How Hot is Too Hot?

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MistyChee'

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How hot is too hot for a Juvenile Sulcata tortoise? My big girl Beauty is 2 1/2 years old and 10 pounds. She's housed outdoors of course. We are currently in Yuma, AZ. It's been pretty hot here. It's 111F here right now. She has shade, a hide, a mud pit and a water dish she could soak in (she hates it). My question is since she can't really dig down more than 1 foot in her enclosure can she get overheated? She loves the water hose spraying in her but in this heat who wouldn't?

Image 2846511897

Also, do you think male or female?
 

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Kalgodric

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I heard that 110 is the top temp you want and that 116 starts actually harming the tort....some others here might have more exact info for you though
 

ascott

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She loves the water hose spraying in her but

Hmmmm? What are you doing to that tort??? (could not stop myself...teeheee :p)


Seriously....I would not be worried as long as your tort has an adequate way to cool itself below 90 degrees if they need to....prolonged periods of temps over 90 degrees can be harmful to a tort....(a tort will be fine in the higher temps as long as there is a way for the tort to retreat to a cooler place IF they want to) I have one of the CDTs here, Humphry, who has a yard that is less permanent than the other CDTs here.....so, in addition to his hide he has a misting system that surrounds his hide...and I have left it on for the last few days....he seems to appreciate it...actually came home yesterday at about 4pm and found him out laying directly under the mister, even though it was still way hot and the sun was out strong for the late day heat....but he was stretched all out and just gave a glance up with his good eye as I walked by....
 

MistyChee'

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Thank you for your posts. I do feel better and I will be getting her a misting system for sure. I am just a worry wart. I love her so much!
 

EKLC

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I read in a published paper that they measured some african tortoise body temps at around 92 degrees on average (I'll have to dig it up). So the rule I use is to always make sure they have a place to get below that. 88 degrees is about as cool as I can get it in the shade around here
 

Tom

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I think in an above ground pen that is bordered on two sides by walls, in that sort of heat, is too hot. Do you have a temp gun? What is the temp in the coolest part of the enclosure during the heat of the day? In that sort of climate, I really think they need to be able to get underground. You could start a burrow for her where you want it, or you could do something like this:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-Daisy-s-New-Enclosure#axzz231HFp1jj

A mister system will help, but I've been in Yuma in August. That is some serious heat. It is relentless. It's like living in an oven. Doesn't even cool down at night sometimes...
 

ascott

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Misters are the bomb....I love them. Here it has been over 100 since last week...it is hot, dry and hot and did I mention hot...

I always just make sure that the misters blow over and around the hide so it brings the overall temp down, I bet Humphry would not mind it I piped it right into the hide but for the most part I situate it so that barely any of the entrance gets the mist all day but just a touch of the entrance, as at night I do not want it to be a cold wet type place (although it has been 80 degrees here the last three nights)...and the mister strip I have is like 10-12 feet long with I believe 4 or 5 misters total....it is a little one that I just attach to the hose and turn it on about 7:30 in the am on our way out the door and when we get home, depending on when that is, I will turn it off when the hottest part of the day has ceased....
 

MistyChee'

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Tom, this may be a stupid question, but how do I start a burrow?
 

Eweezyfosheezy

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It looks like a small female. How big is your tortoise? I dont think you need to make a burrow unless you cant keep the temps down in the shade and mud pit for whatever reason. I hate when mine burrow and have a zero tolerance policy lol. I keep all of my sulcatas outside 24/7 in the summertime (I'm in AZ as well) with plenty of shade and a huge mud pit and my bigger ones havent attempted a burrow in I dont know how long. Its just the ones under the 14inch mark that dig so I think they dig mainly for security reasons.
 

richellesworld

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MistyChee said:
How hot is too hot for a Juvenile Sulcata tortoise? My big girl Beauty is 2 1/2 years old and 10 pounds. She's housed outdoors of course. We are currently in Yuma, AZ. It's been pretty hot here. It's 111F here right now. She has shade, a hide, a mud pit and a water dish she could soak in (she hates it). My question is since she can't really dig down more than 1 foot in her enclosure can she get overheated? She loves the water hose spraying in her but in this heat who wouldn't?

