(Baby) sulcata long beak?

Raywood

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
18
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
Hey there! I’m new to the forum.

I have a baby sulcata and am familiar with most jungle tortoises so this is my first grassland/dessert tortoise.
My question is the beak of the tortoise is starting to catch on his jaw when chewing food. and I know it can be ground down by a vet or myself
or
ground down by eating a cuttle fish/tortoise cubes. Which I just ordered a cuttle fish.

The question is, at 6 weeks old, is this too young to have its beak growing like this?
And how would I actually grind the beak down with a two inch tortoise.
He fits in the palm of my hand. I don’t won’t to hurt him. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

DIET;
he’s getting plenty of calcium and d3. With a powder supplement.
His diet is cactus ears, mustard greens, wheat grass and kale and some lettuce. Mixed with grassland tortoise pellet meal that I soak wet so he can get more variety along with his greens. His uvb bulb is a long one and was the best option from what I read on the internet and spoke with the person at the reptile store. He has a heating pad underneath the tank and a 150w ceramic heat bulb above that. I also make sure to spray down the tank for humidity upkeep.

He’s well taken care of, however, the store where I purchased him was feeding him baby tortoise food that was multicolored and Most likely a poor diet. I soak him once a day as well in warmish water. His skin on his head is very dry.


So I feel like I’ve been on top of it but am worried about his beak being so long at such a young age.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
56,769
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello and welcome. Almost all of the info you find on this species is old, out-dated, and wrong. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, all sorts of incorrect assumptions were made about where they come from and how they live, and that wrong info has now been parroted for decades. Most pet stores don't have a clue. They tell you the wrong info and sell you the wrong products.

The foods you are feeding sound excellent. The beak should sort itself out in time. Pictures would help us understand better what is going on.

Heat mats should never be used with tortoises. The CHE is great for ambient temperature maintenance when run through a thermostat. You still need an incandescent flood bulb for basking. Tell us which UV tube you've got and we can tell you if it is an effective one or not.

Here is all the correct care info:

Questions are welcome.
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
6,327
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
Hey there! I’m new to the forum.

I have a baby sulcata and am familiar with most jungle tortoises so this is my first grassland/dessert tortoise.
My question is the beak of the tortoise is starting to catch on his jaw when chewing food. and I know it can be ground down by a vet or myself
or
ground down by eating a cuttle fish/tortoise cubes. Which I just ordered a cuttle fish.

The question is, at 6 weeks old, is this too young to have its beak growing like this?
And how would I actually grind the beak down with a two inch tortoise.
He fits in the palm of my hand. I don’t won’t to hurt him. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

DIET;
he’s getting plenty of calcium and d3. With a powder supplement.
His diet is cactus ears, mustard greens, wheat grass and kale and some lettuce. Mixed with grassland tortoise pellet meal that I soak wet so he can get more variety along with his greens. His uvb bulb is a long one and was the best option from what I read on the internet and spoke with the person at the reptile store. He has a heating pad underneath the tank and a 150w ceramic heat bulb above that. I also make sure to spray down the tank for humidity upkeep.

He’s well taken care of, however, the store where I purchased him was feeding him baby tortoise food that was multicolored and Most likely a poor diet. I soak him once a day as well in warmish water. His skin on his head is very dry.


So I feel like I’ve been on top of it but am worried about his beak being so long at such a young age.
Hey hi and welcome...I live in Corvallis...are you close to that?
I keep Sulcata...I'm always willing to help if you need it... 100 1479
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
90,561
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
We'll need to see pictures of the beak
 

Raywood

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
18
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
Hello and welcome. Almost all of the info you find on this species is old, out-dated, and wrong. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, all sorts of incorrect assumptions were made about where they come from and how they live, and that wrong info has now been parroted for decades. Most pet stores don't have a clue. They tell you the wrong info and sell you the wrong products.

The foods you are feeding sound excellent. The beak should sort itself out in time. Pictures would help us understand better what is going on.

Heat mats should never be used with tortoises. The CHE is great for ambient temperature maintenance when run through a thermostat. You still need an incandescent flood bulb for basking. Tell us which UV tube you've got and we can tell you if it is an effective one or not.

