colder temps/substrate?

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DAC8671

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I know this was posted somewhere, but I can't find it (even though it's probably staring me in the face).

Now that the weather is gettin colder (averages about 50-55 here in San Diego) and it's time for me to clean out Ralph's dogloo (I do it monthly) I'm wondering if I should put a different substrate in his dogloo. I am currently only using timothy hay. I was thinking of bed a beast and mixing it with something. But what? How deep should I make it? I do have a heat lamp inside for him. Is the bed a beast a fire hazard with the heat lamp? I've never checked the humidity and I never spray inside. He is very healthy and I've had him since he was a 2 month hatchling. He's now 4.

On the door to the dogloo I have a shower curtain liner cut into strips, with it being doubled so it's really two shower curtain liners cut into strips. I also have a rubbermaid box lid in front of the door. A heavy towel lays over the top of the dogloo and over the front of the rubbermaid lid. I also placed a tarp over the dogloo and coming down about 1/2 over the towel. That is in case we get a freak rain (like the other day) or when it's just dense fog like it has been lately. Also just to keep more heat in the dogloo.

I've checked on him at different times of the night just to see where he goes. 95% of the time he is on the cold side of the dogloo. Only in early morning about 4-5am is he under the heat lamp. And that's only a few times I've found him there. He burrows under the timothy hay. Do you think a pig blanket is necessary?

So what do you think I should use for substrate?
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Mix the bed a beast 50/50 with clean play sand, or the sand they use to mix cement. I get it at Home Depot. If your tortoise is the one pictured it looks like he is pyramiding so I'd make really sure to create a humid atmosphere for him in the hopes of stopping the pyramiding...I'm not trying to be mean ro disrespectful...just trying to help.
 

DAC8671

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Thanks for the info.

The picture is of Ralph, but that's kinda a bad pic. He's recently been to the vet and he said Ralph is doing spendidly and not pyramiding.

BTW, no disrespect taken! :D
 
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Maggie Cummings

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How can he say Ralph is not pyramiding when I can see the points myself in the pictures? Sulcata should be absolutely smooth, having no points at all. Because there are so many Sulcata in the US that have been raised in captivity without correct husbandry, the new population of keepers is accepting pyramids as the norm. But like I originally said, in the wild and with correct care in captivity their carapaces are completely smooth. Look up some pictures of wild Sulcata and you will see they are totally smooth. Also now in captivity they have a dip along the dorsal scutes in the back. Bob has it really bad, but he was 9 when I got him and was already pyramiding and has that dip. Anyhow, I don't mean to cause an argument, mostly just making conversation.
The more time I spend talking to new keepers and seeing their torts the more I am realizing that, like I said, they (new keepers) are accepting pyramids as the norm. I am trying to get the word out somehow that it is NOT the norm. Click on the link and see my friends grandson and a Sulcata she rescued. He is a perfect example of what Sulcata should look like. Let me know what you think...compare how flared Bob's carapace is above his head in my little icon thing, then look at the rescue, he is barely flared
It's just something I am interested in right now, and I am trying to get some sort of a movement started to show keepers that there shouldn't be any pyramiding...at all<g>
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/African-Tortoise/
 

Yvonne G

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In dac8671's defense, the picture is so small I can't really tell if there are bumps or not. At first I thought yes, then looked closer and thought maybe its just the coloration. But, you're right. Quite a few people think the bumps are nifty. When I "give the tour" and newbies see Dudley, they remark what a pretty shell he has, while in reality, he's quite ugly because of the dip above his "hips" and the pyramiding. To me, "pretty" is an animal that looks like it is supposed to look. Don't get me wrong...I love Dudley, but pretty? he is not!

Yvonne
 

DAC8671

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I'm just going by what my vet said. He's been breeding and rescuing torts (and other animals) for 25+ years and is an exotic vet. I trust him when he says my pets are healthy.

I'm not looking to debate/fight. I'm just letting you know what the vet said.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I was NOT trying to say Ralph is not healthy altho pyramids are *generally * a sign of MBD. I stick with what I said that he IS starting to pyramid.
My family has been involved in turtle and tortoise rescue for over 35 years. Me, not that long but I am an experienced keeper, Geochelone sulcata and Gopherus agassizii are my species of interest.
So I will back out of this thread because it's obvious you don't believe me and I DON'T want to start a fight, I have pointed out something about your tortoise that I noticed but I don't want to beat you over the head about it...but it's still something you might consider and watch with your tortoise. If he continues to pyramid you might consider changing your husbandry...
 

