13 y/o sulcata weighs 5lbs. HELP!

California_sultan

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My s/o has a 13 year old sulcata. He is about 12-14 inches long and weighs approx. 5-6 lbs.

I have questioned s/o about this and he becomes very defensive and says it's not a big deal; explains that Sultan (that's the tort's name) is just small because of his enclosure size.

Which brings me to my next concern. Sultan has two enclosures. One is inside and has heating lamps, etc. but it's TINY and Sultan can barely move at all. When he is in there all he does is ram the door repeatedly trying to escape. It's so loud we cannot sleep.

The other enclosure is out in our backyard. He has been out there for a few months now without coming inside. It's just 4 pieces of wood hammered into a square (about 4 square feet). There's just dirt in it, and a shallow dish for drinking water. It seems way to small to me!(but I know nothing about tortoises) And the temps here in northern California drop very low at night (especially in Fall/Winter). It's been getting down to 40 degrees sometimes! Sultan has no overhead shelter or heat source.

I am at my wits end.

I know my s/o loves Sultan, but I don't feel that he is doing a good job and doesn't have enough time/energy for the tortoise. He works 24-7, we have 3 young children, etc. I have tried to tell him that he should donate Sultan to the local Safari West (African wildlife preserve here in town) but he is so defensive/selfish and says he can't give the tort up.

I then suggest purchasing a shelter, outdoor heating, etc. and he agrees but it never happens :-( Even though I have a terrible phobia of reptiles I feel SO sad for the little guy.

I know I'm rambling; sorry!

To make my questions more specific:

1. is it normal for a 13 y/o Sulcata to be so small?

2. What are the health effects of him staying in 40 degree weather (+rain and wind, etc) night after night with no shelter?

3. How do I convince my s/o to donate Sultan to Safari West where he will have a GOOD life? I want to be sensitive to his feelings, but taken seriously.

Thank you in advance for all of your help!
 

MildredsMommy

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Hello! I am sure experts will be along shortly to help you-just wanted to say welcome-and I understand. My hubby came home with a Green Tree Python (I dont do snakes) he got from a flea market he just KNEW was being neglected. Problem is, like your hubby, mine is very busy and does not have a lot of time to devote to the snake-and where I bug people on this forum until their eyeballs bulge and read everything I can get my hands on regarding my tortoises-he isnt very "up" on the snake care. I will mist her and water her if I can but I am scared of snakes, so I dont like to. I have begged, cried-yelled...he loves the snake and won't give it up. My next plan of action is to use my own money I have set aside and buy a nice sized cage and the CORRECT lighting and then MAYBE he will get with the program. Anway, I am rambling also, but you are not alone-and good for you for caring about the little (but supposed to be big) guy. :tort:
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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I want to say hello and welcome to the TFO I'm a husband with about 100 to 150 turtles and tortoises and I have had reptiles all my life but my wife isn't happy with the T's but but she is very
Happy I don't have snakes any more
 

California_sultan

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MildredsMommy said:
My next plan of action is to use my own money I have set aside and buy a nice sized cage and the CORRECT lighting and then MAYBE he will get with the program. Anway, I am rambling also, but you are not alone-and good for you for caring about the little (but supposed to be big) guy. :tort:

Thank you! I was actually thinking about doing the same thing; surprise him @ Christmas with a nice enclosure and heating, etc. (even though I really don't have the $$!) but now I am second guessing that because if HE doesn't initiate this on his own I'm afraid nothing will really change and I'd just be enabling him. Uhg...IDK :-(

(& hats of to you w/ the SNAKE! I think that qualifies you for sainthood! ^_^ )
 

MildredsMommy

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California_sultan said:
MildredsMommy said:
My next plan of action is to use my own money I have set aside and buy a nice sized cage and the CORRECT lighting and then MAYBE he will get with the program. Anway, I am rambling also, but you are not alone-and good for you for caring about the little (but supposed to be big) guy. :tort:

Thank you! I was actually thinking about doing the same thing; surprise him @ Christmas with a nice enclosure and heating, etc. (even though I really don't have the $$!) but now I am second guessing that because if HE doesn't initiate this on his own I'm afraid nothing will really change and I'd just be enabling him. Uhg...IDK :-(

(& hats of to you w/ the SNAKE! I think that qualifies you for sainthood! ^_^ )

I know-I thought the same thing-and with all our animals I cannot really afford to plunk down a few hundred bucks but at this point I feel like I am enabling him to keep going the way he is..((sigh. )) As much as I detest snakes (I have nightmares about them) I cant stand to see anything suffer-or at least not get the correct care. It drives me crazy. I work too, and I manage it. My hubby is an artist-and a busy one-but home enough to do more for the snake. I hope it works out ofr you-maybe show him some cool pics of enclosures and healthy Sulcatas from this site might get him goin'?
 

