spurred tortoise pen!???

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boutselis

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MY wife found a large spurred tortoise. We live in Florida so they can survive on there own here if they burrow for the winters. He/she seems to have been on his own for a while. He is over 2 feet long but seems kinda light as if he hasn't been eating very well and has a lot of scratches on his shell.

If we don't find an owner I wanted to keep him. we live on an acre and no longer have a horse so I was going to turn the little pasture (about a 1/4 acre of land with a nice stall) into his pen. So far the plan is to put a bunch of loose hay in the stall so he could possibly mock burrow under it and be able to go in and out when he pleases and graze on the very lush grasses we have in his 1/4 acre pen.

Does this sound good and What do I need to do to keep him in? I hear they can burrow up to 6 feet down and 30 feet long. Is this common?

Also. I hear they can be aggressive. is that just to other spurred tortoise of the same sex? or would he bully my leapord tortoise who is now seeming very small and has always been pretty dainty acting?

I will try and post some pictures of him tomorrow and maybe some one can give me a guesstamate of his age.
 

FranklinAndTara

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how does one stumble upon a 2foot sulcata? Someone would notice if he was missing. Thants nuts! My sullys are little guys, i havent seen them dig yet. I think that the "up to 30 feet" is probably an example of what they do in the wild. they burrow for saftey and to stay cool... something they wont need to do if you have a hide for them.. i wouldnt worry about the digging :)
 

Yvonne G

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Even though they come from the same continent originally, I wouldn't keep the two different species of tortoise in the same pen. It would be much better if you could section it off and separate the two. The sulcata, being much bigger and aggressive would certainly harm the more timid leopard tortoise.
 

boutselis

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FranklinAndTara said:
how does one stumble upon a 2foot sulcata? Someone would notice if he was missing. Thants nuts! My sullys are little guys, i havent seen them dig yet. I think that the "up to 30 feet" is probably an example of what they do in the wild. they burrow for saftey and to stay cool... something they wont need to do if you have a hide for them.. i wouldnt worry about the digging :)

My wife was pretty surprised to see him on the side of the road eating grass. There is a LOT of vacant land around here where he could have been staying. Even the house lots are all between 1 and 5 acres so he could have been alone in the wild for quite some time without ever being noticed. When I gave him some fresh collard greens he went nuts and even followed me for more of them. He ate over a pound in one sitting.


emysemys said:
Even though they come from the same continent originally, I wouldn't keep the two different species of tortoise in the same pen. It would be much better if you could section it off and separate the two. The sulcata, being much bigger and aggressive would certainly harm the more timid leopard tortoise.

I think your right. Olivia is very docile. Its funny. Everyone who has seen my leopard thought she was so big but now she seems so little. I was hoping that the spurred would just ignore her because they were two different species all together and she could enjoy roaming around the bigger pen but Olivia would tip very easy if this new giant decided to muscle her over and with her high dome I doubt she would right herself up. On a hot day while I was at work it would be to dangerous for her.
 

Tom

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Definitely keep them separate. You ought to take a fecal sample from the sulcata to the vet, just to be safe. There should have been plenty for it to eat around there, so the light weight worries me a bit. Your enclosure idea sounds GREAT!

They can dig more than 10' down. Check this out:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-RV-s-Burrow#axzz1Sc4bfyCz

Even though they can survive outside IF they burrow, burrows can be dangerous. They can flood or collapse, and you have no access to the tortoise should they become sick or injured. Here are some ideas for shelters:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-The-Mother-of-All-Tortoise-Boxes#axzz1Sc4bfyCz

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-Daisy-s-New-Enclosure#axzz1Sc4bfyCz

A heated shelter in a large enclosure will usually discourage them from digging, though not always.
 

boutselis

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All the camera batteries are dead so no pictures till this after noon. I measured her and she is a little smaller than I thought. Keeping the measure tape straight (not going down the curve of her back) she measures 20" long and about 14" wide. Haven't weighed her yet. I did put Olivia about 4 feet from the spurr. The Spurr immediately stopped eating and staired at Olivia. Olivia walked away and the spurr turned her head and watched for about 30 seconds and then went back to eating. No idea what that meant but they won't be allowed near each other.

I have a new problem. I was figuring out the cost of making the small pasture "spurr escape proof" and there is over 360' of chain link fence I have to buy and bury partially in the ground plus there are two 16' wide gates I will have to improvize so we can get through and she can't. I don't know if I can spend that kinda money right now and I don't want her cooped up in a small pen. So it might not be a match made in heaven.

And now I think the spurr is a female. From what I have read so far its very hard to tell them apart but she does have a polished area on the lower back part of the carapace. The info I read says thats a pretty good sign that she is a she.I guess the plastron of the male rubs against the carapace of the female because mating takes about 15 minutes and they will do it several times a day. A small area will get polished from subsequent mating.

thanks for the links Tom and thanks for everyone elses replies.
 

dmarcus

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Have you considered using cinder blocks, they are inexpensive. I have been paying about $1 each. you can make the pen as big as you like, and we use re-bar for support and drive them 2-3 feet into the ground. Then if I wanna expand I just move the blocks around to fit my needs.
 

Laura

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1x10 boards or maybe taller... will work too. I used concrete form post supports to secure my boards. works great.. and foot price is about the same for cinder blocks.
 