Here is all the correct care info:

Questions are welcome.
 

Raywood

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
18
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
Hey Tom,

I appreciate you responding so quickly. Two reasons why I am concerned. One, his beak as mentioned ( also still has egg Tooth) which isn’t causing the clicking sound when he eats. And secondly his shell has a wave like appearance. Which I haven’t seen before.
I’ll attach some photos below.

I read all of the information provided and really enjoyed the input and knowledge.
For now he’s in a 50 gallon aquarium. When he gets a little bigger I’ll go and grab a center tub from Home Depot and change up his environment.

Here is what he looks lik, his enclosure and heating and lighting elements
 

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Raywood

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
18
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
Hey hi and welcome...I live in Corvallis...are you close to that?
I keep Sulcata...I'm always willing to help if you need it... View attachment 339253
Hey there! I’m up in Portland. I really appreciate that! Thank you. I’m going to get a cuddle fish for him today and hopefully that’ll help with his beak clicking when chewing
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
56,769
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hey Tom,

I appreciate you responding so quickly. Two reasons why I am concerned. One, his beak as mentioned ( also still has egg Tooth) which isn’t causing the clicking sound when he eats. And secondly his shell has a wave like appearance. Which I haven’t seen before.
I’ll attach some photos below.

I read all of the information provided and really enjoyed the input and knowledge.
For now he’s in a 50 gallon aquarium. When he gets a little bigger I’ll go and grab a center tub from Home Depot and change up his environment.

Here is what he looks lik, his enclosure and heating and lighting elements
They usually lose the egg tooth by 6 weeks old. Are you sure of the age? It really doesn't matter. I'm just curious.

The shell looks normal and good.

The UV tube is a good one, but at 18 inches and through a screen, not much UV will get to your tortoise.

You still need a basking lamp and some additional ambient lighting too.

You will not be able to maintain the correct conditions with an open top like that. It will be too dry, even if you are able to keep the temperatures up, and he will pyramid. Same thing with the HD tub. You need a closed chamber with the lights and heat inside.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
90,561
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hey Tom,

I appreciate you responding so quickly. Two reasons why I am concerned. One, his beak as mentioned ( also still has egg Tooth) which isn’t causing the clicking sound when he eats. And secondly his shell has a wave like appearance. Which I haven’t seen before.
I’ll attach some photos below.

I read all of the information provided and really enjoyed the input and knowledge.
For now he’s in a 50 gallon aquarium. When he gets a little bigger I’ll go and grab a center tub from Home Depot and change up his environment.

Here is what he looks lik, his enclosure and heating and lighting elements
I suggest a larger dome for your CHE. They get pretty hot.
 

Raywood

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
18
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
They usually lose the egg tooth by 6 weeks old. Are you sure of the age? It really doesn't matter. I'm just curious.

The shell looks normal and good.

The UV tube is a good one, but at 18 inches and through a screen, not much UV will get to your tortoise.

You still need a basking lamp and some additional ambient lighting too.

You will not be able to maintain the correct conditions with an open top like that. It will be too dry, even if you are able to keep the temperatures up, and he will pyramid. Same thing with the HD tub. You need a closed chamber with the lights and heat inside.
They usually lose the egg tooth by 6 weeks old. Are you sure of the age? It really doesn't matter. I'm just curious.

The shell looks normal and good.

The UV tube is a good one, but at 18 inches and through a screen, not much UV will get to your tortoise.

You still need a basking lamp and some additional ambient lighting too.

You will not be able to maintain the correct conditions with an open top like that. It will be too dry, even if you are able to keep the temperatures up, and he will pyramid. Same thing with the HD tub. You need a closed chamber with the lights and heat inside.
I am not confident on the age.

So , you’re suggesting to get a closed top container? I out a towel over the top bwithout touching the heating elements. And also you’re suggesting a basking light at what wattage? I had 100 before hand and it didn’t heat his basking spot very well and The 150 watt ceramic bulb I have doesn’t seem to heat his basking spot very well either. That may be due to the height of the tank though.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,352
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
I am not confident on the age.

