1 year and a half old sulcata

amelia78

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Hi everyone. I have a one year and a half old sulcata. I have been feeding him pallets containing cacti, chrysanthemum flower and roses as it's main ingredients. I also give him some fruit pellets and vegetables occasionally. I am thinking of changing his diet to hay but not sure what type or if I should mix different hay for him. Can anyone give me some advice?
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hi everyone. I have a one year and a half old sulcata. I have been feeding him pallets containing cacti, chrysanthemum flower and roses as it's main ingredients. I also give him some fruit pellets and vegetables occasionally. I am thinking of changing his diet to hay but not sure what type or if I should mix different hay for him. Can anyone give me some advice?
Hello!
Probably, everything you need is described in this post: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

In short, perhaps your sulcata is too young for the hay and his current diet needs some changes to make the transition to grass and hay smooth.
 

Christine and Jason

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We built up our 21 month old Chimi’s diet over time since he was a baby always giving him greens and vegetables 🥗 plus leaves and flowers. He wouldn’t eat grass until he was 9 months and didn’t graze and eat it on his own until like 15 months old. For awhile he wouldn't eat the flowers and now he eats the flower and entire stem of our petunias. He loves prickly pear cactus pads. We buy them at a Mexican grocery in a bag cut up or the whole pad. They also have long stems of aloe and watercress. One grocery store I got endive but it was in the back and had to ask. I’ve yet to find escarole. We give bokchoy, cilantro, romaine and other lettuces, kale, cabbage, zucchini, red peppers, squash, some succulents, the tops you cut off the strawberry as a treat now and again. He doesn’t like collard and mustard greens much. It’s taken time for him to like it all but he is active and fun. Loves his baths and poops like crazy in them. I’d love to k own your experience. He’s 6.5 pounds. Pics of him now. And his old enclosure when we were traveling in a 5th wheel. Now he has a whole yard.
 

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Tom

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I have been feeding him pallets containing cacti, chrysanthemum flower...
Chrysanthemums are toxic. Did you mean hibiscus?

What size is your tortoise? They grow at wildly different rates and for a wide variety of reasons, so the age doesn't tell us the size.

I don't usually try to introduce hay to their diet until they are around 12 inches (30cm), and even then its a slow introduction. Hay is more for adults. Young ones do better with leaves, flowers, grasses, opuntia pads and weeds. Lots and lots of weeds and grass.
 

wellington

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He needs a bigger water dish, one that he can fit into and is a little deeper then you have. A clay saucer comes in all sizes and usually deep enough.
Also a dog bed is not a proper enclosure for a tortoise, it's a dog bed. A humid hide would be much better and help with stopping the pyramiding from continuing.
 

Christine and Jason

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He was smaller when using that dish. You can see him in the back if you zoom in. He was about 2.5 pounds and 1 year back then. That was his enclosure. Now he has our smaller yard. Plus, he was just exploring on the dog bed after I had him in a bath before I put him back outside. He’d never even seen it before. I thought it kind of showed his size. He 6.5 pounds now and 21months old. He lives outside and has a nice house with heaters and a humidifier, the flaps and a ramp. His newer bathtub is in this pic.
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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He was smaller when using that dish. You can see him in the back if you zoom in. He was about 2.5 pounds and 1 year back then. That was his enclosure. Now he has our smaller yard. Plus, he was just exploring on the dog bed after I had him in a bath before I put him back outside. He’d never even seen it before. I thought it kind of showed his size. He 6.5 pounds now and 21months old. He lives outside and has a nice house with heaters and a humidifier, the flaps and a ramp. His newer bathtub is in this pic.

Hello!
Can you show how his house looks inside? Is it insulated, what heaters you use? Humidifier is not, probably, needed at his age.
Be careful about dogs near Chimi. It requires serious training and precautions to avoid dogs attacking the tortoise and accidents still happen.
 

ryan57

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Stump started nibbling at hay on October 2023 @ about 13 inches long (20 months old) when passing Halloween decorations but did not eat it in earnest until earlier today at 18+ inches and 38.5 lbs. (27 months old). I used some to cover dirt where I planted seeds from Will @ Kapidolo Farms and covered a second area of rocks to discourage him from ingesting them. He now prefers grass and weeds of course but caught him with mouthfuls of hay as well, 5 or 6 times today. As Tom relied, hay is for when they are larger.
 

