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Sulcata Diets and where to buy it.

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by Whiplash4ever, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. Whiplash4ever

    Whiplash4ever New Member

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    I've read several threads that give a wide variety of food that is acceptable to feed old Speedy (I didn't name him, so cut me some slack) and that's fantastic. However, I have NO idea where to buy any of that stuff. I'm being thrown into the new adventure feet first. A friend of a friend, for undisclosed reasons, is giving up on her turtle buddy, and rather see something bad happen to him, I agreed to take him in. I'm just now getting up to speed on just how massive this endeavor is though.

    I plan on cleaning out a smaller room in the basement to house him in the winter. I have a grow light that's being repurposed (Don't ask/Don't tell), and I'm hoping that will be sufficient, but if not, please let me know sooner rather than later. I have an outdoor enclosure that used to house a snapping turtle, but I released him back into the wild two summers ago and since then it's gone unused. I can just fill in the small pond and it'll be similar in size to the room I'm going to use inside. My biggest questions are what to feed him and where to get it. Whatever it is I buy will have to be available through a pet store or grocery store. I can plant some of the things on the list I read, but that's going to take time that I don't have.
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  2. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!
    Pictures of your enclosure/tortoise will help us greatly. Until then, read these and come back with questions-
    How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0
    https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php...ealthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/
    Sulcata Diet Sheet
    https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Sulcata-Diet-Sheet.64290/
    Beginner Mistakes
    https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/
    Most of the things you can feed it, you can find in your backyard.
    I don’t believe the grow light will work for UV, but it might help you grow some plants in the enclosure :)
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  3. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome to the Forum! Might I say that is quite an intimidating profile pic.
    For us to give better advice, can you tell us how big the tort is?
    The grow light will be handy for growing plants but that is it. Your gonna need to get a bulb that produces UVB, this is required for your tort to convert D3. Most pet stores will have various types of uvb lights, be wary of compact ones as they have caused eye problems. Mercury vaper bulbs and the long florescent tubes work.
    Here is a handy website to help ID plants that are suitable for torts, in your yard and the grocery store!
    http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/index.php#.WmukIeCIbqA

    If your tort is big enough (10" ish) you may be able to start him on hay! Orchard Grass hay or other leafy grass hays are best.
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  4. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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    Also, if you have a feed store locally you can ask them if they can order a Tortoise food called "Mazuri Tortoise Food Original" great stuff to add into a varied diet!
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  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    Hi, and welcome!
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  6. Whiplash4ever

    Whiplash4ever New Member

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    I don't have him/her yet. Not until Sunday. These are the only pictures I have so far. Neither is very good.

    Attached Files:

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  7. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    That isn’t the actual enclosure it’s kept in right now, is it?
    That tortoise looks around the ten inch mark, so it might be okay to start feeding it hays/grasses. If you wanted to House it outside full time, you could always build a heated night box for the winter months, and lock it up at night :)
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  8. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    WhipLash...other than the US where are you located? That will help ppl HELP you and Mr Sully!
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  9. Whiplash4ever

    Whiplash4ever New Member

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    I don't know. I don't know this person. She's a friend of a friend. In a brief text where she told me what she was housing him/her in, I fear the enclosure might be even worse than the box. She told me they have him/her in an aquarium that he/she can't turn around in.

    Outside probably isn't going to work with the winter temps we often times get, even with a heated night box.
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  10. Whiplash4ever

    Whiplash4ever New Member

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    Northern Illinois
  11. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Funny enough, sulcatas will happily go out into the snow as long as they have a place to heat up. Once they’re warmed up enough, they can retain enough body heat to walk around for a while, and come back inside. You just have to make sure you lock them in at night.
    It could probably stay inside if it has a large enough enclosure right now, but before you know it, you’ll have a 200 pound monster ;)
    The current enclosure is definitely worrying. It’s great that you’re willing to give it a better life!
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  12. vladimir

    vladimir Active Member

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    Hello! I'm one year into the "adopt a sulcata and help it have a better life" adventure and have no regrets. It sounds like you're serious about doing the right thing for this guy and you definitely came to the right place.

    We live in Pennsylvania and are planning that he'll have free access to the outside as @TechnoCheese mentioned year round except in extreme conditions. He's not ready for that yet, but based on what I've learned here it's reassuring to know that's an option.

    Anyway, welcome! Looking forward to see how the little guy adjusts to life with you
  13. Dizisdalife

    Dizisdalife Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Wow. I grew up in Northern Illinois. Lived where the Fox River dumps into the Illinois river. The Illinois was my backyard and playground, and sometimes my basement too. What a great place to grow up. I'm headed back for a visit in a few weeks for a visit, so I am praying for some warm weather.

