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I need some wisdom on my tortoise.

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by effpea, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. effpea

    effpea New Member

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    Our tortoise can go anywhere in the house it wants as it's proofed to do so, however, it doesnt and it chooses to stay in the room it's in. We don't have it set up jsut for the tortoise but it's tortoise proofed and has a large area in there of its own. Eventually when the tuff shed is insulated it will likely be made into its specific room.
  2. effpea

    effpea New Member

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    More photos of sexing 0129190834.jpeg 1548779699415.jpeg 0129190834a.jpeg 1548779715408.jpeg 1548779833594.jpeg 0129190835a.jpeg
  3. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I will echo again that your tortoise is simply too cold. Sulcatas act like you describe when their core body temperature is just not warm enough.

    I think most do not realize they go into corners, dark places, etc. not because they prefer the temperature there, but because they are programmed to go back into their burrows when they experience cooler weather as their burrow is warmer that time of year!! It is looking for warmth and does not know in the US the "burrow" is even cooler. So it sits and its metabolism slows.

    They sleep waiting for better weather. In their native range, that would be the next day. But the look for weather around 90°f. Since so many seem reluctant to accept that 75° is too cold, allow me to offer backup for that thought, I will also add a bit from some of the temperature studies on do on tortoises and incubation. For sulcatas, I took the heart of their range and where the bulk of the exports of sulcatas came from when they were being exported into the US. I use a town called Gao, in Mali, just north of the Sahel Reserve where Mali, Niger and Burkino Faso borders meet. It is a good area to study the types of climate the sulcata is designed to survive.

    You have to be careful in interpreting weather data, because with tortoises, the ground temperature is what they use most. But the weather controls ground temperatures, so if you understand how that works, you can learn a lot about their needs temperature-wise.

    This may get boring and for most it is too much information, but if you are interested in what is actually going on:

    Ground temperatures follow daily average temperatures. 60 feet deep, the temperature of the ground stays at the average yearly temperature of a region. It does not vary and is extremely stable. For Gao, Mali, that would be 90°f. So that is the thermal mass stabilizing temperatures throughout the year. In summer, it cools depths towards the surface, and in winter it warms. 6 inches deep, the soil temperature is very much effected by this. In winter, when the earth is warmer than above, the temperature varies from the low of the previous weekly average to a high about 10°f-12°f above that depending upon direct sun exposure. A sulcata burrows to get away from even that extreme. Their burrows are commonly 10 feet deep and more. 10 feet deep the temperature of the ground only varies about 5°F over the course of the year from the yearly average. That means the ground around the tortoise in his burrow is still at least 87°F in the coldest part of winter.

    Here is a graph I make of the yearly temps, humidity, cloud cover and rain when looking at an area. This is Gao, Mali 2018 - last year. I show here the "coldest part" of the year - Jan through Mar. 2018. (The whole year would be too wide and loose detail.) Even though temperatures dip into the high 60°s and even hit 58° once in Feb. - the high the next day most always goes back to high 80°s with plenty of sunshine. By the beginning of March, daily lows barely dip below 80° and the highs average over 100° A Sulcata never has to deal with body temperatures under 85°.

    Gao weather.jpg
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  4. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    You posted pictures after my post just now. IT is definitely a SHE!
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  5. effpea

    effpea New Member

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    Wow!! I thought so!!

    So Ozwald (Ozzy) is now Ozzie
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  6. mike taylor

    mike taylor Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Your tortiose needs to be outside in a heated box. I have three large sulcatas and they eat anything and everything put in front of them . As for the shyness my female is the same way . If you get near her food she will try to ram you . My males are more out going . Here's how I keep my sulcatas . I have a big area fenced in . All tortioses are in their own areas. Each tortiose has a heated box with a oil filled heater . The heater is on a thermostat set at 84 . But the heater makes the temperature go up to 90 then cools down slowly to 82 . The two sulcatas pictured will eat all the greens and most of that hay in a day . I feed them every other day in winter and they graze all day in the summer . They go into their heated houses all on their own . The trick is to find the spot in the enclosure they like to be and put the heated box there . You can try that in your house also if she goes off to the opposite side of the heat source. Then you should see her eating better . But as for her looks she is beautiful . I live in the Houston area and it nearly never gets really cold . Our low is usually around 27 once or twice a winter and that's only at night .Most days are in the mid to high 50's. My tortoises will come out when it's sunny and cool to eat and drink . Then once they're full they go back into the heated box . IMG_20181030_172528357.jpeg IMG_20170912_182506726_HDR.jpeg IMG_20170912_193050281.jpeg IMG_20180831_172907063.jpeg IMG_20180831_154952299_HDR.jpeg IMG_20180831_154353075_HDR.jpeg IMG_20180913_162837206.jpeg
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  7. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Supporter

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    You have done a wonderful job with Ozzy. The carapace is nice and smooth. My sully will be 2 in June and is 9 5 inches long and a little over 4lbs. @vladimir is closer to the age of Ozzy. Maybe he can give you a comparison. Vladimir also has a second story on the inside enclosure. So maybe getting Ozzy up off the ground might help.
    Here is a pic I think I got from a post from EllieMay. IMG_1848.jpg
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  8. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Supporter

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    Hey Mark, does the beak of Ozzy need to be trimmed?
  9. mike taylor

    mike taylor Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I wouldn't trim the beak . Start feeding her on a paving Stone . As she eats it will trim itself .
  10. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    sorry, didn't see this unil Mike's reply. I agree - don't trim. I don't see a problem with her beak anyway. Sulcatas have that bicuspid point to their beak for tearing off vegetation. Doesn't look too long to me in the pictures.
  11. queen koopa

    queen koopa Member

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    Heat and privacy are huge I think. And it’s probably easy to be lacking in those when living in a human dwelling. But I live in Southern Nevada and when we finally got colder temps (60-75) I definitely saw a change in diet & the burrowing began, otherwise Koopa is a monster eater (she is 6, first 5 years the owner raised in an apartment I believe, on spring mix). We have tons of wild bermuda and multiple small lawns. Thought it would be great to wheel her up to one and then try some weed control! Brought her up to the lawn and put a lil fence around her, she pigged out for 2 minutes maybe then pretty much sprinted laps just smashing her face against the fence. So I gave her a hide next time and it went much better, but I also think she didn’t like any lingering dog smell.. guessing she doesn’t want to smell predators or other things. And they let you know. Koopa likes to hiss at my sister! PS she has her own lawn now.
  12. C. Nelson

    C. Nelson New Member

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    Your tortoise is beautiful! You have done a great job so far! I only hope my little baby sulcata grows up to look that fantastic. Congrats!
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