Jacob

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Yes you Would Defiantly want To Separate The Species!
Please Post Pictures :)
 

boutselis

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Here is a picture of Olivia and the as of yet un named spurred tortoise my wife found. I mentioned I thought she seemed a little light. I think I was wrong. she weighs about 55 lbs. 20" long and 13 or 14" wide. seems pretty active. Olivia is about 18 lbs. I let olivia walk around the spurred for a bit. The spurred ignored her for about 10 minutes but then started to follow Olivia very close all over the place. When olivia stopped the spurred circled her and then got right up in poor Olivia's face and Olivia cowered into her shell. It was obvious the spurred was bulling Olivia and being very intimidating. So they won't be pen mates as most have you suggested against already any way.

Thanks for the pen suggestions. Even though this used to be a horse pasture my wife prided herself on keeping it as nice looking as she could. I had to promise to keep that in mind when building the new pen. So cinder blocks are out. That would constitute immediate divorce. I think even a 2x12 wouldn't work. This spurred is big enough so that its really thick neck could get up on a 12" high board. I saw my red foot use his neck as a 5th leg for climbing. I didn't take the thought serious enough and now he's living in the wilds of florida (or in some one else's back yard). So far I think partially buried chain link is the best choice. I will have to paint it to match the rail fence to make wifey happy.

If I put chain link into the ground about a foot deep would that be pretty good? If we decide against keeping her were going to try and donate her to our local zoo. They have an african exibit and i think they might let it roam free with the girraffes.

FranklinAndTara said:
Well, thats understandable... Its easy to lose anthing in an acre of Pine and Palmetto. where about in Fl are you guys?


Central east coast. Pine and palmetto describes the area perfectly.
 

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FranklinAndTara

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wow shes huge... and dirty! and little Olivia is super cute! Whoever had her took decent care of her... shes very smooth. not lumpy or bumpy like mine.


She looks like a Francine... just a thought :)
 

l0velesly

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The sulcata is really smooth! I wonder if it belongs to anyone.
Cute Olivia! Pretty colors and smooth shell!
 

boutselis

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FranklinAndTara said:
wow shes huge... and dirty! and little Olivia is super cute! Whoever had her took decent care of her... shes very smooth. not lumpy or bumpy like mine.


She looks like a Francine... just a thought :)


We'll take francine up for discussion as a name. You should have seen how dirty she was before I scrubbed her down. She was basically a dark gray with no color variation a all.

When you say smooth and not bumpy. Why would she be bumpy and what kind of bumps would they be. If you look at the picture you'll see bumps on Olivia but I thought all leapord tortoise were like that. Is there something wrong with the bumps?
 

Lilithlee

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lushcious said:
The sulcata is really smooth! I wonder if it belongs to anyone.
Cute Olivia! Pretty colors and smooth shell!

Maybe she been outside so long that's why she so smooth.
 

Yvonne G

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Both your tortoises are very good-looking animals. Its just that we're so used to seeing pyramided leopards and sulcatas and yours are both pretty smooth. Yours are the norm...pyramiding is not to be desired. Its probably because they're from humid Florida. Another stroke-tally in the "humidity-is-required-for-smooth-tortoises" camp.

Have you put "Francine" into a large tub of water and just let her sit there for a half hour or so? Can you sneak her into your bath tub? That dirt will loosen and you can scrub it off, but she'll have to sit a while in the water.

Thanks for sharing your pictures with us. I'm much impressed.
 

FranklinAndTara

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boutselis said:
FranklinAndTara said:
wow shes huge... and dirty! and little Olivia is super cute! Whoever had her took decent care of her... shes very smooth. not lumpy or bumpy like mine.


She looks like a Francine... just a thought :)


We'll take francine up for discussion as a name. You should have seen how dirty she was before I scrubbed her down. She was basically a dark gray with no color variation a all.

When you say smooth and not bumpy. Why would she be bumpy and what kind of bumps would they be. If you look at the picture you'll see bumps on Olivia but I thought all leapord tortoise were like that. Is there something wrong with the bumps?
My guys are lumpy and bumpy... Pyramided. Usually caused by lack of proper care Too dry, diet ect. Your sulcata is very smooth, so who ever owned her took good care of her.
SNC00631.jpg
 

boutselis

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[/quote]


We'll take francine up for discussion as a name. You should have seen how dirty she was before I scrubbed her down. She was basically a dark gray with no color variation a all.

When you say smooth and not bumpy. Why would she be bumpy and what kind of bumps would they be. If you look at the picture you'll see bumps on Olivia but I thought all leapord tortoise were like that. Is there something wrong with the bumps?

[/quote]
My guys are lumpy and bumpy... Pyramided. Usually caused by lack of proper care Too dry, diet ect. Your sulcata is very smooth, so who ever owned her took good care of her.
SNC00631.jpg


[/quote]

Thanks for the picture. They do look kinda bumpy. And their color looks different. is that because of their diet, are they a different type, or is mine just real dirty? Even after a scrub down her color didn't look nearly as light as yours do.
 

Yvonne G

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That's why I asked if you could put her into the bathtub for a nice, long soak. She's supposed to be tan like the two in the picture.
 
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