Food ideas??

Crowley1103

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My baby sulcata wouldn't eat. I read that strawberries might entice him. And it worked, but now he only wants to eat strawberries! Suggestions? I've tried to blend strawberries into a purée and add clovers and grasses to it but he spits the greens back out!
 

JoesMum

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If a tort isn't eating the first thing to check is the enclosure temperatures.

What are the 4 important temperatures? Warm side, cool side, directly under the basking lamp and overnight minimum?

Have we seen pictures of the enclosure to check it out?

I know you have only had this tort a few days, so fear may also be a reason for lack of appetite.

I suggest establishing a routine so your tort learns what to expect and when.
- Have the lights on a timer so they come on and go off at the sane time each day
- Soak your tort for at least 20 minutes first thing before it's warmed up properly (daily soaks are vital while appetite is suppressed)
- While your tort soaks, tidy the enclosure and place food.
- Replace your tort and walk away. You are big and intimidating so leave your tort completely alone to get brave and explore.

Your tort cannot process sugars properly - they cause digestive and kidney problems - so fruit, bell pepper, carrot and tomato should only be fed very sparingly and very occasionally. Try not to get your baby hooked on strawberries now; it'll cause more problems in the long run.
 

TammyJ

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You will get some very good advice here. I don't know about sulcatas much, but others here do. Read a good sulcata diet sheet! And all I can say as well is - don't be his slave. Be his owner and his Boss when it comes to what you offer him to eat!
 

Crowley1103

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If a tort isn't eating the first thing to check is the enclosure temperatures.

What are the 4 important temperatures? Warm side, cool side, directly under the basking lamp and overnight minimum?

Have we seen pictures of the enclosure to check it out?

I know you have only had this tort a few days, so fear may also be a reason for lack of appetite.

I suggest establishing a routine so your tort learns what to expect and when.
- Have the lights on a timer so they come on and go off at the sane time each day
- Soak your tort for at least 20 minutes first thing before it's warmed up properly (daily soaks are vital while appetite is suppressed)
- While your tort soaks, tidy the enclosure and place food.
- Replace your tort and walk away. You are big and intimidating so leave your tort completely alone to get brave and explore.

Your tort cannot process sugars properly - they cause digestive and kidney problems - so fruit, bell pepper, carrot and tomato should only be fed very sparingly and very occasionally. Try not to get your baby hooked on strawberries now; it'll cause more problems in the long run.
It sounds like I'm on the right track. His enclose stays stays around 80 except basking spot which is around 103. His cool spot is sometimes 77-78. He is on a very strict routine. I read about that before I got him so I started that right away. I do soak twice a day for 20 minutes. I also read not to handle them or move them around a lot when they were new to your home so I only take him out to soak for right now. He's very active and I took him to a reputable tortoise veterinarian and he has a clean bill of health for now. He just seems to be a very picky eater. I also purchased a thermostat and I've been trying to post pics but can't figure out how :(
Thursday will be 2 weeks. He's lots of work! But worth it. I just want to make sure he starts eating well!
 

Tom

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Where did you get the baby and how was it started?

I would not continue feeding it strawberry. That is likely to do more harm than good. If the baby is not eating then something is wrong. Discover the cause and fix it, and the appetite should come back, unless the problem is something that can't be fixed.

What is your night temp and how are you maintaining that?
What sort of UV bulb are you using?
What type of basking bulb?
 

Crowley1103

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Where did you get the baby and how was it started?

I would not continue feeding it strawberry. That is likely to do more harm than good. If the baby is not eating then something is wrong. Discover the cause and fix it, and the appetite should come back, unless the problem is something that can't be fixed.

What is your night temp and how are you maintaining that?
What sort of UV bulb are you using?
What type of basking bulb?
Got him from tortoise town. A breeder in New Jersey. His night temp is between 78-80. He is in an enclosed space, maintained by a thermostat that kicks his lights off and on as needed. At night the CHE bulbs are used, day time is a long 5.0 uvb bulb along with 65 watt incandescent floods. His humidity is at 80%. His substrate is cedar mulch along with organic garden soil. His hiding spot has some moist moss in it. I have a digital thermometer with probe inside his enclosure that tracks temp and humidity. I had his stool tested, no parasites. Shell looked good. But I know he can go down hill quick if his eating doesn't improve. He did eat some mazuri tortoise food this morning but not as much as I feel like he should be eating.
 

