Need advice on proper care for my Sulcata.

Turbo'smom

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I reread the post, while we did go off topic a little bit and turn into a humidity debate. It look like a lot of his questions were answered, enclosure was addressed, diet was addressed. It looks like a lot of real help was offered. I hope everything works out for you and turbo.
Once again...no help. 5 years I've been on this site and I can name 5 people that really care to help. Anyone else care to answer the question of should I really build an outdoor habitat for a 5 year old Sulcata that is very unhappy in the winter while living in NC? I just feel like it is too cold and what if the heating system failed.
 

Turbo'smom

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Once again...no help. 5 years I've been on this site and I can name 5 people that really care to help. Anyone else care to answer the question of should I really build an outdoor habitat for a 5 year old Sulcata that is very unhappy in the winter while living in NC? I just feel like it is too cold and what if the heating system failed.
Here is the current habitat IMG_20180124_143459.jpg
 

Jay Bagley

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Once again...no help. 5 years I've been on this site and I can name 5 people that really care to help. Anyone else care to answer the question of should I really build an outdoor habitat for a 5 year old Sulcata that is very unhappy in the winter while living in NC? I just feel like it is too cold and what if the heating system failed.
I won't say anything else after this as I can tell you're kind of having a day. But I have been on this site for 3 months, and I can definitely tell there's way more than 5 people on here that actually care. I think there are drones of people that care. Once again I hope everything works out for Turbo. And I hope one of those five people get back to you
 

TechnoCheese

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Once again...no help. 5 years I've been on this site and I can name 5 people that really care to help. Anyone else care to answer the question of should I really build an outdoor habitat for a 5 year old Sulcata that is very unhappy in the winter while living in NC? I just feel like it is too cold and what if the heating system failed.
Sulcatas will gladly walk around in the snow, as long as they have a heated house to go back to. As long as you have quality heating equipment, it shouldn’t fail. A lot of people on here recommend Kane heat mats. They are reliable, and contain temperature controls, I believe.
 

SULCY

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Yes you can keep them outside all year. You must build a heated night box as per Tom's design. You will need the night box even during the summer for the cooler nights, As the tortoise gets older you will have to make a larger box for him as he will need more room. As far as the heating system failing if he is still manageable you can always take him inside until it is fixed and if there is a power outage a small generator can save the day. Many people on here have Sulcata's way up north. I have one and I am in NY. He is out from around March until Dec, and always goes into his box at night by himself. Tom's design works really well and with temps in the teens it keeps him nice and warm at 85 deg. and he does walk around in the cold .As soon as he get cold he goes into his box to warm up. As long as I can take him in easily I do during the coldest part of the winter just because it is easier for me. Indoors his enclosure is 8'x16' also with a night box. Soon he will be too big to take in and will be taking walks in the snow. If you search enclosure's on this sight you will see how people keep theirs in the cold. I am not saying that you leave him just in the box during the winter as that should be in as large an enclosure as you can make so he can still walk around outside.
 

Turbo'smom

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Yes you can keep them outside all year. You must build a heated night box as per Tom's design. You will need the night box even during the summer for the cooler nights, As the tortoise gets older you will have to make a larger box for him as he will need more room. As far as the heating system failing if he is still manageable you can always take him inside until it is fixed and if there is a power outage a small generator can save the day. Many people on here have Sulcata's way up north. I have one and I am in NY. He is out from around March until Dec, and always goes into his box at night by himself. Tom's design works really well and with temps in the teens it keeps him nice and warm at 85 deg. and he does walk around in the cold .As soon as he get cold he goes into his box to warm up. As long as I can take him in easily I do during the coldest part of the winter just because it is easier for me. Indoors his enclosure is 8'x16' also with a night box. Soon he will be too big to take in and will be taking walks in the snow. If you search enclosure's on this sight you will see how people keep theirs in the cold. I am not saying that you leave him just in the box during the winter as that should be in as large an enclosure as you can make so he can still walk around outside.
That is incredible. I never thought that would be possible. I will start researching it right away. I just wanted to hear it from someone that is actually doing it. I am now inspired to make this work. And now the guy that originally posted this knows that it can work. Very excited! Thank you.
 

