Many will disagree, but hear me out!

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Maggie3fan

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My dad said that we couldn’t get a fancy enclosure, and we are just going to stick with the 40 gallon one 😢😭. Sorry, that part isn’t up to me. Do you want me to just stop using my bulb in the meantime? And I have plenty of weeds in my backyard. Thank you!
Baby Sulcata will probably not eat any weeds just yet. Read the care sheet and then do what it says. You wanna let your baby roam? Bad idea...you will eventually lose him to an untimely death or he takes off...so the aquarium is fine with me...you can cover the top and wet the orchid bark substrate and that would work while you try to tell your Dad what you seriously need.
 
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Baby Sulcata will probably not eat any weeds just yet. Read the care sheet and then do what it says. You wanna let your baby roam? Bad idea...you will eventually lose him to an untimely death or he takes off...so the aquarium is fine with me...you can cover the top and wet the orchid bark substrate and that would work while you try to tell your Dad what you seriously need.
Ok, so no dandelions or clover? If I don’t feed it that it will only be eating straight Roman lettuce. Or is the problem the fact that it might not eat the weeds, because Rosie loves them. What do you recommend feeding it? I am ordering grass sprouts right now.
 
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Also, do you guys want me to still take it outside for natural sun, just like in a bin or something instead? Because it loves to explore outside and I feel bad.
 

SinLA

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Also, do you guys want me to still take it outside for natural sun, just like in a bin or something instead? Because it loves to explore outside and I feel bad.

OK, now this is fair, I do think you've gotten conflicting advice in this thread, in part from me so hopefully this will clarify:

1) If the tort does get sun regularly, the UVB is less important. HOWEVER given the tort's age and the ability for it to be outside safely, then you do need a UVB light. So, can you describe the conditions on which it is outside? Can you take a photo? If you have a large plastic baby pool with substrate that could work fine, so long as you supervise it and make sure it has places to go that are cool and out of the sun if it needs. If you are doing to have it be on a lawn (that isn't treated with pesticides, etc), then it needs to have walls so it can't run away. Even if you say you are watching it, believe me, they are fast little buggers and can get away from you faster than you realize. You can try to have something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T1WV139/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 or this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014EYSFJK/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 that you can move around when it is outside, but again make sure she always has a place to get out of the sun so she doesn't inadvertently cook.

2) The thing with the UVB light is its not just buying the "right" bulb, its also making sure its the right distance and generating the right amount of UVB. Here is what is in Tom's FAQ:

T5 HO tubes are best. Arcadia makes the Pro T5 kits in several lengths. ZooMed has a 10.0 HO tube that is safe, effective and reliable.

but you also need a UVB meter to make sure its output is right. Again from his FAQ:

>>Speaking of the meters, there is no way to know what is happening in your enclosure without a meter. Your tortoise may be getting too much UV, or none at all. This needs to be measured, not guessed at. Buying the meter will save money in the long run as you won't be wasting perfectly good working bulbs at 6 month intervals. You will wait to buy a new bulb until a new bulb is needed.

16. UV duration: There is no need to run UV bulbs for 12 hours a day. This makes no sense. It is totally unnecessary and completely unnatural. High UV from daybreak to lights out does not happen in the wild. Outdoor UV levels outside build slowly in the morning, peak mid day, and drop off in the afternoon. Outdoor UV levels are much stronger in summer time. Our tortoises only need 15 minutes of UV once in a while to make the needed D3, which is then stored in their bodies for later use. Dietary D3 also gets the job done, further reducing the need for UVB. A few hours mid day is more than enough UVB exposure, and this more closely simulates what is happening outside.
<<

So what you need really "depends" on what you are doing with her. Bottom line:

>>
  1. 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.<<


 

SinLA

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Ok, so no dandelions or clover? If I don’t feed it that it will only be eating straight Roman lettuce. Or is the problem the fact that it might not eat the weeds, because Rosie loves them. What do you recommend feeding it? I am ordering grass sprouts right now.

Ok, so again it definitely can be confusing because in part what you need to feed when they are a baby is a little different, as they are learning.

