How bad is she? (Another pyramiding thread sorry!)

Cazsilv

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Jul 6, 2021
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Hi everyone 👋🏼

I’ve had my young Sulcata (Boujee) for a good while now and after at first struggling to get the set up right and the humidity stable and high enough I think we have finally got it right now.
I use a sensor thing that sends the temp and humidity to my phone and it also can be set to alarm if it falls below a pre set level so that’s been really helpful and has calmed me down a little as I was constantly worrying before if it was all as it should be.

Boujee is around a year old now and I’m really worried about her pyramiding…I know you get a lot of people asking about this so I am sorry! But I just can’t stop worrying that I haven’t done good enough for her because to me she looks like she’s really bad ☹️ I really have tried and she has had daily soaks and now actually has a pool at one end of her enclosure that’s big enough for her to have a dip in and she usually visits that several times a day. We change the water when she poops in it and then it comes out at night till the next morning. She seems to enjoy it more doing it on her own terms as when we soak her in bowls out of her home she will lay for a bit but then just tries to get out! We do still do a soak once a week just to make sure she’s bathing enough and also to check for her peeing and pooping ok.

So her humidity is high and steady and she soaks enough…is there anything else I can do to help her pyramiding? I think I’m right in thinking that what’s grown is permanent but as she’s going to be huge if I can reduce the pyramiding from now onwards it won’t look so bad when she’s older because it will even out with the growth? I hope I made sense with that I wasn’t sure how to say it! Anyway I’m just panicking really because I was so determined I was going to do the very best and have this tort with an amazingly smooth shell…and now I feel I’ve already let her down 😢.
I’m not giving up…I just wanted to know how bad she is right now and what else can I do to help the growth from now on? If it’s really bad now what does this mean for her future? Will she be poorly or more predisposed to be?

Other than the pyramiding I think she seems to have been doing really well, she’s a lovely tort and has a funny character! She gets mad if her food is late and will literally stomp about trashing anything in her way! She looks so content when having a dip and she loves her house/hide thing and will lay with her head poking out half asleep/half watching what we are doing and she just appears to be smiling to me (prob just me thinking that but I swear she does!) she eats well and always goes into her hide at bed time before lights out.

We love her very much as a family and just want to do what’s best for her so if I’m doing something wrong or can do something better then I want to sort it out! Preferably now before she gets big!

Also apart from the pyramiding how does she look? Does she look ok and healthy, growing well? I need to weigh her tomorrow so not sure on her weight but I can update on that. I’ve attached plenty of pics to show the pyramiding from different angles (and just to show off my pretty baby 🥰)
Thanks in advance for anyone who replies! 🤗
(and for reading my far too long post!😊)
 

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Tom

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Is the tortoise in a large closed chamber?
You said humidity was "high", but what is it?
What is the ambient temperature, basking temp directly under the lamp, and overnight low?
What bulbs are you using for heat and light?
What do you feed the tortoise?
What substrate are you using?

You should be soaking daily for 30-40 minutes in a tall sided opaque tub. Its totally fine and normal if the tortoise tries to climb out. We call this the tortoise treadmill and it is good exercise.

The pyramiding that is already there will not go away, but its not bad. If you take corrective measures now, you can get the new growth to come in smoother.
 

Cazsilv

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I thought the daily soaks were until a year old…shoot that’s my bad then! Although like I said she does sit in her pool quite a lot during the day…do I still need to do daily soaks if she is doing it herself in her enclosure?

She is in a closed chamber and humidity is always kept no lower than 80%..mostly around 90%.
Temps I will double check and get back to you asap..I think they’re ok but i will move the sensor around to the different places and find out.
Substrate is coco coir. Atm she’s eating mostly salad greens, grass, dried grass & flowers & grassland pellets sometimes added. I have a che for heat and one of those long ones for light sorry I can’t remember what they’re called!

So in your opinion the pyramiding isn’t too bad right now? It looks so bumpy to me and I’m gutted as I’ve tried to ensure we do everything right so had hoped we could achieve a lovely smooth growth.

She’s such a funny little girl tho…yesterday she decided that she wanted to carry her greens around her enclosure like she was a dog! She carried it up and down and all around and then ate it after a while but then found another nice sized piece to continue stomping around! I wish I’d got a pic now because she would stop for a while and just look about with the green sticking out of her mouth looking all content!! She’s so sweet and I want to do the best I can for her so thank you for helping me
 

wellington

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It's not bad, yet it's not great. What are you using to read humidity? Those little disc pet stores sell are not accurate.
Post a pic of her enclosure and we can tell you what needs improving.
It might also be from before you got her. Once they are started wrong it's hard to get it corrected and them not pyramid.
 