Tom

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He was smaller when using that dish. You can see him in the back if you zoom in. He was about 2.5 pounds and 1 year back then. That was his enclosure. Now he has our smaller yard. Plus, he was just exploring on the dog bed after I had him in a bath before I put him back outside. He’d never even seen it before. I thought it kind of showed his size. He 6.5 pounds now and 21months old. He lives outside and has a nice house with heaters and a humidifier, the flaps and a ramp. His newer bathtub is in this pic.
I would not let a tortoise have access to a gavel area like that. Ingestion and impaction are very likely if you allow that.
 

Christine and Jason

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He eats our smaller white rocks that is around our plants and poops them all the time. We live in AZ so that’s all we have is rock. We do plan on replacing the white rocks. We don’t have smaller gravel anymore. We just moved into this house in February. We’ve added a lot of plants for him to eat and just for us too. Plus we’ve added places for him to hide. It’s a continuous process.
 

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Tom

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He eats our smaller white rocks that is around our plants and poops them all the time. We live in AZ so that’s all we have is rock. We do plan on replacing the white rocks. We don’t have smaller gravel anymore. We just moved into this house in February. We’ve added a lot of plants for him to eat and just for us too. Plus we’ve added places for him to hide. It’s a continuous process.
Its great that he has pooped some of them out, but this is very likely to kill him. Happens all the time. You need to either remove the rocks, or make an enclosure where there are no rocks like that. They do very well hosed on the native dirt that was there before the rocks were brought in.
 

Christine and Jason

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Hello!
Can you show how his house looks inside? Is it insulated, what heaters you use? Humidifier is not, probably, needed at his age.
Be careful about dogs near Chimi. It requires serious training and precautions to avoid dogs attacking the tortoise and accidents still happen.
hi. My husband put foam insulation in the walls and bottom. The heaters are in the top part. They are the heating bulbs for reptiles in Ceramic heat emitter lamps. The humidifier helps keep the temp a bit lower during the day when it’s 110 degrees. We have substrate in there. Some cypress and some orchid bark I think. Can’t remember. This is his 4th house. We’ll make the door bigger as he gets bigger. Hopefully it will last a while. He’s decided to poop in there now and we’re not sure why.
Our dog 🐶 could care less about Chimi. He sniffs him now and then but that’s it. He’s the best and sweetest dog we’ve ever had.
I’ve learned a lot by reading different posts. I wish I had done it sooner. We’ve read a ton of articles and followed torts on Instagram. I think we’ve done ok so far and he’s a healthy and happy tort. We’re changing his diet a bit based on the info from here. Very helpful.
Thanks!
 

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TammyJ

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Its great that he has pooped some of them out, but this is very likely to kill him. Happens all the time. You need to either remove the rocks, or make an enclosure where there are no rocks like that. They do very well hosed on the native dirt that was there before the rocks were brought in.
Absolutely! They have been lucky so far, but it's a real danger, and unnecessary, I think.
People sometimes will say "Well, they have rocks like this in the wild and they eat them all the time..." but they also die from eating them in the wild! This can be avoided when we have our tortoises in captivity...so they live longer and are safer!
 

Tom

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hi. My husband put foam insulation in the walls and bottom. The heaters are in the top part. They are the heating bulbs for reptiles in Ceramic heat emitter lamps. The humidifier helps keep the temp a bit lower during the day when it’s 110 degrees. We have substrate in there. Some cypress and some orchid bark I think. Can’t remember. This is his 4th house. We’ll make the door bigger as he gets bigger. Hopefully it will last a while. He’s decided to poop in there now and we’re not sure why.
Our dog 🐶 could care less about Chimi. He sniffs him now and then but that’s it. He’s the best and sweetest dog we’ve ever had.
I’ve learned a lot by reading different posts. I wish I had done it sooner. We’ve read a ton of articles and followed torts on Instagram. I think we’ve done ok so far and he’s a healthy and happy tort. We’re changing his diet a bit based on the info from here. Very helpful.
Thanks!
If you use heat lamps or CHEs on a larger tortoise, like a sulcata, it will slow-burn the top of the carapace. You have to switch heating methods once they get bigger and move outside. Here ate two examples of safe heating strategies:


Also, humidifiers should not be blowing directly into a closed space with a tortoise. Its not good for their respiratory system to be breathing in those micro-droplets. This is not the same as humidity, at least not until those droplets evaporate. Keep humidity inside the box higher by using tubs or buckets of water.
 
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