pardalis pardalis questions

tglazie

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I have a few questions about pardalis pardalis. It has been half a decade since my sulcata Jerry died of an unfortunate spinal wasting disease that my local vet claimed he couldn't treat. Despite his best efforts, Jerry, a sixty pound male sulcata that I had raised from a two week old hatchling, died only three weeks following diagnosis. Two years after this, my father, who had introduced me to the hobby, passed away. During my time of mourning, I often felt that I wanted nothing more to do with tortoises. I sold my colony of redfoots, my colony of greeks, and my uncle took my two remaining sulcatas, not wanting to see me sell them off in defiance of what he felt were my father's wishes. Only my three marginated tortoises and my oldest Turkish Greek named Graecus, the meanest black greek ever to stomp about this side of the Atlantic (that tortoise would fight a shoe, and no enclosure was big enough to stop him from terrorizing my other ibera; he spends his days in a six by thirty run, and he covers every inch of it at least twenty times a day when the sun is shining), remained in my collection. Luckily, my uncle, brother, and cousins all urged me not to give up on all the work my father and I had put into our enormous collection. Today, my colony of marginateds is strong as ever, Graecus is still mean as ever, and I have built three new enclosures for a trio of Hermanns tortoises, the first new additions to my collection in five years.

However, after all these years, I feel something is missing, and I truly miss the days when giant Jerry would come dashing from beneath the mulberry bushes to demand payment of a zucchini for entering his territory. I miss having some impressive giant greet my guests when they walk out onto the back porch, a tortoise with size and swagger and personality (which is not to say that the marges and hermanns don't provide this; there's just something about a giant tortoise that is unique and wonderful). I've been considering a number of options, the first of which has been to simply adopt another sulcata. I tried asking my uncle for one of the two I'd given him, but he's become quite attached, as would be expected, and is unwilling to part. However, I'm still weighing options, and one of those was options involved keeping my first pardalis pardalis.

So, here are my questions. Is the care of pardalis pardalis similar to the care of sulcatas? Are there differences between the care of pardalis pardalis and pardalis babcocki? I know they come from different regions than babcocki and that parts of South Africa actually freeze during the winter months. Does this mean they can tolerate lower temperatures during winter? And if so, is it acceptable to keep adults at these lower temperatures during the night, or is this detrimental? I keep all of my Testudo in a large, well insulated garage in a series of tortoise tables during the winter, all equipped with hides over rubber maid containers filled with semi moist soil, heated by 150 watt heat bulbs during the day to a solid eighty five to ninety degrees on the hot side, heated to a solid seventy at night by way of a space heater. Is this acceptable for p. pardalis winter accommodations, or do they require something warmer, like a sulcata does (Jerry used to be housed in an insulated storage room during the winter, heated to a base temp of eighty two degrees with a 250 watt spotlight in the day set to ninety five. Is all of that business about shell rot and humid environments nonsense like I've read on this forum concerning sulcatas? Because I've never seen a case of shell rot on a sulcata. Can p. pardalis suffer from shell rot, or are they as adaptable as the variable climate of South Africa would suggest? I probably have more questions, but these are all I could think of off the top of my head. I live in San Antonio, TX, so luckily, the weather here is quite good for keeping Testudo, nice and hot in the summer, long springs and long autumns with short winters. Anyway, I would appreciate some advice from those more experienced than I with this species. I'm not sure how to proceed, but with a little more information, I feel I can make an informed decision regarding which solo giant will be right for me.

Thanks.

Tom Glazier
 

tortadise

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Hey Tom sorry to hear all the grief of years past. The good thing is your sticking with a passion you and your father kept. San Antonio is a pretty perfect climate for pardalis. They can live outside almost year around down there. I would put up a heated house for them in the coldest of months though. I know Tom here had a very nice male for sale not to long ago maybe he still has it. Check out the for sale section.
 

Neal

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So, here are my questions. Is the care of pardalis pardalis similar to the care of sulcatas? Are there differences between the care of pardalis pardalis and pardalis babcocki? I know they come from different regions than babcocki and that parts of South Africa actually freeze during the winter months. Does this mean they can tolerate lower temperatures during winter? And if so, is it acceptable to keep adults at these lower temperatures during the night, or is this detrimental? I keep all of my Testudo in a large, well insulated garage in a series of tortoise tables during the winter, all equipped with hides over rubber maid containers filled with semi moist soil, heated by 150 watt heat bulbs during the day to a solid eighty five to ninety degrees on the hot side, heated to a solid seventy at night by way of a space heater. Is this acceptable for p. pardalis winter accommodations, or do they require something warmer, like a sulcata does (Jerry used to be housed in an insulated storage room during the winter, heated to a base temp of eighty two degrees with a 250 watt spotlight in the day set to ninety five. Is all of that business about shell rot and humid environments nonsense like I've read on this forum concerning sulcatas? Because I've never seen a case of shell rot on a sulcata. Can p. pardalis suffer from shell rot, or are they as adaptable as the variable climate of South Africa would suggest? I probably have more questions, but these are all I could think of off the top of my head. I live in San Antonio, TX, so luckily, the weather here is quite good for keeping Testudo, nice and hot in the summer, long springs and long autumns with short winters. Anyway, I would appreciate some advice from those more experienced than I with this species. I'm not sure how to proceed, but with a little more information, I feel I can make an informed decision regarding which solo giant will be right for me.

Leopard tortoises of both variants, as we generally consider them to be, can be kept in identical set ups and receive identical care as a sulcata. The only considerations I would make between housing a sulcata or a leopard tortoise is more secure barriers and enclosures in a sulcatas habitat since they grow larger and stronger and tend to dig.

There are no differences in care that I would note between a pardalis or babcocki leopard. You may consider a larger enclosure for the pardalis, but that would be on a case by case basis depending on how large your tortoise gets.

Regarding cold tolerance; your question is difficult to answer without all sorts of maybe's, what if's, and unknowns. We've debated this very topic heavily in the past, and this has been my opinion as shaped by those conversations as well as my own observations. I think that South African leopards can tolerate lower temperatures as a result of their behavior, as in, they will hibernate during the colder time periods. The typically larger size of the South African leopards as compared to central or East African leopards may help retain heat longer and is important to note. I don't believe that if you were to leave a pardalis and a babcocki of the same size in the same conditions and exposed to the elements that one would be more likely to survive than the other once the temperature reached a certain point. I've seen simliar behavior in both of my groups once the winter temperatures set in. Nothing has led me to believe that the pardalis are hardier, but I have never and would never expose them to weather extremes as I don't believe something like that would be responsible tortoise keeping. My opinion would be to not use this criteria in considering whether to choose one variant of leopard tortoise over the other based on my thoughts above.

Your indoor accommodations, in general, sound acceptable for a leopard. Though, I would consider bumping the temperatures to 95 - 100 as a high. The low is good with minimal humidity.
 

jtrux

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Ahh, how refreshing to see another San Antonio member. I was starting to think that only Californians owned tortoises. Lol

Neal covered the basics. I'm here to show pics.

My male Gpp.

 
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