Tom

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Got him from tortoise town. A breeder in New Jersey. His night temp is between 78-80. He is in an enclosed space, maintained by a thermostat that kicks his lights off and on as needed. At night the CHE bulbs are used, day time is a long 5.0 uvb bulb along with 65 watt incandescent floods. His humidity is at 80%. His substrate is cedar mulch along with organic garden soil. His hiding spot has some moist moss in it. I have a digital thermometer with probe inside his enclosure that tracks temp and humidity. I had his stool tested, no parasites. Shell looked good. But I know he can go down hill quick if his eating doesn't improve. He did eat some mazuri tortoise food this morning but not as much as I feel like he should be eating.

I see a few possibilities:
1. Do you know how this baby was started? Did they keep it on damp substrate with a humid hide and soak it daily? Or was it in a bare tank on rabbit pellets with a red bulb? If this baby was not started correctly and damage was done, it won't matter how perfectly you house and care for it.
2. The lights need to be on all day. At least 12 hours. The "sun" shouldn't kick on and off all day. Its okay if the ambient temp climbs as high as the low 90's during the day. Just let it cool to 80 during the night. Put your lights on a timer and leave your CHE on the thermostat set to 80.
3. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. Does he ever get sunshine? He might be D3 or calcium deficient.
4. What type of 5.0 bulb? Coil type or long tube? Coil types sometimes burn their eyes. This can cause lack of appetite and lethargy sometimes. Or it can make them run around a lot trying to find a way out of the burning light.
5. Cedar is toxic and shouldn't be used. Are you sure its cedar and not cypress or fir bark?
6. I wouldn't use soil because it is messy, usually has unwanted additives, and because you can't know what sort of composted plants it is made of.

Let's eliminate as many of these possibilities as we can, and see what we have left.
 

Crowley1103

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I see a few possibilities:
1. Do you know how this baby was started? Did they keep it on damp substrate with a humid hide and soak it daily? Or was it in a bare tank on rabbit pellets with a red bulb? If this baby was not started correctly and damage was done, it won't matter how perfectly you house and care for it.
2. The lights need to be on all day. At least 12 hours. The "sun" shouldn't kick on and off all day. Its okay if the ambient temp climbs as high as the low 90's during the day. Just let it cool to 80 during the night. Put your lights on a timer and leave your CHE on the thermostat set to 80.
3. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. Does he ever get sunshine? He might be D3 or calcium deficient.
4. What type of 5.0 bulb? Coil type or long tube? Coil types sometimes burn their eyes. This can cause lack of appetite and lethargy sometimes. Or it can make them run around a lot trying to find a way out of the burning light.
5. Cedar is toxic and shouldn't be used. Are you sure its cedar and not cypress or fir bark?
6. I wouldn't use soil because it is messy, usually has unwanted additives, and because you can't know what sort of composted plants it is made of.

Let's eliminate as many of these possibilities as we can, and see what we have left.
I'm not sure how he was started. I never got to see his enclosure. The breeder did say temps should be between 70-85 with not much humidity, but that's not the temps I keep him in. As far as I know they did soak him. And I'm sorry, it is cypress mulch, not cedar. What would be the best substrate in your opinion?
My bulb is long, I don't use coil bulbs. He has got some sun but not much. I've tried to not move him around too much so he would get use to his enclosure. What bulbs do you recommend for uv??
I do use a calcium supplement with D3 in it on his food, when he eats. And I'll switch all of my lights around. I was keeping the long bulb on all day but allowing the thermostat to kick the flood lights off and on. I was only using the CHE at night. There is so much to learn. But I'll get it right eventually.
When you say if he was started wrong damage might have been done, does that mean he won't survive??
 

Tom

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I'm not sure how he was started. I never got to see his enclosure. The breeder did say temps should be between 70-85 with not much humidity, but that's not the temps I keep him in. As far as I know they did soak him. And I'm sorry, it is cypress mulch, not cedar. What would be the best substrate in your opinion?
My bulb is long, I don't use coil bulbs. He has got some sun but not much. I've tried to not move him around too much so he would get use to his enclosure. What bulbs do you recommend for uv??
I do use a calcium supplement with D3 in it on his food, when he eats. And I'll switch all of my lights around. I was keeping the long bulb on all day but allowing the thermostat to kick the flood lights off and on. I was only using the CHE at night. There is so much to learn. But I'll get it right eventually.
When you say if he was started wrong damage might have been done, does that mean he won't survive??

70-85 are definitely not the correct temps, and the breeder telling you low humidity is a bad sign. There is nothing you can do about it at this point except offer good temps and do daily soaks. Some will make it and some won't. Read this for a more thorough explanation:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/

Cypress mulch is fine, but I prefer fine grade orchid bark. All things considered, its the best I've found.

