New Mommy to a sulcata tortoise, need help

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tortoisecrush

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Hello everyone!! I recently got a Sulcata tortoise between 1-2 years old. My brother passed away last year and he was his pet. So it is VERY important to me that he is well taken care of!! My 3 year old son named him "Crush". (this was his birthday present)
Anyway I am makin myself CRAZY over what substrate to use in his tortoise house. I was using some sort of bark but the vet told me to take it out because he had a runny nose from it. My dad got him Vita-sand today and I have been doing some research and see good an bad things. Is the vita- sand ok? Before he found that I was between Timothy hay and alfalfa pellets. Please help me, lol! I have never owned any kind of reptile!! Only dogs! So I am pretty clueless but I want everything to be perfect for Crush :) thank you so much for any tips and advice....
 

Jacob

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Welcome, bark isn't good for them it doesn't hold in humidity, sand is also bad as it can cause inaction in the stomach if digested.
timothy hay and pellets rant great either they don't hold humidity and they mold, they are very dry and hurt torts feet.

The nest substrate for your tort, is coco fiber, coco coir, or cypress mulch.
 

ascott

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Welcome to the Forum :D and we LOVE PICS :p

I recommend regular clean dirt mixed with organic fertilizer free soil and coco coir...but that is my preference ....I would strongly suggest against the sand as well due to increased risk of impaction due to ingestion ....

Do you soak your Tortoise daily to make sure he stays hydrated? What type of enclosure do you have set up? What type of uvb light do you have? What type of heat source do you have? What type of hides do you have set up in his enclosure? What diet are you feeding him?
:D:D
 

wellington

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WELCOME :D DITTO to all the above. Also if you can give us more info on your set up, indoors and outside and where you live, the great members on here can help you out with info better suited to your area and situation.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi there, Tortoisecrush:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

What would you like us to call you?

...and may we know appx. where in the world you are?

So sorry to hear about your brother, but so glad that you were able to take in Crush and give him a good home.

As you will soon find out, there are many different ways to care for a tortoise. You have to learn what the tortoise needs, then try to duplicate that for him. What works for me here in Central California, may not give the tortoise the same benefits there in your town.

You didn't say how big Crush is or where you have him set up. Is he outside? Is he small or large?

Baby sulcatas need to be housed in a humid environment in order for their shells to grow smoothly (without bumps). Because cypress mulch, orchid bark and dirt don't turn sour or mold, those are the substrates I prefer. Cypress mulch is a little hard to find, so I usually end up with orchid bark. I buy it at Orchard's and I buy the "fine" grade. Its small particles and easy for babies to walk on.
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome.

Here are a couple of threads to help you out.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread...ive-or-Beginner-Tortoise-Owners#axzz1o25LpsVo

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-How-To-Raise-Sulcata-Hatchlings-and-Babies#axzz1o25LpsVo

The conflicting info that is out there can be confusing, but there is a good reason for it. Most of the tortoise keeping world has realized that the old way was wrong. So now we have those who still ignorantly argue for the old way, and a multitude of people who are arguing for different new ways. The second thread linked above is what I have discovered through many years of trial and error. It works great for me, and I lost track long ago of how many other people love this method too. The goal is to raise a smooth, healthy, natural looking tortoise, and the second link above is the best way I know how to do it.
 

Jacqui

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While I won't go so blindly into a blanket statement like Tom, because the "old" ways do work for some folks extremely well, so I won't go around falsely name calling them ignorant. You do need to try different things and see what works for you,your unique tortoise, and your situation.

The vitasand is not as good as the packaging leads you to believe and I would immediately toss it. Now I do use sand (children's playsand) in a small percentage with the coir. I buy those nice, neat, easy to transport bricks sold like Bed-A-Beast, once home you add water and they come out as a nice substrate. The sand mixed into it creates a nice moist substrate, which is wonderful for them to safely burrow in. I don't really like the cypress mulch on youngsters, but bigger tortoises it's okay, not great in my mind but okay.

I am sorry for your loss and understand why even more then normal, you want this tortoise to live and do good. It's a living part of your brother and the last action you can really do for him. *hugs* You will be fine and you will do just fine with Crush. Relax a bit.
 

Blakem

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After you get things figured out a little, post some pictures of your little guy! Love the pictures.
 

Tom

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Jacqui said:
While I won't go so blindly into a blanket statement like Tom, because the "old" ways do work for some folks extremely well, so I won't go around falsely name calling them ignorant. You do need to try different things and see what works for you,your unique tortoise, and your situation.

