal tortoise behavior. They often don't like sitting out in the open because it exposes them to predators. It could also men they are already feeling warm enough.
        Nov 22, 2015
      2. Nik
        Nik
        but how can they will get d3
        Nov 23, 2015
      3. Tom
        Tom
        They will get enough just being outside. In time they will get more comfortable in their enclosure and move around in the sun more.

        Start a thread and post some pics of the enclosure so we can offer better tips.
        Nov 23, 2015
    3. waretrop
      waretrop
      Tom, Please have patients with people who have different opinions than you. They come here to learn about these animals. You put down the most useful people, that we all could benefit from here. Along with you and these others would make this place such a great place. Putting people down is very belittling to you....You are really much better than that....Please stop....Barb
      1. Tom
        Tom
        You will have to fill me in on what you are talking about. Feel free to message me about this as typing space is limited on our profiles. Happy to discuss it with you.
        Nov 13, 2015
    4. KevinDarwin
      KevinDarwin
      Thanks. I have a MVB, ceramic, and fluorescent (no UVB) in there. Temps are from 70-95 and he seems uninterested in coming out for the last few weeks. I guess I'll warm it up and see what happens.
      1. Tom
        Tom
        Try getting the basking area up to 100 and keep the cool side closer to 80 during the day and 75ish at night. It might take a few weeks for him to really be convinced that it is not time to hibernate.
        Nov 7, 2015
    5. KevinDarwin
      KevinDarwin
      Hey thanks for the info. Should the DT I'm keeping up come out everyday? I've been taking him out for soaks daily, but I feel bad about bugging him.
      1. Tom
        Tom
        If you don't want him to hibernate, then I would keep getting him up ad make sure your temps are up and the enclosure is nice and bright for 13-14 hours a day.
        Nov 7, 2015
    6. KevinDarwin
      KevinDarwin
      I have a 4 x 2 indoor enclosure for my little DT who is approximately 1 year old. I'm keeping him up for the winter on advice from the vet. I've been trying to get the temperatures just right and am having some trouble. Should I use a 100W or 160W MVB?
      1. Tom
        Tom
        Hi Kevin. Only your thermometer can answer that. There are many factors that determine how much wattage will be needed to achieve the temperatures we are after. Also, depending on how cold your house gets, you might need some night heat. This is best achieved with a ceramic heating element and a thermostat. Warmer nights often convince them that its not time to hibernate.
        Nov 2, 2015
    7. bigbeaks
      bigbeaks
      Hi Tom, for the past year I've used an oil filled heater in my hide box (your design, 4' by 4' by 2' high) with a thermostat. I wanted to know if when you use the radiant heat panels, do you use the oil filled heater as well? And do you use the thermostat with the radiant heat panel? If so, how do you know what temp to set the thermostat at?
      1. View previous comments...
      2. Tom
        Tom
        I set my temps according to the species, the season, and the current weather. Usually 70-75 in summer with our hot days, and 85 ish in winter with our colder days for tropical species like sulcatas and leopards.
        Oct 23, 2015
      3. bigbeaks
        bigbeaks
        But you aren't trying to create an ambient temp with RHP are you? Like you do with the oil filled heaters. Maybe I'm confused about what they are used for. I was thinking they were more of a basking type heater??
        Oct 23, 2015
      4. Tom
        Tom
        I use the RHP and Kane mats to maintain ambient too, just in a different way than the oil heaters. I think the RHP/Kane mat combo also allows for a bit of a warmer area inside the warm box when they are on. So you are right in a way. Both ways work well for me.
        Oct 23, 2015
    8. waretrop
      waretrop
      I am curious about one of your statements. It is at: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/feeding-an-11-lb-sulcata.74949/#post-700868
      "Also, your baby is past the stage where pyramiding is a concern. At his size, they will not start pyramiding. "So are you saying that if my Alice has some pyramiding at 5 years old and 25 pounds that most of the damage is already done and I don't have to worry about it getting worse?
      1. Tom
        Tom
        Generally yes, but they can pyramid anytime they are growing in conditions that are too dry. Most sulcatas start to smooth out at 25-30 pounds even if conditions are still very dry.
        Oct 23, 2015
      2. waretrop
        waretrop
        Thank you Tom.

