moved my sulcatas outside

Amelia.Walton

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
46
Location (City and/or State)
Burnet, TX
I have moved my two, 3y/o Sulcatas to their outdoor enclosure and are getting their heated night boxes ready for cooler temps in Central TX. I’m using your nightbox plan, Tom.
Do Sulcatas hibernate or Brumate once outside? For 3 years they were inside and didn’t act any different activity-wise in house. I don’t know what to expect now that they are outside. Will I just leave them in their night boxes? Of course letting them have outside access on warmer days. Do I feed them like always? Or does their appetite decrease? Just want to do right by Tillman and Tucker(they are separated of course). Please advise. Want to be prepared and confident they will make it during their first outdoor fall and winter.
 

SweetGreekTorts

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
990
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, AZ
I have moved my two, 3y/o Sulcatas to their outdoor enclosure and are getting their heated night boxes ready for cooler temps in Central TX. I’m using your nightbox plan, Tom.
Do Sulcatas hibernate or Brumate once outside? For 3 years they were inside and didn’t act any different activity-wise in house. I don’t know what to expect now that they are outside. Will I just leave them in their night boxes? Of course letting them have outside access on warmer days. Do I feed them like always? Or does their appetite decrease? Just want to do right by Tillman and Tucker(they are separated of course). Please advise. Want to be prepared and confident they will make it during their first outdoor fall and winter.
Sulcatas are not a hibernating/brumating species at all and need to be kept warm during colder nights.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
14,154
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Greetings. To make things simple, you have to understand that Sulcatas come from African regions where there is no such thing as a “Winter” - no frost, no snow, no cold winds, no “slowing down” during cold months... It’s hot, humid, sometimes dry, sometimes monsoons. No cold, no hibernation or brumation. Feed them the same in February as you do in July and August.

Soaking, eating, high temperatures and good lighting are what you need to recreate.

Hope that helps!
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
4,208
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
So they continue to eat and walk around in winter? Do we continue to soak them as well as long as they stay warm?
I would also like to know what part of Africa sulcatas are native to. I suppose they come from a warm part of that continent, so are not accustomed to cold temperatures.
Not to hijack this thread!
 

SweetGreekTorts

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
990
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, AZ
I would also like to know what part of Africa sulcatas are native to. I suppose they come from a warm part of that continent, so are not accustomed to cold temperatures.
Not to hijack this thread!
Northern Africa, in the southern part of Sahara Desert, which is the largest hot desert in the world.
 

KhairulTort

Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
70
Location (City and/or State)
Colombia
I would also like to know what part of Africa sulcatas are native to. I suppose they come from a warm part of that continent, so are not accustomed to cold temperatures.
Not to hijack this thread!

It's surprising that for a species that is so commonly kept in captivity there is very little research that has been done on the species in its natural habitat.
It might interest you to learn that sulcatas that have been documented in central Africa are often found near dried up riverbeds inside burrows which they dig for themselves during hot periods.
(I need to source this properly, I've already forgotten what country the study I found was looking at.)

Also it seems they're increasingly rare in their natural range Though they're listed as vulnerable I have a feeling that their preservation status should be endangered in the very least.

Their form of 'hibernation' as it is, is much more like a camel than a bear. Sulcatas have an amazing ability to store fresh water for months on end. Digest their food slowly, and use hardly any energy.
They are built to survive a lack of food in hot conditions until the rains come again. Not to brave out a winter.
I'm already getting quite worried about where I'm going to put mine during winter and he's less than a year old.

I feel like I might need to build a massive greenhouse eventually...
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
14,154
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Here’s some info on their origin. But @Tom (of course) actually has a friend in Sudan i believe that observes these guys in their native habitats.

