slow grower… when is humidity not as vital?

Kr1st1n

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Hey there everyone, I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the holiday season!
I have a question; at what size does maintaining high humidity levels become less important for sulcatas?
Before responding, I wanted to provide you with some additional context in the event that my situation might dictate different guidance.
My 16 month old rescue sulcata, Fergus, until recently, had been significantly undersized for its age. It became a part of my family ~5 months ago… so it had just turned a year old at that time and it was only 2.93” & weighed 105 grams (relatively the same weight range as a new born could be… or close to it at least). As of today, Fergus is 5.63” & weighs 644 grams.
So for the first year of life, if I were to assume it weighed 85 grams ant birth, its growth rate would have been only 24%…
However, during the past 5 months its growth rate has been 513%.
I’ve been maintaining ~90% humidity, giving Miner-All supplements, Mazuri, dandelion greens, spring mix, grass mixes I grew and purchased from Tortoise Supply, etc etc etc (basically implemented everything from Tom’s articles).
All that being said, I remember seeing somewhere here that once they get to around 6”, when their significant baby growth starts to steady a bit, the humidity isn’t as important. But being that Fergus kind of just started hitting his growth spurt, should I maintain high humidity longer than “normal” (and I know after reading a ton of stuff in here that there’s really no “normal” LOL… but there’s enough “normal” for people to be able to provide at least some rough guidance so hopefully you know what I mean).
Regardless, the good news is that s/he seems to be thriving now and I don’t want to do anything that will impeded that trajectory (although trying to keep up with its recently rapid growth from an enclosure size perspective has been a bit… …. Well let’s just say it’s been a bit expensive! LOL haha…. Every time I think, “okay, this’ll due for quite a bit of time”… s/he grows!!… but I’ll take that any day if it means s/he’s doing well).
So do I maintain the high humidity levels or can I start to lower them a bit?
Thanks in advance for the advice,
Kristin & Fergus
IMG_4628.jpeg
 

wellington

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They are housed in a closed chamber until around 10-12 inches straight measure of bottom shell. That's when they can move outside 24/7 and should still have a warm humid hide. In places like AZ or other family dry places, their outdoor enclosure should be sprayed down to try and get some humidity. Sprinklers or misters work good for this. I'm in Chicago, we have fairly good humidity a lot of the summer, but on those really hot dry days I add sprayed water to bump up humidity.
 

Kr1st1n

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They are housed in a closed chamber until around 10-12 inches straight measure of bottom shell. That's when they can move outside 24/7 and should still have a warm humid hide. In places like AZ or other family dry places, their outdoor enclosure should be sprayed down to try and get some humidity. Sprinklers or misters work good for this. I'm in Chicago, we have fairly good humidity a lot of the summer, but on those really hot dry days I add sprayed water to bump up humidity.
Thank you :)
I’ve already started planning & prepping for the outdoor enclosure area because it’ll require mostly plantings that I can’t just “make happen” or buy so I’ve already started to grow dandelions, grasses, spineless opuntia, and all kinds of stuff. Fingers crossed they maintain. I also have a big cage-type enclosure that I’ll let him out in every once in a while and I already have the misters on it (cause it gets HOT here in Tucson) so I can just repurpose those when the time comes.
So it sounds like Fergus will be in a closed chamber for quite a bit more time (although if he maintains these current growth rates it might actually not be as long as it feels like it would be).
I’m in the process of designing & then building a new enclosure for him and was hoping I wouldn’t need to take into as much consideration maintaining as high of humidity levels as I’ve been doing… but it sounds like I’m still going to need to do that.
Thanks so much for the advice!
KV
 

wellington

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Usually around two years they can go outside, of course this is one that has not been delayed in its growth.
When he does go out, you will want to build a insulated heated night box for nightly sleeping, locking him in each night. Then on those cold nights you do get in winter, it will need the heat.
 

Kr1st1n

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He looks pretty good for how he must have been housed before you for him.
I know!! It’s really only been the past 2.5-3 months too??!! I was reading another recent post about someone’s sulcata being over a year with no growth and I almost chimed in because my little guy/gal was in the same boat and then all of a sudden something kicked in and s/he took off growing!! It was shortly after Tom recommended me to use Miner-All and suggested the frequency etc. Around that same time I also moved his enclosure to the garage vs the living room & started making “quiet time” time Fergus and me to just spend some time laying on the guest bed and just being around each other with the door shut (I have 3 big dogs)… he was just so fearful of me and that seemed to help out a lot… doesn’t pee every time I pick him up anymore and doesn’t hide when I walk by. I think not having the dogs barking, walking by and all the noises helped relieve a lot of his stress and allowed him to just… “be” and thus thrive vs try to survive.
Fingers crossed it continues. If
 

wellington

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I rescue a leopard that was hatchling size and he should have been the size of my other leopard. With proper care, room and diet, he caught up in size and even passed my other one.
He will catch up as long as you keep doing it right. I also found mazuri tortoise food helps put size on too.
 

Kr1st1n

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I rescue a leopard that was hatchling size and he should have been the size of my other leopard. With proper care, room and diet, he caught up in size and even passed my other one.
He will catch up as long as you keep doing it right. I also found mazuri tortoise food helps put size on too.
Yeah… I’m so shocked at the turnaround in Fergus’ growth rate!!! I wouldn’t have believed it could happen if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. I’ll forever swear by the guidance I received here in how to house & feed a sulcata!!!!
I too use Mazuri and I also found Repashy Superfoods Grassland Grazer Tortoise Diet Gel Premix and Fergus LOVES them both!!!
 

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