RuthJanice

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Welcome to the forum. This forum is a great place to get information on a Sulcata Tortoise and the care necessary. A tortoise unlike a snake needs a lot of floor room to walk about. If his indoor enclosure is not large enough he will not be happy and it will cause problems with his growth. In addition to proper room to room about, they also need warmth. It is not good for them to be outside in temp lower than 65 degrees - they do need a shelter from the heat and the cold. If I understand your post correctly, the outside enclosure is four feet with only water and dirt, no grass, weeds or other items to eat or a shelter for the tort from the heat or cold. I have included a link at the end of this post from Tom that has a lot of experience with raising happy and healthy Sulcata Torts. They do take a lot of time and attention and grow to be very large. If everyone concerned decides adopting Sultan out is the best I am sure he can find a new home via this site. Good luck!

http://tortoiseforum.org/thread-79895.html
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

At 13 years of age a normal-growing sulcata will weigh about 50 or 60lbs. There is no truth to the statement that a tortoise will only grow to the size of his cage. Your son-in-law's tortoise is so small because he has been terribly mis-treated.

Sulcatas come from Africa. It doesn't get cold in Africa. The way that your son-in-law treats this tortoise is inhumane.

If you don't want to turn him in to animal control, then the next best thing you can do is print out a care sheet for him. Try to convince your son-in-law that he is keeping a hard-shelled cow in inhumane conditions. This cow needs to be eating grasses and weeds. He needs to be able to walk around and get exercise, and because he comes from Africa, he needs his environment to be warm.
 

mainey34

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Hello, sorry it has come to this and you are seeking out help for your significant others responsibility. Unfortunately it sounds like the poor thing is being mistreated and has been mistreated for some time. Its like putting a dog in a cage and letting it grow in there, give it water and feed it minimally. Thats sad. If it was me. You really need to talk to him about this. Either find it a new home, or provide a better life for it. Please have him join this site also. He needs to make time for that tortoise. 5 lbs. Is way under weight. For example...my sulcata is 3 years old and weighs 8 lbs...
 

California_sultan

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RuthJanice said:
It is not good for them to be outside in temp lower than 65 degrees - they do need a shelter from the heat and the cold. If I understand your post correctly, the outside enclosure is four feet with only water and dirt, no grass, weeds or other items to eat or a shelter for the tort from the heat or cold.
http://tortoiseforum.org/thread-79895.html

Yes, the enclosure is just dirt and water. There is a board over one corner that Sultan can go under to stay dry if it's raining. (And he seems to sleep under there as well, so it must be slightly warmer there.) As far as food my husband feeds him dandelion greens for the most part; there isn't any grass or weeds in his enclosure.
Thank you for your reply and the useful information.
 

California_sultan

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mainey34 said:
Hello, sorry it has come to this and you are seeking out help for your significant others responsibility. Unfortunately it sounds like the poor thing is being mistreated and has been mistreated for some time. Its like putting a dog in a cage and letting it grow in there, give it water and feed it minimally. Thats sad. If it was me. You really need to talk to him about this. Either find it a new home, or provide a better life for it. Please have him join this site also. He needs to make time for that tortoise. 5 lbs. Is way under weight. For example...my sulcata is 3 years old and weighs 8 lbs...

UHG :-( I agree with you. It is very sad. Again, unfortunately (and not surprisingly) my husband is very defensive about this. He says he loves Sultan and is "doing a good job raising him!" I mentioned adoption and he ended the conversation. He told me the only way he will entertain the conversation is if he has an expert come to the house and give their professional opinion. I am going to contact the local Safari West and see if we can arrange something...
 

Yvonne G

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Oops! "significant other" I didn't realize that's what s/o stood for, sorry. This puts a whole 'nother spin on the problem. If the tortoise lives with you and your sig.oth. isn't caring for it properly, then the onus falls on you. You're right there. Get out there and build him a better outdoor habitat. Someplace where the sun shines and there's grass to eat. On cool nights bring the tortoise inside. And when the weather turns, set him up indoors. When your sig/oth sees that you are dedicated to giving this tortoise better care, he may help you. Buy a UVB light. Read through our enclosure section and see if you can get some ideas on how to build an indoor habitat for the tortoise.
 

California_sultan

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Yvonne G said:
Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

Your son-in-law's tortoise is so small because he has been terribly mis-treated.

The way that your son-in-law treats this tortoise is inhumane.
This cow needs to be eating grasses and weeds. He needs to be able to walk around and get exercise, and because he comes from Africa, he needs his environment to be warm.

