Baby sulcata not growing much

sully_baby

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2024
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Matlock
Hi,

I have an adorable 6.5 months old Sulcata tortoise.

We got him 6 weeks ago from a breeder.

I weigh him then and he was 71 grams, I weighed him 2 weeks later, he was 73 grams, then 75 grams, last week he was 78 grams (all of this was later in the day, after he ate) and I weighed him again this morning and he was 71 grams. This was in the morning before the soak, before him eating and he did poop yesterday as well. Could him be weighed on an empty stomach make that much of a difference/

I am worried he is the same weight he was when we picked him up but I also think it might be the time in the day when I weighed him.

He eats daily, moves a lot, has 20 minutes daily soaks and he doesn't present any sign of being sick - at least I don't think so!

Can you please tell me if that is something to be worried about? Is this a normal weight for this age?

Thank you!
 

zolasmum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
2,156
Hi,

I have an adorable 6.5 months old Sulcata tortoise.

We got him 6 weeks ago from a breeder.

I weigh him then and he was 71 grams, I weighed him 2 weeks later, he was 73 grams, then 75 grams, last week he was 78 grams (all of this was later in the day, after he ate) and I weighed him again this morning and he was 71 grams. This was in the morning before the soak, before him eating and he did poop yesterday as well. Could him be weighed on an empty stomach make that much of a difference/

I am worried he is the same weight he was when we picked him up but I also think it might be the time in the day when I weighed him.

He eats daily, moves a lot, has 20 minutes daily soaks and he doesn't present any sign of being sick - at least I don't think so!

Can you please tell me if that is something to be worried about? Is this a normal weight for this age?

Thank you!
Hello and welcome - is that Matlock in the UK? I live in Devon, and we have a Hermanns tirtoise who is now almost 24 years old. I'm so glad you found this forum, as people here are very knowledgable and willing to help with any problem. I'm afraid I don't know much about sulcatas, but I think his weight isn't anything you need worry about, as having just eaten, or pooped or peed, makes a big difference. If you weigh him at the same time every day, it will give a clearer idea.
Angie
 

sully_baby

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2024
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Matlock
Hello and welcome - is that Matlock in the UK? I live in Devon, and we have a Hermanns tirtoise who is now almost 24 years old. I'm so glad you found this forum, as people here are very knowledgable and willing to help with any problem. I'm afraid I don't know much about sulcatas, but I think his weight isn't anything you need worry about, as having just eaten, or pooped or peed, makes a big difference. If you weigh him at the same time every day, it will give a clearer idea.
Angie
Hi Angie,

Thank you so much, yes it is in the UK, in Peak District! :)

I love Hermann tortoises.

I just weighed him again now, after he drank water and ate and he is back to 76g, I might be overthinking it but I just love him so much!!!
 

zolasmum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
2,156
I used to live in Nottingham, and often went to Matlock- it's a beautiful place. I used to watch the procession of lighted boats every year - lovely.
Please do post photos of your little chap - everyone here loves them - and what's his/her name ?
Angie
 

Raquel1978

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2023
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
Swansea wales
I try to weigh my little one a similar time every 2 weeks I always do it before her soak and her food that definitely makes a difference..
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2024
Messages
575
Location (City and/or State)
Finland
Yeah, I weigh my Russian tortoise every Friday afternoon, then I take the monthly average to track his weight. I can't say whether that growth rate is normal in a sulcata, but as a general rule tortoises shouldn't lose weight. And yes, soaking, eating, peeing, pooping etc. can really affect the weight, especially when they are that small.
 

sully_baby

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2024
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Matlock
Yeah, I weigh my Russian tortoise every Friday afternoon, then I take the monthly average to track his weight. I can't say whether that growth rate is normal in a sulcata, but as a general rule tortoises shouldn't lose weight. And yes, soaking, eating, peeing, pooping etc. can really affect the weight, especially when they are that small.

He is back at 78 now after drinking water, soak and food...but I will try and give him more food that is soaked such as Rustik Grub! He eats a lot of it but most of the time he likes me to give it to him from my finger tip...

Here is the little Sully (we named him Sully before we knew that's short for Sulcata!)

@zolasmum
 

Attachments

  • WhatsApp Image 2024-05-14 at 12.00.38_5dda7657.jpg
    WhatsApp Image 2024-05-14 at 12.00.38_5dda7657.jpg
    458.9 KB · Views: 4

sully_baby

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2024
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Matlock
Hi,

Do you house him correctly in closed enclosure with 80F and 80% humidity? Can you post pictures about him? :)
Yes, I always spray water so his humidity is always 70-80% and his temperature is 30 degrees Celsius during the day and around 24 during the night! :)
 

Pák

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2022
Messages
83
Location (City and/or State)
Esztergom
The temps need to stay above 26 C during the night as well, and you can go in the basking spot for 35-36 C for perfect conditions. His shell looks dry to me a bit. What is you substrate? Nothing can beat cypress mulch or orchid bark, it hold moisture very well, and those even look better and keeps your little tort cleaner. :)

kislajos terrárium fenyőmulcs.jpg
 

sully_baby

New Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2024
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Matlock
The temps need to stay above 26 C during the night as well, and you can go in the basking spot for 35-36 C for perfect conditions. His shell looks dry to me a bit. What is you substrate? Nothing can beat cypress mulch or orchid bark, it hold moisture very well, and those even look better and keeps your little tort cleaner. :)

View attachment 370628


I changed the substrate to the orchid one and gave him rustik grub alongside other dry food.

