My official p.pardalis leopard tort page

diamondbp

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I figured since I post pictures of my leopard tortoise group quite often it might be best to create my own thread that way a story is told over time. So here is my group minus two more 3month olds I will be receiving once it warms up.

Now I will be the first to admit that I have mistakes over the last 2 years working with this species that I wish I could go back and correct, but unfortunately sometimes we simply have to live and learn. I would love to say that every tortoise I acquired lived and was flourishing but I have lost a handful over the last two years for various reasons.

First and foremost I'm certain some of my babies that didn't make it were simply victims of hatchling failure syndrome. They would look great for a month or so then turn south in a flash while others in the exact same care were flourishing. Others were lost to a vicious ant invasion last winter that broke my heart.

I hope to share what I've experienced over the last few years to help others avoid the same heartache.

I'm by no means an expert on this species yet, but I feel that my experience is starting to narrow down a good path of raising these beautiful tortoises. I owe A TON to the loyal members of TFO that have raised and are currently working with this species and sharing their knowledge. My hope is that this thread can participate in the growing knowledge of this wonderful species so we can begin to see more and more babies reach adulthood.

Here is a quick (and honest) recap of my group with pictures below.
 

diamondbp

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My 2year old male SA(South African) that originated from ATCImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425439536.700654.jpg

My other slightly younger 2year old male SA that originated from Ben Seigel RepitilesImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425439602.139297.jpg

Another 2year old (sex unknown) that has grown at a slower speed. It originated from Ben Seigel ReptilesImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425439807.555886.jpg

Here is a yearling (roughly) that I purchased as a 3" from Tortoise Supply. It's pyramiding had ceased and new smooth growth is taking overImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440005.406543.jpg

This is one I purchased from a store in Texas a few months ago that was extremely light in weight when I got it. It's rock solid now and beginning to grow again.ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440091.858956.jpg

Here is another yearling from ATC. She refuses to grow unless given outside time. She has been a very slow grower from the start.ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440204.150514.jpg

Here is another that I acquired from ATC that took a while to start growing. She always had a rock solid shell but is a very slow grower.ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440285.851039.jpg

Here is one that originated from Ian T.s breeders but purchased through gardenstatetortoise . It's 6 months old and has grown steady from the start ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440364.892414.jpg

Here is the clutch mate of the one above that hasn't grown at the same paceImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440410.801883.jpg

This is a yearling (yes a yearling) that originated from ATC as a hatchling. It has grown so incredibly slow yet is healthy in all regards.ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440511.615006.jpg

Now please don't assume anything bad about the slow growers and the source I got them from. I can honestly say that I've gotten both fast growers and slow growers from the same sources. I will be totally honest and say that some of the slower growth is probably due to me to some degree. Looking back over the last two years I can now pinpoint where and how I went wrong with some of the members of my group.

Below will be pictures of my mixed leopards (pardalis pardalis / babcocki) all roughly a year old. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440788.556350.jpgImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440800.853687.jpgImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425440810.858951.jpg
 

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Jodie

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Love the SA's. What do you attribute to the slow growth? Are you keeping some differently than others? They are all beautiful. I am looking forward to watching this thread. I have 3 babcocki that are almost a year.
 

diamondbp

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Love the SA's. What do you attribute to the slow growth? Are you keeping some differently than others? They are all beautiful. I am looking forward to watching this thread. I have 3 babcocki that are almost a year.

I will give a breakdown of what I suspect is the case of the slow growers if I get free time at work today. Thanks for the compliments. I love my group and how they are turning out.
 

Tom

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Love this concept for a thread.

Here is some relevant insight: Whenever I buy a group of babies from someone else who starts them drier than me, I see this same highly variable growth rate that you are seeing. Whenever I start them myself with my humid and hydrated methods I get much more uniform and "normal" growth rates. I should have babies out of my 2010 SA leopards in the next two or three years, and I can't wait to compare their growth rate and health to the dry started ones that I bought originally.
 

diamondbp

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I just realized I totally spaced on my "spotless" p.pardalis. He originated from ATC and did good until a near death encounter with my ant fiasco last year that almost killed him setting his growth back for months. He has exploded with growth the last 6 months. It's roughly 15-17 months old.ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425496927.758007.jpg
 

cmacusa3

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was reading this and what are your thoughts on slow growth. I have a 3 month old Leopard, That is very active, eats and seems to be in good health but hasn't grown much in the little over month I've had it. Its in a closed chamber enclosure that my Sully used to be in and he more than tripled in size in that enclosure in 2 months. Everything is set up very good with temps, humidity and good diet of mixed stuff. Daily soaks for 20 minutes. He's added 7-10 grams since I got him. Thoughts? This pic is the day I got him and then again yesterday one month. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1425661497.623903.jpg he is still super smooth and every morning when lights come on he's out wondering around.
 

MichaelS

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Hey Byron great thread. I will be following this one closely to see your updates:)

As for variable growth rates, I've seen the same thing with my 4 SAs as you and Tom have seen. I got them from the same source (started dry) and they are houses together (closed chamber since I got them) so they have had the same husbandry since day one but they are mostly likely not clutch mates. They were ground hatched in August and I got them in the beginning of September. They were all the same size give or take a few grams when I got them.

At six month they weighted: 132g, 112g, 93g, 56g.