So , you’re suggesting to get a closed top container? I out a towel over the top bwithout touching the heating elements. And also you’re suggesting a basking light at what wattage? I had 100 before hand and it didn’t heat his basking spot very well and The 150 watt ceramic bulb I have doesn’t seem to heat his basking spot very well either. That may be due to the height of the tank though.
Welcome to the forum!
For basking, the best light to use is an incandescent flood bulb...note..flood, not spot. Also it has to actually say 'incandescent' on it. You don't want a 'replacement' bulb, they are LED. I don't know about the availability of them in OR. Here in CA they can't be sold because of their inefficiency, so everything is LED. You may be able to order them from Amazon. Again, here in CA we
can't order them...it comes up that "we can't deliver this item to your area". Anyway, this is what you want...try a 65 watt first.

GE Incandescent Flood Light Bulbs, BR30 Flood Lights, 65-Watt, 610 Lumen, Medium Base, Soft White, 2-Pack, Indoor Flood Light Bulbs, Recessed Light Bulbs for Indoors https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HJ73PO/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Re' the closed chamber, it is vital that your baby is kept at 80°F -85°F at all times, day and night, in all areas of the enclosure. The humidity must be kept at 80% or higher at all times.

It is impossible to maintain these parameters with an open top enclosure. Your heat and humidity just go right up and out, since warm air rises. Tom likes to say it's like trying to heat your house with no roof.

The solution to this is a completely enclosed space. There are several ways to do this. I wrote this post a while back...it shows you what is possible.


To see what Mark's closed chambers are like, he has a Facebook page. They are gorgeous.


Yvonne mentioned the size of the dome on your CHE. It should be larger because they run really hot. They also must be in a dome with a ceramic socket. If made of plastic, it WILL melt and burn.

And finally, if you buy a dome that has clamps to hold it in place...PLEASE don't trust the clamp. Find a way to secure it that it cannot fall into the enclosure. Many times we hear of clamps failing and starting fires. Entire houses have burned to the ground. And we had a member whose clamp failed. The light fell into the enclosure and landed on her hatchling and killed it. ?

If you have any questions about all this, please ask. We want to help you to give your adorable baby the very best conditions possible.
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
6,327
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
I am not confident on the age.

So , you’re suggesting to get a closed top container? I out a towel over the top bwithout touching the heating elements. And also you’re suggesting a basking light at what wattage? I had 100 before hand and it didn’t heat his basking spot very well and The 150 watt ceramic bulb I have doesn’t seem to heat his basking spot very well either. That may be due to the height of the tank though.
Listen to Tom...he is one of our Sulcata experts... 100 0648
 

Raywood

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
18
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
Welcome to the forum!
For basking, the best light to use is an incandescent flood bulb...note..flood, not spot. Also it has to actually say 'incandescent' on it. You don't want a 'replacement' bulb, they are LED. I don't know about the availability of them in OR. Here in CA they can't be sold because of their inefficiency, so everything is LED. You may be able to order them from Amazon. Again, here in CA we
can't order them...it comes up that "we can't deliver this item to your area". Anyway, this is what you want...try a 65 watt first.

GE Incandescent Flood Light Bulbs, BR30 Flood Lights, 65-Watt, 610 Lumen, Medium Base, Soft White, 2-Pack, Indoor Flood Light Bulbs, Recessed Light Bulbs for Indoors https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HJ73PO/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Re' the closed chamber, it is vital that your baby is kept at 80°F -85°F at all times, day and night, in all areas of the enclosure. The humidity must be kept at 80% or higher at all times.

It is impossible to maintain these parameters with an open top enclosure. Your heat and humidity just go right up and out, since warm air rises. Tom likes to say it's like trying to heat your house with no roof.

The solution to this is a completely enclosed space. There are several ways to do this. I wrote this post a while back...it shows you what is possible.


To see what Mark's closed chambers are like, he has a Facebook page. They are gorgeous.


Yvonne mentioned the size of the dome on your CHE. It should be larger because they run really hot. They also must be in a dome with a ceramic socket. If made of plastic, it WILL melt and burn.

