Hello, New Sulcata baby! any tips or concerns to share?

Series420

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This is my new baby Samson the Sulcata. I am new to tortoises, but have been keeping aquatic turtles for some time.

I just picked Samson up last night, and after getting him home noticed the flake of skin or whatever you shall call it on his neck visible in the video of him eating there.. I assume like aquatic turtles they do some shedding, but this seemed worth of posting and asking the pros.


Thank you in advance!
-John
 

wellington

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The substrate is wrong, needs to be coconut coir or orchid bark and humidity of 80%.
If you show us a pic of the whole aquarium, tell us the type of bulbs you are using and heat, we can help you do things right.
 

Series420

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The substrate is wrong, needs to be coconut coir or orchid bark and humidity of 80%.
If you show us a pic of the whole aquarium, tell us the type of bulbs you are using and heat, we can help you do things right.
lighting is 75w zoomed repti basking lamp, with a ZooMed 24" uvb. on the cold side of the tank i have a 100w ceramic heat emitter running on a thermostat set to 80f.


For now the substrate is ground walnut shell i believe with some hay&grass mix at about a 65(ground walnut)/35(hay/grass) ratio
I will go get some coir tomorrow.

Thanks for the tips so far!, hope i didnt make too many other mistakes on the setup :D.
 

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Markw84

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Hi, and welcome to the forum. Unfortunately you have apparently been given all the common advice that is totally incorrect about keeping a young sulcata. Please take this as constructive criticism in the best interest of a long-term happy co-existence for you and your sulcata...

Instead of listing so many things at once, please read the threads on the sulcata care; https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/t...ulcata-leopard-or-star-tortoise.181497/unread

And this thread on common mistakes from the common advice normally given: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes-commentary.45934/

However, there are a few things you should address ASAP:

-You will find you need a much larger enclosure right away. Sulcatas need room to move. A lot of room!
-They need high humidity to grow properly and develop healthy bodies. Constant 80% plus. You simply cannot do that in an open-topped enclosure.
-The substrate is wrong. Orchid bark (Fir Bark) or Cypress Mulch is the best. Coco Coir will be too messy with a young sulcata.
-The water bowl is a flipping and drowning hazard. A clay plant saucer works best.
-The ZooMed basking bulb is a spot bulb. I strongly encourage you to change to a regular incandescent or a flood bulb. Spot bulbs intensify the IRA too much and contribute to pyramiding.
-Carrot is not a good tortoise food. Choking hazard and too much starch/sugars.

Read through the linked posts above a few times and come back with lots of questions. Your baby tortoise will be a joy in your life for a long time to come.
 

Series420

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Hi, and welcome to the forum. Unfortunately you have apparently been given all the common advice that is totally incorrect about keeping a young sulcata. Please take this as constructive criticism in the best interest of a long-term happy co-existence for you and your sulcata...

Instead of listing so many things at once, please read the threads on the sulcata care; https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/t...ulcata-leopard-or-star-tortoise.181497/unread

And this thread on common mistakes from the common advice normally given: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes-commentary.45934/

However, there are a few things you should address ASAP:

-You will find you need a much larger enclosure right away. Sulcatas need room to move. A lot of room!
-They need high humidity to grow properly and develop healthy bodies. Constant 80% plus. You simply cannot do that in an open-topped enclosure.
-The substrate is wrong. Orchid bark (Fir Bark) or Cypress Mulch is the best. Coco Coir will be too messy with a young sulcata.
-The water bowl is a flipping and drowning hazard. A clay plant saucer works best.
-The ZooMed basking bulb is a spot bulb. I strongly encourage you to change to a regular incandescent or a flood bulb. Spot bulbs intensify the IRA too much and contribute to pyramiding.
-Carrot is not a good tortoise food. Choking hazard and too much starch/sugars.

Read through the linked posts above a few times and come back with lots of questions. Your baby tortoise will be a joy in your life for a long time to come.
thank you for the welcome and for these links! getting started on reading them now. I get to work on addressing these issues ASAP.
 

wellington

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thank you for the welcome and for these links! getting started on reading them now. I get to work on addressing these issues ASAP.
Totally agree with Mark except on the coir. Packed down it's fine and holds humidity well. But any that I or Mark mentioned will work.
Definitely get the water dish out and change the spot bulb to an incandescent flood but.
 

Markw84

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Totally agree with Mark except on the coir. Packed down it's fine and holds humidity well. But any that I or Mark mentioned will work.
Definitely get the water dish out and change the spot bulb to an incandescent flood but.
IF you ever try to raise a baby sulcata on coir I think you will change your mind. They are very active and incessant diggers. It will fill the water bowl and food dish.
 

Megatron's Mom

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Welcome to the forum. Your little guy will blow your mind how fast he will grow. Mine is 1 1/2 yrs old and already 5lbs and 9 inches. This amazing group of ppl here are awesome. They answered so many questions of mine and helped me so much. Don't worry about information overload just take it step by step. If you have the room get a raised garden bed with greenhouse. They come in all sorts of sizes on Amazon and will work until he's ready for outside.

Something like this and go as big as you can fit.
https://www.amazon.com/sspa/click?i...9uZV9zZWFyY2hfYXRm&psc=1&tag=exoticpetnetw-20
 

wellington

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IF you ever try to raise a baby sulcata on coir I think you will change your mind. They are very active and incessant diggers. It will fill the water bowl and food dish.
No, I did leopards though. Yes it was still messy, but I like it better. No stick poking. Also, with some tweaking, it can be limited
 

Series420

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Welcome to the forum. Your little guy will blow your mind how fast he will grow. Mine is 1 1/2 yrs old and already 5lbs and 9 inches. This amazing group of ppl here are awesome. They answered so many questions of mine and helped me so much. Don't worry about information overload just take it step by step. If you have the room get a raised garden bed with greenhouse. They come in all sorts of sizes on Amazon and will work until he's ready for outside.

