Help with baby sulcata

cm119

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Hello, looking for help with our baby sulcata. We got him about 6 weeks ago and he was about 6 weeks old, so he’s about 3 months now. Other than some small fluctuations he has not gained any weight and is still 25g, the same as he was 6 weeks ago.

He’s in a glass enclosure, open top, but we try to keep it as covered as possible. Next I am going to work on making some kind of plexiglass top to cover it even better. Temp is maintained at about 80-90 with a ceramic heater and temp probe. The basking like is a ZooMed 75w spot lamp, the rock underneath gets to about 100-110. The tube light is a ReptiHome UVA UVB 10.0, both are on all day and turned off at night.

Humidity is 50-80%, maintained by spraying down the enclosure once or twice a day. Substrate is coco chips and some ‘dirt’, which we keep visibly moist. Hoping that building a better top will help keep the humidity higher. Also have a humidity hide.

We keep a shallow water dish in the enclosure and try to keep it clean. We soak him in the sink for ~20 mins every day followed by 20 minutes outdoors in the sun.

He does eat, although not a whole lot, and is fairly picky. Right now he will eat rose petals, some leaves, grape vine leaves, a little bit of fescue and Bermuda grass. He will eat spring mix, but we haven’t given him much of that trying to focus on eating the grass. Should we give more just to get him eating?I planted a patch of Bermuda in the enclosure hoping he would graze on it, but he very rarely does. I put ZooMed grassland tortoise pellets in, moistened, but I haven’t really seen him eat any of it. I also sprinkle calcium powder on his leaves/grass a couple times a week. We don’t give him any other fruits/vegetables other than maybe some carrots in the lettuce mix.

Last note, his poop was dark and firm at first, but today I noticed it more green and ‘slimy’, like a booger. Still held together, not runny, but not firm either.

The only thing I can think of that we haven’t done is test for parasites. Anything else obvious I’m missing? What can we do to help him gain weight?

Thanks

Craig

IMG_0845.jpeg
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Hi welcome to the forum!🙂
I believe hatchlings ideally need humidity kept around 80 24/7, not dropping to 50, but I can see why it keeps happening in your set up unfortunately, having it only partially covered will be a constant battle, I think it’s good to aim for the under layer of substrate being damp instead of spraying all the time, you can do this by pouring some luke warm water into the corners, not loads! Just enough to dampen underneath, to stop the top layer getting too dusty try turning the substrate over now n then, that helps boost humidity too, still make sure it’s packed back down firmly🙂with a proper closed chamber set up you shouldn’t have to pour too often, just keep an eye on your monitors, if it is dropping I'm sure a light top up spray here n there won’t hurt but hopefully wont be necessary every day once sorted.

When you say dirt, what kind exactly?

I think even with a plexiglass top, some of it will have to be uncovered for your uv light and heat to shine through no? This will still make humidity a battle😕perhaps fashioning some sort of greenhouse topper onto your tank might work, if you can securely hang the lights at the appropriate height(I’ll attach a picture of roughly the kind of thing I'm thinking, doesn’t have to be a roof shape like that)
Or maybe look further into a greenhouse set up and see if you could make one? It’s essentially some kind of base, lined with something like pond liner, with a greenhouse frame secured on top, some people hang the lights by wrapping the wire round the frame so it’s hanging at the height you need, then adding some cable ties round the wire for extra security, might be worth looking at as a bigger ‘inbetween’, before he needs a much larger space.

I’d also recommend replacing the leaf water dish for a terracotta saucer sitting flush with the substrate, they’re considered the safest kind of water dish, especially for small babies🙂

I’ll admit, raising a tortoise like a sulcata is lost on me because I’ve never done anything like it, we have a red foot, they’re night&day and I didn’t raise her from a hatchling lol. But I like to try and help boost new members threads where and when I can😊
I’ll tag these guys incase they think anything is amiss with my advice, or hopefully will be able to guide you further with the other queries you had @Tom @ZEROPILOT

This link might also be useful to read through🙂


All the best😊
 

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TammyJ

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Welcome to the forum. You are already on your way to a big improvement in the care of your tortoise! Very good and vital advice has been offered. Go for it.
 

ZEROPILOT

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For the relatively short time I ever kept tortoises INDOORS. I had my lights mounted inside the enclosure. Underneath the lid.
My UVB light bolted to it
 

Tom

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Hello, looking for help with our baby sulcata. We got him about 6 weeks ago and he was about 6 weeks old, so he’s about 3 months now. Other than some small fluctuations he has not gained any weight and is still 25g, the same as he was 6 weeks ago.

He’s in a glass enclosure, open top, but we try to keep it as covered as possible. Next I am going to work on making some kind of plexiglass top to cover it even better. Temp is maintained at about 80-90 with a ceramic heater and temp probe. The basking like is a ZooMed 75w spot lamp, the rock underneath gets to about 100-110. The tube light is a ReptiHome UVA UVB 10.0, both are on all day and turned off at night.

