New tortoise mom

Toshaf

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Hi, I’m Tosha new mom to my sulcata tortoise I call Daisy I checked for the tell, tell signs of sex the weeks later found out they have to be much bigger to decide that! This one it only 5 3/4 inches from front to back of the carapace. Purchased (I call it a her until known otherwise) (habit now🤷🏻‍♀️) at our local pet store was only feed little greens mostly daily tortoise diet pellets. Took me several days for her to start eating greens and flowers. I pick flowers roses or hibiscus flowers and leaves daily when none are bloomed I have dried flower food topper fresh clover and grass from my yard daily as well as cuttlefish bone and her leisure. 10inch terracotta dish for fresh water daily. I soak her with a spray bottle once or twice a week just to simulate natural rain in nature. My substrate is reptisoil, play sand, and top soil. My concern is the shell is this shell shape normal or just from previous care I’ve had her about 6 weeks now. And she’s roughly 2 years old. There’s natural sunlight from the morning sun through and open window and uva-b lights after the sun moves over head I can adjust the temps on it. Am I doing “good” by her pictures of shell and her enclosure to help out I feel like I’m not doing something right. image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
 

Ink

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Welcome to the forum. Please read the post on raising a sulcata. Your substrate is wrong. No sand should be used, it can cause an impaction. @wellington or @Tom will be able to help you. You are correct about not being able to tell male or female. Daisy is too young but cute.
 

wellington

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Uvb from a window is blocked tremendously by the screen.
You need a tube flourescent for uvb and only needs to be on 4 hours a day.
Incandescent flood bulb for basking of 95-100 and the rest of the enclosure to be 80 not lower day and night.
She has been kept way to dry and should have been in a closed chamber enclosure with 80% humidity. Do this now by rigging a tarp/plastic over the enclosure. Get the sand out and replace with orchid bark that is damp and get the correct lighting and heat
Do not use mercury vapor, halogen or coil bulbs.
 

wellington

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Also when you soak her, is she in warm water and then you also spray her? The spraying is fine with warm water but she should be in warm water also for the soak.
 

Toshaf

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Welcome to the forum. Please read the post on raising a sulcata. Your substrate is wrong. No sand should be used, it can cause an impaction. @wellington or @Tom will be able to help you. You are correct about not being able to tell male or female. Daisy is too young but

Uvb from a window is blocked tremendously by the screen.
You need a tube flourescent for uvb and only needs to be on 4 hours a day.
Incandescent flood bulb for basking of 95-100 and the rest of the enclosure to be 80 not lower day and night.
She has been kept way to dry and should have been in a closed chamber enclosure with 80% humidity. Do this now by rigging a tarp/plastic over the enclosure. Get the sand out and replace with orchid bark that is damp and get the correct lighting and heat
Do not use mercury vapor, halogen or coil bulbs.
Orchid bark? I have the coconut core bark I used as well. so the repitisoil isn't good? Yes the pet store was not taking the best care at all I do have a hard time getting daisy to soak I have to put her/it in the water myself I do the once a week. I have to say I did not take this task on lightly I did a lot of research and learned a lot. I truly thought the substrate was good. I guess I was finding an overall tortoise not specific for sulcatas. That being said any florescent lighting will do? the bulbs I am using say the are UVA +UVB 110-130 V and 25W flood light type just a mini version for reptiles. It was kept in a clear tank for nearly 2 years and now all it wants to do is climbs the walls of this encloser. I do keep it hot in this room but I will cover it for the humidity's sake. I am looking for the forum raising a sulcata Ink spoke about but I'm not sure where it's at or which one specifically. I can not put it outside for a while because we do have owls and hawks and an eagle that's in our woods around us so I'm worried about it getting caught even in a closed top encloser we have chickens also and they get into those pins through a 6 inch gape so I know they'll rip through a thin wire to get to my tortoise. plus I have dogs that are not friendly to our wild turtles around here.
 

Toshaf

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Also when you soak her, is she in warm water and then you also spray her? The spraying is fine with warm water but she should be in warm water also for the soak.
Ok I will do the warm water soaks. the spray is room temp water I just keep but the pin.
 

Yvonne G

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Welcome to the Forum, Tosha!!

The dry conditions the previous keeper had her living in caused the carapace to grow bumpy (pyramided). Right now it's just cosmetic. Hopefully the pyramiding will stop now that you have her and are willing to make some changes.

I like Daisy's indoor enclosure. Here's what I would do to the substrate:

Pour a pitcherful or more of water over the substrate, mixing it in with your hand to wet the whole thing. Then add a couple inches of fir bark over the whole thing. Chewy.com sells it as Reptibark, but you may be able to find fir bark at a nursery cheaper.

if the tortoise is getting some outside-in-the-sun time you don't need a UVB light, but if you do need a UVB light look for a t-5 fluorescent tube. (window glass doesn't allow much UVB through it.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Welcome to the Forum, Tosha!!

The dry conditions the previous keeper had her living in caused the carapace to grow bumpy (pyramided). Right now it's just cosmetic. Hopefully the pyramiding will stop now that you have her and are willing to make some changes.

