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For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata...

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by Tom, Aug 7, 2013.

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  1. Sandy Murrieta

    Sandy Murrieta Member

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    Thank you Tom. Yesterday I found myself through many rabbit holes in this forum. I'm trying to gain as much knowledge on my new CDT before he comes to live with me at the end of this month. Maybe you could direct me to some good links that works for my tortoises. This year for hibernation he's going to be in my garage but I'd like to have him doing it naturally next year. I saw some of your tortoise homes (Unsure of the correct name) I liked them. You heat their box, keeping a constant temp. I've googled homes and preparing for hibernation with a CDT. I found a cinder block example underground (seems that's in case of flooding?) I'm a bit confused and I'm hoping you can help me. Should I look into heating since I have cold nights? What about the winter, do you think it's too cold to have him burrow outside? The desert can get much colder and the wild ones don't have heaters, lol
    I live in Murrieta, our weather is close to desert type weather. Hot in the day and cold in the evenings. Summer can start as early as spring but the evening drop below 40's, frost, blowing smoke its cold, we've even had snow. If he's outside either still in hibernation or now coming out should I duplicate your box with the mini heater? I ask this because with my Google searches I've not seen heat with those burrows.
    I began this forum search yesterday looking to see if I needed to transplant my star jasmine. Some sites don't list jasmine as bad then others do. Your list showed it as bad and I'm going to trust you. Luckily I've not done much with my back yard so it will be perfect for him. Lots of weeds!!! I did plant grape vines a few years ago, that seems to be ok for him. I've got a few plumeria plants, not sure but I think those are fine. I just looked up this flower I've got that is so hardy I love it. I believe it's a canna tropicanna. It is a year long foliage with flowers annually it acts as cover for my air conditioner and I can't seem to kill it, I kill everything, lol What I just found was it's not harmful to cats, dogs or humans. Then I have some different cactus's.
    My plan is to plant Hibiscus and weed seed so he'll have have weeds to chomp on. I'm also going to plant honey suckle in between my grape vines for the humming birds and beauty with the vines are dormant. It will also give some privacy, I'm hoping.
    If the plants seem to be fine, give me a thumbs up. Suggestions are welcome and wanted.
    I'm confused about his burrows, would love you to address my concerns, thanks for any help you can give!
    Sandy
  2. CEvans

    CEvans New Member

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    I just adopted a sulcata from a neighbor. They had a patio home and therefore fed him mostly store greens. They did not have a big yard either. Now my guy (Buzz Lightyear) has a big yard (1/4 acre lot) with a lot of bushes (rose, honey suckle, etc..) and a big grassy area. He can stretch his legs now and boy does he. From one end of the yard and back. I have given him some store bought greens like romaine but I was told that the grass should be more than enough. So thank you for posting what you did. Are there some things he should not eat (potatoes, tomatoes, fruits etc..) I am working on a watering hole for him. Right now he gets a soak by me with a watering can in the evening when he comes out of his hiddy hole he found under the bougainvillea. In the morning when the sun is up I water the lawn and he is usually in the middle or walks right through it.
    Also someone posted on another thread that I cannot reply to that they should not sleep out in the open at night. So every night I hang out with him until it gets really dark. He has stopped right in the middle of the lawn and plunks down and gives off a big yawn and stops moving. Out in the open. So I did turn off the lawn watering for middle of the night to keep him from getting too cold. I do have a shelter on the patio built for him to use when the dessert temps at night get cold but he has yet to explore it or be thrilled by it. Any thoughts comments suggestion are appreciated.
    cpgfarms likes this.
  3. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Greetings,

    Check this link out regarding a perfect heated nightbox for your Sulcata
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/my-best-night-box-design-yet.66867/
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I don't know about the toxicity of plumeria, but jasmine is toxic and tortoises have died from eating it.

    No tortoise should be hibernated outside. Mother Nature is a cruel mistress, and many tortoises die this way. Many die in the wild too, so I would not use that as your benchmark. Further, a shallow burrow in your back yard, is not the wild.

    Read this for hibernation tips. I break it down around post number 19:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/looking-for-an-rt-hibernation-mentor.128790/
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    The first post in this thread offers lots of suggestion about what to feed. Most grocery store type foods are not on the list for good reason.

