Baby sulcata not growing much

Chubbs the tegu

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
9,665
Location (City and/or State)
Ma
Im trying to give u constructive criticism.. can u change ur profile pic? Hahaha
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,759
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
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
Hi Ben. I'll address these one at a time. Glad to be conversing with you! :)

-Try to make the substrate 3-4 inches deep and keep it damp, but not sopping wet. I do this by dumping water into the substrate. How much water and how often varies with each enclosure. You must go by feel.

-Basking area directly under the bulb should be around 36-37C. 29-30C is good for ambient during the day, but no lower than 26-27C at night. In the thread I linked is a break down of the four elements of heating and lighting. You need night heat on a thermostat. Check the basking temperature by laying a digital thermometer on its back and letting it cook under the heat lamp for an hour or more. Adjust the bulb height or wattage to get the correct basking temperature.

-I recommend starting hatchlings in a 61x122cm closed chamber and graduate them up to 122x244 until it is time for them to move outside. My enclosures tend to be large than the recommended size because I am starting dozens at a time.

-That is the wrong bulb to be using. Those are unreliable, expensive, and they cause extreme desiccation which causes pyramiding. That bulb and the dryness are a likely reason why we all think your tortoise looks too dry. Read the linked thread for more explanation.

-If your vivarium doesn't easily hold 80% humidity with damp substrate and a large shallow water bowl, then there is too much ventilation. Humidifiers should not be blowing directly into tortoise enclosures, and shouldn't be needed. I live in an exceptionally dry desert climate, and I can maintain 80% humidity with bone dry bedding, a water dish, and a humid hide in my closed chambers. Check out the thermometer/hygrometer on the back wall of my cribo enclosure:
IMG_7939.JPG

If you can't maintain 80% with damp bedding, then there is too much ventilation. You need to contain the warm moist air.

-He shouldn't be eating "as well as you could expect (for a picky hatchling)"... He should be eating voraciously. He should be putting away so much food that it is shocking to you. They are only "picky" when something is wrong somewhere. Cold nights and dry conditions can do this. Breeders starting them incorrectly and not introducing the right foods after hatching, can be other factors that hamper health and growth. Worms are possible, but not likely. Be careful using vets. They don't know tortoise care, and they often misdiagnose and mistreat because of it. Sadly, they often do more harm than good.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2024
Messages
556
Location (City and/or State)
Finland
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.
Did you link the wrong thread here by accident? I assume you were supposed to link this: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-a-sulcata-leopard-or-star-tortoise.181504/
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,759
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Did you link the wrong thread here by accident? I assume you were supposed to link this: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-a-sulcata-leopard-or-star-tortoise.181504/
YIKES! I sure did. Thank you for catching that. My apologies to @sully_baby and @Jacko_

The Sulcata care sheet is at the bottom of this thread, and this is the one I meant to link:
 

New Posts

Top