Help narrowing down Leopard Tort

Hottrodk10

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Citra, Florida
Hi! First time posting so be gentle please, Lol.... Here goes- I(we) have a 5(ish) "Sulcata" that as I found out yesterday is actually a "Leopard" - anybody have a guess as to a "PP" or "PB" or a Hybrid? I've done a lot of reading since getting back from the vet & although it doesn't Matter, I'm curious. Also would love any input. I got him 3 yrs ago from a lady I farm sat for(she had two siblings & she thought they were trying to breed, I think one was starting to bully the other) & she had gotten them as babies. Sheldon was 2 yrs old when I got him & all I know about his upbringing was they fed them Romaine lettuce- I'm a little OCD so I researched to find out they need Much more than Romaine! He does have some pyramiding but the vet said overall he looks good & healthy(I took him in because Thursday morning he was whistling when breathing which scared me) the vet did give him antibiotics because while he said his URT was fine, he did have a slight discharge out of his eyes :/). I do have a question concerning the humidity because the vet said I may have it Too humid? & this forum seems to say opposite? He has a pen outside where he has lived weather permitting since I got him & we bring him in the house (tote box inside bathtub with St Augustine grass, UV/heat lamp, Ceramic nighttime bulb, humidifier, in spare bathroom that I try to keep at least mid to upper 80's/70% hum.) when its cool/rainy. He eats Bok Choy, dandelions(leaves/flowers, hibiscus(leaves/flowers), grass(finely chopped), milk thistle & aloe vera. I'm trying to grow spineless prickly pear for him now. I've tried to get him to eat the Mazuri but he doesn't care for it. I have to mash it up on top of his salad. Should I still be soaking him at this age? He has a small "pond" with a mister over top & a water pan in the pen that he walks through. He has tall grass, Gardenia bushes, & Hibiscus in the pen & I would love ideas on what else to plant! We are currently building him an outside habitat with room attached so he doesn't have to be stuck in the bathroom(not enough room for him to move). He eats a bowl the size of his body almost every day without fail & while he seems to want to hide in small enclosures, he Runs when I let him out to wander around (eventually he will have approx. 1/8-1/4 acre pasture to himself), climbing over trees, rocks, Anything in his way Lol- he's a Trip! & I want him to live a long, healthy, & Happy life :) - so any help will be greatly appreciated! (ie. does he need a friend? do they prefer to be alone? everybody seems to have a different opinion...)


sheldon april 2020 top.jpg sheldon april 2020 measure.jpg
 

Tom

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Its highly unlikely that someone would lose a pure PP, but certainly possible. There are so many hybrids that going by appearance alone is difficult. Really, any leopard that is not a known pure PP from a reliable source, is a hybrid. We've been mixing all the different types since the 60s. Whatever it is, you have a handsome tortoise there, and all leopards are great.

Most vets know very little about tortoise care, so be careful. Many of them follow a handbook in the back and do more harm than good.

They tolerate humidity just fine as long as temps are kept warm. I wouldn't let the sleeping quarters drop below 80 in FL. In your climate, I don't think you need to worry about adding any humidity in an outdoor enclosure. Indoors yes, but keep it warm day and night.

Letting the tortoise run loose is a disaster waiting to happen. Make a large enclosure for the tortoise with constant access to shade and sun. Much safer this way. And if you or a neighbor have a dog, keep them apart. Dogs are tortoise killers. Beware of visiting friends and family with their dogs too. No one thinks they dog would ever chew on their tortoise, until its too late and they realize they were wrong.

Gardenia is toxic. Block access to that or remove it.

Hibiscus leaves and flowers are great tortoise food.

Here is an example of a night box design that would work. You can go half this size for a single tortoise:

 

Hottrodk10

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Joined
Nov 28, 2017
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6
Location (City and/or State)
Citra, Florida
Its highly unlikely that someone would lose a pure PP, but certainly possible. There are so many hybrids that going by appearance alone is difficult. Really, any leopard that is not a known pure PP from a reliable source, is a hybrid. We've been mixing all the different types since the 60s. Whatever it is, you have a handsome tortoise there, and all leopards are great.

Most vets know very little about tortoise care, so be careful. Many of them follow a handbook in the back and do more harm than good.

They tolerate humidity just fine as long as temps are kept warm. I wouldn't let the sleeping quarters drop below 80 in FL. In your climate, I don't think you need to worry about adding any humidity in an outdoor enclosure. Indoors yes, but keep it warm day and night.

Letting the tortoise run loose is a disaster waiting to happen. Make a large enclosure for the tortoise with constant access to shade and sun. Much safer this way. And if you or a neighbor have a dog, keep them apart. Dogs are tortoise killers. Beware of visiting friends and family with their dogs too. No one thinks they dog would ever chew on their tortoise, until its too late and they realize they were wrong.

