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Anyone in Albuquerque with a leopard tortoise that can give advice ?

Discussion in 'Leopard tortoises' started by Azabache75, Sep 10, 2019.

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  1. Azabache75

    Azabache75 New Member

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    Location (City and/or State):
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    Any advice on keeping a leopard tortoise in Albuquerque NM That can help
  2. SweetGreekTorts

    SweetGreekTorts Well-Known Member

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    We have quite a few members with experience regarding leopard tortoises. What do you need help with?
  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Its pretty much the same as keeping a leopard anywhere else.

    Are we talking about a baby or an adult?
  4. Azabache75

    Azabache75 New Member

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    .....

    Good morning all and thank you for the reply, They will be 2 hatchlings and since I live in the desert (Albuquerque)I know the heat won’t be a problem during the summer months but winter is a different story and before I started reading on the care I knew I would have to house the babies indoors for the most past and keep them safe if they are to be taken outside for the natural sun light. I Guess my confusion is all the different things I read on care and housing in states that have the different seasons and I see the leopard tortoise doesn’t do well with the slightest temp change... Also I been looking at getting the items needed before the babies are ordered and arrive and I looked at the reptile wood boxes that are offered in amazon and I don’t know if I would be wasting my money on such an item or if I’m better of getting a plastic tub from homedepot n doing a setup that way?
  5. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  6. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that the tortoises cannot live as a pair, and would have to be kept separate. Tortoises are solitary, territorial animals that should never be housed in pairs. Groups can work because they’re able to form a pecking order, but even they can go wrong.

    Can you post pictures or links to the products you’re talking about? If you mean the zoo med’s tortoise houses as the wooden reptile houses, then no. They mold easily, and allow all of your heat to escape. A large 50 gallon tub from Walmart would do alright for a little bit, but would have to be quickly upgraded.

    Be sure to give these a read-

    How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php...ealthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

    For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

    Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Housing babies is the same anywhere in the world since it is primarily indoors. Read the links already posted for more info on the details.

    Just know that as your read books and info from other sites, this is NOT a desert species, and dry conditions coupled with infrequent soaks kills a large percentage of the babies every year. Most of what you read on care for this species is wrong. It is based on 30 year old incorrect assumptions about how they live in the wild. This wrong info has been repeated for decades, and its difficult to get some people to understand that we now know better.

    Where are you buying them from? You might be headed for a big problem since most people don't start them correctly. Here is what typically happens:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/

    In contrast, here is how they should be started:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/

    Use this info to make sure you are buying from a good source. Ask them if the babies are outside all day. Ask them how often they soak the babies. It should be every day.

    Your questions are welcome. We are happy to explain more.
    Samantha Graham likes this.
  8. Azabache75

    Azabache75 New Member

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    Hi


    Thank you and I will be looking at the links for further information.. And as for the babies I kind of figured I would keep them indoors and start them off on a wood home for reptiles but I hear those wood box's aren't a good fit so I think I will go the cheap way and get one of those large mixing plastic containers from hope depot and add the needed substrate and take them out as weather permits and let them soak some rays. But my main concern was keeping those babies happy during the winter months as it tends to get pretty low in temp out here. I don't really have many questions regarding when they reach adult stage as they take a few years and I already have a fenced section of the yard that I can easy develop for them. But I will cross that Bridge when I get there :) Also I was watching youtube videos n been watching Kenan camp for reptiles and he had a video with Tyler @ tortoise supply from las vegas and from what Ive seen they take good care of the hatchtlings. I will copy a small section of how they keep the youngsters and you let me know if this seems right ?




    Habitat: Hot, dry climates. This is one of the few tortoises that really struggles in high humidity areas (they can handle moderate humidity). They do not hibernate, but will go through a winter slow down period during cooler weather and shortened daylengths. As adults, they can safely handle body temperatures as low as 50 degrees at night as long as they are able to heat up into the 70's during the day. Summer highs up to 120 degrees can be tolerated as long as there is a cooler, shaded retreat the tortoise can get into. Dampness is not a problem in high temperatures (a cool mud hole on a hot day), but in cooler weather the tortoises should be kept dry. As babies, these tortoises spend almost all their time in washes and underground in burrows, giving them a much more humid and moist environment than you picture the desert to be.

    Diet: This tortoise is naturally a grazer, and will wander about nibbling on grass the majority of its natural life. In captivity, leopard tortoises will graze on grasses, as well as leafy weeds and clover (dandelions are a favorite). As babies, we focus more on feeding them a wide mix of leafy greens (spring mix), since they have a harder time eating the more tough grass. Vegetables can be added to the diet for variety, but fruit should generally be avoided.

    Adult Behavior: Adult leopard tortoises are peaceful, slow moving tortoises. They are un-aggressive towards eachother in most cases, and do little damage to their environment (little or no digging or burrowing). Some individuals can be skittish if spooked, but most will eagerly come to their keepers looking for food once they are comfortable in their environments. They are not very good climbers and make little attempt to escape, so a short, basic wall will contain most leopard tortoises.