I like Daisy's indoor enclosure. Here's what I would do to the substrate:

Pour a pitcherful or more of water over the substrate, mixing it in with your hand to wet the whole thing. Then add a couple inches of fir bark over the whole thing. Chewy.com sells it as Reptibark, but you may be able to find fir bark at a nursery cheaper.

if the tortoise is getting some outside-in-the-sun time you don't need a UVB light, but if you do need a UVB light look for a t-5 fluorescent tube. (window glass doesn't allow much UVB through it.
Do this pour once replacing the substrate though because the soil and sand definitely need to go!
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Orchid bark? I have the coconut core bark I used as well. so the repitisoil isn't good? Yes the pet store was not taking the best care at all I do have a hard time getting daisy to soak I have to put her/it in the water myself I do the once a week. I have to say I did not take this task on lightly I did a lot of research and learned a lot. I truly thought the substrate was good. I guess I was finding an overall tortoise not specific for sulcatas. That being said any florescent lighting will do? the bulbs I am using say the are UVA +UVB 110-130 V and 25W flood light type just a mini version for reptiles. It was kept in a clear tank for nearly 2 years and now all it wants to do is climbs the walls of this encloser. I do keep it hot in this room but I will cover it for the humidity's sake. I am looking for the forum raising a sulcata Ink spoke about but I'm not sure where it's at or which one specifically. I can not put it outside for a while because we do have owls and hawks and an eagle that's in our woods around us so I'm worried about it getting caught even in a closed top encloser we have chickens also and they get into those pins through a 6 inch gape so I know they'll rip through a thin wire to get to my tortoise. plus I have dogs that are not friendly to our wild turtles around here.
The uv you’re using isn’t correct unfortunately, this is the kind you need🙂and this is the floodlight👍

And here’s the link for you!

 

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Littleredfootbigredheart

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Do I need to throw in some rock to give some different terrain?
You can include large slate stones if you wish for some different textures in the enclosure, our red foot has some in the corners of hers🙂
just don’t add any small pebbles/cobble stones, they can be abrasive on their shell and can be a swallowing/chocking hazard. Ultimately don’t ever place any stones in that are small enough to be potentially swallowed👍
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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I’d always opt to remove sand because of the impaction risk coupled with the respiratory problems it could cause😣
Probably, I would trust Yvonne on this - a layer of bark won't allow sand and soil to be ingested with foods and sand/soil layer will be damp so no dust and respiratory problems. Top soil however can be a concern if it is of unknown origin and tortoise likes to burrow.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Probably, I would trust Yvonne on this - a layer of bark won't allow sand and soil to be ingested with foods and sand/soil layer will be damp so no dust and respiratory problems. Top soil however can be a concern if it is of unknown origin and tortoise likes to burrow.
Fair enough, I do trust Yvonne’s judgment, its probably something I wouldn’t use or recommend using personally, I’d be worried the tortoise moved the top layer of bark around enough that food would potentially get exposed to the sand, which over time I wouldn’t want possibly building up😕
 

Toshaf

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Ok friends I went a head and removed most of the reptisoil I had in here and added cypress mulch and coconut core bark that was all I could get my hands on quickly. It’s evening time here in southwest Louisiana so daisy was already down for the evening. Is this better? I added a feeding dish and rocks new lighting has to be ordered so later I’ll add that.

P.s. thanks for all the help I really want this to work out for us and her I know I can’t reverse the shell it already has but I don’t want to be the cause of it getting worse.
 

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Littleredfootbigredheart

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Ok friends I went a head and removed most of the reptisoil I had in here and added cypress mulch and coconut core bark that was all I could get my hands on quickly. It’s evening time here in southwest Louisiana so daisy was already down for the evening. Is this better? I added a feeding dish and rocks new lighting has to be ordered so later I’ll add that.

P.s. thanks for all the help I really want this to work out for us and her I know I can’t reverse the shell it already has but I don’t want to be the cause of it getting worse.
Yay looking good!
I’d maybe personally flatten the rocks a little bit or take some out cause I’m wondering if them piled up bumpy like that might become a bit abrasive on her plastron if climbing over them a lot, we have our large slate bits sitting more or less flush with the substrate🙂

Other than that though sounds like you’re making all the right changes! Well done😁

Quick question, do you plan on adding a covering to your enclosure like a greenhouse topper to help your humidity? That’ll definitely help towards the pyramiding not becoming worse, humidity is a constant battle with an open top.
I’m not sure how long she needs higher humidity being 2 years old, my best guess is around 3 but I’m not familiar with sulcatas so hopefully the others can answer for you🙂
 

Toshaf

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I can do that I’ll get my stuff and add that so it’ll start working efficiently thanks! She didn’t even explore the pin she went straight to a corner and hid didn’t even dig down so I have time for adjustment before full usage tomorrow.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I can do that I’ll get my stuff and add that so it’ll start working efficiently thanks! She didn’t even explore the pin she went straight to a corner and hid didn’t even dig down so I have time for adjustment before full usage tomorrow.
Sounds good! Doing a great job for your tort😊
 
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