Sulcata hatchling odd behaviour

berrybon

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Hi guys! I noticed something odd in my sulcata hatchling (4 months old). These past two weeks, I have been living in my parent's house due to an urgent situation. I bought a smaller closed chamber for my hatchling while we stayed here. I usually feed him greens and pellets. However, I noticed that these past couple of days, he only wants to eat the pellets. I tried to change the greens (usually hibiscus, but I tried rose leaves, mulberry leaves, grape leaves, etc.) and tried to give the greens first, but he just refused until I give him mazuri pellets. As usual, I soak him daily (he poop and pee during soak), but I only get the chance to let him sunbathe a couple of days a week since it has been cloudy.

However, yesterday, I noticed he wasn't eating his pellets, but he eats A LOT when I do hand feed. Not sure why he suddenly won't eat from his usual terracotta saucer.
This brings us to today. Today, I had to leave early due to a medical emergency and left soaked pellets in the closed chamber. When I was back at night, he was sitting on top of the saucer; pellets seemed to be untouched. He eats a lot when I hand-feed him, but didn't take any bite when I put the pellet back on the saucer. Afterwards, he was pooping and peeing. I was just surprised because he always poop and pee in the morning, with or without soak. I had left him once in the past and left food in his chamber, but he ate okay and just poop in his chamber (I found the poop and urates later on). So I just trying to figure out what's going on.

His moves are normal; the urate is also not gritty. Any advice?

Here's the pic of the cute baby 🙂
 

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EppsDynasty

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I am not an expert and hopefully some of them will answer your question. Sounds like a spoiled tort. Sounds like he favors the Mazri (most likely because of the sweetness) and doesn't want to eat other foods. You are going to need to post the Temperatures of your enclosure though for us to get a full picture of whats going on. Cold side, Warm side, basking spot and what are the low temps overnight?
 

berrybon

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I am not an expert and hopefully some of them will answer your question. Sounds like a spoiled tort. Sounds like he favors the Mazri (most likely because of the sweetness) and doesn't want to eat other foods. You are going to need to post the Temperatures of your enclosure though for us to get a full picture of whats going on. Cold side, Warm side, basking spot and what are the low temps overnight?
he is, indeed, spoiled 😅 Sometimes he only wants to eat greens, and sometimes he only eats pellets. However, he never only eats when hand-fed before; he usually just eats what's in front of him. it's midnight here, I'll try to post the picture of the enclosure tomorrow. But the temps and humidity are normal, 30-33'c (86-90f) with a cool side around 29'c, humidity around 75-80.

He usually already sleeps in his little cave during the night, but today it feels like he waits for us home, standing in front of the glass, and judges us for not soaking him and feeding him in his regular tub 🤣
 

wellington

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Bump up the basking to 95-100.
Smear the mazuri onto the greens so he has to eat the greens to get the mazuri.
He may be acting different due to the move to another, smaller enclosure. Try not to gand feed and make him eat from the dish. Be sure to keep him hydrated, having water available 24/7 and give warm soaks daily. They can go a few days without eating but not hydration.
After his soak, put him in front of the food.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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How long has it been since you changed his enclosure? It could be that the change in his behavior is just caused by the change of environment. My understanding is that tortoises are never a fan of change. It could be that the change of environment has thrown his habits off. Also since he is so young, his behavior and habits might still change and morph.

If it turns out that he is just a spoiled picky eater, this is a good article to start with: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tortoise-diet/introducing-a-new-diet/

For now I would try to keep his schedule as regular as possible. Anyway, I hope someone more experienced chimes in.
 

berrybon

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Bump up the basking to 95-100.
Smear the mazuri onto the greens so he has to eat the greens to get the mazuri.
He may be acting different due to the move to another, smaller enclosure. Try not to gand feed and make him eat from the dish. Be sure to keep him hydrated, having water available 24/7 and give warm soaks daily. They can go a few days without eating but not hydration.
After his soak, put him in front of the food.
With basking 95-100, what are the supposed cool and warm temperatures? I'm a bit afraid since the temporary chambers are quite small, it would get too hot all around. Oh, nice suggestion! I used to smear the pellets on the green back when I first got him. But it was because he wouldn't eat the pellet and only eat the green. Will try that again tomorrow.
 

berrybon

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How long has it been since you changed his enclosure? It could be that the change in his behavior is just caused by the change of environment. My understanding is that tortoises are never a fan of change. It could be that the change of environment has thrown his habits off. Also since he is so young, his behavior and habits might still change and morph.

If it turns out that he is just a spoiled picky eater, this is a good article to start with: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tortoise-diet/introducing-a-new-diet/

For now I would try to keep his schedule as regular as possible. Anyway, I hope someone more experienced chimes in.
Almost two weeks, but we were supposed to return home and to his usual enclosure in a couple of days. Maybe he misses home, haha. He is a picky eater. It took weeks for us to make him try new greens. It's not his fault, though; his breeder only gave him one type of green since the moment he hatched 😔 But he finally eats a different kind of greens and pellets. It just not wanting to eat from his bowl, waiting to be hand-fed until late at night, and pooping and peeing at night is new. He seems to be hungry, so I'm not sure why. Let's see whether he'll return to normal once we're back home.
 

wellington

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With basking 95-100, what are the supposed cool and warm temperatures? I'm a bit afraid since the temporary chambers are quite small, it would get too hot all around. Oh, nice suggestion! I used to smear the pellets on the green back when I first got him. But it was because he wouldn't eat the pellet and only eat the green. Will try that again tomorrow.
The over all temp day and night needs to be 80F even 85F is okay. If you cant get the all over and basking temp then you have to get a bigger enclosure or you will have a sick or dead tortoise. A large plastic tote box, the largest they have, will work. A too small enclosure won't even temporary if the correct temps cant be reached.
 

berrybon

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The over all temp day and night needs to be 80F even 85F is okay. If you cant get the all over and basking temp then you have to get a bigger enclosure or you will have a sick or dead tortoise. A large plastic tote box, the largest they have, will work. A too small enclosure won't even temporary if the correct temps cant be reached.
ah great then, I can manage the basking temps to around 35'c (around 95F), and overall temps range are 82-85'F. The temporary chamber is not that small, still as big as a large plastic containers; it just smaller than his usual enclosure.
I would love to report, yesterday, when I bumped out the temps, he shield behind the thermometer and pushed it around. But this morning, when I give him hibiscus, he doesn't want it at first; but when I put it inside his enclosure, he finaly munching greens! I don't even have to smear it with pellets.

I usually let him bask under the sun while feed him. I suspect that since it has been storming these couple of days, it's not hot enough outside, and it decrease the apetite. I also shorten the soaking time (usually I let him hang for 30-45minutes), but I have to cut his soaking time shorter to 15-20mins these past couple of days. Maybe since he's less active it also decrease the apetite. Or maybe he's just that spoiled and picky haha. Thank you for your help!
 

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