Gardenia is toxic. Block access to that or remove it.

Hibiscus leaves and flowers are great tortoise food.

Here is an example of a night box design that would work. You can go half this size for a single tortoise:

Thank You! I think he's beautiful & quite the character :)

Oh I don't let him run unattended! only supervised walks around the pasture because it isn't tortoise proof yet but he loves to explore & I love to watch him, he checks everything out like a toddler :) . I will remove the Gardenia's immediately! I planted them because when I thought he was a Sulcata I read somewhere(different website) that they were ok :( thankfully all he's ever seem to do is hide under them-- I've found so much opposing info that I've been trying to find someone local that has healthy ones willing to talk to me. Too funny about the night box-- Yours is the one I used for an example! That's what we're building Inside the room for his night box and the rest of the room (3'x9'x6') for his "indoor, outdoor" winter habitat. It will be connected to his 16'x24' outdoor run (old horse run renovated for Sheldon when we got him) by a closable sliding door between the (insulated) inside and outdoors. The floor is insulated and covered with linoleum. Should I put a substrate on top of the linoleum? & if so what would you suggest? What humidifier would you suggest? I've been trying to find one made in the USA but am not having any luck so I guess I'm stuck with China :/ -- I have a programmable dog house heater for the "hide box" (do I need another one for the "outside/inside" room? or would the UV/Heat lamp and Ceramic night time heat lamp work?) which is 3'x3'x2' (we thought we were making one for a Sulcata at the time. What kind of substrate (if any) for the hide? I have a remote temp/humidity weather station so I can know exactly what it is at all times. I take it from your answer to me on your feed that he doesn't need a friend- Rodney was just worried the might be lonely after watching Camp Kenan & he has a bunch housed together(large area, don't know if that makes a difference? He's very friendly, eats out of your hands, follows me around when he thinks its dinner time( am I feeding him an ok amount?) and are there other flowering shrubs I can plant for him to browse on? He loves to munch on his Aloe. Also, should we build a pond deep enough for him to swim in? I didn't think they could but saw a video today of someones Leo actually Swimming! walked in the pond and swam to a rock to bask. And should I still be soaking him weekly just to be safe? I know he drinks because he pees but like I said he is slightly pyramided. And he seems to have No interest in sunbathing, only wants to hide in the grass or shrubs- should I worry about him getting enough UV rays? I grew what was sold to me as "Sulcata" pasture mix last spring and I never really saw him eating it- not saying he wasn't when I wasn't looking but..... I try to trick him into eating grass by chopping up handfuls with his meals to try & get him used to the taste/texture. As far as the hiding- his paddock doesn't presently have a wire top over it (I'm always here watching if he's out) could the lack of top be making him hide as much as he does? His previous owners had them out in the same type of enclosure other than it had very little sun, mostly shade. And when he's out wandering he's not worried about what's above him? & as far as the "whistling whilst breathing" if its not a URI any idea what it could be? it does sound just like the noise they make when they pull their heads into their shells when startled. I just like to nip health issues in the bud asap. Unfortunately for the first winter I had him going by what Jill told me & something I read on Google I let him stay out if it stayed above 65 degrees so I unintentionally let him get too cold a couple of times that winter :( He did have a hide box but it wasn't heated :/ - didn't seem to affect him but I feel horrible about it.
Approximately how big (size/weight) should he be for a 5yr old? is he close? Vet said he weighed between 5-6# and from the pics he's between 10-12" long and 6-7" wide(wider in rear than front) I don't know if his size is directly related to my lack of knowledge/misinformation but he while he has grown over the last 3 yrs, it doesn't seem like as much as it should be?
Thank you so much for your help. I greatly appreciate it :)
Angie
 