Hi there. Just to clarify, it's my husband (significant other), not son in law. And I completely agree with what you are saying. I see it as neglect, and it's wrong. It's sad and out of character , because my husband is a great father and does such a good job raising our boys, but he seems to think its OK to keep an animal that he doesn't have the time/energy/recourses/space for. In denial I think. (he got the tort before we met; I would have never agreed to it)

Sultan eats dandelion greens that are store bought. But he doesn't get fed daily. My husband says that's normal because in the "wild" they go for days without food. Is this true?

And I went back outside to view the enclosure again. I will post a picture. It is about 5 square feet. There's room for him to walk around, but it seems like an ideal situation would be the tort being able to roam freely with a large amount of space. (again I know *zilch about these creatures, just my opinion) How much space is ideal for them?

And what is being exposed to this cold every night actually doing to him physically? He seems very lethargic,IMO. Could he be sick? Or is he just low on energy?


Yvonne G said:
Read through our enclosure section and see if you can get some ideas on how to build an indoor habitat for the tortoise.

He has a warm indoor habitat with lighting, etc, for the winter but it's SO small. He absolutely HATES it. Better to be warm in a tight space then cold outside...?
 

Yvonne G

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During the monsoon season, when grass is plentiful, tortoises eat their fill every day. Even after the grass has died, they continue to wander around and eat whatever they can find. So, no, its not normal for them to not be fed every day.

I would bring the tortoise inside on cold days and nights. And set him up under a light for warmth. It's better to be cramped and warm than cold and get sick. Too bad if he doesn't "like" it. Of course a wild animal would rather be outside. But he doesn't understand that he can't always get what he wants.
 

California_sultan

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Yvonne G said:
When your sig/oth sees that you are dedicated to giving this tortoise better care, he may help you.

PS. I hate to admit this, but I have a *terrible reptile phobia; always have. I know it's irrational, and I still have seriously empathetic feelings for the tortoise, it's just that I literally cannot pick him up/touch him, (and therefore take more charge)
 

Sh3wulf

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It's a great step that you reached out to the forum. There are a ton of caring people on here trying to do right and educate people that have been erroneously misinformed by pet stores and old-school breeders of torts. I was one if them.
Your poor husband is going to need a strong word of guidance cause what he's doing to Sultan is cruel. That tort should be a beast weighing in around 50 lbs as Yvonne said. If he is only at five and living in conditions where he isn't given an abundance and variety of foods, room to roam and proper heating, that is animal abuse.
You said your husband is caring and a fantastic father, possibly pointing out to him that he is showing your children that neglecting a living creature is acceptable will snap him out of whatever world he has deluded himself in. It's a tough call cause sometimes you are trying to keep the peace in the household, but that tortoise is in desperate need of proper care and attention and not ensuring that it gets the help it needs is both your responsibilities. You have taken the first step and should be commended, cause it takes guts to admit when something is so wrong it is causing harm. Now you must take the next step and hopefully it won't be too late for Sultan to recover and live a happy long life.
 

mikeh

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Would it be of any help if few members would post pictures in your thread of their sulcatas around the same age, including their weight and pictures of their outdoor/indoor pen?

Perhaps if your o/s has a visual of how a healthy, happy sulcatas looks, lives and is being cared for, it may wake him up?
 

Laura

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DO you have a yard? one with grass? someplace to build a more suitable enclosure? I doubt Safari West would take him.. do they have tortoise?
You should go to your local feed store and see if you can get a partial Bale of Grass Hay. Or go to walmart and in the Section where they sell rabbit stuff.. buy a bag of Timothy Grass Hay. See if Sultan will eat that. Go to the Grocery store and get Spring Mix, Sprinkle it over the hay.. he is starving.... so he will probably eat it.
They are pretty hardy... but he needs better care and winter heat...
 

sibi

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Hi and welcome! What a tragedy. I can't believe what I'm reading! Your motherly instincts are ay work when you pity this abused animal. You didn't need to join a forum to know that this tortoise is in danger of dying!

I know you have a phobia for reptiles. So, is it possible that you get a trusted friend to take the tort to a shelter? Your husband won't change anything to make this tortoise's life better. You know it, and I know it. I don't believe he'll read any threads to get an idea of where his tortoise should be for his age. I cried reading how Sultan bangs the door repeatedly. That's a behavior that shows he's basically going crazy if he isn't already. I also feel, in this tortoise's mind, that he'd prefer the cold and rain over the indoor box that's suffocating him to death. In fact, this tortoise may be so depressed, he's choosing to die than to live like he's been living for 13 years!!!
 

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