Adopted 2 Severely Stunted Sulcatas & Big Concerns About Long-term Health

Savannah Osterdock

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Hello everyone,

I recently adopted two Sulcatas - first red flag is that they were advertised on Craigslist as "Desert Tortoises". Took us about 5 minutes to figure out they're actually Sulcatas. Anyway, I reached out to the lady I got them from and she said that they were adopted as hatchlings in December 2015 . . . my husband and I have been under the impression that they are both under a year old based on their size. This new information is really concerning given that the smaller one, Jesse, (because as seems to happen in pairs, one is substantially bigger than the other) is not even 4 inches long and doesn't even weigh a pound. The other, Walter, is barely 5 inches long and weighs maybe a pound.

We have been doing everything we can to give them the best conditions possible and they get LOTS of outside time where they basically go ham on our Bermuda grass as much as they want. We have been doing tons of research on building an ideal outdoor enclosure for them. They both eat well, are pretty active, and there's no obvious signs of any health issues besides size. I am wondering if we should be on the lookout for long-term health problems caused by their growth being stunted?

The conditions they were in were deplorable for a Sulcata . . .DRY DRY DRY and in hamster pellets; the people were feeding them lizard pellet food . . . hardly any time outside at all. There is a little pyramiding, but it is way more obvious in Walter's shell purely because he has grown more. Please let me know if we should keep an eye out for any issues associated with stunted growth and please share your experiences with other stunted Sulcatas. I am open to everything you've got to offer.

I have attached a picture so you can get an idea of their sizes relative to each other.

** shout out, we are looking to rehome one of them as soon as possible after we read about the results of keeping them in pairs **

Thanks!!!

IMG_7442.JPG
 

mike taylor

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They really don't look that bad. I'd soak them to make sure they're hydrated . Then build two enclosures and monitor them for a few months . You don't want to give someone a sick or dieing tortiose . From what I see they don't look all that bad . With the right care you will not see the pyramiding in a few more years . Watch their poop . Should look like a wet grass clump . That will tell you if they're hydrated or not .
 

mike taylor

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Read the threads at the top of the sulcata section. They'll tell you everything you need to know . Like how to setup the enclosure to feeding . The biggest thing now is hydration .
 

Savannah Osterdock

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Thanks Mike!
Yeah we do daily soaks for them and make sure they always have water in their indoor and outdoor enclosures. We have been reading tons on this forum (I was too months before we even got them because I wanted a tortoise for many years). I will keep an eye on the poops for sure. Just worried that the stunting will hurt them down the road, but I guess we will see. Hoping that with proper nutrition and the right humid conditions they will be okay from here on out. I was just so shocked to find out they are much older than we thought. Breaks my heart to think they spent almost 2 years in the environment they were in. All we can do now is give them the best of the best.
 

mike taylor

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Pretty much right on the money . Don't keep them together . As long as being too dry didn't do damage to their kidneys they should be fine . You'll see they maybe slow growers but a year in the right hands they should double in size .
 

Yvonne G

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I would keep them both, only in separate habitats. I doubt their previous care has done them much harm . . . only time will tell. soak them daily, as you've been advised, but leave them in separate bowls they can't climb out of, for at least a half hour daily.
 

wellington

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I agree they don't look bad. Give them lots of room, good diet and hydration and separate enclosures and if they are too small for their age because of bad care, they should catch up with some good care.
I rescued a leopard that was suppose to be 4-5 years old and looked to be 1-2. He was kept in a 10 gallon. With good care, diet and some rehab for his inability to walk properly, he quickly caught up to my other male of the same age, walks like a champ and is very fast and is doing great.
 

Hutsie B

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Why is it important to keep them separate? Hutsie
 

Melis

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Why is it important to keep them separate? Hutsie
Sulcatas need to be by themselves. One will begin to dominate the other, causing stress which will effect their eating, ability to rest, health, etc.
 

Savannah Osterdock

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Wow, everyone saying they look good makes me feel so much better!! Thank you everyone. We will be sure to keep up with the daily soaks and hydration, of course. I think we will need to give one of them to another home since I am not sure we have the equipment or resources to run two separate enclosures, especially as they grow (which hopefully they will get to a healthier size very soon with the right care!) . Thank you everyone for the input!
 

Shaif

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Wow, everyone saying they look good makes me feel so much better!! Thank you everyone. We will be sure to keep up with the daily soaks and hydration, of course. I think we will need to give one of them to another home since I am not sure we have the equipment or resources to run two separate enclosures, especially as they grow (which hopefully they will get to a healthier size very soon with the right care!) . Thank you everyone for the input!


Absolutely awesome that you saved them and care enough to give them a good life. You Rock!
 
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