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Humidity For Adult Sulcata

Byron Todd

Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
27
Hi Everyone,
I have a 25 pound sulcata and this will be his first winter in his new enclosure.

I am now monitoring humidity more vigilagently and am curious what the current recommendations are for humidity for a sulcata of George’s size.

The humidity is currently at about 20%. I know that older tortoises do not require the high humidity that younger ones do. However, 20% seems awefully low.

Thank you all!
 

Jodie

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
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Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,357
Location (City and/or State)
Spokane Valley WA
I am not able to control humidity outside for my big guy either. I make sure there is always water available, and in winter I add water to his food. My enclosure maintains 20-40%. He has not had any problems with dehydration. Urates are always smooth. Watch that, and soak him more often if you see gritty urates.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
46,437
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi Everyone,
I have a 25 pound sulcata and this will be his first winter in his new enclosure.

I am now monitoring humidity more vigilagently and am curious what the current recommendations are for humidity for a sulcata of George’s size.

The humidity is currently at about 20%. I know that older tortoises do not require the high humidity that younger ones do. However, 20% seems awefully low.

Thank you all!
Where are you? Different advice for South Florida Vs. South Utah.

In general, I like adults to have 50-70% humidity in their heated night boxes. I can't control the humidity outside, but putting tubs of water inside helps. Like this: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/double-door-night-box.129054/
 

Byron Todd

Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
27
Where are you? Different advice for South Florida Vs. South Utah.

In general, I like adults to have 50-70% humidity in their heated night boxes. I can't control the humidity outside, but putting tubs of water inside helps. Like this: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/double-door-night-box.129054/
I’m in Lubbock Texas, super dry and dusty. I tried the water bowl under the heat lamp but it only raised the humidity a little bit.

Can an environment that is too dry cause respiratory issues? George has had an issue where you can audibly hear him breathe for over a year now. We’ve taken him to the vet and they gave him an antibiotic and a vitamin shot which did nothing. Not to change the direction of the thread but I thought I might as well ask.
 

Byron Todd

Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
27
I am not able to control humidity outside for my big guy either. I make sure there is always water available, and in winter I add water to his food. My enclosure maintains 20-40%. He has not had any problems with dehydration. Urates are always smooth. Watch that, and soak him more often if you see gritty urates.
Gritty meaning like little white crumbles? I’ve definitely seen some of that.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
46,437
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I’m in Lubbock Texas, super dry and dusty. I tried the water bowl under the heat lamp but it only raised the humidity a little bit.

Can an environment that is too dry cause respiratory issues? George has had an issue where you can audibly hear him breathe for over a year now. We’ve taken him to the vet and they gave him an antibiotic and a vitamin shot which did nothing. Not to change the direction of the thread but I thought I might as well ask.
Yes, an overly dry environment can cause problems. In the wild, they spend 95% of their lives underground in burrows. It is moderately humid down there compared to the surface, even during the dry season over there.

"Vitamin injections" and administering antibiotics prematurely are both signs of a vet that doesn't know tortoises. Luckily, your tortoise survived the treatment. Some don't.
 
Last edited:

Byron Todd

Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
27
Yes, an overly dry environment can cause problems. In the wild, they spend 95% of their lives underground in burrows. It is moderately humid down there compared to the surface, even during the dry season over there.

"Vitamin injections" and administering antibiotics prematurely are both signs of a vet that doesn't know tortoises. Luckily, your tortoise survived the treatment. Some don't.
Dang good to know, next time I’ll have to check the list of vets on tortoise forum.

His behavior hasn’t changed at all and he’s still been eating reguularly with no wet residue on his nose. From the symptoms it really doesn’t appear to be an infection. Hopefully an increase in humidity can correct it.

Thank you so much for the advice Tom, your posts have been invaluable in keeping George healthy.
 

Smclain

New Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Midway, Texas
I’m in Lubbock Texas, super dry and dusty. I tried the water bowl under the heat lamp but it only raised the humidity a little bit.

Can an environment that is too dry cause respiratory issues? George has had an issue where you can audibly hear him breathe for over a year now. We’ve taken him to the vet and they gave him an antibiotic and a vitamin shot which did nothing. Not to change the direction of the thread but I thought I might as well ask.