As you can see that is quite a large range. One of my theories on the varying growth rates I've seen so far is the food selection for each. The big guy eats everything; weeds, grass, greens, flowers, opuntia etc and LOVES Mazuri. The two middles ones seem to 'like' most things but are more finicky. The little guy prefers greens and weeds and just now started to develop a taste for Mazuri. Also I see the bigger ones eating their cuddle bone quite often and have yet to see the little one chew on them. So in my mind the difference in growth rates for my SAs is not husbandry but could be a) genetics b) diet c) sex d) unique grow rates among individuals e) something else. All of which are out of my control so I try not to think about it too much any more;)
 

puffy137

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Absolutely beautiful creatures. My greeks look dowdy by comparison . Desert dwellers need to have a camouflage . Gaudy shells would make them a target. I even feel disloyal saying yours are so beautiful !:oops::oops::oops:
 

cmacusa3

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I was reading this and what are your thoughts on slow growth. I have a 3 month old Leopard, That is very active, eats and seems to be in good health but hasn't grown much in the little over month I've had i
Hey Byron great thread. I will be following this one closely to see your updates:)

As for variable growth rates, I've seen the same thing with my 4 SAs as you and Tom have seen. I got them from the same source (started dry) and they are houses together (closed chamber since I got them) so they have had the same husbandry since day one but they are mostly likely not clutch mates. They were ground hatched in August and I got them in the beginning of September. They were all the same size give or take a few grams when I got them.

At six month they weighted: 132g, 112g, 93g, 56g.

As you can see that is quite a large range. One of my theories on the varying growth rates I've seen so far is the food selection for each. The big guy eats everything; weeds, grass, greens, flowers, opuntia etc and LOVES Mazuri. The two middles ones seem to 'like' most things but are more finicky. The little guy prefers greens and weeds and just now started to develop a taste for Mazuri. Also I see the bigger ones eating their cuddle bone quite often and have yet to see the little one chew on them. So in my mind the difference in growth rates for my SAs is not husbandry but could be a) genetics b) diet c) sex d) unique grow rates among individuals e) something else. All of which are out of my control so I try not to think about it too much any more;)

Thanks for the insight. Do you think the smallest one is being bullied? I offer a lot of the same foods as you, some days its just depends on what the little one wants to eat. He will pick through the food and just eat certain stuff. If the mix has Radicchio in it, that's the only thing he will eat on a constant basis. I mix it with mazuri, opuntia, weeds and he eats, just not as much. I think some times I compare him to the eating of my garbage disposal sulcata and that doesn't help.
 

MichaelS

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Thanks for the insight. Do you think the smallest one is being bullied? I offer a lot of the same foods as you, some days its just depends on what the little one wants to eat. He will pick through the food and just eat certain stuff. If the mix has Radicchio in it, that's the only thing he will eat on a constant basis. I mix it with mazuri, opuntia, weeds and he eats, just not as much. I think some times I compare him to the eating of my garbage disposal sulcata and that doesn't help.

When keeping several torts together there is always that possibility but in my case I don't think so. My little guy seems to frequent the food plate more than the others throughout the day ( I home office and their closed chamber is in my office). I don't know the quantity of food he eats compared to the others just the frequency seems to be higher and the food types he goes for is different.

Sorry to hijack your thread Byron;)
 

cmacusa3

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Gotcha and yes sorry for Hijacking, I was just looking for some insight.
 

Elohi

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When keeping several torts together there is always that possibility but in my case I don't think so. My little guy seems to frequent the food plate more than the others throughout the day ( I home office and their closed chamber is in my office). I don't know the quantity of food he eats compared to the others just the frequency seems to be higher and the food types he goes for is different.

Sorry to hijack your thread Byron;)
I see this as well. My smallest yearling is probably the busiest and boldest and eats very well. They are all around the dish and this one yearling is IN the dish. But he/she just recently started really eating Mazuri when I offer it, which isn't that often.
 

diamondbp

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Hijacking is forgiven ;) . As far as my slow growers, I think several different factors come into play. I think the primary factor, at least is my group, is how dry some were started and I honestly think that that's really hard to overcome. Even though some of my slow growers eat as much as the others it seems their organs simply don't process or absorb the nutrients to the degree that the others do. Internal hydration has to be key with these guys. I'm certain that if I hadn't raised mine in a humid environment, proper basking area, and daily soaks they would have perished a long time ago. And as I stated before, some of my slow growers only start another growth period when they get some decent consistent outside time. Even though I use uvb bulbs and mercury vapor bulbs, I just don't think they cut the mustard when it comes to "natural" stimulation.

Just like Tom stated for himself, I also am considering getting a 10lot of some artificially hatched babies either this year or next year to raise up so see how radically different of a growth rate can be expected. The ground hatched babies that seem to be the norm for p.pardalis babies just don't seem to produce predictable consistent results. The painfully slow growth can be quite frustrating. I really thoroughly enjoy raising up my own tortoises and would like to see the difference in art. hatched vs ground hatched.

I think much of it has to do with the "resetting" of the mind of a group hatched baby that "feels" wild for several weeks and then is suddenly snatched up, put with several dozen other confused babies, and then put into the captive lifestyle. I think this can stress some tortoises for much longer than we really know. But that's just speculation on my part.

It seems with artificially hatched babies that they don't have the same "reset period" that ground hatched babies do. But I may be wrong on that.

Regardless I'm still in love with this species and am dedicated to studying them for years to come and hopefully help shed light on the future "dos and don'ts" of this species.
 

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