Baby sulcata enclosure & sunlight

fernando7kose

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Hi everyone! I have a baby sulcata around two inches long.

I have a few questions for my baby sulcata.
The temperature in the enclosure is around high 80s and low 90s during the day, do I still need to turn on the UVA light for 12 hours?
I assume I will have to in order to maintain its basking spot temperature to around 95-100.

I read in Tom's guide that baby sulcata needs to get direct sunlight for 1 hour for every inch of the tortoise. Does that mean 1 hour per day?
For now I'm taking my baby out for around 1 hour daily and I'm making sure there is a shade to avoid overheat.

One more thing, I noticed that there is peeling on its skin. Does this look normal?
Since I saw the peeling of the skin, I've been soaking the baby twice per day, around 20 mins per soak.

Thank you so much!
 

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ryan57

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They live in a burrow underground for a very large percentage of the time. Is there UV light in their burrow? Seems improbable. They come out to eat and other tortoise things and then go back and they turn out just fine in the wild right? I'm not an expert but 12 hours under a warmer like fast food may be contributing to the skin issue. Looks like the little guy or girl may have gotten cut on something. Maybe Neosporin would help?
 

fernando7kose

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The temperature of the enclosure is around 85-92 degrees during daytime and it stays around 82 degrees at night. The humidity is 85% during daytime & it reaches 90% during the night. Measured using digital thermometer & hygrometer.
For the basking spot, it reaches 95 degrees, measured using the temperature gun.

These are the most recent pictures of the skin condition :
 

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fernando7kose

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Hi all, just want to make sure that I provide all the information needed.
Attached are the pictures of the enclosure.
I manage to sustain the temperature & humidity with this setup. The baby sulcata has been wondering around the enclosure, he likes to hang out on the basking spot and he usually sleeps inside the cave.

From what I read from Tom's guide, I know that this enclosure is too small.
I've searched for the new enclosure & these are the 3 options that I found :
1. Wood material - 60x40x40cm
2. Wood material - 80x40x40cm
3. Melamine - 120x40x40cm
Which one should I get for my baby sulcata? I will attach the pictures as well.

Thank you so much for your help!
 

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Tom

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The temperature in the enclosure is around high 80s and low 90s during the day, do I still need to turn on the UVA light for 12 hours?
I assume I will have to in order to maintain its basking spot temperature to around 95-100.
"UV A" bulbs are some what of a gimmick from the people who sell them. Regular incandescent flood bulbs form the hardware store emit UV and work perfectly for our purposes.

You temperatures sound ideal, so I would not change anything about heating and lighting. Yes, the heat lamp needs to be on for 12 hours a day. The heat lamp is meant to simulate the sun when they are indoors. The sun needs to be shining all day, and it should be dark at night.
I read in Tom's guide that baby sulcata needs to get direct sunlight for 1 hour for every inch of the tortoise. Does that mean 1 hour per day?
For now I'm taking my baby out for around 1 hour daily and I'm making sure there is a shade to avoid overheat.
Many people like to put their baby sulcatas outside for hours, all day some times in warm weather. This is not good for little babies. They do better when kept indoors most of the time. This is why I came up with the easy-to-understand general rule of one hour of ACCESS to sunshine per inch of tortoise as a maximum amount of time spent outside daily. They do not need to be in direct hot sun for this to work. A shady enclosure with some sunny areas is ideal for this sort of thing. If a person can do this two or three times a week, indoor UV is not necessary, but also not harmful if people want to use it anyway.

One more thing, I noticed that there is peeling on its skin. Does this look normal?
Since I saw the peeling of the skin, I've been soaking the baby twice per day, around 20 mins per soak.
Mine don't usually peel, but some do sometimes. One soak per day for 30-40 minutes is enough. You can soak twice if you want to. It will do no harm.

Which one should I get for my baby sulcata?
Even the largest of the enclosure you linked is too small. You will probably have to make your own enclosure.122x61cm is about the smallest I'd recommend for starting a tiny little baby, but they will outgrow that within a few months. 244x122cm will be needed to grow them large enough to live outside full time with a heated shelter.
 

fernando7kose

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"UV A" bulbs are some what of a gimmick from the people who sell them. Regular incandescent flood bulbs form the hardware store emit UV and work perfectly for our purposes.

You temperatures sound ideal, so I would not change anything about heating and lighting. Yes, the heat lamp needs to be on for 12 hours a day. The heat lamp is meant to simulate the sun when they are indoors. The sun needs to be shining all day, and it should be dark at night.

Many people like to put their baby sulcatas outside for hours, all day some times in warm weather. This is not good for little babies. They do better when kept indoors most of the time. This is why I came up with the easy-to-understand general rule of one hour of ACCESS to sunshine per inch of tortoise as a maximum amount of time spent outside daily. They do not need to be in direct hot sun for this to work. A shady enclosure with some sunny areas is ideal for this sort of thing. If a person can do this two or three times a week, indoor UV is not necessary, but also not harmful if people want to use it anyway.