I live about an hour east of college station. I’ve noticed Roger’s breathing change as well. But it isn’t all the time. He is about the same weight, do you keep George in or outside?
 

Byron Todd

Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
27
Outside permanently starting in June. George’s breathing has been odd for a couple years now though.
 

Smclain

New Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Midway, Texas
Outside permanently starting in June. George’s breathing has been odd for a couple years now though.
This is completely off topic of what you originally asked, how are you planning to set up his new outdoor home?
I’m thinking of redoing it, but not exactly sure what I should do.
 

Byron Todd

Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
27
This is completely off topic of what you originally asked, how are you planning to set up his new outdoor home?
I’m thinking of redoing it, but not exactly sure what I should do.
I've already got it all done and winterized. Even in Texas it still gets cold enough that plain wood isn't sufficient. I had to use solid foam insulation.

I can send you pics if you'd like.
 

EllieMay

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Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
5,377
Location (City and/or State)
East Texas
I’m in east tx and have a 24lb sully outside. We built Toms nightbox and keep it heated with a mini oil heater and a Kane mat.. he has a 18” clay saucer filled with water and some cypress mulch.. when all the mulch starts drying out, I mist it down but we have high humidity around here most days anyway.. I still soak him twice a day.
 

Johnkoch

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2016
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Frisco, Texas
I live in Frisco, TX (North of Dallas) and I keep my tortoises night box (8' X 4') at about 60% humidity. I use this humidifier to do the job
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CO9582Y/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

A couple things to be aware of on this humidifier: 1) It does not hold alot of water so in the winter it must be filled every day. 2) I have it on a humidity control to maintain 60% humidity. 3) Anything above 60% humidity and I start having condensation build up around the lid of the box, which starts to cause mold. 4) The tube that directs the humidity must be angled down (if a low spot is in the tube, water will build up in it not allowing humidity to pass) and a container must be placed at the bottom of the tube or the water will drip out the end of the hose and cause a puddle of water to form in the night box. 5) One thing I learned about this humidifier is that in the summer when the humidifier is not needed I emptied it, cleaned it out so I could use it again next winter. The problem is that when filled with water and turned back on in the winter it would not produce the humidity anymore. Not sure why, but the best bet is to keep it in the night box and leave it on even though it might not run much, then when winter comes empty any left over water and clean it out. I'm on my third one because I cleaned them out and let them dry out,lol. Does your night box door have clear flaps so heat and humidity will not escape?
 

Byron Todd

Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
27
I live in Frisco, TX (North of Dallas) and I keep my tortoises night box (8' X 4') at about 60% humidity. I use this humidifier to do the job
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CO9582Y/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

A couple things to be aware of on this humidifier: 1) It does not hold alot of water so in the winter it must be filled every day. 2) I have it on a humidity control to maintain 60% humidity. 3) Anything above 60% humidity and I start having condensation build up around the lid of the box, which starts to cause mold. 4) The tube that directs the humidity must be angled down (if a low spot is in the tube, water will build up in it not allowing humidity to pass) and a container must be placed at the bottom of the tube or the water will drip out the end of the hose and cause a puddle of water to form in the night box. 5) One thing I learned about this humidifier is that in the summer when the humidifier is not needed I emptied it, cleaned it out so I could use it again next winter. The problem is that when filled with water and turned back on in the winter it would not produce the humidity anymore. Not sure why, but the best bet is to keep it in the night box and leave it on even though it might not run much, then when winter comes empty any left over water and clean it out. I'm on my third one because I cleaned them out and let them dry out,lol. Does your night box door have clear flaps so heat and humidity will not escape?
Yes it has the vinyl flaps. I like the idea of a humidifier hooked up to a hygrometer to maintain a constant humidity.

I really wish they made a humidifier that could be hooked up to a hose and a solenoid valve to top it off. Maybe I’ll have to make one. The problem is unique to the conditions of west Texas I think. I would have to refill the thing daily and I know Mysef well enough to know I wouldn’t keep up with that.
 
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