Just want to introduce myself and my Torts and a couple of questions about one of them in particular

zona

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Jan 25, 2020
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Arizona
Just wanted to say hi and introduce my torts. I have (my twin sister and I) have two baby (about 3 months old) sulcatas. We plan in putting them outside when they are big enough (and probably separated). My sister’s tortoise is named “Kameko Makne (not quite sure how to spell it)” I guess (according to her) “kameko” mean “child of the tortoise” and “makne” mean “youngest”. So “Kameko Makne” or “youngest child of the tortoise”....mine isn’t as complicated. It’s name (obviously not sure if they are male or female) is Zoan (I have a bird lovebird named Zona and a betta named Zano...(and yes I did just switch the letters around)...Although it’s nickname is “Spud” like a little potato spud;)
We’ve had tortoises in the past when we were younger, but my parents were the one’s who did a lot of the things (especially the food). Since we are older now and caring for them entirely, I figured it might be good to have a place to turn to if we have any questions and what-not.
With that being said, of the two, mine (appears) to be “normal growth”. My sister’s on the other hand appears to be a bit delayed (from the start). Her’s appears (especially when we first got them) as though it’s shell is too big...it’s rather cute and funny looking at the same time. They have both been growing, but I was curious if there was any thing we should keep an eye out/do more for/careful about when it comes to hers. For example, the growth areas around the scutes are dark/thick and I was wondering if it may be more prone to certain growth deformities such as pyramiding than mine would be/one that doesn’t appear to have any growth delay and if so, is there anything we should do in addition to help or just to keep a close eye on it?
Some pictures of them:

B523245E-536D-438F-A789-9AD38F57D8BD.jpeg7EE6EBD4-C845-4528-AE5C-7D5EE4A5846E.jpegF7AC4363-3C1F-4D39-9369-47E76A0BB865.jpeg28B66A23-430C-42FE-B047-10F607B651A0.jpeg518D56A7-2771-44EE-BA3C-FBFFA7B17D3C.jpegimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
 

Quadro

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Messages
116
Location (City and/or State)
SC
Just wanted to say hi and introduce my torts. I have (my twin sister and I) have two baby (about 3 months old) sulcatas. We plan in putting them outside when they are big enough (and probably separated). My sister’s tortoise is named “Kameko Makne (not quite sure how to spell it)” I guess (according to her) “kameko” mean “child of the tortoise” and “makne” mean “youngest”. So “Kameko Makne” or “youngest child of the tortoise”....mine isn’t as complicated. It’s name (obviously not sure if they are male or female) is Zoan (I have a bird lovebird named Zona and a betta named Zano...(and yes I did just switch the letters around)...Although it’s nickname is “Spud” like a little potato spud;)
We’ve had tortoises in the past when we were younger, but my parents were the one’s who did a lot of the things (especially the food). Since we are older now and caring for them entirely, I figured it might be good to have a place to turn to if we have any questions and what-not.
With that being said, of the two, mine (appears) to be “normal growth”. My sister’s on the other hand appears to be a bit delayed (from the start). Her’s appears (especially when we first got them) as though it’s shell is too big...it’s rather cute and funny looking at the same time. They have both been growing, but I was curious if there was any thing we should keep an eye out/do more for/careful about when it comes to hers. For example, the growth areas around the scutes are dark/thick and I was wondering if it may be more prone to certain growth deformities such as pyramiding than mine would be/one that doesn’t appear to have any growth delay and if so, is there anything we should do in addition to help or just to keep a close eye on it?
Some pictures of them:
Welcome glad to have you and your torts ! I’ll let the more experienced answer your question .
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome you have found the right place for up to date information on tort keeping and there are many sully keepers here, caresheets and always someone to answer questions.
It isn't wise to keep 2 torts together as they are territorial and don't like or need company. One will eventually become dominant and bully the other which could affect growth, and cause stress and eventually injury so try to have them in their own enclosures....they will both be much happier.
Some of the bullying behaviour to watch out for includes following, nudging/pushing/barging, climbing on, hogging food and best basking spot etc.
 
