2015 Growth Experiment

DeanS

SULCATA OASIS
10 Year Member!
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
4,405
Location (City and/or State)
SoCal
Funny you should say that...

I was going to do that today, but I didn't have my camera. Hopefully in the next couple of days.
Well then...allow me to retort! :tort: Five days ago the largest was 122 grams...now the smallest is 122 grams (actually, three of them are at that weight). The largest is 164 grams already! Big. fat and smoooooth! Also, I should have a new camera within a week. Accidentally stumbled across a QVC order in my history from my wifey! So, I checked one out at Samy's to see if I'll like it! OUTSTANDING...at a fraction of what I was going to spend! Highly recommended for those of you looking for a new camera without going bust! Check it out...

http://www.qvc.com/Canon-Rebel-SL1-...g.product.E227333.html?upsh=1&sc=E227333-CSWB

Sorry for the brief hijack Tom!
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
My goal this year is to try to grow these tortoises very smooth and healthy without using any incandescent bulbs. It has become known that the IR-A generated by the commonly used incandescent bulbs has an extremely desiccating effect on our tortoise's carapaces. They need heat, but I am trying to find an alternative to the hot desiccating over head lights that we typically use.

Further reasoning: It is my educated guess (Which unfortunately will have to do until a field researcher collects some hard data...) that young sulcatas spend the monsoon season hiding in the thick underbrush that occurs in their part of the world. The conditions in this area would have to be quite warm and humid and that is the reason for this particular enclosure set up.

The enclosure is a 3x6' closed chamber. Here it is mostly built:
14vnsqp.jpg


Here it is being sealed with Drylok masonry paint. This is my first time trying out the DryLok. So far so good.
bgbsq9.jpg


Here it is all finished but empty:
xcuhzr.jpg


Here is all the heating and lighting:
2d1hkm.jpg


Here is the mess of wires that controls all the heating and lighting:
29z8raw.jpg


There are basically four systems at work to heat and light the enclosure:
1. I have two 12x12" radiant heat panels set on a thermostat to 80 degrees. This maintains ambient at no lower than 80 day and night.
2. I have a regular florescent tube set on a timer to come on around 7am and turn off around 7pm.
3. On the timer that controls the above light, I have a thermostat connected to an additional 12x21" radiant heat panel that is set to 90 degrees. So at 7am the lights kick on and this panel slowly begins to warm the whole enclosure up to around 90. Then at 7pm the light and heat panel kick of and the temperature slowly drops back down to 80ish. This is my best guess at what the temperature does on the hot rainy days over in Africa when the sulcatas have hatched and dug out of their nest chambers.
4. I have an Arcadia 12% HO florescent tube set on a timer to come on for about 5 hours a day from 11am to 4 pm. This is to simulate the higher UV levels that occur mid day.

And of course, the test subjects:
I hatched out 14 little babies from one clutch. Dean took 8 and I kept 6 for this experiment. The eggs were laid January 8th, 2015 and I hatched them out about 3 months later. After a week or so in the brooder boxes, the babies were moved into their enclosure. Dean randomly selected his 8 and the ones he didn't pick are the subject of this experiment.
2gv1ow6.jpg


Here they are making themselves at home:
oap639.jpg



These babies all hatched between 31 and 34 grams. Since that time they have all grown to between 57 and 64 grams. They get soaked daily and sunned in a large tub three or four times a week for an hour or two. They are eating only a wide variety of weeds, grass and cactus. I'm not raising them with Mazuri or any other prepared foods. So far they look amazing and their health, vigor, growth and appetite suggest they are thriving in very way.
Tom, what wattage are those 12x12 rad heat panels. Do you know roughly how often they kick in and out to maintain 80f at night.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Tom, what wattage are those 12x12 rad heat panels. Do you know roughly how often they kick in and out to maintain 80f at night.

If memory serves they are 40 watts each. It lists the wattage on the reptilebasics website if you want to look it up.

That room stays around 80 or higher all summer long day and night, so these panels almost never come on. When we move into fall, I let that room drop as low as 75. At that point the panels might kick on once in a while, but not for long and not often in such an insulated sealed box.
 

DeanS

SULCATA OASIS
10 Year Member!
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
4,405
Location (City and/or State)
SoCal
@Tom are they staying fairly wet in the chamber...or is this the product of misting?!?!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom are they staying fairly wet in the chamber...or is this the product of misting?!?!

They are dry all the time except when I soak them. I'm not misting these guys at all to eliminate a variable. I always weigh them the same way. Sort of a routine... I sun them for an hour or two and then soak them for 30-40 minutes. While they soak I clean their waters and set their food out. After their soak I rinse them with filtered rainwater (no minerals) and then weigh them before putting them away. On update days I add the step of picture taking after their rinse. So that is why they are always wet in the pics.
 