Something like this and go as big as you can fit.
https://www.amazon.com/sspa/click?ie=UTF8&spc=MTo5MTc4MTE2MjY2MTMxNzg6MTcxODIzODE5MjpzcF9waG9uZV9zZWFyY2hfYXRmOjMwMDE3MTA4MDkwMTMwMjo6MDo6&url=/ANCOUUIN-Raised-Garden-Bed-Greenhouse/dp/B0CR1C2ZTB/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_sspa?crid=1092VIYNK15A8&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.9NCx5W0EszhunHD46sXTnFHtmNChd6CfWkLv1n-uuzesUFez3XlKSAYdcWw-w3UXF15xGcU7OCwVsKRDSmeyKXMAf-EabrE4FVecn48bAL3JRxLsOxd3OtgEv0i_BhqDAZAu3R47jgn7Uw6PgEKp66BKiZ6hv0pb0dS2p4r27gwaFvB7VQAI79ScMgqlgzRkbFSU9Yg3xfQEutnV26kc7g.BA5hSFqAjTlFpAURCP0X3W-9zUs2geLYraSLdRXOD24&dib_tag=se&keywords=raised+garden+with+greenhouse&qid=1718238192&sprefix=raised+garden+with+gree%2Caps%2C1427&sr=8-1-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9waG9uZV9zZWFyY2hfYXRm&psc=1&tag=exoticpetnetw-20
great idea, sure wish the guys at the local store wouldve recommended something like this!
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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great idea, sure wish the guys at the local store wouldve recommended something like this!
It would mess up their business plan lol, make a sale, you come back saying it’s not good enough, they get to sell you more crap and the cycle continues.
They rarely care about the long term well being of the animals they’re selling, even if they do, most stores are unfortunately following outdated/incorrect information😕
Glad you’ve made your way here🙂
 

Series420

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It would mess up their business plan lol, make a sale, you come back saying it’s not good enough, they get to sell you more crap and the cycle continues.
They rarely care about the long term well being of the animals they’re selling, even if they do, most stores are unfortunately following outdated/incorrect information😕
Glad you’ve made your way here🙂
Thank you! I sure am glad I found this group before I made any mistakes or worse put the lil guy at risk. Ive now gotten pretty much everything ordered to arrive tomorrow to do this the right way. Going to a 8x4 enclosure with orchid bark and a couple floods for heat instead of the spot lights. removed all the hazards from his tank until all the supplies arrive.


Thanks to everyone for sharing their knowledge. Stoked to watch this lil guy grow.
 

ryan57

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great idea, sure wish the guys at the local store wouldve recommended something like this!
Wellington often suggests the greenhouse which does work awesome. I have 2 of them. I also definitely agree with the think large mentality. I have two sulcatas. One will be about 2lbs @ 1 year on August 1 and is 5 1/2" long. The other... yeah. 2 years 3 months, 38lbs. and about 18" long. 2 years... I thought I would have much more time to ponder things. I didn't.

You will change rigs many times during the quick journey most likely ending in an outdoor heated box for your giant. Or in Detroit... maybe a heated 100' x 50' barn?
 

Series420

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Large heated pole barn,
Wellington often suggests the greenhouse which does work awesome. I have 2 of them. I also definitely agree with the think large mentality. I have two sulcatas. One will be about 2lbs @ 1 year on August 1 and is 5 1/2" long. The other... yeah. 2 years 3 months, 38lbs. and about 18" long. 2 years... I thought I would have much more time to ponder things. I didn't.

You will change rigs many times during the quick journey most likely ending in an outdoor heated box for your giant. Or in Detroit... maybe a heated 100' x 50' barn?I'd love to see some pics!
Yeah he's got good sized polebarn to look forward to
 

ryan57

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Large heated pole barn,
That's living the good life. Now I will tell you one thing for sure, after about 1 year, sometimes even when it's cold they'll want to go out and eat grass. I use a thinsulate jacket and a carhartt gaiter that I modified to keep body temp above 80 degrees at all times. Sometimes my big one goes out in the 30's/40's but his carapace and core temp remains in the 80's. They sleep 16+ hours a day anyway so that can be a small space that you heat for 16 hours and then the large space when yours wants to roam.

There are 61 videos on the channel. At the end of this one you can see how big he is at 2 years 3 months.

 

Series420

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That's living the good life. Now I will tell you one thing for sure, after about 1 year, sometimes even when it's cold they'll want to go out and eat grass. I use a thinsulate jacket and a carhartt gaiter that I modified to keep body temp above 80 degrees at all times. Sometimes my big one goes out in the 30's/40's but his carapace and core temp remains in the 80's. They sleep 16+ hours a day anyway so that can be a small space that you heat for 16 hours and then the large space when yours wants to roam.

There are 61 videos on the channel. At the end of this one you can see how big he is at 2 years 3 months.

wow this dude is loving life. very impressed by the care you provide in the video. gives me something to aspire to.
 

Tom

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IF you ever try to raise a baby sulcata on coir I think you will change your mind. They are very active and incessant diggers. It will fill the water bowl and food dish.
Agreed.
 

Tom

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wow this dude is loving life. very impressed by the care you provide in the video. gives me something to aspire to.
Hello and welcome. More info here. Look for the sulcata care sheet near the bottom:

Questions and conversation are welcome.
 
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