        Barb
        Oct 23, 2015
    9. luvsdaheat
      luvsdaheat
      Hi, Tom! I was viewing a post about Leopard's swimming and caught your profile pic -- I'm not sure if that INCREDIBLE shell pattern is real, photoshop, decals stuck on or what, but those stars, and the 3D boxes -- mind blown! So who's burrow do I have to clean to get in on that? thanks, brad wolff
      1. View previous comments...
      2. luvsdaheat
        luvsdaheat
        Sorry about the poor phrasing, I'm seeking info about them, breeders etc.. That pic makes me smile every time I see it.
        I'll learn about them, and thanks for taking the time to contact me. (My ex was a dog trainer 30 years ago; we had a Bea Lydecker German Shepard)

        thanks again
        Sep 9, 2015
      3. Tom
        Tom
        I hadn't even started my dog training career 30 years ago. I trained my own dogs for fun and entertainment as a kid, but I didn't start professionally until the early 90'.

        I got my stars from @KenS @skottip and @coastal and I highly recommend all three of them. All are great guys, easy to deal with and well, you can see the quality of what they are offering.
        Sep 9, 2015
      4. luvsdaheat
        luvsdaheat
        I hesitated in asking about breeders until I'd digested more information...thank you for the referrals.
        I am VERY happy to see those scute lines with near symmetrical markings plus that great 3D 'box' and star look is not a super super rarity.
        Well, we have breeding Sulcata and Leopard pairs, what's another mouth(s) to feed at this point, right?
        Sep 9, 2015
    10. awesomecs
      awesomecs
      GUYS I need super major help and your a 5 year member we have cats and snakes and hawks in my area but we have garden snakes small snakes but I was thinking about closing a area of our backyard for her outdoor enclosure she looks like a juvenile is it safe will they bother her I don't want her at any risk oh and by the way we have groundhogs
    11. jaimi
      jaimi
      Help with night box
      1. jaimi
        jaimi
        Hi Tom. I'm new to the forum, but after reading, I'm surprised my tortoise has survived this long. We've had him for over 16 years. He seems healthy, social... We realized that his (pathetic) night box needed to be trashed, and we have built a new one.
        Sep 1, 2015
      2. jaimi
        jaimi
        About 4x3x3. We are also in SoCal. I have a few questions. We insulated with r-tech, Is it necessary to add the extra wood on the inside? If we get a panel heater for the side of the box, what wattage? Where to purchase? Do we need a heat pad also? Lastly, what nesting/sleeping material do you use on the floor of the box?
        Sep 1, 2015
    12. Corey S
      Corey S
      Hi Tom. I have a 18"ish sully and just finished building a 4x2 night box off of your design. I've read through all your heating post from the past few years and just needed a little more help picking a heat source for the box. Temps will drop in the 30s outside with him in the box will the mat/heat panel be enough to hold temps in the insulated box? Or should I try the mini oil first. Thanks for any help.
      1. Tom
        Tom
        I like to have the boxes large enough that the tortoise can get off the heat source if needed. An 18" tortoise is going to outgrow a 24" box within a couple of years, so start planning a 4x4'.

        If your box is sealed and insulated properly, it will hold 80-86 degrees with a Kane heat mat and a RHP with no problem on a night with temps in the mid 20s. I only use the mini oil heater on 4x8' boxes.
        Aug 26, 2015
      2. Corey S
        Corey S
        Sorry for bad explanation it's a 4x4x2 tall. Love the design. Ill give the Kane and rbi rhp a try then. Do you see any reason why I shouldn't upgrade to the 32" panel other than electricity. Only $10 more?
        Aug 26, 2015
      3. jaimi
        jaimi
        following. What's a good source to purchase an RHP? Does it need a thermostat?
        Sep 1, 2015
    13. Dan
      Dan
      Hello, at what temperature and humidity do you keep platynota?
      1. View previous comments...
      2. Tom
        Tom
        We are completely on the same page Dan. This species is still new to me so I like to keep in touch with any platynota people I find and learn as much as I can.

