Hopefully happy little Sulcata baby

Hannanz

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2023
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Louisville Kentucky
Hello again, everyone! I posted in the introductions thread last week and I’m happy to say that I think I have a good system in place now. I love little Edisto so much and after making (A LOT) of changes to her enclosure I think she’s happy too!(?) she’s eating well and even splays out on her basking rock every day. This morning I noticed that she even dug herself a little hole! I do find myself caught up in the Hatchling Failure Syndrome threads, and it seems for the next few months I’ll just have to hope that she won’t come down with that. One quick question though, she isn’t really into her humid hide. I’ve changed it many times in the past week…different pans, location in the enclosure, how to get the temp probe to stay put.. I put her to “bed” in there every night but she wonders back out and to the spot where she dug her hole is where I find her every morning. Is she reluctant because I keep messing with it? Should I just leave good enough alone? The temp in the hide is 84F and 95% humidity. Really, having her is such a joy and who knew I would love the husbandry side of this experience so much and would find it so fulfilling.
 

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Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
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63,372
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Hello again, everyone! I posted in the introductions thread last week and I’m happy to say that I think I have a good system in place now. I love little Edisto so much and after making (A LOT) of changes to her enclosure I think she’s happy too!(?) she’s eating well and even splays out on her basking rock every day. This morning I noticed that she even dug herself a little hole! I do find myself caught up in the Hatchling Failure Syndrome threads, and it seems for the next few months I’ll just have to hope that she won’t come down with that. One quick question though, she isn’t really into her humid hide. I’ve changed it many times in the past week…different pans, location in the enclosure, how to get the temp probe to stay put.. I put her to “bed” in there every night but she wonders back out and to the spot where she dug her hole is where I find her every morning. Is she reluctant because I keep messing with it? Should I just leave good enough alone? The temp in the hide is 84F and 95% humidity. Really, having her is such a joy and who knew I would love the husbandry side of this experience so much and would find it so fulfilling.
What is the weight of your baby? If it is over 50 grams, you can relax about the "breeder failure syndrome" stuff. Once they pass 50 and are steadily gaining, you are out of those woods.

If you are going to use coir for substrate, it is important to continually and firmly hand pack it down.

Fill that water bowl up to the rim.

Baby sulcatas seem to have a natural aversion to any sort of hole in the ground or cave. Presumably because in the wild in Africa whatever made that hole would eat them. It can take weeks for them to realize that that hole is THEIR hole, and there is nothing in there or around the area that is going to eat them. I would put the tortoise in there every night an hour or two after lights out, and in time it will just stay in there. If there is still lights on in the room, the tortoise will almost certainly wander back out. In some cases, I even block them in there until morning. Given the start of pyramiding that your tortoise is showing, I would recommend that in your case. Be persistent. This takes time. What you and your tortoise learn here will also apply when the tortoise moves outside, and you have to teach it to return into its night box every evening.

Questions are welcome! I am thrilled to hear that you are enjoying your tortoise so much and tortoise keeping has become more enjoyable for you. That is why we do it! I am hoping you have many happy days with your tortoise going forward. :)
 

Hannanz

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2023
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Louisville Kentucky
What is the weight of your baby? If it is over 50 grams, you can relax about the "breeder failure syndrome" stuff. Once they pass 50 and are steadily gaining, you are out of those woods.

If you are going to use coir for substrate, it is important to continually and firmly hand pack it down.

Fill that water bowl up to the rim.

Baby sulcatas seem to have a natural aversion to any sort of hole in the ground or cave. Presumably because in the wild in Africa whatever made that hole would eat them. It can take weeks for them to realize that that hole is THEIR hole, and there is nothing in there or around the area that is going to eat them. I would put the tortoise in there every night an hour or two after lights out, and in time it will just stay in there. If there is still lights on in the room, the tortoise will almost certainly wander back out. In some cases, I even block them in there until morning. Given the start of pyramiding that your tortoise is showing, I would recommend that in your case. Be persistent. This takes time. What you and your tortoise learn here will also apply when the tortoise moves outside, and you have to teach it to return into its night box every evening.

