Researching adding a Sulcata hatchling to our family.

Okmunky

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Hi! I'm Barb and I don’t yet have a tortoise. I am retired and live in an RV, spending winter in Southern Arizona and summers just north of Seattle. I have always loved unique pets I had a capuchin monkey for 23 years until I lost her to Valley Fever in May. Our place in AZ is apparently a Valley Fever hot spot. Adding any mammal to our family is too risky for this reason My research finds that reptiles don’t contract it.

I have friends who have a 12” Leopard tortoise that vacations with them in their RV. That got me interested. I'm considering a Sulcata hatchling but want to learn a lot more before bringing one home.
 

Okmunky

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I have an acre of sand and creosote bushes in AZ and a large grassy yard in WA. I have the skills to build a secure outdoor enclosure. (I'm currently converting a 40’ shipping container into a tiny house.) I wasn’t aware they grew quite that fast. I thought that might take closer to 10 years. Perhaps a Leopard might be a better choice for our life. Time to go back to reading. Thanks for your input.

I also have an 8 pound dog. Are there any precautions I should take with a tortoise and a small dog living together?
 

turtlesteve

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I also have an 8 pound dog. Are there any precautions I should take with a tortoise and a small dog living together?
They shouldn’t live together. The tortoise needs a secure enclosure that the dog can’t get to.
 

Tom

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Hi! I'm Barb and I don’t yet have a tortoise. I am retired and live in an RV, spending winter in Southern Arizona and summers just north of Seattle. I have always loved unique pets I had a capuchin monkey for 23 years until I lost her to Valley Fever in May. Our place in AZ is apparently a Valley Fever hot spot. Adding any mammal to our family is too risky for this reason My research finds that reptiles don’t contract it.

I have friends who have a 12” Leopard tortoise that vacations with them in their RV. That got me interested. I'm considering a Sulcata hatchling but want to learn a lot more before bringing one home.
You make the move from one place to the other one time per year? So six months in a stable environment in AZ and then six months in WA? As long as the tortoise would be in a stable enclosure most of the time and not driving around or living in a small cage in an RV, it could work. Leopards would probably be one of the most suitable for this. They are topical and don't hibernate, so you wouldn't run into refrigeration problems in winter.

You'd need a large enclosure with a heated night box in each location. Like this:

While it could work, personally, I wouldn't do this. You'd be better off with a more adabtlabe reptile pet that can live in smaller quarters inside and isn't so dependent on having nice weather and large outdoor spaces. How about a Blue Tongue Skink or bearded dragon? Leopard Gecko? Crested gecko? Pet snake?

Here is the care info for leopards and for Russians. Read through the requirements and see if this sounds feasible to you. Leopards:

Russians: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-any-temperate-species-of-tortoise.183131/

Questions are welcome.
 

Okmunky

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Thanks for your input, Tom! My year is typically seven months in Arizona and 4.5 in Seattle with a week of driving in between. Seattle has too much rain to stay 6 months. Summers are usually rain free and a pleasant respite from the AZ summer heat.

I will take your opinion under consideration. I’m not a true reptile person so anything other than a tortoise won’t happen. I'm fascinated by their slow but determined way of life. Lizards are everywhere in AZ except "in" my house. Lily lives to chase them in the back yard. A few have lost tail tips but no fatalities. She is in a fenced yard so they can escape from her. I wonder if some of them don’t enjoy the game since there are miles of empty desert around us. We even have horned toads here, but not in her yard. They are a fond memory from my Texas childhood. It’s sad that there are now so few of them.

I’m in no rush to acquire a new pet. This is research time. All opinions and advise appreciated!
 

maggie3fan

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My personal opinion...Sulcata are the tort to have. They adapt easily to any situation. I'm thinkin if you matched pens in both places, make a safe comfy place for the tort in the RV. I don't know why it wouldn't work. But not with a hatching, Sulcata hatchlings are fragile. But 2 yr olds and up are interesting and and fun
 

Okmunky

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Maggie, my concern is the size of the Sulcata gets so quickly. I can only lift about 40 pounds now at age 69. I suppose I could use a ramp to get one up the RV steps. Also, it would probably be much easier to find a good caregiver who will take a smaller tort after I can no longer care for it. Maybe I’m too old to have torts? Longevity runs in my family, but ...
 

Beasty_Artemis

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I converted my back room of our rv into a wraparound tortoise table for my redfoot around 4 years ago. Works pretty damn well! The rv we have once had a "bunk room" , so I pulled the bunk beds out. Then just close the curtain / door to maintain humidity. Works like a dream.
 

maggie3fan

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Maggie, my concern is the size of the Sulcata gets so quickly. I can only lift about 40 pounds now at age 69. I suppose I could use a ramp to get one up the RV steps. Also, it would probably be much easier to find a good caregiver who will take a smaller tort after I can no longer care for it. Maybe I’m too old to have torts? Longevity runs in my family, but ...
That's my situation. Until recently I operated a small turtle and tortoise rescue, I adopted my largest Sulcata to someone in Bakersfield CA a few weeks ago. But that leaves me with 17 box turtles, 15 birds, 2 tortoises and 2 cats. Mary Knobbins weighs about 30 lbs, one of my cats weighs in at 35 lbs. I simply can't lift them. I worry about emergencies
Here's Simon in his new toy Y gave him
They shouldn’t live together. The tortoise needs a secure enclosure that the dog can’t get to.
Here's another Sulcata comment.
A few years ago I rented out half my house to one of my long term friends and his Rat Terrier; This was when Bob was probably hitting 100 + lbs or just around 90 to 100 lbs. One day my friend his dog and I were standing in Bob's pen BS'ing when all the sudden Bob raised himself high up and literally ran over to the dog, cornered him, jumped (sorta) in the air, rammed the little dog and broke the dog's leg. I write stories about my animals but seriously Sulcata are not a species of tortoise to play with. Sulcata males especially can be aggressive and territorial
100_5223.JPG
and here is the infamous Mary Knobbins, trouble maker and boss tort. Is she cute or what!???
100_5190.JPG
 

Okmunky

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Ok, no Sulcata for me for sure. I was thinking the tortoise would be at risk from dogs, not the other way around. From what I read the majority of torts for sale are males. Does that include hatchlings? I've also read that incubation temperatures can create more of one sex. Do any breeders try to produce more females?

Beautiful cat!
 

maggie3fan

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Ok, no Sulcata for me for sure. I was thinking the tortoise would be at risk from dogs, not the other way around. From what I read the majority of torts for sale are males. Does that include hatchlings? I've also read that incubation temperatures can create more of one sex. Do any breeders try to produce more females?

Beautiful cat!
Everybody wants females. Knobby had a sex change when I wasn't paying attention. This happened while I was taking care of my sister. Females incubate 85-90 . I don't breed so the rest idk
 

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