        One thing I did that may have been a mistake was start them in too large of an enclosure. I had 27-32 gram babies in a 4x4' enclosure. How big is your baby enclosure?
        Aug 18, 2015
      3. Dan
        Dan
        I use a 110 gallon oval poly stock tank. It's about 4'x3'. I check on them regularly (2x day soaks, fed before and after work, weighed several times/week) so I think I'm addressing most pitfalls of a larger baby enclosure. They are growing pretty fast and currently 70-80g. Did you see problems when they were smaller?
        Aug 18, 2015
      4. Tom
        Tom
        Mine hardly grew at all for the first few months. I was quite worried about it, especially since I am used to growing sulcatas which practically grow while you watch them. After a few months, growth rate really picked up and all is great now. I don't weight as often now, but some of them have gotten pretty big. A few are around 1000 grams now.
        Aug 18, 2015
    14. monsteraldabra
      monsteraldabra
      Hello Tom, i watched your video on youtube 'The end of tortoise pyramiding'
      base on your experience, sulcata never had a shell rot in high humidity inside the close chambered, how about aldabra? any experience with aldabra?
      i can't find orchid bark here, so i use cocopeat instead, spray them regularly just to make them moist.
      1. Tom
        Tom
        I have almost no Aldabra experience. They don't do well in my climate, so I don't keep them. I have never heard of a case of shell rot in an Aldabra.
        Aug 6, 2015
    15. Melissa.
      Melissa.
      Hey Tom. Do all tortoises need high humidity? Are there any that will do okay in dry climate like Colorado? I live in the midwest now but that's where I am moving to in a few years.

      I ask because I have seem some indoor enclosures that don't have tops or the walls are too low to sustain humidity.
      1. Tom
        Tom
        This is a tricky question. I do think ALL hatchling tortoises do benefit from at least some moderate humidity. None of them need the low humidity that is common in most indoor open topped enclosures. I have no experience with Egyptian tortoises, so I can't say what they need, for example.
        Jul 25, 2015
      2. Melissa.
        Melissa.
        Jul 25, 2015
      3. Tom
        Tom
        The only way I would use an enclosure like that is inside a reptile room that was temperature controlled all the time and had the ambient humidity that I needed in the enclosure. In a normal house with the typical dry air, I would not recommend that enclosure for any species. Its also too small for anything other than hatchlings. I do like the tray concept.
        Jul 25, 2015
    16. THEELEG
      THEELEG
      What are those soil types you get from Walmart again??
      1. Tom
        Tom
        I don't use soil. I use orchid bark. I get mine from either Lowes where they call it "Pathway Bark", or from local gardening centers. Make sure its the fine grade, not the big honkin' chunks.
        Jul 2, 2015
    17. Faerieblue
      Faerieblue
      1. Faerieblue
        Faerieblue
        Jun 30, 2015
      2. Tom
        Tom
        Its very unusual looking. It does not show the characteristics of the SA leopards that I've seen, but the colors and patterning are not typical of the regular leopards either. I don't know what you've got there, but its a pretty tortoise.
        Jun 30, 2015
      3. Faerieblue
        Faerieblue
        Lol dang it. I was hoping you could ID her for me. :)
        I was stumped too. Maybe when she will get a little more marbling.
        She is quite dark skinned, unlike the photos online of most of the leopards.
        Thank you for looking over the
        Jun 30, 2015
    18. Faerieblue
      1. Faerieblue
        Faerieblue
        Hey Tom, are you able to view this photo?
        Jun 29, 2015
      2. Tom
        Tom
        Yes.
        Jun 29, 2015
    19. alex_ornelas
      alex_ornelas
      hey tom, i was wondering if you know of any other calcium supplement besides the powder and cuttlebone. My sulcata Oliver goes through cuttlebones like crazy and wont touch any of the powders. is there any large calcium block you know of or one i can make?
      1. Tom
        Tom
        I just use the powders or cuttlebone. None of my tortoises will touch the blocks.
        Jun 23, 2015
    20. Faerieblue
      Faerieblue
      Just have to say what an amazing person you are, truely. To take your free time out of your day, practically everyday, and help us all with our issues, concerns, and questions.
      Thank you Tom. :)
      1. Razan likes this.
      2. Tom
        Tom
        Well thank you, but I can't take such credit. I'm just some guy who really likes tortoises a lot. That's all. Anybody else who has done what I've done knows the same stuff. I suppose I could take credit for liking to talk about tortoises and awful lot...
        Jun 21, 2015
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  • About

    Gender:
    Male
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    Occupation:
    Animal Trainer
    I got my first box turtle in 1979. I started caring for Chelonians and other animals as a paid profession in 1986, and I'm still doing it. I've been keeping sulcatas and leopards since the early 90's. I've been using humidity and hydration to grow smooth tortoises since 2008, after many years of trying and failing using other methods and advice for two decades.
    :D :tort:

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    AKA: "Captain Knowledge"