Questions are welcome! I am thrilled to hear that you are enjoying your tortoise so much and tortoise keeping has become more enjoyable for you. That is why we do it! I am hoping you have many happy days with your tortoise going forward. :)
This morning she hit 50 grams!! I’ll give us a week of gains then we can celebrate being out of the woods 🙃 I will continue to put her in the hide after lights out for sure. It may come down to blocking her in because the lights in the room are out but there is still light from other rooms of the house, only the kids and tortoise have a 7pm bedtime. I’m sad to hear you see some pyramiding already happening, but I guess that’s to be expected with knowing where she came from and her first enclosure being pretty wrong for over a week. Thankfully the period of negligence is over for me and unless something happens to her, I can’t imagine getting another tortoise because how could I afford it??!! I do wish I had done some research beforehand. I’d probably go with a Russian. Thanks for all your help, Tom!!!
 

Tim Carlisle

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
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Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
2,608
Location (City and/or State)
Cincinnati, OH
What is the weight of your baby? If it is over 50 grams, you can relax about the "breeder failure syndrome" stuff. Once they pass 50 and are steadily gaining, you are out of those woods.

If you are going to use coir for substrate, it is important to continually and firmly hand pack it down.

Fill that water bowl up to the rim.

Baby sulcatas seem to have a natural aversion to any sort of hole in the ground or cave. Presumably because in the wild in Africa whatever made that hole would eat them. It can take weeks for them to realize that that hole is THEIR hole, and there is nothing in there or around the area that is going to eat them. I would put the tortoise in there every night an hour or two after lights out, and in time it will just stay in there. If there is still lights on in the room, the tortoise will almost certainly wander back out. In some cases, I even block them in there until morning. Given the start of pyramiding that your tortoise is showing, I would recommend that in your case. Be persistent. This takes time. What you and your tortoise learn here will also apply when the tortoise moves outside, and you have to teach it to return into its night box every evening.

Questions are welcome! I am thrilled to hear that you are enjoying your tortoise so much and tortoise keeping has become more enjoyable for you. That is why we do it! I am hoping you have many happy days with your tortoise going forward. :)
That's an interesting take on holes that I'd never considered. Interesting.
 

Hannanz

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2023
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Louisville Kentucky
What is the weight of your baby? If it is over 50 grams, you can relax about the "breeder failure syndrome" stuff. Once they pass 50 and are steadily gaining, you are out of those woods.

If you are going to use coir for substrate, it is important to continually and firmly hand pack it down.

Fill that water bowl up to the rim.

Baby sulcatas seem to have a natural aversion to any sort of hole in the ground or cave. Presumably because in the wild in Africa whatever made that hole would eat them. It can take weeks for them to realize that that hole is THEIR hole, and there is nothing in there or around the area that is going to eat them. I would put the tortoise in there every night an hour or two after lights out, and in time it will just stay in there. If there is still lights on in the room, the tortoise will almost certainly wander back out. In some cases, I even block them in there until morning. Given the start of pyramiding that your tortoise is showing, I would recommend that in your case. Be persistent. This takes time. What you and your tortoise learn here will also apply when the tortoise moves outside, and you have to teach it to return into its night box every evening.

Questions are welcome! I am thrilled to hear that you are enjoying your tortoise so much and tortoise keeping has become more enjoyable for you. That is why we do it! I am hoping you have many happy days with your tortoise going forward. :)
@Tom i got some orchid bark today to change the substrate. Can I soak it awhile and use on top of new coir or use all bark? How deep should the substrate be? 1-2 inches? I was starting to be worried about the coir- she’s really stained and it sticks to her feet a lot, so I’m happy to be pushed to change it. And about shutting her in the hide at night, could I use the opening of the dishpan I cut out or maybe a rock? I’m worried about ventilation in there with shutting her in completely, as I buried the edges of the pan. Thank you!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom i got some orchid bark today to change the substrate. Can I soak it awhile and use on top of new coir or use all bark? How deep should the substrate be? 1-2 inches? I was starting to be worried about the coir- she’s really stained and it sticks to her feet a lot, so I’m happy to be pushed to change it. And about shutting her in the hide at night, could I use the opening of the dishpan I cut out or maybe a rock? I’m worried about ventilation in there with shutting her in completely, as I buried the edges of the pan. Thank you!
3-4 inches of orchid bark. The bottom layers ca remain damp, and the top will remain dry, while easily keeping humidity at 80% or more. Dump water in as needed.

I use a rock or log or whatever is convenient to block them in their hide at night.
 

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