Mine don't usually peel, but some do sometimes. One soak per day for 30-40 minutes is enough. You can soak twice if you want to. It will do no harm.


Even the largest of the enclosure you linked is too small. You will probably have to make your own enclosure.122x61cm is about the smallest I'd recommend for starting a tiny little baby, but they will outgrow that within a few months. 244x122cm will be needed to grow them large enough to live outside full time with a heated shelter.
Thank you for the reply, Tom!

Here in Indonesia, all the petshops said nothing about the humidity needed for baby sulcata. They even told us that baby sulcata needs to expel urates everyday. I have searched through this forum about urates and I found around 3 threads that were made by fellow Indonesians.

I also want to make sure that I'm giving the right food to the baby. So far It's been 5 days and I have given the baby :
- Mix of chinese cabbage & chinese mustard everyday
- A pinch of calcium, once
- Pellet, three times (I will attach the picture)
- Mix of flowers, once (I will attach the picture)
- Variety of weeds/grasses while the baby is roaming in my backyard

I think I would have to increase the portion of the weeds & grasses to be the main component of the diet.
Since I got the baby, it has only expelled urates twice. I did not touch the urates, but from the picture it seems gritty.


I will attach the most recent picture of the baby sulcata. Please let me know if the baby seems normal or if there is any sign of pyramiding. Thank you so much for your help!!
 

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Tom

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Thank you for the reply, Tom!

Here in Indonesia, all the petshops said nothing about the humidity needed for baby sulcata. They even told us that baby sulcata needs to expel urates everyday. I have searched through this forum about urates and I found around 3 threads that were made by fellow Indonesians.

I also want to make sure that I'm giving the right food to the baby. So far It's been 5 days and I have given the baby :
- Mix of chinese cabbage & chinese mustard everyday
- A pinch of calcium, once
- Pellet, three times (I will attach the picture)
- Mix of flowers, once (I will attach the picture)
- Variety of weeds/grasses while the baby is roaming in my backyard

I think I would have to increase the portion of the weeds & grasses to be the main component of the diet.
Since I got the baby, it has only expelled urates twice. I did not touch the urates, but from the picture it seems gritty.


I will attach the most recent picture of the baby sulcata. Please let me know if the baby seems normal or if there is any sign of pyramiding. Thank you so much for your help!!
People start them too dry and that is when you see the urates. With daily soaking you won't see any urates at all soon, and that is how it should be.

Weeds and grasses are best.
 

fernando7kose

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People start them too dry and that is when you see the urates. With daily soaking you won't see any urates at all soon, and that is how it should be.

Weeds and grasses are best.
Noted, Tom!

I will make sure to do all the things that you suggested.
Do you mind checking the pictures that I attached from the post above? I wonder if the pellets & flower mix are safe enough. And is there any sign of pyramiding for my baby sulcata?
Please let me know & once again thank you so much for your help!
 

Tom

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Noted, Tom!

I will make sure to do all the things that you suggested.
Do you mind checking the pictures that I attached from the post above? I wonder if the pellets & flower mix are safe enough. And is there any sign of pyramiding for my baby sulcata?
Please let me know & once again thank you so much for your help!
The ZooMed Pellets are good. Soak them and mix with greens. I don't know the other one, but 18% seems a little high for the protein.

Minor pyramiding has started, but good conditions should fix it.
 

fernando7kose

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The ZooMed Pellets are good. Soak them and mix with greens. I don't know the other one, but 18% seems a little high for the protein.

Minor pyramiding has started, but good conditions should fix it.
Thank you so much, Tom!
 

Saiki&Guinee

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I'm also a new tortoise owner and currently in the process of building 2 new enclosures. I had a lot of questions about lighting (What did what? How high, how long...etc)! I wanted to make sure that no mistake are made with the new setups.

I found in an old post that Tom had recommended Todd C. the owner of Light Your Reptiles.
https://www.lightyourreptiles.com/contact-us/ to someone else. I went on his site and filled out the contact me info, and told him that I needed lighting for my enclosures and not sure what to get. To my surprise he responded the same day. I sent him a couple of pics of my enclosures and automatically he knew what light setup I needed. Todd used to own tortoises, so he gave me tips and do's and don'ts. He's a really nice guys and answered all of my questions and we even got into tortoise anotomy and how the different lights affect the tortoise internally etc. Now I'm just blabbing 🙂. But when you get your new enclosure you should definitely give Todd a buzz. All he needs are some pictures of the enclosure and he does the rest. I'm so happy I found that old post so thanks @Tom for info!
 
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