DeanS

SULCATA OASIS
10 Year Member!
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
4,405
Location (City and/or State)
SoCal
@Tom What do you mean you 'sun them'...in the garden beds? Currently, I bring the 8s out early to graze...once the sun covers the yard, I isolate them in one of the planters for most of the day. They have an abundance of overgrowth from mallow, nightshade and chicory....yes it finally has flourished here...and they do take to it for cover. There are two that habituaaly burrow, but the rest take to the overgrowth for shelter. I can just envision the thousands of hatchlings doing so across the sub-Saharan belt :D
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
They are dry all the time except when I soak them. I'm not misting these guys at all to eliminate a variable. I always weigh them the same way. Sort of a routine... I sun them for an hour or two and then soak them for 30-40 minutes. While they soak I clean their waters and set their food out. After their soak I rinse them with filtered rainwater (no minerals) and then weigh them before putting them away. On update days I add the step of picture taking after their rinse. So that is why they are always wet in the pics.
Hi Tom. Is there specific reason you use water with no minerals to rinse them? Or is it just because it's filtered water?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom What do you mean you 'sun them'...in the garden beds?

I put them outside in one of my big black tubs with dirt on the bottom and shade over head for an hour or two a few times a week.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi Tom. Is there specific reason you use water with no minerals to rinse them? Or is it just because it's filtered water?

Tap water and well water leave behind hard water stains on their carapace. I just don't like the way it looks. Rain water, distilled water or RO water leaves no minerals behind when it evaporates.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
They continue to thrive. Slow and steady growth.

Their growth rate is certainly acceptable, but it is slower than what I am used to. I can't understand how a light bulb, or the absence there of, makes such a difference.


IMG_3332.JPG IMG_3337.JPG
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
How do juvenile sullies and other species get D3 if they are hidden in the depths of the undergrowth? Do they eat what's in the deep shade for security? Or do they come out into the open to feed?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
How do juvenile sullies and other species get D3 if they are hidden in the depths of the undergrowth? Do they eat what's in the deep shade for security? Or do they come out into the open to feed?

Unknown. Virtually nothing is known about wild hatchlings, even by the people like Tomas who lives there and has been studying them since he was a child.

We can only guess. Having been to Africa and having studied African animals my whole life, I would venture an educated guess that a hatchling that breaks cover and ventures out into open ground would quickly be eaten by any number of hungry predators. I have seen it suggested, but not scientifically studied, that hatchlings get a supply of D3 from the yolk. How long this would last, I know not. When given the choice, my captive hatchlings stay hidden deep in the undergrowth, but dappled beams of sunlight still reach the ground at those depths.

MY babies get real sun several times a week and also have Arcadia 12% HO bulbs indoors. I would love to know more about what really happens in the wild
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
Unknown. Virtually nothing is known about wild hatchlings, even by the people like Tomas who lives there and has been studying them since he was a child.

We can only guess. Having been to Africa and having studied African animals my whole life, I would venture an educated guess that a hatchling that breaks cover and ventures out into open ground would quickly be eaten by any number of hungry predators. I have seen it suggested, but not scientifically studied, that hatchlings get a supply of D3 from the yolk. How long this would last, I know not. When given the choice, my captive hatchlings stay hidden deep in the undergrowth, but dappled beams of sunlight still reach the ground at those depths.

MY babies get real sun several times a week and also have Arcadia 12% HO bulbs indoors. I would love to know more about what really happens in the wild
Yeah me too. It suprised me how little we do know about torts. I did not know that they got d3 from the egg yolk. The plot thickens.

So nobody knows what length of time juveniles take to actually absorb internally the D3 from the yolk.
So if we assume at the moment that the yolk supplies sufficient amount of D3 until the juvenile is big enough to go out in the open, and they don't get direct intense heat from the sun at the vulnerable size.

One thought about you saying they are slower in growth rate without intense heat from a bulb could be.

By putting our juvies under bulbs we are fast forwarding there growth rate, in turn could this be magnifying or even creating deffects within the carapace structure. Resulting in vast differences even within a group that are all raised in the same environment.

When baking bread. You leave the dough to prove in a warm area , if its to hot you get air pockets. Then when it's baked the air pockets are magnified at various different degrees. Some of the bread will be OK but some will have large air pockets in it. There is only consistency when it's all done at a warm temp.

Lastly. I can't believe I've just had to use baking of bread to try and explain what I am thinking. :D:D:D
 
Top