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zona

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Messages
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Arizona
Hi and welcome you have found the right place for up to date information on tort keeping and there are many sully keepers here, caresheets and always someone to answer questions.
It isn't wise to keep 2 torts together as they are territorial and don't like or need company. One will eventually become dominant and bully the other which could affect growth, and cause stress and eventually injury so try to have them in their own enclosures....they will both be much happier.
Some of the bullying behaviour to watch out for includes following, nudging/pushing/barging, climbing on, hogging food and best basking spot etc.
?
i’ve been keeping an eye out for any of those behaviors but thus far I have yet to see any. Interestingly enough, we we get them out and put them at different locations they will actively go towards the direction of the other one while ignoring things that normally pique their interest, once they are in sight of each other, they go about their normal behavior (but staying close to each other...not necessarily right on top of each other but always within the same general vicinity). If we only get one out at a time the other one will go around in circles in the tort box until we either get it out as well or put the other back with it.
Not sure how this behavior will affect/change in the future but we’ll see?‍♀️

I soak them every day to every other day (depending on when I get home from work and/or when they were last soaked). As for separating them, that is the future plan, but for now they are small and we don’t have enough to afford another tort box as well as all the equipment and supplies
 

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TechnoCheese

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There are some things that need to be changed about your enclosure.

-these are tropical tortoises that need to be set up with a deep, damp substrate, large, shallow water bowl, and plenty of hides. The hay and fake grass needs to be completely removed and replaced with 2-4 inches of fine grade orchid bark, cypress mulch, or either of these mixed with coconut coir.

-your water bowl needs to be replaced with a terra cotta saucer llarge enough for them to soak in. The one you have now is too tall and too small.

-I see no night heat. It is imperative that these tortoises are kept with temps no lower than 80 in the coolest part of the enclosure, day or night.

-you need a long tube UVB to promote proper shell growth and behaviors, unless you are able to get them outside a few times a week.

-the fact that they seek eachother out is territorial behavior. They need to be separated as soon as you are able. The reason they are different sizes is very likely from being housed together, and is a common side effect from it.

-it is impossible to hold the 80%+ humidity your tortoise desperately requires in an open topped enclosure such as the one you have. I highly recommend getting two 50 gallon sterilite tubs from Walmart (20$ each) and housing each in them instead. In the meantime, cover the top of your enclosure with plastic wrap or tin foil, and wrap foil around your lamps. Though marketed as “the perfect housing”, those tortoise houses are not suitable for any species.

Remember, these tortoise require warm, humid conditions at all times. Please read through all of these, and come back with questions-
How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/How-To-Raise-A-Healthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/
 

zona

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Jan 25, 2020
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Arizona
There are some things that need to be changed about your enclosure.

-these are tropical tortoises that need to be set up with a deep, damp substrate, large, shallow water bowl, and plenty of hides. The hay and fake grass needs to be completely removed and replaced with 2-4 inches of fine grade orchid bark, cypress mulch, or either of these mixed with coconut coir.

-your water bowl needs to be replaced with a terra cotta saucer llarge enough for them to soak in. The one you have now is too tall and too small.

-I see no night heat. It is imperative that these tortoises are kept with temps no lower than 80 in the coolest part of the enclosure, day or night.

-you need a long tube UVB to promote proper shell growth and behaviors, unless you are able to get them outside a few times a week.

-the fact that they seek eachother out is territorial behavior. They need to be separated as soon as you are able. The reason they are different sizes is very likely from being housed together, and is a common side effect from it.

-it is impossible to hold the 80%+ humidity your tortoise desperately requires in an open topped enclosure such as the one you have. I highly recommend getting two 50 gallon sterilite tubs from Walmart (20$ each) and housing each in them instead. In the meantime, cover the top of your enclosure with plastic wrap or tin foil, and wrap foil around your lamps. Though marketed as “the perfect housing”, those tortoise houses are not suitable for any species.

