Modifying Sleep Habits


New Member
Feb 25, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Colonial Beach, Virginia
This is my first post. I purchased a 1 yr old sulcata (Fluffy) from a local breeder about a month ago. He seem to be doing fine. Although he hasn't gained any weight, it took me a couple of weeks to get the enclosure right and figure out what he likes to eat. Now he's very active (when awake) and eats and poops regularly.

My question has to do with his sleeping habits, which I'm sure are at least partially related to how he was raised. I have no idea when he wakes up in the morning, except that it is before me. He is active all morning, then goes to sleep in a random spot at 2:00 p.m. - unless I take him outside, in which case he goes to sleep when I bring him back in, regardless of the time.

When I get up, I give him a soak, then feed him and go to work. He's asleep when I get home. Obviously, it's hard to get him outside for some sun when it's too cold in the morning and he's asleep in the afternoon. So, I started to gradually adjust the lighting so that it comes on a little later in the morning, hoping that it might move his routine forward a little.

Instead of modifying his sleep habits, he's been more successful at modifying mine. He seems to be waking up even earlier as he's even more active when I get up. And the past few days he's decided that he can't wait for his soak to poop, so he's been pooping in his empty food dish [think he might be trying to tell me something?].

Has anyone successfully modified a sulcata's sleep habits? I'd appreciate any suggestions.


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Oct 26, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England

Even kept indoors, torts seem very sensitive to actual sunrise and sunset times. I don't know how they do it, but they do.

Sunrise is the time to stir to maximise whatever sun may shine in the day. Early basking is essential to warm up and get going for the day.

As the days lengthen your tort will react earlier to the start of the day.

Turning in for the day as early as 2pm for a well fed tort that's warm enough isn't unusual. I can reckon on Joe packing up by 3 unless it's been too hot during the day - then he'll be active in the evening as it cools.

You won't change your tort's habits.

You can try making him work a bit harder for food. Don't chop it up. Don't put it in the same place all the time. Do add some plants in pots sunk into the substrate that he can browse.


The member formerly known as captain awesome
10 Year Member!
Aug 15, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
I suspect your tortoise does not like you :) just kidding it's very hard most likely impossible to change his sleeping habits he seems to be doing a much better job of changing yours unfortunately the only thing I can suggest is to get used to it because tortoises do not like change at all

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