new sulcata tortoise owner

dailybugle

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Jun 3, 2021
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California
hi everyone! so basically here is what's going on.. about a year or two ago a random person posted a sulcata tortoise on offer up, claiming it was someones pet roaming around and they were looking for a new home to care for it.

my dad, knowing im a turtle/tortoise lover, decided to take in the tort! to say hes apart of our family now would he an understatement... hes literally my world!!

however in the recent days ive been feeling a little worried about him. earlier this year i found one of my baby red eared sliders dead so ive been a little freaked since... the things that are worrying me goes as followed...

1. he's been caught upside down a few times and im not sure how to prevent that... we live in california so at night we bring the dogs and miles ( my tortoise) in at night just to keep them warm and safe. i take miles out of his cage every morning and he has his own little habitat but within the last few weeks ive found him upside down in his cage and it worried me to death !!

2. miles has a indented in shell!! he we given to us this way and im not sure if itll affect his health or if its affecting his health.

3. he does have a bit of pyramiding and im not sure what to do for his diet,,, during the summer time the grass in our yard doesn't grow so I usually replace the grass with collard green,, mainly lettuce, sometimes i give him strawberries and tomatoes and variety spinachs and such and his shell has improved since we got him but the pyramiding is still there in some areas!!

sorry this was such a long post but i if anyone would like to give me some tips it would help me a lot!!
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Yvonne G

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Looks like Miles was injured when he was just a baby, and that has caused his shell to have that indented spot. It's not causing him any pain and it's not a problem. I wouldn't worry about that.

The reason you've found Miles on his back is because he's trying to climb out. Maybe his enclosure isn't big enough? Maybe there's no shade? There's some reason he's trying to get out. Have you ever allowed him to wander around outside the enclosure? That may be why he wants out. It's a mistake to let a sulcata know there's a big, wide wonderful world outside the walls of his enclosure. That just makes him want to be out there.

Please post a picture of the whole enclosure so we know how to help you better.
 

EllieMay

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Hello and WELCOME!! Miles looks like a character;-). He will soon get too big for you to move him in at night so you’ll need to make plans to build him his own temperature regulated house. He will use that for comfort and security as well as heat and shade.. he could also use a few changes in his diet.. I would use the strawberries and tomatoes only as a treat... get him some Mazuri tortoise chow and soak it with some chopped orchard grass/hay.. try introducing a little of that with the normal greens you feed him until he accepts it.. there are several care sheets and house plans linked in the Sulcata section that will help guide you.
 

dailybugle

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Jun 3, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
California
Looks like Miles was injured when he was just a baby, and that has caused his shell to have that indented spot. It's not causing him any pain and it's not a problem. I wouldn't worry about that.

The reason you've found Miles on his back is because he's trying to climb out. Maybe his enclosure isn't big enough? Maybe there's no shade? There's some reason he's trying to get out. Have you ever allowed him to wander around outside the enclosure? That may be why he wants out. It's a mistake to let a sulcata know there's a big, wide wonderful world outside the walls of his enclosure. That just makes him want to be out there.

Please post a picture of the whole enclosure so we know how to help you better.
hello! thank you for your response it means a lot! i'm glad to hear it won't cause him any pain, i will try to post a better photo of the indent in his shell just in case. as for his enclosure i can get a snapshot of it at a different time cause i am not home at the moment but i am definitely thinking its because it's too small. in the photo i posted he was trying to get food i was feeding him but for context on the actual situation...

every night my dad and I put away our animals in the garage so they are safe and warm. miles has a doggy cage he goes in every night that's honestly not too big, but still bigger than him, enough he can turn around in all directions. we have been looking for upgrades regardless. he has timothy hay to burrow in at night but i have found him upside down a few times when he was waiting for me to wake up to let him out of the garage.

he usually wakes up around 10 and wants out by then. he doesn't flip himself every day. i've caught him maybe a handful of times but it's very scary to see. i was wondering if the cage thing is a good idea? i don't like the idea of keeping him out at night since coyotes and wild dogs are common here. obviously i want to get a bigger cage but should the sides be less rounded so he doesnt try to climb up? should i provide food and water in this cage at night as well? during the winter he has heating lamps and during the summer we keep him cool with hosing him down and letting him chill in some mud.

but outside the garage he has a large enclosure with food and water that my dad and i built ourselves, he even has a little house to find shade in. i've never found him upside down in there, i think it's safe to say he likes his home but when he wants to start his day he makes us very aware

also here is a better picture of his indent and obviously the pyramiding,,
 

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dailybugle

New Member
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Jun 3, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
California
Hello and WELCOME!! Miles looks like a character;-). He will soon get too big for you to move him in at night so you’ll need to make plans to build him his own temperature regulated house. He will use that for comfort and security as well as heat and shade.. he could also use a few changes in his diet.. I would use the strawberries and tomatoes only as a treat... get him some Mazuri tortoise chow and soak it with some chopped orchard grass/hay.. try introducing a little of that with the normal greens you feed him until he accepts it.. there are several care sheets and house plans linked in the Sulcata section that will help guide you.
hello and thank you!! haha yes he's definitely got a personality too him!! hes very friendly and loves people !! and gotcha! hes growing by the months, i can definitely feel it in my arms 😆 my dad and i have considered building him his own personal shed with some heating installation!! and thank you so much for the heads up!! i will try mazuri !! i have zoo med pellets which i gave him this morning which he didn't seem to like them all that much before but surprisingly ate it up today. how many pellets would you recommend me giving to him? would it be okay if i feed him that and romain lettuce on a regular basis? ( i ask this because hes a big fan.. ill provide a photo ) or should i try to stick with the pellets.. i do have timothy hay as well which is what he consumes on at nights. i will definitely check out the links as well!!
 

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Tom

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What size enclosure? Looks like you need to make the walls taller, but a photo showing us the enclosure will help us give better solutions and suggestion about the flipping.

Read this for care info, including diet and what you should be feeding. Its time to introduce hay into the diet.:

The in and out routine is tough on you and the tortoise. Time to make more permanent outside with a correct shelter. Here are two examples of night boxes, and a couple of supportive threads about night boxes. Questions are welcome. These will make the tortoises life so much better, and your life too much easier.

Last thing: Dogs are one of the top killers of tortoises. No one thinks their living wonderful dog would ever harm their tortoise. Most dogs ignore them... right up until the day they don't ignore them and do catastrophic damage. Don't let the dogs have access to the tortoise or the tortoise area. They need barriers between them. Don't learn this one the hard way.
 
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