    Our Current Care: During cooler weather or indoors, these tortoises are kept indoors on a cypress and/or coco coir substrate with a humid hidebox that they can get into at night. We raise them in cheap, simple plastic tubs that can be purchased at WalMart or Target, generally 3 to 4 square feet in size for babies. Temperatures in the room fluctuate between 75 at night up to 85 during the day, but we keep the hidebox heated to around 80-85 at night with a heat pad beind it, or a red bulb placed overhead.

    Diet consists of spring mix greens with many other leafy greens offered in rotation to that (mulberry, endive, grape leaves, hibiscus leaves, diced cactus pad and we use globe mallow leaves pretty regularly). We like to also add moistened Mazuri LS tortoise diet as well as ZooMed's Gourmet Tortoise Food a few times a week, usually mixed and mashed into the leafy greens. The addition of the commercial diets take care of most or all of the supplementation needs, or you can sprinkle the food lightly with a calcium supplement 2 or 3 times a week and a multivitamin supplement 1-2 times a week. We also throw a pinch of our herbal hay on top of whatever they are eating almost daily, which adds variety and flavor and scent to everything.

    The tortoises are removed from their enclosure and soaked in a separate 1/4" deep pan of warm water daily or almost daily for 30 minutes each time. We don't generally use water dishes in the enclosures because of the risk of drowning (yes, we have lost babies to drowning when they flipped over in 1/4" of water).

    Being a desert species, they should have intense lighting, and they need lights on during the day and off at night to maintain a normal day/night cycle. We use full spectrum UVB lights, which we suggest for the growth of pretty, healthy tortoises, and use a ZooMed Powersun bulb in a small part of the enclosure to give them a "hot spot" around 95-100 degrees that they can get into if they want to warm up.

    We don't use the "closed chamber" method (keeping airflow very restricted to increase humidity to the point that clouds form in the enclosure). It is very risky if/when temperatures get below about 80, and mold, shell rot, and respiratory problems become a lot more common in those conditions. We keep them open top in the warm area, and enclosed, warm and humid within the hide (like they would be in the wild). They are free to choose the conditions, temperatures, and humidity levels they want within that setup.
  9. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    That information is almost totally opposite of what you will find in the links that have been shown to you. I'm sure there are several different tortoises, but the info from the links above is working well for me.

    My tortoise partner and I (Kapidolofarms.com) breed, raise and sell leopard tortoises. We use closed chambers that are kept warm and humid. The babies we sell are smooth-shelled and healthy. We don't keep them in desert-like conditions. The humidity and moisture plays a very big part in how they grow.

    closed chamber 4-22-18 a.jpg closed chamber 4-22-18 b.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  10. Azabache75

    Azabache75 New Member

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    Hello, and thank you for the reply!!! I was looking at your website and I was not able to find the cost of a Leopard ? Also if they are raised in in complete humidity wont the babies be used to this and would struggle to adapt to the New Mexico Dry weather ?
  11. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    It's very dry here in Central California too. Our average humidity in July is 33%, while yours is in the 40's. You don't take a baby directly out of a closed chamber and plunk him down outside. He spends a little time outside and increase it incrementally. and that's after he's a year old.

    If I'm not mistaken @Kapidolo Farms has a for sale thread up now with prices. There are other members here who sell good tortoises too. . . Look through the For Sale and leopard sections. We also have a list of breeders under the Breeding section.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  12. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I don't agree with the info in what you posted above. These are not desert species. In fact, babies over there hatch in the wet, rainy, monsoon season. Desert conditions kill them. Additionally, the temps listed are too low and unnatural for a tropical species. Some of them survive these low temps some of the time, but they thrive, do better, and are healthy at warmer temps. Those are the old ways, and they result in a poor outcome for everyone I know that follows them. It took me decades of trial and error, and lot of mistakes to reach the conclusion I just shared with you. I've been experimenting with this for more than a decade now to find what works best. What works best is in the links we've posted here for you.

    The best way to start babies is to have a closed chamber like what Yvonne showed there or like these:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/new-stack-of-animal-plastics-closed-chambers.165626/#post-1600958

    Simultaneously I make an outdoor enclosure for them with plenty of deep shade and some sort of protective wire cover, and put the babies out for an hour, three or four times a week. Gradually, as the babe grow and get bigger, I leave them out longer and longer. When they are 4-5 inches, I will leave them outside for most of the day, weather permitting, and soak them on the way back in. Every night they sleep in their large, warm, humid, closed chambers. Eventually, I move them outside full time with a heated and humidified night box. My climate is very dry. We have single digit humidity most of the summer. My outdoor gauges don't go any lower then 16% humidity, and they are pegged at 16% almost all the time during the day. On a cold rainy winter night, humidity might be 30-40% here.
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