You *can* use grocery store items though wild produced weeds and flowers are better, but you have to know what is being fed and how - especially at the start, try to avoid romaine and lettuce. If at the very beginning while you are getting things sorted you need grocery greens - Endive, escarole, radicchio, and dandelion greens are all usually very easy to find in most grocery stores, even better if you have a farmers market or similar. Organic is better if you can. As far as outside weeds the tortoise table is great to use, just make sure you know the location doesn't use pesticides, or isn't too close to a road, etc. so like wild dandelions are great, also if you know anyone with a rose garden, hibiscus, hollyhock, etc. But nothing too recent from a commercial nursery. If you decide to buy some and plant some from a nursery it safest to wait about a year before you use anything from that plant. But you may already have some of these growing, or know neighbors who do.

Cut them up into small pieces and mix them together like a "salad" so your tort can learn what is good to eat. You can also use Mazuri tables soaked in water mixed in to supplement and get her used to the taste.

There's lots of good posts here about things they can eat, but you have a LOT going on right now, so start small, focus on just the above before getting too much info and ending up in 'analysis paralysis"...
 

Tom

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Ok, so no dandelions or clover? If I don’t feed it that it will only be eating straight Roman lettuce. Or is the problem the fact that it might not eat the weeds, because Rosie loves them. What do you recommend feeding it? I am ordering grass sprouts right now.
I think what Maggie is referring to is that most breeders do not offer babies the right foods to start with. They just drop in some lettuce because it is easy. Babies started this way don't recognize weeds and grass as food, and it can take weeks or months of effort to get them eating the right foods.

I start my babies on weeds, leaves and grasses as soon as they hatch. My current batch of star babies went 22 consecutive days before they saw the same food a second time. Every single day for their first 22 days, they saw something that they had never seen before. The end result, is that they will eat anything you put in front of them now. When people buy them, they can feed them whatever tortoise food they have and these babies will accept it and eat it.

If your baby is eating weeds and clover already, that is fantastic! That is the best thing for them. Try to find other things besides just dandelion or clover. Look for grape leaves, mulberry leaves, rose of Sharon flowers and leaves, broad or narrow leaf plantain, sow thistle, thistle, mallow, filaree, wild mustard, nasturtiums, pansies, geraniums, squash or pumpkin leaves and blooms, and soooooo many more. At the store get cilantro, arugula, endive, escarole, collards, turnip and mustard greens, etc...

If you have to use grocery store greens add in some dried leaves from Kapidolo Farms, or some soaked Mazuri (either type), or soaked ZooMed pellets. Do you know anybody that has a horse? Ask for a handful of horse hay pellets. You can soak a tiny broken off piece of one pellet and mix that in with the greens for more fiber ad variety. Horse is is just grass, which is what sulcatas are supposed to be eating.

Is there a Mexican grocery store near you. Like Tres Sierras or Vallarta? Look for spineless opuntia pads, aka: nopales. That is great tortoise food.
 
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Ok, thank you guys for the great information. The weird thing is, my baby tortoise will not eat a lot of things, but will eat almost anything that is like lettuce. This is because the person I got my tortoise from only fed it Romain, so it was the first time it has ever seen different food when I got it. I have tried feeding it cactus pad, but my tortoise won’t even attempt to eat it. There are no Mexican shops in my area, the closest thing is Walmart (which is 20 miles away) because I live in a small town. The weather where I am right now is about 70-80 percent humidity. The temperature is in the 80s, and the UV varies from 3-6. My UV lamp is very low UV, so I turn it on for the heat purpose. I still am trying to get all of the right bulbs and stuff, and I am picking up the terrarium today.
 

Tom

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The weird thing is, my baby tortoise will not eat a lot of things, but will eat almost anything that is like lettuce. This is because the person I got my tortoise from only fed it Romain, so it was the first time it has ever seen different food when I got it.
This is not weird. It is totally normal. Since the breeder failed to do it right, YOU will have to spend the time and effort to get your tortoise eating the right foods.

No tortoise walks up to something it has not seen before and just starts eating it. What you have to do is introduce new foods little by little and in tiny tiny little amounts at first. Take a tiny piece of that cactus pad, I'm talking like the size of half of your pinky fingernail, and mince it up super fine into a tiny pile of slimy mush. Then mix that mush throughly with the day's greens. There should be so little cactus that the tortoise almost can't even tell it is there. Keep doing that amount, until the tortoise eats up the pile like normal. Then add a little more each time.