He peaks at 80g but some days he weighs 73-75g...

Since I changed the substrate he does not climb anymore which I think is a good thing, he eats, has his daily soaks...but he doesn't gain weight really...

I feel stuck at the 80g mark max...what should I do? He is definitely active, naps during the day, wakes up around the same time 09:30ish and goes to sleep sometimes at 18:00, sometimes later.

He will be 6 months in 2 weeks...
 

Alex and the Redfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
1,984
Location (City and/or State)
Cyprus
Hello!
Can you tell more about his diet - how often, how much and what do you feed? Any supplements such as calcium, vitamins and so?
I've checked Rustic Grub contents - it's not bad yet should not be a "staple food".

What heating/light/UVB sources do you use? Exact wattage and models would be great to know?
 

Megatron's Mom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
480
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Keep up the daily soaks, refill his dish when empty. I keep filling it up until all day until about 6pm mine won't eat after that. If it's all gone in a few minutes I fill it back up. They won't eat if not hungry but when they feel likes another bite it is there waiting for them.

If you're trying new foods you have to sneak it in. At his size I chopped the food finely and would add something new to it is very small amounts to hide it with the older liked foods. This way they couldn't avoid eating the new food but is would be a small amount for them to get use to.
 

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
7,285
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
Welcome, pictures of your enclosure would help us guide you in the right direction.
Don't let Sully dictate what he/she eats. They will get stuck on one food and won't eat anything else. Get more greens in the diet. If your grass outside doesn't have fertilizer/weedkiller. Take your scissors and cut some. If he doesn't eat it, mix in with other food. Keep adding more grass until he is eating just grass. You can also buy 3 or 4 small terracotta flower pots. To grow wheat grass. Plant the seeds in 3 day intervals. So you have wheat grass always growing. Just cut with your scissors. Grass needs to be 80% of the diet. It won't happen overnight, but with tough love. You will win the food war. There is a long list of foods for sulcata's. I will try to copy and paste, but I am not that savvy yet.
Soaks should be 30 to 45min. Always keep water warm. Depth of water to where the carapace (top shell) and plastron (bottom shell) meet.
Wouldn't worry about weight right now unless it definitely falls into the 60grams. I think if you weigh everyday at the same time. You will get a steadier weight. How do the poops look firm/runny?You will need a good vet, knowledgeable about torts. Find one now, so if needed you already have a vet.
One of the best tools to have is a infrared temp gun. You get instant temps anywhere in the enclosure. Don't point at eyes. Also will need 2 temp/hydrometer for your enclosure. Get the digital type and place then at the bottom of the enclosure. At the same level as Sully.
Screenshot_20211211-140532_Chrome.jpgScreenshot_20201118-094349_Chrome.jpg
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,783
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
He is back at 78 now after drinking water, soak and food...but I will try and give him more food that is soaked such as Rustik Grub! He eats a lot of it but most of the time he likes me to give it to him from my finger tip...

Here is the little Sully (we named him Sully before we knew that's short for Sulcata!)

@zolasmum
Your baby is MUCH too dry and too cold at night too. The temperature should never drop below 26-27 day or night.

If you are having to spray to keep humidity up, this tells me your enclosure is too open. They need 80+% humidity all the time. They hatch into the monsoon season in the wild. It is hot, wet, and very humid all the time. This is NOT a desert species. They need a closed chamber style enclosure, like a "viv".

The pet store sold you the usual wrong substrate and it is much too dry.

Most of the care info offered for this species is all wrong and based on incorrect assumption of how they live in the wild. Please read this for the correct care info, and look for the Sulcata care sheet near the bottom:

Please feel free to question any of this. If it doesn't conflict with the previous care info you were given, I would be very surprised.
 

Jacko_

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2024
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Chesterfield
Hey @Tom

I also own this Sully with @sully_baby .

He lives now in orchid bark as his substrate, about 2 inches deep or so throughout his entire enclosure.

Temperatures in his basking area are around 33-35°c or so, with being around 29-30°c elsewhere.

He does have a hide in which to shelter under and a little "den" which he now recognises to go to when he sleeps.

What sized vivarium do you keep your sulcatas in? Getting one that has enough room can be a little prohibitive here in the UK. I know it won't be long before he outgrows it anyway, but even so.

Here's the bulb he currently has -

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006CY41G2/?tag=

We don't use an infra-red heat source at night as typically temperatures will sit at around 24-25°c overnight for him. Even with a vivarium, I don't think it would maintain conditions of 80% humidity at the right temperatures without a humidifier. Air at this temperature can hold an awful lot of moisture, and without adding that extra moisture back in once its taken it from the substrate and everything else, it will quickly dry and evaporate.

In terms of his behaviour, he's active, he eats as well as you could expect (for a picky hatchling), he doesn't seem stressed at all, ie needlessly climbing and walking against the glass. He hand feeds well, climbs onto your hand, defecates and urinated as often as he should ie after having a soak etc. We were either thinking is it too dry too much, or perhaps there's a worming issue?

Thanks in advance!

Ben
 

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
7,285
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
Welcome Ben, just pour water directly on the substrate. Keeping the substrate wet and temps proper. You don't want standing water. Substrate should be wet from top to bottom. You will get up to 80%or close. Spraying the top of the substrate won't get you to 80%. Keep temps correct, moisture and cool temps. Can lead to a respiratory infection. With sulcata's you don't have to worry about shell rot.
 

New Posts

Top