There are so many UV tubes on the market now that its hard to say. The new HO (High Output) types make a lot of UV, but they make so much that if you mount them too close and don't use a meter to check your UV levels, it could be too much. If you can get the bulb 10-12" from the tortoise then regular 10.0 type tubes can work.

You only need a tiny pinch of calcium once or twice a week. If you are doing it every day, that might be why he's not eating those foods.

Set the basking lamp and the florescent tube on the same timer. Adjust the height of the basking bulb or the wattage to get the correct temperature under your bulb, but it needs to be on all day so the tortoise can warm up properly. With the CHE on a thermostat, your temperature should never drop below 80ish, day or night.
 

Crowley1103

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70-85 are definitely not the correct temps, and the breeder telling you low humidity is a bad sign. There is nothing you can do about it at this point except offer good temps and do daily soaks. Some will make it and some won't. Read this for a more thorough explanation:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/

Cypress mulch is fine, but I prefer fine grade orchid bark. All things considered, its the best I've found.

There are so many UV tubes on the market now that its hard to say. The new HO (High Output) types make a lot of UV, but they make so much that if you mount them too close and don't use a meter to check your UV levels, it could be too much. If you can get the bulb 10-12" from the tortoise then regular 10.0 type tubes can work.

You only need a tiny pinch of calcium once or twice a week. If you are doing it every day, that might be why he's not eating those foods.

Set the basking lamp and the florescent tube on the same timer. Adjust the height of the basking bulb or the wattage to get the correct temperature under your bulb, but it needs to be on all day so the tortoise can warm up properly. With the CHE on a thermostat, your temperature should never drop below 80ish, day or night.
Thank you..... I'll make changes and see what happens!
 

JoesMum

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I was keeping the long bulb on all day but allowing the thermostat to kick the flood lights off and on. I was only using the CHE at night. There is so much to learn. But I'll get it right eventually.

Let's get the lighting straight.

The basking spot:
- must be on for 12-14 hours so your tort can raise its internal temperature whenever it needs to.
- do NOT use it with a thermostat.
- control the temperature directly underneath it by raising or lowering it until you have 35C/95-100F directly underneath

The UVB tube:
- must be on for the same 12-14 hours as the basking spot

At night, if you need additional heat, then use a CHE with a thermostat. If your the room with the enclosure in it is particularly cold then you may need to use a CHE with a thermostat by day too, but many people don't.
 
Last edited:

Crowley1103

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Let's get the lighting straight.

The basking spot:
- must be on for 12-14 hours so your tort can raise its internal temperature whenever it needs to.
- do NOT use it with a thermostat.
- control the temperature directly underneath it by raising or lowering it until you have 35C/95-100F directly underneath

The UVB tube:
- must be on for the same 12-14 hours as the basking spot

At night, if you need additional heat, then use a CHE with a thermostat. If your the room with the enclosure in it is particularly cold then you may need to use a CHE with a thermostat by day too, but many people don't.
Ok! I will get this all fixed today. Working on it now :)
 

Crowley1103

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Let's get the lighting straight.

The basking spot:
- must be on for 12-14 hours so your tort can raise its internal temperature whenever it needs to.
- do NOT use it with a thermostat.
- control the temperature directly underneath it by raising or lowering it until you have 35C/95-100F directly underneath

The UVB tube:
- must be on for the same 12-14 hours as the basking spot

At night, if you need additional heat, then use a CHE with a thermostat. If your the room with the enclosure in it is particularly cold then you may need to use a CHE with a thermostat by day too, but many people don't.
So just to be clear, my night temps should be the exact same as my day temps, but with out lights. Just using my CHE bulb on the thermostat?
 

JoesMum

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So just to be clear, my night temps should be the exact same as my day temps, but with out lights. Just using my CHE bulb on the thermostat?
Set your CHE on 80F using a thermostat and have it switched on 24/7. It will only cut in if it's actually needed.

Have your basking lamp and UVB switch on and off using a timer for 12-14 hours a day.
 

Tom

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So just to be clear, my night temps should be the exact same as my day temps, but with out lights. Just using my CHE bulb on the thermostat?

Temp should never drop below 80, but its good if ambient warms up a bit during the day. I let daytime ambient creep up to the low 90's in summer.
 

JoesMum

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That's looking pretty good :)

You do have tube UVB not compact? I don't see a tube there.

EDIT

Maybe I do in the first picture, but not the second?

Does the lid go over all of it?
 

Crowley1103

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That's looking pretty good :)

You do have tube UVB not compact? I don't see a tube there.

EDIT

Maybe I do in the first picture, but not the second?

Does the lid go over all of it?
I do have a uvb tube. 10.0
And the lid does go over all of it :)
 

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