    Keeping a sulcata in your area is going to be a challenge. But you know that. Get some Mazuri Tortoise food. It's formula 5M21. The original formula, 5E06 was discontinued a while back. I use it here in California to help get through the winter. I soak it in water until it is soft and mix it with greens and hay (mostly orchard hay, but some Teff for added fiber). I still have some grasses in the yard so I don't buy much grocery items to feed. What I mostly feed from the grocery store is turnip greens, mustard greens, endive, escarole, bok choy, and romaine. I cut the greens up and mix them with Mazuri and hay, and some of the grass I still have growing.

    Good luck and please let us know your progress. Here is a link to the Mazuri website.
    https://www.mazuri.com/mazuritortoisediet.aspx
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  14. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    He doesn't appear to be in too bad of shape.

    The two most common mistakes new keepers make and are not prepared for are: 1. This is a tropical species. There is no "winter" where they come from. Sub-Saharan Africa has two seasons: "Hot" and "Hotter". This species should not drop below 80 degrees at any time. The coldest corner of their enclosure on the coldest winter night needs to be 80+. Then during each day, they need a place to get their core temp up into the 90s. This can be a daunting challenge in your climate. 2. They need a lot of room to roam. Confining them in small enclosures has a very adverse effect on their health in many ways. I put tortoises of that size in outdoor enclosures that are 30x30' or larger. They need room to march around. When the weather is warm enough, a large, secure outdoor pen will work great. If you don't want to build a night box, then you can bring him inside to a heated enclosure to sleep overnight.

    Joe's food suggestions are great and I agree with him. Use grass or grass hay as a base and mix in all sorts of other good stuff.

    In your area, grape vines and mulberry leaves can serve as a great food source during the warmer months, but grass and weeds will be the bulk of the daily diet in the warmer months. You might be able to find spineless opuntia pads near you to. They are called "nopales" and are used in some Mexican dishes. Great tortoise food.
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  15. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    While some people do this, it is not good for their tortoises, and I don't think it should be encouraged. I would never allow this if I lived in an area that got that cold.
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  16. Whiplash4ever

    Whiplash4ever New Member

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    I was watching YouTube videos on these guys trying to get an idea what I was in for. One of the videos was hosted by a woman (brunette with big boobs). I don't recall her name, but she seem to have these tortoises along with all kinds of snakes and spiders and other arachnids so I assume she knows what she's talking about. She was saying something about when the shell starts to "Pyramid" that's not a good sign and usually brought on by poor diet. Is that the case because this guy is definitely got some pyramiding going on. It certainly isn't smooth by any means.
  17. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    There is a lot of old, out-dated, incorrect info on the web, in books, from vet and "experts"… Its a sad situation and we are trying to correct it, but 30 year old myths can be persistent.

    Pyramiding is caused by growth in conditions that are too dry. It is not caused by food. We proven this 1000's of times over, but some people still haven't caught on and cling to what they learned 20-30 years ago, and keep repeating the old info and teaching it to new tortoise keepers.

    Once the growth has occurred, you can't make the pyramiding go away. All you can do is try to create better living conditions (Monsoon season conditions…) and try to help the new growth come in better. These tortoises are NOT a desert species. They come from grassland and forest edge areas. Think about it. It takes a lot of annual rainfall to maintain grasslands and forests, right? Babies of this species hatch at the start of the monsoon season. Conditions are wet, rainy, hot, humid and there are puddles and marshes every where. During the 8-9 month dry season, these tortoise live underground in warm humid burrows. They are rarely exposed to the hot dry air.
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  18. Whiplash4ever

    Whiplash4ever New Member

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    I got these
    • Bok Choy/Pak Choy/Chinese Cabbage/ Brassica rapa (just a foilage or can they eat the stems too?)
    • Collard Greens / Brassica oleracea
    • Turnip Greens/Brassica rapa/white turnip greens/turnip top

    These weren't on your list, but I saw that some of the folk online feed these to their Sullys, so I added it to the mix.
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Red bell pepper (just one)
    • Banana (Just one)

    I couldn't find these.
    • Arugula/Eruca sativa/salad rocket/roquette/rucola/ rugula/colewort.
    • Prickley Pear Cactus Pas/Oputunia Cactus/Nopales/Paddle Cactus.
    • Grape Leaf /Vitis species
    • Clover Sprouts
    • Alfalfa Sprouts/ Medicago sativa/lucer
    • juncea/Indian mustard/Chinese mustard/leaf mustard
    • Cat Grass/ Dactylis/ ****'s-foot/Orchard Grass
    • Wheat Grass/ Triticum aestivum
    • Dandelion
  19. Stuart S.

    Stuart S. Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    You can find arugula usually in any organic spring mix box from the the store, I have recently planted some cactus pads of my own but I typically pick up pads from the Hispanic grocery store.
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  20. SULCY

    SULCY Member

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    You can also use orchard grass pellets from Tractor Supply just soak them first it is 100% orchard grass hay.
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