Humidity is 50-80%, maintained by spraying down the enclosure once or twice a day. Substrate is coco chips and some ‘dirt’, which we keep visibly moist. Hoping that building a better top will help keep the humidity higher. Also have a humidity hide.

We keep a shallow water dish in the enclosure and try to keep it clean. We soak him in the sink for ~20 mins every day followed by 20 minutes outdoors in the sun.

He does eat, although not a whole lot, and is fairly picky. Right now he will eat rose petals, some leaves, grape vine leaves, a little bit of fescue and Bermuda grass. He will eat spring mix, but we haven’t given him much of that trying to focus on eating the grass. Should we give more just to get him eating?I planted a patch of Bermuda in the enclosure hoping he would graze on it, but he very rarely does. I put ZooMed grassland tortoise pellets in, moistened, but I haven’t really seen him eat any of it. I also sprinkle calcium powder on his leaves/grass a couple times a week. We don’t give him any other fruits/vegetables other than maybe some carrots in the lettuce mix.

Last note, his poop was dark and firm at first, but today I noticed it more green and ‘slimy’, like a booger. Still held together, not runny, but not firm either.

The only thing I can think of that we haven’t done is test for parasites. Anything else obvious I’m missing? What can we do to help him gain weight?

Thanks

Craig

View attachment 372043
There are a few things I would recommend changing, but none of that is the reason for your problem.

Where didi you get this baby? Almost no one starts them correctly. They hatch at 30-35 grams when they are healthy, so 25 grams at 6 weeks was a major red flag. 25 grams 6 weeks later at 12 weeks tells me that you have a dry started baby with damaged organs. They should be somewhere around 50-60 grams at 6 weeks and 90-100 grams by 12 weeks.

At this stage there isn't much you can do about it. No vet can help. No amount of money spent can save it if it is too far gone. All you can do is offer the best care possible and hope for the best. Some of them make it.

More explanation here:

Questions are welcome.
 

cm119

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Thanks all. We’ll keep doing what we can. The breeder we got him from ‘seemed’ to know what he is doing, but now I am not sure. He has an Instagram with pictures and videos, can you take a look? All his babys seem small, or similar to ours.

 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Thanks all. We’ll keep doing what we can. The breeder we got him from ‘seemed’ to know what he is doing, but now I am not sure. He has an Instagram with pictures and videos, can you take a look? All his babys seem small, or similar to ours.

In less than a few seconds I’m seeing multiple red flags, his larger sulcata has pyramiding and he’s using infrared lights ugh😣
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I’m also seeing he has no issues with his large sulcata mounting his smaller leopard tortoise.. ridiculous! Those guys shouldn’t be allowed near each other, let alone letting a sulcata mount it! My god some people baffle me😣
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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I’m also seeing he has no issues with his large sulcata mounting his smaller leopard tortoise.. ridiculous! Those guys shouldn’t be allowed near each other, let alone letting a sulcata mount it! My god some people baffle me😣
If you look closer, he breeds "Leocatas" or Leopard and Sulcata hybrids
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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That can’t be a good thing to do surely?!
It is an debatable topic with many different views and aspects to consider. You can find multiple threads on it in the debatable section. I myself am against it but there are some people who defend it. If they are housed together all the time, I think it is just plain wrong...
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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It is a debatable topic with many different views and aspects to consider. You can find multiple threads on it in the debatable section. I myself am against it but there are some people who defend it. If they are housed together all the time, I think it is just plain wrong...
Right off the bat the whole idea sounds so questionable but I’d love to do some further research on hybrids.
But yeah either way them being housed together must cause stress! This breeder looks SO iffy to me😣
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I was very curious if they occur in the wild, from the VERY brief skim I’ve done so far, some studies say yes, some say no.. this is a very interesting topic for me to look into, thanks for peaking my curiosity @The_Four_Toed_Edward lol

Still the general consensus I’m getting is that breeding these hybrids, for the most part, is not done ethically by breeders.. no surprises there☹️

*edit* damn the cross contamination it could cause too.. yikes!
 
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cm119

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Here’s a closer picture, do we think he’s a ‘Leocata’? And if that so would that explain part of the small size?
IMG_0846.jpeg
 

cm119

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Update, talked to my wife who is the one who handled all this. She WAS informed and aware they were hybrids. So now the question is if his size/health is ‘expected’ knowing that information.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Update, talked to my wife who is the one who handled all this. She WAS informed and aware they were hybrids. So now the question is if his size/health is ‘expected’ knowing that information.
Thought that baby looked sus🥲

I’ll let someone more experienced take over from here for you like @Tom to answer further queries🙂
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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@Tom not sure if you possibly missed the tag notification for this thread, I’m very intrigued on your insight on the last few messages here🙂
 

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