But, back to countries - Sulcata tortoises are native to more northern parts of Africa, ranging from the southern edge of the Sahara down through the arid countries, including Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, the Sudan, and Ethiopia, up through the dry, hot Massaua coast bordering the Red Sea. /Source: http://www.anapsid.org/sulcata.html /

Sulcatas come from some of the Sahel, the hottest, driest area in Africa. Some regions may not get rain for years. To make the most of available moisture, their skin is resistant to fluid loss but, when exposed to moisture, may become highly permeable. Towards this end, they will excavate pallets or burrows in the ground to get to areas with higher moisture levels; in the wild, they may spend the hottest part of the day in these microhabitats. Burrows may average 30 inches in depth; some dig tunnel systems extending 10 feet or more underground. Sulcatas are, like most turtles and tortoises native to dry areas, extremely efficient in their use of water. A sulcata may urinate just 0.64 ml a day, significantly less than their spur-thighed cousins living in the relatively lush Mediterranean countries who may urinate 1-2 ml a day. A danger, then, in captivity is that too much water may be given or made accessible which may lead to health problems including skin and shell infections and kidney problems.
 

45Charlie0ct

Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
36
Location (City and/or State)
TX
I am following this and what is said. I moved my sulcata out and almost done eith her night box and have all the same questions you have . And I too live in Texas. Do we open the night box every day during the winter and just close them in it at night?
Chrissy
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
4,208
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
Here’s some info on their origin. But @Tom (of course) actually has a friend in Sudan i believe that observes these guys in their native habitats.

But, back to countries - Sulcata tortoises are native to more northern parts of Africa, ranging from the southern edge of the Sahara down through the arid countries, including Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, the Sudan, and Ethiopia, up through the dry, hot Massaua coast bordering the Red Sea. /Source: http://www.anapsid.org/sulcata.html /

Sulcatas come from some of the Sahel, the hottest, driest area in Africa. Some regions may not get rain for years. To make the most of available moisture, their skin is resistant to fluid loss but, when exposed to moisture, may become highly permeable. Towards this end, they will excavate pallets or burrows in the ground to get to areas with higher moisture levels; in the wild, they may spend the hottest part of the day in these microhabitats. Burrows may average 30 inches in depth; some dig tunnel systems extending 10 feet or more underground. Sulcatas are, like most turtles and tortoises native to dry areas, extremely efficient in their use of water. A sulcata may urinate just 0.64 ml a day, significantly less than their spur-thighed cousins living in the relatively lush Mediterranean countries who may urinate 1-2 ml a day. A danger, then, in captivity is that too much water may be given or made accessible which may lead to health problems including skin and shell infections and kidney problems.
That last sentence about too much water presents a problem to me. I don't see how making water accessible to them can lead to health/kidney problems! Certainly one can add too much water to the substrate making it soaking wet all the time which is of course, not a good idea, but keeping them too dry and depriving them of water has been proven to cause pyramiding and I would believe, ill health and kidney problems! This is what I understand from the experienced people on this site.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
14,154
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
That last sentence about too much water presents a problem to me. I don't see how making water accessible to them can lead to health/kidney problems! Certainly one can add too much water to the substrate making it soaking wet all the time which is of course, not a good idea, but keeping them too dry and depriving them of water has been proven to cause pyramiding and I would believe, ill health and kidney problems! This is what I understand from the experienced people on this site.


Yes.... i agree, that last sentence (from the source referenced) doesn't make sense to me either. So, lets disregard this bit for sure!
  • A danger, then, in captivity is that too much water may be given or made accessible which may lead to health problems including skin and shell infections and kidney problems.
 

Amelia.Walton

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
46
Location (City and/or State)
Burnet, TX
I am following this and what is said. I moved my sulcata out and almost done eith her night box and have all the same questions you have . And I too live in Texas. Do we open the night box every day during the winter and just close them in it at night?
Chrissy
I love in Burnet Tx. Where are you located in Tx?
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
14,154
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Greetings, regarding this question that doesn't seem to have received a response:
  • Do we open the night box every day during the winter and just close them in it at night?
The simple answer is yes, you shut the door at night with your Sully in and they sleep all night in a warm toasty night box. Come morning, you open up the door giving them the choice to mosey on out or stay in where it is warm n toasty. Just remember, these night boxes aren't meant to be full time Winter enclosures. They are designed to provide your tort a warm, safe n secure box during the cold night time temps from dawn to dusk. (Or thereabouts). Hope that helps.

I’m sure there might be some frigid mornings and days when you might choose to not open the door, but the plan is to usually close at night and open in the daytime n sunshine!

Good luck
 
Top