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Darwin is a growing boy, which has raised a couple questions

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by MaggieofNarnia, Feb 16, 2013.

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  1. MaggieofNarnia

    MaggieofNarnia Member

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    So Darwin is growing quite quickly, but I have few questions.
    His plastron is over two inches long now, and there is some obvious growth on his shell. I had a little bit of pyramiding but was able to head it off pretty quickly an any recent growth is pretty good. My main question though is I know that at one point I can quit simulating his moist and humid environment, but at what age should I do this?
    Also, has anyone had any issues with allergies and peat moss? The past few weeks my arms have been breaking out and the other days my eyes started to swell. I know it is made out of moss, which can hold allergens. I lit up like a christmas tree when they tested for my allergies, too and I know I'm very allergic to a lot of stuff. I'm also afraid mold may be growing in the soil causing my allergies.
    One last question regarding the substrate. Today I noticed small bugs crawling around in the plant I have in the cage and just a couple in the substrate itself. They seem to be small gnats which use mold as a means of reproduction, but there is no obvious mold in the tank. I could be wrong on the species of insect as well. I am getting new peat moss ASAP, but is this a problem any of you have had to face? I know my area of the USA is especially icky with bugs and sometimes its hard to get rid of them. I'm also afraid of a return of the bugs as well.
  2. Dizisdalife

    Dizisdalife Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I believe that I read somewhere on this forum that when they get to be about 8 inches that the danger of pyramiding is over. When my sulcata was 4 1/2 to 5 inches I started putting him in an outdoor pen all day. He still got a soak every day and sprayed during the day. He also had a humid hide in the outdoor pen that he used a lot. At night he was returned to the "closed chamber", high humidity environment that he had been kept in since he came to stay with me. This was continued until he was about 10 inches. Since then he has been outside 24/7. My sulcata came to me with some pyramiding. As soon as I got a closed chamber, high humidity environment for him the new growth started coming in smooth. His carapace has continued to come in smooth since then.
  3. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    A tort should, in my opinion, always have a warm humid spot to go to when they feel the need....but I also believe that they should always have someplace to go to that allows them the option to completely dry out--also, as they desire....

    The fluffy moss will likely spark your allergies, have you tried the finely processed soil texture of the peat moss? less dust AFTER it has been dampened a little and pressed firmly into the enclosure....:D

    The little bugs you refer to are likely spring tails....they are a bug that offers its services in the form of decomposing dead material or left over food particles....they will not harm you nor your tort...just a little irritating to us humans....lol
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I agree with Joe and Angela.
  5. MaggieofNarnia

    MaggieofNarnia Member

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    Thanks guys! This helped a lot. Darwin has hit a huge growth spurt and suddenly grew a lot here the past couple of weeks. He's becoming much more active as well. I'm hoping to be able to take him over to the Biology department soon and have him weighed, but I want to be careful because it's been int he 20s here for the past couple of weeks and I don't want him getting too cold on the trip over.
  6. Dizisdalife

    Dizisdalife Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Don't take him out in the cold. He is too small to retain heat for any length of time. Wait until you have some days in the high 60's. They are coming soon. As for the gnats, I did have those from time to time. When I could see them crawling around in the substrate I would take it all out and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Some folks put it in the freezer.
  7. MaggieofNarnia

    MaggieofNarnia Member

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    I haven't taken him out in the cold at all. I know he probably wouldn't last too long out there like that and even when we get to the building he probably wouldn't warm up too much without a heat lamp. I'm eagerly awaiting those warmer days when I can open my windows and take him outside!
    I unfortunately don't have access to a freezer or an over here. After doing some research is seems as if it is more likely that they are spring tails. I'll be able to get home soon and I'll take his enclosure to get some more peat moss and take care of everything.
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