    They need a temperature controlled shelter to sleep in. When they are moved to a new territory, they don't typically know where their new "burrow" (Referring to the shelters we make here…), so we have to show them. Your tortoise needs a heated night box, and you need to put it in there every night at dusk or after, until it learns to go in on its own. They should not sleep out in the open above ground. The temperature extremes are not good for them, and as we move into fall, respiratory infection or death become ever more likely.

    Here is my best box for a single sulcata:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/

    Here is another larger one:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/my-best-night-box-design-yet.66867/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/double-door-night-box.129054/

    I've tried and tried to find an easier way to do this, but haven't found anything that works. Dog houses, Dogloos, sheds, and deck boxes just don't work well even with substantial modification. These boxes with these dimension are the product of years of trial and error and experimentation. They are designed for tortoises and suit tortoise needs perfectly.
    AZtortMom and ALDABRAMAN like this.
  6. MyTensJMR

    MyTensJMR New Member

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    I am an extremely wet behind the ears sulcata owner. Doug’s gotcha day was October 2nd.. I have some expierence with snakes and dragons but it’s been a while.
    Unfortunately while doing my research on sulcata’s I was wildly uninformed on how to take care of my baby. The info I had was for older tortoises.
    I am so thankful I joined (last night), I had issues with my little guy an you guys provided all the answers I needed.
    Changa likes this.
  7. MyTensJMR

    MyTensJMR New Member

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    Tom I really hope your around cause I was up until 3am reading your threads.
    With so much info coming in the one thing I know I have to do is build him an enclosure. Which I am in the process of grabbing wood from my garage to start.
    With the space I have I’m looking to build a 3ft*4ft 20 inch high enclosure. Going with your suggestions on fully enclosed.
    Now I live in New York, so winters are long. I’m going to house his enclosure in a walk-in closet..
    Is there any aspect of this build I should focus on due to where I live an the length in which Doug will be spending in it??
    Kristy1970 likes this.
  8. Conseabass

    Conseabass New Member

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    Thank you so much for spending the time and effort of writing such a very helpful guide. This has been the best and most comprehensive guide I’ve seen yet. Our “Mr.T” lives outside and he mows our grasses and weeds. He has grown so fast. Your guide just expanded his menu for sure. Thanks Again!!
  9. kalei01

    kalei01 Active Member Today is my birthday!

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    How do you know if you are feeding your tortoise enough
  10. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    If you feed them a big pile in the morning and they have a little left over by the end of the day, you’re feeding enough. They should have food available all day.
  11. kalei01

    kalei01 Active Member Today is my birthday!

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    Okay when I feed them in evening 10 minutes later the plate is practically licked clean and plus I put greens in there in morning yesterday i put a handful of dandelion greens from yard and it was all gone a few minutes later
  12. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    They can eat a lot. Time to start putting out ever larger piles of food. Also sounds like its about time to start adding some grass or grass hay for bulk.
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  13. kalei01

    kalei01 Active Member Today is my birthday!

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    I tried those horse cubes or bermuda/alpha alpha cubes and wasnt interested in it
  14. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    No tortoise is interested in new foods. Its takes time and technique to introduce anything new, especially something dried up and coarse.

    I would do two different things:
    1. Soak a cube and feed every meal on top of a bed of the rehydrated shredded grass hay from the soaked cube.
    2. Mix in tiny amounts of rehydrated shredded grass hay in with your tortoise's favorite foods. Over time, up the ratio of new food to old, but start with a tiny tiny small amount to get them used to it.
    Once your tortoise get a bit larger, grass hay and everything else will be hoovered up and you'll be astounded daily at how much food they can make disappear.
    Changa likes this.
  15. Changa

    Changa Active Member

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    BCEEAB69-A2D8-407C-A3FB-3FB5AE910622.jpeg
    Is this grass good to eat for little one I’m in front of my niece front yard I’ll get out scissors right now!
  16. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Do they treat the grass with any chemicals?
  17. Changa

    Changa Active Member

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    Not sure better not. Distant think the scissor go back in drawer
  18. Changa

    Changa Active Member

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    And don’t see anybody maintance)to ask
  19. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I wouldn't trust it even if they told me there was nothing on it.

    You'll need to buy those little plots from the pet store of sprouted wheat grass, or grow your own.
    Changa likes this.
  20. MissTerraFirma

    MissTerraFirma New Member

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    This was really helpful. I can't tell you how many sites I have been on that all gave me different lists of foods! I especially love that you wrote a list for babies. My little one is only four months old and I want to provide the best diet. Thank you!
    Changa likes this.
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