2wgasa

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View attachment 227820 [/QUOTE]
Trying to teach him to mow the grass. He goes to my daughter's softball practice all the time.
View attachment 227820
First, I certainly don't have the experience or knowledge to provide the level of advice you've already received from the TFO long-term members. I just wanted to address the comment you made about taking him to softball practice. If it's a public field, they undoubtedly treat the grass with fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides so might want to take care with what he consumes there (This is not a self realization. I know I read it somewhere else on this forum and others). Of course, in a few years it probably will be academic unless you are a weight lifter.

BTW, I haven't mowed my grass for the year we've had our 11 yo except to suck up debris. It seems that much of my sulcata time is trying to grow and/or find good eats.
 
M

Musa Nathan

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Ok I just read every word of this post and got almost nothing out of it except nerious over all the snappy comments. Chuck C as well as myself need real help. I love my Turbo and can tell Chuck C does as well but am thinking I just can't handle a 5 year old sulcata living in NC. No one really answered the question of can he stay outside in the winter and how do we make this happen. I would be terrified leaving him outside when it is 15 degrees outside but yet some of you seem to think he would be happier....I am confused. I know for a fact that he is not happy right now and he has not come out of his hide for over a 3 weeks. No matter how warm/hot I keep his bedroom somehow he knows its winter and he has completely shut down to the point I think he is hibernating. I have dragged him out and put food right in front of him but he only takes a couple of bits...takes a pee...then goes right back to his hide to sleep. Please advise and if that advice is to give him to someone that can better take care of him in a warmer climate I am willing to listen. Please give advice only if you have experience with this situation...thank you!!
They do not hibernate & should be kept inside in winter...
 

TechnoCheese

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They do not hibernate & should be kept inside in winter...
Unless you have a humongous room dedicated to your tortoise and your winters are extremely short, a huge tortoise should not be kept inside. Now, if the tortoise is still quite small, I’m not sure if that would still be okay. If a tortoise has a heated night box that it can freely get in an out of, it will be fine. It has a safe place that it can go back to if it gets too cold. You just need to make sure that you lock it in at night. There are a few threads about sulcatas wandering out into the snow, if you want to find them and take a look.
 

TechnoCheese

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This is not even close to being a reputable source. It states that babies should be kept on rabbit pellets, hay, and aspen bedding(which causes impactons) because they cannot handle humidity at all. It also says that you should not have a water dish for the same reasons. It doesn’t even mention having a heated outdoor box. Even saying that colored lights are acceptable. Going to add this website to the list of evidence that most of the stuff on the internet is painfully false.
Please do not use websites like this as credible sources. The TFO is working very hard to remediate this false information.
 

TechnoCheese

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Seeing as the pictures on that website haven’t been updated since 2006, I’m going to guess that that care sheet is more than 10 years old.
 

Bambam1989

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I agree that this is NOT a suitable care sheet, especially for baby torts.
Once a sulcata gets to be too large for keeping an indoor enclosure they should be moved to a permanent outdoor enclosure. Even in colder climates these torts can be kept if a proper heated box is provided. This allows the tort to heat up, then go out even in the cold for short periods of time. The large body mass is what allows this, it takes longer for them to heat up but also takes longer to cool off. Of course a large shed or green house combined with the heated box and a yard would be even better.
 

