Hello, new sulcata tortoise owner!

Kelsoo

New Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
Hi everybody,

Just wanted to introduce myself as this forum has helped me a lot as a new sulcata owner. I'm Kelsey and my husband and I recently rescued a sulcata, Henri. He's about 30-40lbs. We don't know much about his past or the care he received as he was found walking down a road and for months no one came forward to claim him. I've read through a good amount of threads on sulcata care here as I'd like to give him the best life I can but if you have any tips feel free to let me know. He's a sweet boy and I love him so much already! He greets me every day and follows me around hoping for a treat.

20211002 092349

Thanks!
 

Attachments

  • 20211129_144505.jpg
    20211129_144505.jpg
    2.7 MB · Views: 10

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
5,976
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
Welcome, Henri looks in great shape. Where ever you are going to let him graze. If you use fertilizer or pesticides in that area stop using. You can feed him Mazuri Reptile diet 5m21. The other type of Mazuri is the LS. Most torts don't like the taste. Soak in water to soften them up a little. You can purchase a 25lb bag at a feed and seed store. If you can store in a cool dry place. Some members put it in smaller containers and store in the refrigerator. It will last a year. Feed him 25 pellets twice a week. That will give him needed vitamins. Also twice a week put a heavy pinch of calcium on his food. Use the powder calcium with no D3.
Since you live in Florida you won't need a UVB light because of the Florida sun. What area of Florida do you live in? That could determine the size of your night box.
 

Kelsoo

New Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
Welcome, Henri looks in great shape. Where ever you are going to let him graze. If you use fertilizer or pesticides in that area stop using. You can feed him Mazuri Reptile diet 5m21. The other type of Mazuri is the LS. Most torts don't like the taste. Soak in water to soften them up a little. You can purchase a 25lb bag at a feed and seed store. If you can store in a cool dry place. Some members put it in smaller containers and store in the refrigerator. It will last a year. Feed him 25 pellets twice a week. That will give him needed vitamins. Also twice a week put a heavy pinch of calcium on his food. Use the powder calcium with no D3.
Since you live in Florida you won't need a UVB light because of the Florida sun. What area of Florida do you live in? That could determine the size of your night box.
Thank you for the information! I am glad he looks good, when we first brought him home he was very inactive so we were worried but now that he has become more accustomed to us he's showing a very outgoing personality and travels all across our 1 acre yard every day.

We live in the panhandle of Florida near the coast. It doesn't get super cold but we do have at least 1 freeze a year. Right now the low temps are in the high 30s to mid 40s and the highs are in the 60s and 70s. I am working on his night box and got a zoomed reptile heat pad but am wondering if he will also need a heater. For now he comes in at night to stay in the bathroom, we built him a hideout from cardboard and he seems content, as soon as he's brought to the bathroom he goes right into it to sleep for the night.
 

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
5,976
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
I am not familiar with the zoo med mats. A lot of members use the Kane mat. They are indestructible. Search on this site for @Tom night box. 4'x4' would be fine, you will definitely need more heat then just a heat mat. A 80 watt or 2 40 watt RHP(radiant heat panel) or 2 200 watt CHE (ceramic heat emitter). The temp in the enclosure needs to stay above 80° with 80% humidity. My sully is 55lbs and if he wants he will come out into the yard. Even if it is in the 50's and sunny. He is smart enough to come in or stay in when it is to cold. Find a tub big enough for him and give him a good soak in warm water and keep the water warm. Depth of water where the carapace and plastron meet. Also have a large shallow container with water in it. I would start growing cactus, they love cactus and they have lots of moisture in them. Get them at a Latin market and make sure the cut end is completely dry and scabbed over. Just plant somewhere he can't eat them. They are good for them and helps cut down on the food bill. Hopefully the majority of the time he will graze and eat grass.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
41,903
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
For those low of temps yes he will need a heater. He also needs a basking light if your days are only 70. They need to warm themselves under a basking light that reaches 95-100 in order to digest their food.
The mazuri tortoise food is a good add in to round out any diet. Once or twice a week is fine and it can be more then 25 pellets. When I feed it to my leopards its about 2 cups of already soaked pellets. Should read 2 cups of dry pellets will be more when wet.
 
Last edited:

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
5,976
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
For those low of temps yes he will need a heater. He also needs a basking light if your days are only 70. They need to warm themselves under a basking light that reaches 95-100 in order to digest their food.
The mazuri tortoise food is a good add in to round out any diet. Once or twice a week is fine and it can be more then 25 pellets. When I feed it to my leopards its about 2 cups of already soaked pellets.
Thanks Wellington, looks like I will up Opo's mazuri amount.
 

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
5,976
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
Also find a big flat stone and place in the sun,level with the ground. That is one of the first things Opo does in the morning. Bask on the rock when temperatures are right.
 

dd33

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 22, 2018
Messages
254
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
I see some chicken wire fencing in the second picture?? Is that meant to contain him or keep him from getting at something? I don't think chicken wire would be strong enough to stop him if he wanted to get to the other side. It is important that he can't see through anything meant to contain him.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
7,073
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Welcome to the forum. That's a fantastic looking Sullie.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
56,827
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Most of this info applies to adults too:

He needs to be 80 at night and at all times have a warm retreat. For a large tortoise like this, this is best accomplished with an outdoor night box in a warm climate like yours. Here are examples:


Don't use CHEs or heat lamps over larger tortoises like yours. Use RHPs over head and Kane mats underneath, or use an oil-filled radiant heater instead.

I don't have any experience with the ZooMed mats, but I think they are okay. Kane has multiple built in safeties, I've been using them for years, and I trust them.
 

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
5,976
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
Bigger they are the more I would feed of it. As long as it's a part of their diet and not the only diet.
I give it to Opo twice a week. He is 55lbs now and over time I have just been making his servings bigger. How much would you think to feed him?
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
41,903
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I give it to Opo twice a week. He is 55lbs now and over time I have just been making his servings bigger. How much would you think to feed him?
You will have to figure that out. Is it part of that days diet or is that the diet for the day?
If adding too other foods then like a cereal bowl full.
If it's all he is getting for the day, then you will have to give him a lot more. Start with a bowl of some sort. If he eats it all then give another bowl full. Then next time just use a bigger bowl from the start.
Some days that's all they get for their food for that day. Other days I will give mazuri and greens. The days they get other foods that get less mazuri. The days they get just mazuri its about 2 cups dry weight and then soaked. They usually have some left over. If they didn't I would feed more.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
90,581
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Welcome to the Forum, Kelsey!
 

New Posts

Top