Tom

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Oh boy... How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...
  1. Everyone supervises when the are walking loose. Accidents still happen. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually it will be like: "He was right there and I just turned my head for one second to __________, and he was gone!" They have a way of disappearing that seems to defy logic. It is a gut wrenching sickening feeling when it happens. I try to warn people so they don't have to learn this one the hard way. Don't let him run loose anymore.
  2. Gardenias are toxic to sulcatas and all other animals too. I love them. I grew up in a city named Gardena, and we had Gardenias, and I love the smell of them to this day.
  3. I don't think I would put substrate down in an entire room.
  4. I would suggest you don't use a humidifier. Especially not in Florida.
  5. You can house a group of them if you wanted to, but you don't need to, and they don't want other tortoises around. They will tolerate them, but don't want them.
  6. Kamp Kenan makes nice looking videos, but that is not a good place to get info.
  7. I'd have to see all these housing ideas to determine what substrate if any is needed. I'm not following the indoor, outdoor, room, hide etc...
  8. They should eat as much of the right foods as they want every day. There is a list of the right foods if you skip the text and scroll down: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
  9. Lots and lots of flowering shrubs will grow for you in FL. Hibiscus, honeysuckle, lavatera, Cape honeysuckle...
  10. Programmable dog house heater? You'd have to show me what it is for me to share an opinion on its safety or effectiveness.
  11. I wouldn't give him a pond deep enough to swim in, but a shallow pond to sit in would be great.
  12. I would soak two or three times a week. More won't hurt, but it isn't really necessary either.
  13. Its normal for them to stay out of the sun when they are already warm enough. They usually prefer dappled sunlight anyway and their shell is perfect camouflage for dappled shade/sun.
  14. You don't need to worry about UV for a tortoise that lives outside with sun access on a regular basis.
  15. Regular leopards aren't that into eating a lot of grass in most cases. I wouldn't worry about that. Feed him other stuff instead.
  16. The whistling noise could be something stuck in a nostril, or it could be the start of a RI. Keep this tortoise warm day and night. Not below 80.
  17. They all grow at different rates and for a wide variety of reasons. I wouldn't worry about his size.
Whew! Made it all the way through! :)
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, Angie, and welcome to the Forum!

I really enjoyed reading your story.
 

Hottrodk10

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Lol, Thank you -- I Know, I'm a Lot to handle ;P
I do appreciate all the info. When I say I'm on top of him the whole time he's taking his walks- I mean I'M ON TOP OF HIM lol, never look away-I literally walk right next to him, like I'm walking a chihuahua- I learned that lesson right off- Tortoises are NOT slow lol -- hence my hubbie is not allowed to "walk" him- his pond is shallow, he can walk all the way thru the middle no problem.
The heater is from Amazon I planned to use it in the same fashion as you have your radiating oil heater (Climatesafe 200w electric dog house heater with 3 fan settings-pic attached). The "room" isn't finished- we started & had to foster a friends dogs for a few weeks so it got "repurposed" & tortoise work halted for the time- time to get back to it. the pic with the linoleum is the "winter outdoor" side (3x9x6), we're in Florida but not south FL so it gets well below his 80degrees in the winter & I wanted him to have space to move around (he does Not like being in the tote) when he cant be truly outside, we're going to hang a UV/heat lamp & a night time heat lamp in this side & were going to humidify it in the wintertime - we're gonna put a guillotine door in the opening to close it when its cold & so it can be open for him to come & go as he pleases when its summer. the "hide box" floor is shown in the other pic(3x3x2). we made it like yours(other than ours isn't stand alone) we just have to put the lid and front w/door on it (and obviously the heater "box") we are going to run all electrical wiring up and out the top to my side of the (rest of )room (it was a 12x12 stall). all walls/floor are insulated. his winter "room" opens up into his outdoor run(16'x 24') that has grass (Gardenias are coming out in a minute!) aloe vera & hibiscus along with his concrete "pond" with a mister above (that we have to reconfigure because its a pain to clean) he also has a water dish that he can walk through. I'm going to get him some more plants (he has 3 more hibiscus I have to plant was just waiting on the weather) & I was going to get him some Lemon grass to hide in. Obviously the kennel panels will be removed (they were temporary for the foster dogs).
Thanks again for all your input- much appreciated!
Angie (Sheldon's Mom)

sheldon room1.jpg sheldons room1.jpg sheldons pen.jpg sheldons heater.jpg
 

Markw84

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Gardenia is toxic. Block access to that or remove it.
@Tom - do you have any information about this? Everything I have seen other than the tortoise table warning is that gardenias are non-toxic and safe.
Calif Poison Control list of toxic plants list as totally safe
This is from SF Gate a fairly good gardening and DIY site:

Go Ahead and Grow Gardenia

Gardenias are not poisonous. Like other plants, though, they should still be cultivated cautiously around small children, as plant parts may present choking hazards. Sensitive or allergic individuals may also experience a reaction to contact with the plant, so it is a good idea to wear gloves when working extensively with a gardenia.
 

Tom

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@Tom - do you have any information about this? Everything I have seen other than the tortoise table warning is that gardenias are non-toxic and safe.
Calif Poison Control list of toxic plants list as totally safe
This is from SF Gate a fairly good gardening and DIY site:

Go Ahead and Grow Gardenia

Gardenias are not poisonous. Like other plants, though, they should still be cultivated cautiously around small children, as plant parts may present choking hazards. Sensitive or allergic individuals may also experience a reaction to contact with the plant, so it is a good idea to wear gloves when working extensively with a gardenia.
I found these when I searched for "Gardenia toxicity":




I learned these were toxic back in my iguana keeping days in the early 90s...
 

wellington

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You have found the right place to get all the help you need. Some of the most knowledgeable have responded to this post in Tom, Yvonne and Mark. We have many that can help you with any problem.
Welcome and search no more. Well except for on here.
 