View attachment 25743

Also, do you think male or female?

This is probably a dumb question but is it normal for a tortoise to weigh 10lbs at 2 years old? Is there a average expected growth chart for sulcatas?
 

Neal

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It is very possible for them to overheat, and until these temps back off a bit you are really going to have to keep a close watch on things.

We're struggling to keep a couple of our pens at a temperature where they need to be. The water spraying helps, you should also try to force soak her every day until we are out of the 110+ temps. A tortoise that size should be ok if you keep this up and provide plenty of areas that get shade.
 

Livingstone

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You need a hide with a temp of 80 or cooler for the animal, dig down a foot or more then put the hide over the hole and dig a sloping access ramp where the door is. Set up a sprinkler/mister on a timer so it comes on every day.

Oh, and its a boy. Based on the head shape, tail position, and femoral scutes.
 

MistyChee'

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Ok, so I went out and bought a large shade umbrella and a misting system. Beauty (or maybe Beast if it's a boy) isn't so sure about it all. I do feel better knowing she/he can cool down if needed. I will be digging a hide about a foot down with a lid for easy access. (we have flash floods).
I want to thank everyone for your thoughts. I love this forum for quick, reliable, and tested information.
 

dmmj

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Overheating is a serious problem especially at those temps, but as long as you have adequate shade areas for him to cool off in, there should be no problems. I usually try to have about at least half the area for shade.
 

ascott

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(we have flash floods).

http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/tortoise/documents/PhxTucBurrows.pdf

http://www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/w_c/tortoise/new/KingmanYumaBurrow.pdf

I used a modified version of the first one in one of the CDT yard, then I modified even more and used a half 35 gallon blue barrel;

http://www.ebay.com/itm/55-gallon-B...203?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item256e7564b3

(I used this link strictly to show you the barrel...not to lead you there to buy it from that source, as you can pick these up at your local feed store)

I cut the top off (the part with the fill holes), then cut it down the full length of the barrel (so you will now have two halves :D), build up a mound of dirt ( a mini mountain ) then flatten the top of the mound--make sure that you have a flat mound top that extends out farther than the barrel (this will make piling the dirt on top easier so it stays vs getting pointy top--which by the way can be oh so damn annoying) as you have the half dome in place kinda press it down into the mound and then begin to cover the dome....first add dirt around the half dome kinda like skirting the thing..them fill in the top on the barrel...then lightly mist the dirt a little at a time as you add it so that you can then press it firmly into place as you build onto it with more dirt...it is a little time consuming (especially if you are even slightly OCD) then be prepared, once your tort has opportunity to get to it, they will trek to the top, slide down like king of the mountain and in having a fun ole time you will need to plan to re pack it a time or two until it solidifies more....but works well and don't be surprised if your tort attempts to burrow under/below it...so keep that in mind as well when you decide location.....:D Ok, I will shush up now.....lol...
 

Tom

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MistyChee said:
Tom, this may be a stupid question, but how do I start a burrow?

Get a shovel and start digging. :)

I've got one burrow that faces east for morning sun and another that faces north to avoid the hot summer sun all together. Just look at some pics of natural burrow for sulcatas or CDTs or FL gopher tortoises and start it that way. I dug down at a slight angle and dished it out a bit with a round nosed shovel. It sometimes takes a while for them to want to start digging, but this super hot weather tends to help them figure it out faster. Once they start digging it happens fast.

Then you'll have to figure out what you want to do in the fall and winter. Where I live the ground gets too cold. I intend to fill in their burrow and make them sleep in the heated night box. Sme people in some parts of the country just leave them outside and let them over winter in their burrows.
 

MistyChee'

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Awesome! Thank you for all the ideas. I guess just like you said Tom, time to start digging! : )
 
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