New Sulcata Tortoise owner.

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hunter531

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2013 01 12 080626 2013 01 12 080626 2013 01 12 082100 2013 01 12 075934 On Oct. Of last year I was given a a baby sulcata tortoise. Just yesterday I found this very informative site about new and veteran tortoise owners. So I hope you all can help me with my questions and concerns that I have.

1. How old is my tortoise? She fits in the palm of my hand but I have no idea how old is he/she. And the person that gave it to me is more lost than I am, lol.
2. His/her shell is not as 'smooth' as some tortoises I've seen online. Could she have that pyramiding disease? Is their a way to stop it or should I not worry that much?
3. I live in southern CA so even in winter we have the sun shining and warming us up, so my lil tortoise gets plenty of sun through out the day, should I still get her a UVB light?
4. He/she was only fed romainien lettuce before I got her, so she is quite use to only eating that, I tried giving him/her weeds and carrots but she dosent like to eat it. What can I try so she could eat more nutrisious food?
5. Her bottom part of the shell seems a little soft, the top part of her shell is hard but when I press on it (not to hard) she seems bothered by it. Should I be worried or is that normal?
6. He/she seems to be sleeping more, but when hungry he/she walks to where I normally feed him/her and stays their until I give some food. So she's not stuck in one place not eating but id like her to be a little more active. When outside she dose walk around A LOT, sometimes I even loose her around the yard but when I do observe her, she dosent seem to be eating any weeds or grassses. I did replace my grass before I got her, before that it was full of weeds but now is mostly new grass (and I didn't use any fertilizers or pesticides when I replaced or maintain my grass) so I know is safe for her to eat anything she likes in my yard.


Any help and advice anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated. I never thought ill get so attached to a small amphibiam after having dogs for most of my life, but I see myself paying more attention to my tortoise than my dogs and guinea pig, lol, so I know I really care for her. Hope anyone can help, thanks.
 
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wellington

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Hello and Welcome:) Read Toms threads at the bottom of my post. Give us a run down of the enclosure she is in, substrate, temps, lighting used, heating used, how often you do soakings, anything you can think of.
Mix other types of dark leafy greens chopped up in with chopped up romaine and spritz with water. As she learns to eat the other greens put in less and less of the romaine. The pyramiding won't go away, but you can stop it and start growing her smooth. Toms threads will help you on that. Hard to tell how old she is, as they all grow at different rates and she didn't have the best start to begin with. Others will be able to help with more suggestions.
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome! I love well organized lists of question like this! :D I'm OCD, a little.

1. No way to know. Growth rates can vary wildly depending on many factors. I've seen 3' sulcatas that were 6 years old or 2 months old and everything in between.
2. I wouldn't call it a "disease". Its more of a growth anomaly caused by improper captive conditions. Read the links in my signature, or Wellington's, follow the advice, and the new growth will start to come in smoother.
3. No. You don't need any artificial UV. Just proper heating and lighting for indoors. Regular hardware store incandescent flood bulbs will work just fine for you. Make sure your outdoor enclosure is safe and secure and that no dogs can ever get to your tortoise.
4. Finely chop the romaine and mix in small amounts of finely chopped new stuff. Gradually, over time, up the ratio of new stuff to the romaine.
5. Get her regular sunshine, weather permitting, a good diet, calcium AND mineral supplementation, hydration, and don't worry about it. It will all firm up.
6. Indoors is boring. Outdoors is stimulating. Don't worry about this either. They all get more outgoing and active as they get bigger and more desensitized to our world.

BTW, your tortoise is a reptile, not an amphibian. :)

There are lots of links in my signature that will help you.
 

hunter531

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wellington said:
Hello and Welcome:) Read Toms threads at the bottom of my post. Give us a run down of the enclosure she is in, substrate, temps, lighting used, heating used, how often you do soakings, anything you can think of.
Mix other types of dark leafy greens chopped up in with chopped up romaine and spritz with water. As she learns to eat the other greens put in less and less of the romaine. The pyramiding won't go away, but you can stop it and start growing her smooth. Toms threads will help you on that. Hard to tell how old she is, as they all grow at different rates and she didn't have the best start to begin with. Others will be able to help with more suggestions.