Sa Ga

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649
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MN
Hi! First time posting so be gentle please, Lol.... Here goes- I(we) have a 5(ish) "Sulcata" that as I found out yesterday is actually a "Leopard" - anybody have a guess as to a "PP" or "PB" or a Hybrid? I've done a lot of reading since getting back from the vet & although it doesn't Matter, I'm curious. Also would love any input. I got him 3 yrs ago from a lady I farm sat for(she had two siblings & she thought they were trying to breed, I think one was starting to bully the other) & she had gotten them as babies. Sheldon was 2 yrs old when I got him & all I know about his upbringing was they fed them Romaine lettuce- I'm a little OCD so I researched to find out they need Much more than Romaine! He does have some pyramiding but the vet said overall he looks good & healthy(I took him in because Thursday morning he was whistling when breathing which scared me) the vet did give him antibiotics because while he said his URT was fine, he did have a slight discharge out of his eyes :/). I do have a question concerning the humidity because the vet said I may have it Too humid? & this forum seems to say opposite? He has a pen outside where he has lived weather permitting since I got him & we bring him in the house (tote box inside bathtub with St Augustine grass, UV/heat lamp, Ceramic nighttime bulb, humidifier, in spare bathroom that I try to keep at least mid to upper 80's/70% hum.) when its cool/rainy. He eats Bok Choy, dandelions(leaves/flowers, hibiscus(leaves/flowers), grass(finely chopped), milk thistle & aloe vera. I'm trying to grow spineless prickly pear for him now. I've tried to get him to eat the Mazuri but he doesn't care for it. I have to mash it up on top of his salad. Should I still be soaking him at this age? He has a small "pond" with a mister over top & a water pan in the pen that he walks through. He has tall grass, Gardenia bushes, & Hibiscus in the pen & I would love ideas on what else to plant! We are currently building him an outside habitat with room attached so he doesn't have to be stuck in the bathroom(not enough room for him to move). He eats a bowl the size of his body almost every day without fail & while he seems to want to hide in small enclosures, he Runs when I let him out to wander around (eventually he will have approx. 1/8-1/4 acre pasture to himself), climbing over trees, rocks, Anything in his way Lol- he's a Trip! & I want him to live a long, healthy, & Happy life :) - so any help will be greatly appreciated! (ie. does he need a friend? do they prefer to be alone? everybody seems to have a different opinion...)


View attachment 291478 View attachment 291479
He's GORGEOUS!
 

Sa Ga

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649
Location (City and/or State)
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Lol, Thank you -- I Know, I'm a Lot to handle ;P
I do appreciate all the info. When I say I'm on top of him the whole time he's taking his walks- I mean I'M ON TOP OF HIM lol, never look away-I literally walk right next to him, like I'm walking a chihuahua- I learned that lesson right off- Tortoises are NOT slow lol -- hence my hubbie is not allowed to "walk" him- his pond is shallow, he can walk all the way thru the middle no problem.
The heater is from Amazon I planned to use it in the same fashion as you have your radiating oil heater (Climatesafe 200w electric dog house heater with 3 fan settings-pic attached). The "room" isn't finished- we started & had to foster a friends dogs for a few weeks so it got "repurposed" & tortoise work halted for the time- time to get back to it. the pic with the linoleum is the "winter outdoor" side (3x9x6), we're in Florida but not south FL so it gets well below his 80degrees in the winter & I wanted him to have space to move around (he does Not like being in the tote) when he cant be truly outside, we're going to hang a UV/heat lamp & a night time heat lamp in this side & were going to humidify it in the wintertime - we're gonna put a guillotine door in the opening to close it when its cold & so it can be open for him to come & go as he pleases when its summer. the "hide box" floor is shown in the other pic(3x3x2). we made it like yours(other than ours isn't stand alone) we just have to put the lid and front w/door on it (and obviously the heater "box") we are going to run all electrical wiring up and out the top to my side of the (rest of )room (it was a 12x12 stall). all walls/floor are insulated. his winter "room" opens up into his outdoor run(16'x 24') that has grass (Gardenias are coming out in a minute!) aloe vera & hibiscus along with his concrete "pond" with a mister above (that we have to reconfigure because its a pain to clean) he also has a water dish that he can walk through. I'm going to get him some more plants (he has 3 more hibiscus I have to plant was just waiting on the weather) & I was going to get him some Lemon grass to hide in. Obviously the kennel panels will be removed (they were temporary for the foster dogs).
Thanks again for all your input- much appreciated!
Angie (Sheldon's Mom)

View attachment 291604 View attachment 291605 View attachment 291608 View attachment 291609
Love your pupper, too! ❤
 
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