The process can take weeks or months before a tortoise accepts new foods. One of the nice things about sulcatas is that they are insensitive voracious opportunistic pigs, and when they hit their growth spurts in warm weather, they become ravenous and will just about anything. It makes the process of introducing new and unfamiliar foods go much faster than for some other species.

The cactus pads are a good one to spend time on because they are easy to grow, they are excellent tortoise food, and when your baby gets to about 12 inches and you start feeding it a lot of dry hay, the cactus pads help keep the GI tract moving smoothly.
 
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I have finished the enclosure, except for the bulbs we need. We are just taking our time on that part to find the right one, and we still use the UV light as a heat source. The decorations are different, but I personally think it looks nice!
 

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SinLA

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I have finished the enclosure, except for the bulbs we need. We are just taking our time on that part to find the right one, and we still use the UV light as a heat source. The decorations are different, but I personally think it looks nice!
Try to find a hide she can completely go into. Could be a dark/solid (non translucent) colored Tupperware container with a hole cut in the side. Somewhere she can go where she can be completely out of site and in the dark. It will make her feel safer. You can also spray it with water and it will maintain humidity.

If you search this forum for photos or enclosures or search “humor hide” you’ll see some examples.

Here are things to think about:

Exo Terra Reptile Cave, X-Large https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SLM5GWQ/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Or even like this, tho this won’t maintain humidity:
Flexible Wood Hideout - Extra... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083JPLRXS/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
 

Maggie3fan

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Ok, so no dandelions or clover? If I don’t feed it that it will only be eating straight Roman lettuce. Or is the problem the fact that it might not eat the weeds, because Rosie loves them. What do you recommend feeding it? I am ordering grass sprouts right now.
I am not recommending anything except to read the care sheet. It tells you exactly what it should/will eat. Get some spring mix and cut some up wiht your weeds.
 
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Try to find a hide she can completely go into. Could be a dark/solid (non translucent) colored Tupperware container with a hole cut in the side. Somewhere she can go where she can be completely out of site and in the dark. It will make her feel safer. You can also spray it with water and it will maintain humidity.

If you search this forum for photos or enclosures or search “humor hide” you’ll see some examples.

Here are things to think about:

Exo Terra Reptile Cave, X-Large https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SLM5GWQ/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Or even like this, tho this won’t maintain humidity:
Flexible Wood Hideout - Extra... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083JPLRXS/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
I have one of those in the corner. My tortoise sleeps in it every night, and sometimes goes in there during the day.
 

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I am not recommending anything except to read the care sheet. It tells you exactly what it should/will eat. Get some spring mix and cut some up wiht your weeds.
I have read the sheet multiple times. I am sorry if I am making you upset in any way. I honestly just got kind of mixed up because people were saying different things to do and I was confused.
 
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Cathie G

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Something I didn't know when I got Sapphire was that reputable pet shops like pet smart and others guarantee things bought there. Even opened food the animal won't eat. Save your receipts always .
 

Cathie G

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We had to move my tortoises enclosure to my moms house for the week. Is this bad to do?
It's not really good to move a tortoise but. There's so many things familiar to the tortoise about what you're doing that I wonder. The same people. The same enclosure. Possibly you would be able to position the enclosure in a place similar to the position it usually sits in in the room. I have my tortoise's enclosure set up where he gets the morning sun all day through the window until about 3 pm. It's just my opinion that it helps him regulate his days. So if you could do something like that it might not be so disruptive to your torts schedule.
 
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It's not really good to move a tortoise but. There's so many things familiar to the tortoise about what you're doing that I wonder. The same people. The same enclosure. Possibly you would be able to position the enclosure in a place similar to the position it usually sits in in the room. I have my tortoise's enclosure set up where he gets the morning sun all day through the window until about 3 pm. It's just my opinion that it helps him regulate his days. So if you could do something like that it might not be so disruptive to your torts schedule.
Ok, I feel like it will get use to the one week switch. It isn’t surrounded by much at either house so it is about the same.
 
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