And finally, if you buy a dome that has clamps to hold it in place...PLEASE don't trust the clamp. Find a way to secure it that it cannot fall into the enclosure. Many times we hear of clamps failing and starting fires. Entire houses have burned to the ground. And we had a member whose clamp failed. The light fell into the enclosure and landed on her hatchling and killed it. ?

If you have any questions about all this, please ask. We want to help you to give your adorable baby the very best conditions possible.

I read everything you wrote in the thread that’s is a couple pages long. I very much h appreciate your help on this and the attention to detail. I’ll work on getting a closed container soon. And thanks I’ll grab one of those flood lights you tagged. My first thought is that it wouldn’t be hot enough for him but I’m assuming since you’ve had so much luck with them, this isn’t true.
 

Raywood

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
18
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon
Welcome to the forum!
For basking, the best light to use is an incandescent flood bulb...note..flood, not spot. Also it has to actually say 'incandescent' on it. You don't want a 'replacement' bulb, they are LED. I don't know about the availability of them in OR. Here in CA they can't be sold because of their inefficiency, so everything is LED. You may be able to order them from Amazon. Again, here in CA we
can't order them...it comes up that "we can't deliver this item to your area". Anyway, this is what you want...try a 65 watt first.

GE Incandescent Flood Light Bulbs, BR30 Flood Lights, 65-Watt, 610 Lumen, Medium Base, Soft White, 2-Pack, Indoor Flood Light Bulbs, Recessed Light Bulbs for Indoors https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HJ73PO/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Re' the closed chamber, it is vital that your baby is kept at 80°F -85°F at all times, day and night, in all areas of the enclosure. The humidity must be kept at 80% or higher at all times.

It is impossible to maintain these parameters with an open top enclosure. Your heat and humidity just go right up and out, since warm air rises. Tom likes to say it's like trying to heat your house with no roof.

The solution to this is a completely enclosed space. There are several ways to do this. I wrote this post a while back...it shows you what is possible.


To see what Mark's closed chambers are like, he has a Facebook page. They are gorgeous.


Yvonne mentioned the size of the dome on your CHE. It should be larger because they run really hot. They also must be in a dome with a ceramic socket. If made of plastic, it WILL melt and burn.

And finally, if you buy a dome that has clamps to hold it in place...PLEASE don't trust the clamp. Find a way to secure it that it cannot fall into the enclosure. Many times we hear of clamps failing and starting fires. Entire houses have burned to the ground. And we had a member whose clamp failed. The light fell into the enclosure and landed on her hatchling and killed it. ?

If you have any questions about all this, please ask. We want to help you to give your adorable baby the very best conditions possible.
Just to to clarify, I would still keep my Che for a heating element just change the housing to handle the high wattage/ heat and and then add the Incandescent bulb to the mix? Is that correct?
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,352
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Just to to clarify, I would still keep my Che for a heating element just change the housing to handle the high wattage/ heat and and then add the Incandescent bulb to the mix? Is that correct?
Yes. You need to keep the CHE to keep the enclosure at 80° during the night.

When all set up, you will have 3 items in the enclosure...basking light (flood bulb), Che and UVB (you already have them).

You will also want a digital temperature/humidity thermometer. One with a probe is nice so the unit is kept out of the enclosure. I have a couple of these and they work fine. Like this...

Digital Reptile Thermometer and Humidity Gauge Remote Probes – Terrarium Reptile Hygrometer Thermo Humidor Tank Cage Incubator Brooder Indoor Outdoor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY0CABC/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

You also definitely must use a thermostat to control the CHE. They are extremely hot. If you just turn it on in an enclosed space, you will cook the baby. Put the CHE on the t-stat, set it at the proper temp (~80°-85°), and it will come on and go off as needed. Here's one that's on sale! :)

Zilla Digital Temperature Controller https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PC8NSB1/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

You might think it's overkill to have 3 outlets, but at some time in a larger enclosure, you may find it preferable to have 2 CHE's instead of just one. With multiple outlets, you would plug both CHE's into the same t-stat. Just don't go over 1000 watts total.
 

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