Searching for Sulcata help

TylerPutney

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Aug 27, 2021
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Joplin MO
Hey y’all,

My name is Tyler, and I am a fairly avid reptile keeper, but a first time Sulcata owner. I have had my current Sulcata (Bruce) for just under a year. I got him in October of 2020, when he was 4 months old.
I know all Sulcatas grow differently, but Bruce and his lack of growth is starting to give me a bit of anxiety and concern. Bruce currently weighs 72.6 grams, which is a long way off from the normal 800-1000 gram range I see for other Sulcatas in his age range. I give him regular soaks (2 times a week), and his humidity is always within 50/60 percent.
He is kept in an indoor enclosure but I do provide both UVA and UVB, his basking spot is always kept above 87 degrees, and I have a warm and cool side.
Bruce absolutely destests eating grasses. I feel like this is probably the root of my issue, but I am running out of ideas. I have soaked the grasses (Timothy Hay) to try and moisten them and attract him, and I have even tried mixing them in with his other foods (usually romaine lettuce). He has the same view with Mazuri pellets. Despite this, I still constantly add them in his foods but they rarely if ever get touched. The only stuff Bruce will actively eat is the lettuce. I have even tried placing ONLY grasses and Mazuri pellets hoping he’d get hungry enough to munch on them. 4 full days went buy and he hardly had a nibble. I put lettuce back in at that point because I obviously didn’t want him to starve.
I am just genuinely really concerned for my lil buddy and am extremely appreciative of any help that can be offered. Thank you all so much.
 

wellington

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Stop the timothy hay it's too woody. A lot of babies won't eat grass or hay until older.
Just let's will never make them grow fast at all if at all.
Get a wide variety of good grocery greens and any tortoise safe plants or weeds you have in your yard and chop them up in small pieces. Then take some of the lettuce he will eat and chop that up small. More lettuce then the other foods. Mix together and spritz with water and feed. As he starts to eat the other items, use less and less of the lettuce.
You can also add baby food pureed carrots to his soak and see if that will help. Mazuri is also a good item to feed and to get weight on. Take a pellet or two, soak until soft and mush them in with the pile of greens.
Feed every day as much as he will eat like this. It takes tortoises a while to catch on to new things so be patient.
 

Yvonne G

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I would go back to the beginning and treat him like a hatchling. Set him up in a closed enclosure with a constant temperature of 80-85F degrees day and NIGHT and humidity at or above 80%. Harvest edible weeds, grasses and plants to include along with the grocery store greens (endive, escarole, raddichio, turnip-mustard-dandelion greens, etc). Chop the food up into little pieces and give him more than he can finish in a day, leaving it there all day.
 

Ray--Opo

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Welcome, don't use iceberg lettuce. It has no nutriental benefits. Try romaine and other lettuce. Yvonne gave you a good list of greens. Look at the food list for sulcata's here on TFO.It took my sully over 2 yrs before he figured out he liked the grass in the backyard. Get 4 small terracotta flower pots. Get some wheatgrass seeds and plant them in the pots. Start the pots in 3 day intervals. As it grows, take your scissors and cut 1/4"to 1/2" peices. On top of his food. Are you soaking the mazuri? Make sure the mazuri is the 5m21 and not the LS type. Your humidity needs to be 80% and maybe up the temp to 95° at his basking spot.
You need to soak everyday for 30 to 45 minutes. Make the water warm and don't let it cool down. Try the carrot puree baby food while soaking him. A picture of your enclosure would be great. You might have the wrong UVB lights. I would suggest getting a infrared temp gun if you don't have one. Take a rock the same size as your tort and place on the basking stone. Leave for a hr, then with the infrared temp gun. Take the temp of the rock. Get the temp between 95° to 100°. They need that warmth to get their digestive system working.
Are you giving your tort any calcium? A pinch on his food twice a week is needed.
Screenshot_20201118-094349_Chrome.jpg
 
Last edited:

Tom

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Hey y’all,

My name is Tyler, and I am a fairly avid reptile keeper, but a first time Sulcata owner. I have had my current Sulcata (Bruce) for just under a year. I got him in October of 2020, when he was 4 months old.
I know all Sulcatas grow differently, but Bruce and his lack of growth is starting to give me a bit of anxiety and concern. Bruce currently weighs 72.6 grams, which is a long way off from the normal 800-1000 gram range I see for other Sulcatas in his age range. I give him regular soaks (2 times a week), and his humidity is always within 50/60 percent.
He is kept in an indoor enclosure but I do provide both UVA and UVB, his basking spot is always kept above 87 degrees, and I have a warm and cool side.
Bruce absolutely destests eating grasses. I feel like this is probably the root of my issue, but I am running out of ideas. I have soaked the grasses (Timothy Hay) to try and moisten them and attract him, and I have even tried mixing them in with his other foods (usually romaine lettuce). He has the same view with Mazuri pellets. Despite this, I still constantly add them in his foods but they rarely if ever get touched. The only stuff Bruce will actively eat is the lettuce. I have even tried placing ONLY grasses and Mazuri pellets hoping he’d get hungry enough to munch on them. 4 full days went buy and he hardly had a nibble. I put lettuce back in at that point because I obviously didn’t want him to starve.
I am just genuinely really concerned for my lil buddy and am extremely appreciative of any help that can be offered. Thank you all so much.
Most sulcatas are started all wrong, and then the breeders/sellers pass on more wrong care info to the new owner. This kills the majority of them. Some like yours survive, but grow very little. They should weight 72 grams at 45-60 days old. Some key points to learn:

-Hay is for adult sulcatas, not babies.
-Feeding dry grass hay, rehydrated or not, is not the same as feeding tender freshly sprouted grass, which is what should be fed to babies, along with a variety of weeds, leaves, flowers and succulents.
-Which type of Mazuri? Most torts don't like the LS type and need a lengthy introduction period to get on to it. Are you soaking it into mush?
-Feeding a lot of grass makes them grow slower, not faster.
-Babies should be soaked daily.
-Humidity should be over 80% all the time.
-87 is a good daytime ambient temperature, but the basking area should be 95-100.

All of this and more is right here:

Questions are welcome.
 
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