She has a wood house that I built for her, is 3'x3'. I didn't know she needed a UVB light since she gets more than 9 hrs of sun a day. But if she needs one either way, I will get her one. To have her warm when in my room I have a regular 60watts bulb on an end her housing, she always has warm water in her bowl but I never see her get in, so every week I but her in a bowl with warm water and she stays in it sleeping for about 8 min. I don't have any of those thermometors that show the humidity or the temp, but will be getting one today. She spends only nights in her little wooden box and then through out the day she's outside in my front yard. I have to even put her some bright colored ribbon so I won't loose her. For a slow creature she sure walks fast.

I will try other types of greens and mix it in. Last time I tried it I put dandellion leafes and flowers shopped with the romanien then added some rose pettles for color and the carrots but she tried one of the dandellion leafes and she didn't want anymore. I tried treating her like my dogs that I will persist on the food until they take it when they don't like new food and they usually take it because they get hungry but I'm afraid it won't work with my lil one. Lol.

I thank you for your help and I will be reading the posts right now. Thanks again.
 

hunter531

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Tom said:
Hello and welcome! I love well organized lists of question like this! :D I'm OCD, a little.

1. No way to know. Growth rates can vary wildly depending on many factors. I've seen 3' sulcatas that were 6 years old or 2 months old and everything in between.
2. I wouldn't call it a "disease". Its more of a growth anomaly caused by improper captive conditions. Read the links in my signature, or Wellington's, follow the advice, and the new growth will start to come in smoother.
3. No. You don't need any artificial UV. Just proper heating and lighting for indoors. Regular hardware store incandescent flood bulbs will work just fine for you. Make sure your outdoor enclosure is safe and secure and that no dogs can ever get to your tortoise.
4. Finely chop the romaine and mix in small amounts of finely chopped new stuff. Gradually, over time, up the ratio of new stuff to the romaine.
5. Get her regular sunshine, weather permitting, a good diet, calcium AND mineral supplementation, hydration, and don't worry about it. It will all firm up.
6. Indoors is boring. Outdoors is stimulating. Don't worry about this either. They all get more outgoing and active as they get bigger and more desensitized to our world.

BTW, your tortoise is a reptile, not an amphibian. :)

There are lots of links in my signature that will help you.

So making lists and having things a little more organized than others would be considered OCD? Lol, you do learn something new everyday, lol.

1. It keeps bothering me that I don't know her age but its ok I guess, lol.
2. I will start reading both of your links and ill see what I can do about this pyramiding, I'm very ignorant when it comes to callign thngs diseases just because is not normal. Lol. I will correct that, thanks.
3. I have a regular 60 watts bulb that she stands in for about an hour then moves out from. So the UVB light is used more when they aren't getting natural sunlight? And one of my dogs, a chihuahua, was the only one to get get in between her teeth but no damage was done, and making sure won't happen again.
4.I will try everything out their so she can eat better. I already have a list that I found here on things I can give her and things I can't.
5. When I felt her shell, I started panicing since for me only new born baby tortoises should have soft shells, but I will try all that and will not get all worried.
6. She gets plenty of walking and exploring every day, but many times loosing her inbetween plants and grass made me put her some colorful ribbbons and even a balloon so I know where she's at all the time. (Hope that's ok to put, I got the idea in a movie)

Thanks for correcting me once again, my lilttle reptile is more work than any other pet I've had. Lol.

And thanks for you're advice, I will be reading and correcting anything that I might be doing wrong.
 

Dizisdalife

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Two years ago I was in your same situation. Well, I did know a little more about how my sulcata had been cared for. He was starting to pyramid and had limited diet, but he was so cute.
Here is Chuck back then:
IMAG0439.jpg


It took a concentrated effort, but with help from Tom and other members here I learned how to keep him Hot, Humidid, and Hydrated. The results were well worth the effort.
Here is Chuck a year later:
IMAG1634_zps163b7d01.jpg


Now he is almost 3 and lives outside 24/7. Although I did think I was going to have to bring him inside last night. But, his night box held steady at 85 degrees and our house is no were near that warm.
Here is Chuck now:
2012-12-03_16-07-40_480_zps9246a4e9.jpg


I encourage you to read as much as you can, ask questions, and apply what you learn here.
 

mainey34

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Hello and welcome..by chance did your friend tell you how long he had the tort? Best thing at this point would be to keep him warm and humid. Soak him daily and give him calcium supplements. Getting him in the sun is good, but make sure it isn't too cold. Maybe try some mazuri or zoomed in addition to the greens you are offering...
 

Momof4

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Welcome!!!! Stick around and read as much as possible and your little guy will be a huge beast in no time:)
 
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