Remember, these tortoise require warm, humid conditions at all times. Please read through all of these, and come back with questions-
How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/How-To-Raise-A-Healthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/
Thanks, I recognize all of that (although when I said that they seek each other out, I didn’t mean that they do it all the time, when we first got them they did it more often. Now that we’ve had them for a while they haven’t been doing it as much, and (if they do do it) it’s only when my sister didn’t do something that she was supposed to (which makes it pretty obvious that she didn’t) and it’s usually hers that does the seeking out...which she (my sis) doesn’t necessarily like...I say they seek each other out but sometimes it seems more like it’s me...but I think that’s just because I’m the one with the food and soak and spends the most time with them...I would point out to her that tortoises can recognize their care taker...but I don’t think that she would find that very...”helpful”...;)

As for the tort box, I have a uvb, a CHE, alightbn, and normally there is a cover over the box. I created a enclosure that I can put them in outside to get some natural sun without worrying that they get into trouble or eat something they shouldn’t (we’ve had really great weather in az which is nice;)? ). The images of the tort box is around the time when we first got it/assembled. The little terracotta dish isn’t for the water, it’s just something they can climb up and down (that’s why it’s upside down)...I put different things in the box just to keep them occupied while I’m out (I hide little pieces of food (in addition to the food readily available) for them to find...kinda like foraging I guess...not a very good substitute but I figured it is better than nothing. I’ll sometimes put a ping pong ball in the box which they push around)

there is fake grass in the den area which I always make sure it is damp (not wet but if you press your hand on it you can tell there is moisture) (in addition to other methods...such as osmosis (I think it’s called)... I put a container of water (that they can’t get in to) and put a portion of a towel in it while laying the rest out. The towel stays moist by soaking up water in the container as it dries out (There is a hydrometer in it that I monitor as well as a thermometer)
 

TechnoCheese

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Thanks, I recognize all of that (although when I said that they seek each other out, I didn’t mean that they do it all the time, when we first got them they did it more often. Now that we’ve had them for a while they haven’t been doing it as much, and (if they do do it) it’s only when my sister didn’t do something that she was supposed to (which makes it pretty obvious that she didn’t) and it’s usually hers that does the seeking out...which she (my sis) doesn’t necessarily like...I say they seek each other out but sometimes it seems more like it’s me...but I think that’s just because I’m the one with the food and soak and spends the most time with them...I would point out to her that tortoises can recognize their care taker...but I don’t think that she would find that very...”helpful”...;)

As for the tort box, I have a uvb, a CHE, alightbn, and normally there is a cover over the box. I created a enclosure that I can put them in outside to get some natural sun without worrying that they get into trouble or eat something they shouldn’t (we’ve had really great weather in az which is nice;)? ). The images of the tort box is around the time when we first got it/assembled. The little terracotta dish isn’t for the water, it’s just something they can climb up and down (that’s why it’s upside down)...I put different things in the box just to keep them occupied while I’m out (I hide little pieces of food (in addition to the food readily available) for them to find...kinda like foraging I guess...not a very good substitute but I figured it is better than nothing. I’ll sometimes put a ping pong ball in the box which they push around)

there is fake grass in the den area which I always make sure it is damp (not wet but if you press your hand on it you can tell there is moisture) (in addition to other methods...such as osmosis (I think it’s called)... I put a container of water (that they can’t get in to) and put a portion of a towel in it while laying the rest out. The towel stays moist by soaking up water in the container as it dries out (There is a hydrometer in it that I monitor as well as a thermometer)
The terra cotta saucer needs to be used for water. The water dish you’re using now is too tall and steep.

The fake grass needs to be taken out. It is not holding the humidity you need, they cannot burrow in it, it’s an impaction risk if they eat it, and it harbors bacteria.

Compact UVBs do not produce the correct amounts of uvb, and often burn eyes. You need to be using a linear tube UVB.
Please be sure to make these changes, and read those links if you haven’t already :)
 

zona

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The terra cotta saucer needs to be used for water. The water dish you’re using now is too tall and steep.

