Buying a Sulcata--Any advice?

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nataliaxx3

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Hey all! I live in Michigan(metro detroit) and I am planning on buying a Sulcata within the next couple of weeks. I am having trouble finding good resources on how I should set up my little pals living quarters. I realize they become massive so I plan on building my own pen or table for him/her.

Overall, I just want to know some key things I should include and what type of food/substrates are good for it.

Every site I go to has different information on everything.

I cannot wait to be a tort owner for life :)

Thanks!

-Natalia :tort:
 

mainey34

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Hello and welcome. If you click the links below my signature there are threads by Tom that have very useful information on raising and care for sulcatas. I highly recommend reading them.
 

shellysmom

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Hi there! I'm so happy you are interested in tortoises. They are awesome animals. I love sulcatas, and that's why I'm going to suggest that since you are in Michigan, you consider another species of tortoise that does not get so big, and is easier to house during the long, harsh winters. There are a lot of beautiful tort species bred in captivity. One of my favorites is the Hermann's tortoise. They are very nice, hardy animals, and stay small.

Rescue organizations are literally overflowing with sulcatas because once they reach 50 or 100 pounds, they become very unmanageable and impractical for the average person. If you are not the average person, and are up for the big challenge and big cost of caring for a full grown sulcata in the middle of a Michigan winter, then a sulcata might very well be right for you. Otherwise, check out your other options. There are lots of awesome torts out there.
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome. I've got LOTS of advice!

The main thing is to buy from the right breeder. Most breeders are still keeping them much too dry and dehydrated. Don't buy one from someone who keeps them on a dry substrate and soaks them once a week. There are many good breeders here on the forum who start there babies well.

Click the links in my signature. It is full of all sorts of good baby sulcata info.
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome. A sulcata will do fine in Michigan as long as you can afford to heat an outdoor enclosure once it gets big. There are tortoise rescues in Michigan, you may want to check with them and adopt one that's already an adult and needing a forever home. Good luck.
 

nataliaxx3

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Thanks for all the advice! I was also wondering, even though it might be a silly question, how often a sulcata should get fed and roughly how much. Every website i've been to only states 75% hay 25% greens/flowers.
 

Laura

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do lots more homework before you get it.. you might decide that Michigan is not the ideal place to house a desert type animal...
it can be done.. but not always fair to the animal...
 

mainey34

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They get fed daily. If you read toms threads it gives you all the answers you need. I highly recommend reading it..
 

jtrux

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I feed my tortoise twice a day, once in the morning and then some more fresh greens before I go to work (3pm). The reason I feed twice is because by the time i'm getting ready to head to work most of his food is all wilted so I offer fresh food.

Now i'm gonna have to agree with a few other peopler here and say that you really oughtta look at another more manageable species. Sulcatas get really big which i'm sure you know and it just wouldn't be fun trying to house them indoors during the colder months. I wanted a Sulcata but did some research and ended up getting (very glad I did) a Leopard tortoise. They are reasonably large (18" avg), don't dig and in my opinion (everyone has one so don't beat me up too bad) they are more attractive. Now even with that said there will still be times down here in Texas when I can't have him outside but luckily I won't have to do that too much and I have plenty of room to do it so i'm not too concerned.

Other species you should look into before you committ to a Sulcata are Russian, Hermann or Marginated tortoises. The Russian is the smallest of the three at maybe around 8", the other two around 10" or so. They are all attractive, have really good personalites and would be very easy to house inside during cooler months. It would really be tough to have to dedicate an entire room to a large tortoise for several months out of the year so a smaller one might make your life easier years down the road.
 

Tom

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nataliaxx3 said:
Thanks for all the advice! I was also wondering, even though it might be a silly question, how often a sulcata should get fed and roughly how much. Every website i've been to only states 75% hay 25% greens/flowers.

Everyone is going to have a different opinion. Hay is mostly for larger tortoises. Occasionally you'll see a baby that will nibble at it, but most won't. I might occasionally sprinkle some finely chopped, rehydrated hay on top of my greens for smaller ones, but they usually won't eat plain hay until they are a little bigger. Here is my favorite sulcata diet sheet:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-52677.html#axzz29TCvQ99F
 

Floof

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As has already been said, really think strongly about it before you commit to a Sulcata. You will not be able to keep it in a tortoise table forever! Eventually, it will be so large that it will need its own converted bedroom/basement or large heated shed to occupy during the winters.

If you're able to provide for a Sulcata and prepared for the commitment, then power to you! Sulcatas are awesome tortoises with great personalities.

Stick around... The best information you can get on Sulcata care (and pretty much any other tortoise's care, lol!) is right here on TFO. :)
 

nataliaxx3

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Thank you all so much! Tom, your links and threads have helped me out so much!

I also thank everyone for their concern about a sulcata in Michigan. That's why I am doing all the research I can right now I'm pretty much set on a sulcata though!

I plan on buying a house next summer so I will find a suitable one for the sulcata. My father does construction so I have no doubts that my baby will have an amazing life in Michigan. (Until I decide to move to another state, I am like a sulcata, I prefer it to be hot!!! )

Also, what types of uv bulbs do you use? I'm thinking of getting a megaray and I believe that one is a mvb. My sulcata won't be able to get much natural light until May or June.
 
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