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Mom to a 1.5 year old sulcata tortoise

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by DextersMom, Oct 8, 2019.

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  1. DextersMom

    DextersMom New Member

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    image.jpg 93270AD3-CFAE-42CE-9572-34FD5F11A745.jpeg 5ADC08EC-8831-40CF-89E7-B35AA4606CF9.jpeg image.jpg Hello,

    I'm Dexter's mom, Erin. Dexter is almost 2 yrs old. I got him in January of 2018 at the size of a silver dollar, maybe a tad bigger. He was a gift for my daughter for her birthday but I always seem to inherit and care for the animals (we also have a chinchilla and a cat). When we got Dex we were living in Tucson, AZ where the living conditions for him were perfect. In May of this year we moved to NE Ohio and the weather is not so agreeable. We will see how winter goes.

    We started out with a tank for Dex, but recently my husband built him a table box. He loves it! I have been getting most of my care advice from "Kamp Kenan" on YouTube. He breeds sulcata tortoises and explains the care from hatchling all the way to adult tortoises.

    I am new to this, the only experience I have is an uncle who has 3 tortoises that roam his back yard and they are about 20 years old. This is quite different.

    Box details:
    1. Substrate- organic potting soil and organic syprus mulch 1:1 ratio
    2. Plastic log hide
    3. Shallow water dish
    4. Basking rock
    5. Feeding rock
    6. Small rocks to move around
    7. 100 watt light bulb
    8. Diet- endive and zoo med grassland tortoise food

    Issues:
    1. Won't keep orchid moss in hide, drags it all over
    2. I think he's eating the dirt
    3. He is always digging
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  2. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Greetings...

    Make sure you read up all these details for raising a Sully.

    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/

    How are you providing overnight heat and maintaining your overall ambient temp. Read up on totally enclosed enclosures, and make sure you are doing daily soaks.

    Best of luck!
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  3. DextersMom

    DextersMom New Member

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    Thank you so much for this link! There is a lot of helpful info there.

    To maintain temp at night we just purchased a red heat lamp. The enclosure ranges temp from 75-90 (directly under the lamp). I will try to regulate that a little better. I do soak Dex daily in warm water, he loves that. The potting soil is damp, it hasn't really lost any moisture since I changed it 2 weeks ago. He likes to dig in it. I will need to change the hide I think. It is very damp in his hide because of the soil but it's not very warm. That is actually the coolest part of his habitat. Would you recommend a hide that heats up? Should I put the night heat lamp over his hide? Should I get heat could for under his table box?

    I would love to fork out the money for a full enclosure that I can keep regulated but I just can't right now. I have had Dex for almost 2 years now and he is very healthy. I try my hardest to research and do things I know are beneficial to his health and growth.

    Again, thank you for the advice and for the useful link.
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    You've gotten bad advice and are making some common mistakes. Your tortoise should literally be 10 times that size by now.

    Kamp Kenan does make nice looking videos, but the advice he gives is not good, and the practices he demonstrates often lead to death. Sulcatas are not a desert species. Open topped tables are far too dry and there is no way to keep temperatures and humidity where you want them to be. Sulcatas hatch at the start of the rainy season. Its hot, very humid, and rainy. These are the conditions they need to thrive. Your enclosure is much too small, and it needs to be closed n to hold the heat and humidity. Also, the water bowl isn't safe or suitable for tortoises. A terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate will work much better. Red bulbs shouldn't be used of tortoises. The red light disturbs their circadian rhythms and the incandescent bulbs desiccate the carapace and cause pyramiding if they sit under it.

    Read these:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/

    Your tortoise is very lucky you found us. I hope we can help make things better.
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  6. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Welcome you have received posts from 3 of the very knowledgeable members here. These members definitely made my life easier and might have saved Opo's life .I was doing it all wrong.l started with Kamp Kenan. I love his videos but the information can be vague or taken out of context. But I am sure it's hard to get all the information in a short video.
    Just stay here for your info. Instead of searching all over the internet like I did.
    Great to have another sully owner here.
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  7. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Forgot to say Dexter is adorable. Does he eat the Grassland tortoise diet? Opo wouldn't touch it. I finally got Opo on Mazuri 5m21 not the LS type. He loves it as most torts do.
    I used coco coir 2" deep with 100% cypress mulch on top. Repti bark is used by lots of members. Get rid of the organic soil.
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  8. DextersMom

    DextersMom New Member

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    Thank you for the advice!!!! I will be sure to ditch the soil and get the coco. Dex lives the grassland good. I also give him rose leaves, cactus pad, clover, and put him out in the yard to munch (when it’s warm).
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  9. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I can't get Opo to eat a Rose leaf or flower.
    He is just alright with hibiscus. But loves to graze.
  10. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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  11. DextersMom

    DextersMom New Member

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  12. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Acorn squash, I give it to him occasionally. My wife uses squash when cooking. I have heard different thinking on how often to feed. So to be safe maybe 1 every 2 months.
    Thanks I need to make his outside perimeter a little more appealing. But I need to get a insulated enclosure for him before it gets to cold.
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