The fake grass needs to be taken out. It is not holding the humidity you need, they cannot burrow in it, it’s an impaction risk if they eat it, and it harbors bacteria.

Compact UVBs do not produce the correct amounts of uvb, and often burn eyes. You need to be using a linear tube UVB.
Please be sure to make these changes, and read those links if you haven’t already :)
Like I said, those pics are from around the time we got the box?. I was just explaining to you what was in the pic at the time?. (Although re-reading it, I realized I somehow ended up using the wrong tense as I was typing...making it sound as if it was the current state and not the past...whoops?....it’s been a long day...?
 
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Tony the Tort42

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@zona what do they currently have in their enclosure? Can you send updated pics. Not sure if im misunderstanding, but it sounds like their still together. This is not ok. They also need a bare MINIMUM of a 40 gallon tub (each) cypress mulch, coco coir and soil all make great substrates. Also, can you show us the outdoor enclosure? Make sure that they have a shady spot in it, and that they cant get picked up by birds. Also, as others have said, the fake grass has got to go. What are the torts eating? They should be primarily getting grass to eat. Sorry to sound a bit harsh, we want to help your little ones.
 

Quadro

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Yes please don’t take anything the wrong way ! We are glad your here but it’s best to take these things to heart for your little ones . As I currently found out I was using the wrong bulb and it was considered a coil bulb and it was in a clamped dome which put it at an angle which is a no no I had no hide so she was forced to look at it all day one morning her one eye was slimy I went to a thread on lighting on here changed the bulb and hung the light straight up and down the next day or two in was normal . I could of blinded her ? . Posting current pictures on things will help you get the best advice and if you apply those you and the torts will be happy you did . Most people on here have tons of experience more than myself once I applied these changes I’ve seen a difference which got me all hyped up for kyahs and my other torts care . I hope you listen if you need to make changes you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want some help and like I said I’m glad you are posting that means you care enough about your tort to ask questions. Pic below of her eyes while back now she’s bright eyed as ever !
 

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Lyn W

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We have all made mistakes when first getting our torts, but with the help of experienced members we have been able to learn from our mistakes and from the mistakes others have made and thankfully shared so we don't do the same. The important thing is to follow that advice. We all love torts here and only have their best interests at heart and want them to be as safe and healthy as possible.

You obviously love the little guys, so investing in a second set of heat lamps for another enclosure to separate them will save them a lot of distress and save you a fortune in vets bills later.
 

DesertGirl

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Just wanted to say hi and introduce my torts. I have (my twin sister and I) have two baby (about 3 months old) sulcatas. We plan in putting them outside when they are big enough (and probably separated). My sister’s tortoise is named “Kameko Makne (not quite sure how to spell it)” I guess (according to her) “kameko” mean “child of the tortoise” and “makne” mean “youngest”. So “Kameko Makne” or “youngest child of the tortoise”....mine isn’t as complicated. It’s name (obviously not sure if they are male or female) is Zoan (I have a bird lovebird named Zona and a betta named Zano...(and yes I did just switch the letters around)...Although it’s nickname is “Spud” like a little potato spud;)
We’ve had tortoises in the past when we were younger, but my parents were the one’s who did a lot of the things (especially the food). Since we are older now and caring for them entirely, I figured it might be good to have a place to turn to if we have any questions and what-not.
With that being said, of the two, mine (appears) to be “normal growth”. My sister’s on the other hand appears to be a bit delayed (from the start). Her’s appears (especially when we first got them) as though it’s shell is too big...it’s rather cute and funny looking at the same time. They have both been growing, but I was curious if there was any thing we should keep an eye out/do more for/careful about when it comes to hers. For example, the growth areas around the scutes are dark/thick and I was wondering if it may be more prone to certain growth deformities such as pyramiding than mine would be/one that doesn’t appear to have any growth delay and if so, is there anything we should do in addition to help or just to keep a close eye on it?
Some pictures of them:

View attachment 285365View attachment 285366View attachment 285367View attachment 285368View attachment 285369View attachment 285370View attachment 285371View attachment 285372View attachment 285373
Is there anything cuter????
 