Jay Bagley

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I agree that this is NOT a suitable care sheet, especially for baby torts.
Once a sulcata gets to be too large for keeping an indoor enclosure they should be moved to a permanent outdoor enclosure. Even in colder climates these torts can be kept if a proper heated box is provided. This allows the tort to heat up, then go out even in the cold for short periods of time. The large body mass is what allows this, it takes longer for them to heat up but also takes longer to cool off. Of course a large shed or green house combined with the heated box and a yard would be even better.
I also agree, care sheets like that are unfortunately what I found on the internet and used those guidelines in the care of my Sulcata. Because of that he was raised bone dry and in a open enclosure, and he now has pyramiding because of it. It totally contradicts what this Forum advocates, and I wish I would have came here first. I look at pictures of people's tortoises that have followed the care sheets that this forum endorses, and I see happy, bright-eyed, smooth shelled, alert, healthy tortoises.
 

SULCY

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I also read all the wrong info when I received mine. I even put a dehumidifier in mine to keep them as dry as possible. Hope I didn't do too much damage so far so good but I have heard that it could still bite me in the butt for doing this. Hope I changed in time but were kept this way for a couple of years.
 

Jay Bagley

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I also read all the wrong info when I received mine. I even put a dehumidifier in mine to keep them as dry as possible. Hope I didn't do too much damage so far so good but I have heard that it could still bite me in the butt for doing this. Hope I changed in time but were kept this way for a couple of years.
Yeah it really sucks, to do the research, put in the time, and not to mention the amount of money you spend... to find out it was all old and outdated information. Now whenever I have a question about my tortoise, I definitely do not just Google it.
 

iou

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Once again...no help. 5 years I've been on this site and I can name 5 people that really care to help. Anyone else care to answer the question of should I really build an outdoor habitat for a 5 year old Sulcata that is very unhappy in the winter while living in NC? I just feel like it is too cold and what if the heating system failed.
Serious question, how have you been on this site for 5 years but yet don't have your sulcata in a proper environment? You are asking some questions that I've found the answer to in several places in the five months I've been around. And While this thread has gone off topic a bit, I do find the debates and opnions helpful. As people try to explain there position (wether it be right or wrong) it helps give new perspective and insight as to how to take are of our beloved pets, or for many more like family members.

And I have to disagree that there are only 5 people willing to help. Thats extremely inaccurate. I think what You meant more so is that therer are about 5 veteran members that are always willing to offer there professional advice consistently. There's been many people chiming in to help, but to clarify, 100 people could say one thing on how to care for Sulcata, but if one of those 5 say otherwise, you know what I'm gonna go with. Those 5 people's opinion as I respect and trust them that much. I think that is more what you meant. I jsut wanted to clarify this.

And I jsut realized this thread is a bit old, sorry to dig it up, was looking into somehting and google got me here. Enjoy the day everyone.
 

Cheryl Hills

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This info is not right. That caresheet tells you all the things that should not be done. We have a more up to date info care sheet on this forum. Our members have done much research on these subjects, with Many years of experience raising and caring for Sulcatas. They have done all the reaserch and have found the best way to raise the torts to live long and healthy lives. You can raise yours the way you want, that’s your privilege.
 

Dizisdalife

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No...or thou some confirm from Sudan...this is a desert animal...please go to Kamp Kenan on YouTube he has a lot of stuff on Sulcats...they are the most difficult tortoise to keep...
Kenan makes great videos, but his information is old and out of date. The natural range of the Sulcata in Africa is from the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Therefore, they are a tropical species. They come from many diverse climates in the many Afican Nations found in the Tropics. They do not inhabit the deserts. They mostly live in the grasslands and are thereby considered to be a grassland species. They are born into a wet, rainy season where it is easy to stay well hydrated and moist. As they mature they burrow underground where they can continue to stay moist and avoid the effects of the sun and heat. Even where I live, where the daytime temps rarely get above 100°F, my sulcata hides from the sun all day in the bushes.
 

Dizisdalife

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I don’t know if you are in States..

But professional breeders in the States are only in Nevada...because that is the most suitable place in America...you can keep some in Florida or Southern California but in small numbers but with a big shade for cold days...
I know this information to be wrong.
 

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