BoujeeAppa

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I bought a sensor that reads temp and humidity it’s digital and it’s linked to my phone and you can set the min temps and have an alarm go off if it goes under those temps which I really like because I don’t have to worry about the levels dropping and me not notice. I do check besides as well just incase it’s not working or something. I also like it because it stores records of temps so I can look back and see if it’s stayed constant.
 

Tom

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I thought the daily soaks were until a year old…shoot that’s my bad then! Although like I said she does sit in her pool quite a lot during the day…do I still need to do daily soaks if she is doing it herself in her enclosure?

She is in a closed chamber and humidity is always kept no lower than 80%..mostly around 90%.
Temps I will double check and get back to you asap..I think they’re ok but i will move the sensor around to the different places and find out.
Substrate is coco coir. Atm she’s eating mostly salad greens, grass, dried grass & flowers & grassland pellets sometimes added. I have a che for heat and one of those long ones for light sorry I can’t remember what they’re called!

So in your opinion the pyramiding isn’t too bad right now? It looks so bumpy to me and I’m gutted as I’ve tried to ensure we do everything right so had hoped we could achieve a lovely smooth growth.

She’s such a funny little girl tho…yesterday she decided that she wanted to carry her greens around her enclosure like she was a dog! She carried it up and down and all around and then ate it after a while but then found another nice sized piece to continue stomping around! I wish I’d got a pic now because she would stop for a while and just look about with the green sticking out of her mouth looking all content!! She’s so sweet and I want to do the best I can for her so thank you for helping me
I don't know where that one year cut off for soaks came from. People just started saying ti. I never said it. There are some people who soak them every day for years. There is no harm in soaking more than is needed. It has many benefits.

If you have a florescent tube for UV and light and a CE for heat, you are missing a basking bulb, and ambient light. UV tubes only need to run for 2-3 hours mid day.

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
 

Cazsilv

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I’m still doing things kinda wrong then? 😞 I have not had things right even though I thought I had and I’m gutted I may have harmed her…. I just have to try and do better for her from now on. Thank you for helping me.

Let me try and get it straight in my head…..

So should the strip light/UV not be on all day? I did look at incandescent bulbs but for some reason at the time I was looking I couldn’t for the life of me find any! I will look again. Should I be turning off the Uv light after a few hours and just have the incandescent one on for light?

The temps I have are 100 under the che and the cooler end is around 80….at night it is around 70-75. Does that sound ok? Humidity is usually around 90-100% (is this TOO high?) and I don’t let it go below 80% for any length of time (the sensor beeps when it dips below and I spray her and the substrate to bring it back up)

Are you saying that’s the che isn’t what she should be basking under…is that what the incandescent bulb is for? I’m so sorry for all the q’s I thought I was doing things ok but have obviously got confused (I am on a lot of heavy medication so it’s not unusual for me!) I really appreciate you helping me and my baby.

I’m also not sure where I got the daily soaks up till a year from now. I do still do soaks once/twice a week but the rest of the time Boujee will soak herself in her pool in her enclosure. She’s got this tray thing that is just perfect for her to lay in and she does visit the pool usually several times a day. I think having the pool in there really helps the humidity stay high too. Do I ignore the soaks she does herself then and just go ahead and soak her daily anyway? Or is it ok so long as I see her soaking in her pool daily?

Do you think if I change these things that she could end up with not too bad a shell and healthy?

What do you think of the diet I mentioned? Only thing I want to change about her diet is that I plan on growing weeds from a mix to add to it but I wanted her established eating grass and dry grass/hay first..which she does eat them well now.

Aside from all of the above I wondered if anyone else’s sully does what Boujee does with the carrying her greens around the cage? I find it really funny when she does it. She will then eat it and then find another piece to carry around. Also she will not have the ornaments in her enclosure standing properly…if we refix it all and stand them up as soon as she is back on she will go on a stomp pushing them around and knocking them over and literally trampling them! She won’t stop until she has them where she wants them on their side and she will lie half on them looking smug! It’s very amusing to watch and she’s done it every time so far! She certainly knows how she likes things. I just never expected so much personality! I also have a horsefield tort (kept completely separate!) and he appears to be much shyer and less interactive with us. I would love to hear what other Sullys are like and if any are similar to Boujee?

Again sorry for so many questions and thanks for helping it means a lot to have someone so knowledgeable to ask these things!
 

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