Tony the Tort42

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We have all made mistakes when first getting our torts, but with the help of experienced members we have been able to learn from our mistakes and from the mistakes others have made and thankfully shared so we don't do the same. The important thing is to follow that advice. We all love torts here and only have their best interests at heart and want them to be as safe and healthy as possible.

You obviously love the little guys, so investing in a second set of heat lamps for another enclosure to separate them will save them a lot of distress and save you a fortune in vets bills later.
And they will be happier! ?
 

zona

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Just to clarify (I’m not home to take pics):
-The grass isn’t in the box anymore
-I have CHE, uvb, and
-the lights are not coiled
-I grow “animal grass” and cut it up into small pieces combined with different assortments of lettuce and greens (some that I grow and some I get fresh)
-I don’t give them fruit
-I try to soak them everyday
-They always have water available(large enough for them to go in and soak on their own with)
-I use the coconut soil stuff mixed with something else (can’t remember what it is called) with orchid hay over it

-as for any aggressive behavior, I do not believe there is any
-when I said they seek each other out or go around in circles, they only did this in the beginning, they haven’t done any of this behavior for quite some time, I said they “occasionally” still do it because, (although it was also a while ago), when my sister forgot to feed them and I was letting mine eat some of the ”animal grass” that I had grown in a container that they could eat directly without me cutting it, I believe my sister’s was actually seeking me out since I’m the one who walked by it with a tray full of bright green stuff (they recognize the tray with the green stuff as food cause I use the grass in their regular food as well...They hadn’t had anything to eat and were hungry and I had food and so I think hers just went in the direction I went with the food (I wanted to do it separately so I could better see how they respond/go about it....mine didn’t t seem to have much trouble with the small/young grass but my sister’s still found it a bit tougher)
-they haven’t done it since but I said “occasionally” because I know there is still a potential that it because they did do so in the beginning and I can’t say for certain if my sister’s was seeking me/food out or mine (I do believe that it was seeking me out for food because it was unusual for it to ignore things that it usually finds interesting...which is what made it pretty obvious that something wasn’t right-i.e. they had not been fed... and once they got their fill they went about behaving as they normally do)
-nothing has happened since

-they are still together but I removed the divider thing so that they have the entire box to use (there are hides for them)

although there is more, I was wondering if anyone has any answers to my original question in regards to my sister’s tort

also: for sulcatas, can they eat strawberry leaves?I have read that the young leaves are ok but I want some opinions and others’ experience. I’ve been growing strawberry plants and I am going to have to start pruning them soon and they start sprouting new leaves when I do
 
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Tom

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although there is more, I was wondering if anyone has any answers to my original question in regards to my sister’s tort

also: for sulcatas, can they eat strawberry leaves?I have read that the young leaves are ok but I want some opinions and others’ experience. I’ve been growing strawberry plants and I am going to have to start pruning them soon and they start sprouting new leaves when I do

All of the posts here have been aimed at answering your original question and helping both your sister's tortoise and yours. The correct substrate, temperatures, humidity, bulbs, and food will help them. Separating them will be the biggest help. You don't have to see actual outright hostility for the pair thing to be a problem. It is causing a great deal of stress for both of them. Groups can sometimes work. Pairs do not.

Strawberry leaves are safe as small part of a varied diet, as long as there were no pesticides or other chemicals involved.
 

Tony the Tort42

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@zona the torts will not act aggressive. They will use small acts such as blocking each other from food to dominate. They MUST be separated asap. Your sisters tortoise may not be getting enough food, as yours may be dominate. Your not seeing of aggression quite frankly, is not enough to know if there is dominance and or hostility (which there most likely is). Also, how big is your enclosure? Please listen to us, we just want to help your tortoise.
 

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