Yvonne G

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I went back and looked at pictures that you posted of Gunther and Ralph, pictures that I could see better than your avatar, and I have to agree with your vet. Ralph really does look very healthy. He has a bit of pyramiding, but its nothing to be concerned about. I think the avatar is so small, and the coloration and shading on his carapace make him look more pyramided than he really is.

I would be hesitant to put moist substrate inside his dogloo, because you don't want him sitting on damp substrate if the floor inside of the dogloo is cool. Because his heat comes from above rather than below, I think you should stick with the timothy hay as substrate.

I hope you don't think that Maggie and I were picking on you. We were just trying to help you avoid a pyramiding problem. But Ralph is a beautiful tortoise, and because he lives outside and is able to get exercise and graze, I'm sure he's going to be fine!

Yvonne
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I believe in apologizing when I am wrong about something and so I am apologizing to you about Ralph now. My sister found a place where you had posted better pictures of Ralph and your RES. Ralph has extremely slight bumps but nothing that could be called pyramiding. I am sorry that I said what I did, you are right, he is not pyramided. In my defense, it really looks that that in your avitar. Please accept my apology, I am sincerely sorry.
 

DAC8671

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Both of you have pm's :)

I think everything got out of hand (darn posts can't put emotion to them! LOL)

My apologies to both of you, and yours have been accepted as well.

:D
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I want to apologize to the forum...I sounded a lot more snotty in my last post then I realized it was going to sound. Debbie and I have had a private conversation and I have apologized to her and now to the you, the forum. I didn't mean to sound so snotty...I am sorry.
 

DAC8671

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All is well!

I did have another question though, with the cooler temps.

We are in the process of building a shelter for him for when it rains. The shelter will be sort of like a patio for him once he comes out of his dogloo. We will be attaching a UVB light under the shelter. That's also where he will be feeding. I was thinking of putting a small pig blanket on one side of the shelter so he could still be out and get some warmth. Hopefully the food will stay on one side and off the blanket (but we all know how that goes with sullys).

Would you suggest this or not?
 

egyptiandan

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Sounds good to me Debbie :)

I need to stick my nose into more sulcata threads :D I miss all the good stuff :p No worries Maggie, your still my favorite to contradict. :D We all still love you.

Danny
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Oh jeez!!! Danny my friend... thanks ever so!!! <BEG>

DAC8671 said:
All is well!

I did have another question though, with the cooler temps.

We are in the process of building a shelter for him for when it rains. The shelter will be sort of like a patio for him once he comes out of his dogloo. We will be attaching a UVB light under the shelter. That's also where he will be feeding. I was thinking of putting a small pig blanket on one side of the shelter so he could still be out and get some warmth. Hopefully the food will stay on one side and off the blanket (but we all know how that goes with sullys).

Would you suggest this or not?



I was taught that tortoises under 20 pounds shouldn't be on a pig blanket, something about them *generally* being too young to know enough to get off the mat when they get hot and then the plastron grows deformed over time. I really don't know how true that is (I'm sure Dan would LOVE to tell me I'm wrong), but I was taught that and I have always stuck by that advice. On second thought... (Dan, tell my sister that's not true, not me)...
On the other hand, it doesn't get that cold in SoCal, so why wouldn't a basking lamp be enough?
I open the door to Bob's shed everyday here in the not so frozen North and some days he goes out and some days he stays in. On the days he ventures out he only stays out for 30 minutes or so then runs back under his light...the point of this story is that why wouldn't Ralph do the same thing? If he gets cold he'd just go back under his light???
If you do get a pig blanket be sure to get a thermostat with it so you can adjust the temperature. You want to keep it fairly low. I don't ever have to adjust Bob's now...He sleeps on it every night and it's warm to my touch...
I hope this helps, and doesn't disappoint Dan that he missed out on a mud slinging match...lol
Oh...and...it's NOT food that generally gets on the mat...<g>
 

DAC8671

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Well if it saves me some money to not get it, then I won't get it. I was going to get one and put it inside the dogloo, but he spends a lot of time on the cold side, and that's where I would've put it. I won't get it (for now). I'll just work on getting the lighting done and his "patio". Once done, I'll post some pics. Hard for me to explain what I see in my head (LOL) but I think you may already get the picture.
 
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