The old way for sulcatas is a hot bulb, sand or rabbit pellets and no water bowl. This most definitely IS ignorant. Its not false to call mistakes of the past ignorant. We WERE ignorant. And that way does NOT work for ANYONE who has ever tried it, me included.
 

Jacqui

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Tom said:
Jacqui said:
While I won't go so blindly into a blanket statement like Tom, because the "old" ways do work for some folks extremely well, so I won't go around falsely name calling them ignorant. You do need to try different things and see what works for you,your unique tortoise, and your situation.

The old way for sulcatas is a hot bulb, sand or rabbit pellets and no water bowl. This most definitely IS ignorant. Its not false to call mistakes of the past ignorant. We WERE ignorant. And that way does NOT work for ANYONE who has ever tried it, me included.

Tom, why must you always lump everything under one label? The "old ways" had much more to them, then just those three things. Did you also really think any of us who practiced the "old ways", just blindly followed just one very narrow way of doing things? No we did not. No more then today's tortoise keepers should just blindly follow one of the many "new ways" of tortoise keeping.

I know you believe I am an old way keeper and you could base that on the years I have been keeping tortoises. I will say, my "old ways" of keeping tortoises was not on pellets (never ever used them), was not using hot lights (even now I rarely use them and never as long or as hot as probably even you do), and last but not least, I for one have always kept my tortoises with water at all times. Now my "old ways" have also always included having my tortoises outside as long as possible and in as natural and large of a situation as possible. My "old ways" include feeding fresh foods and as wide of a variety as possible. So tell me, Tom are those two examples of the "old ways" also not meeting your ummm "high" standards?

My apologies to the original poster for the two of us behaving this way on your thread. Hopefully you will understand and be patient with us. Also might help to show you why there are several methods out there, each with their good or bad ideas.
 

Zamric

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Welcome to the Forum!

This really is the best p;lce to get tortoise info from highly eperianced breeder as well as Keepers. Sorry you had to be thrown into the way your where but we'll make sure you have the best info to take good care of Crush!
 

tortoisecrush

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You all have given me great info and thank you for EVERYTHING!!! I took him outside for a bit and let him roam around in the grass, while we were out there a coup times he would make a squeezing noise and bubbles would come out of his nose and his eyes budged WAY out! The looke blood red as off the skin behind his eyes were coming out. It scared the crap out of me!! Anyone know what that might be from? Well anyway I called my dad right away and we took the sand out!! We got Timothy hay and Coconut bark (this was before I read any of this, finally just figured out how to find my thread lol) we rinsed all of the sand of of him and he seems to be happy now. I hope all of this stuff works now. He is between 1-2 years I believe. No idea what he weighs but I will try and figure out how to post pictures.

I bought the Zoo Med Tortoise house for him and the 100w power sun uv light. It is uv and heat in one. I have a water bowl in with him and I have only been feeding him romaine lettuce w rep cal tortoise food. What else should I feed him?

Thanks again to all of you so much for all I your advice!!!

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tortoiselady

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tortoisecrush said:
You all have given me great info and thank you for EVERYTHING!!! I took him outside for a bit and let him roam around in the grass, while we were out there a coup times he would make a squeezing noise and bubbles would come out of his nose and his eyes budged WAY out! The looke blood red as off the skin behind his eyes were coming out. It scared the crap out of me!! Anyone know what that might be from? Well anyway I called my dad right away and we took the sand out!! We got Timothy hay and Coconut bark (this was before I read any of this, finally just figured out how to find my thread lol) we rinsed all of the sand of of him and he seems to be happy now. I hope all of this stuff works now. He is between 1-2 years I believe. No idea what he weighs but I will try and figure out how to post pictures.

I bought the Zoo Med Tortoise house for him and the 100w power sun uv light. It is uv and heat in one. I have a water bowl in with him and I have only been feeding him romaine lettuce w rep cal tortoise food. What else should I feed him?

Thanks again to all of you so much for all I your advice!!!

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Glad you did not get scared away - this is a fun and great group. Food / diet is important so variety is key when they can't openly graze so I pick fresh weeds that I know are safe and not had any chemicals put on or near them. I also cut up some grass from the yard and make a kind of yard salad. This is for the tortoises in the tortoise tables of course when they get bigger they are kept outside all the time and graze on their own. A 100% grocery store diet is not the best as there is no grocery store diet in the wild so do your best to keep it natural.

Sorry about your brother and I know you will enjoy your majestic creature - sulcata.

Welcome!
 
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