sulcata not growing

FlyinJohnnyL

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Dec 18, 2014
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Jacksonville, Florida
We've had our Sulcata for almost a year and a half, and he hasn't grown much at all. I live near the beach in Florida so he gets plenty of humidity (It's never really below 80%). He is soaked at least 3 times a week, but usually more. He eats a pile of *food probably twice his size daily. He's active, he poops, he runs around outside an hour or two a day as time permits. His enclosure has a UVB light for the days I can't get him outside. He has cuttlebone and I do occasionally sprinkle powder onto his food as well. I just can't figure out why he isn't growing.

*Food probably should include more grasses. He does get blue grass (easiest to get for me) and wheat grass, dandelion, chard, a little kale, baby bok choy, etc. I try to mix it up, but as far as the store bought food, he definitely eats the dandelion most often.
 

FlyinJohnnyL

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Dec 18, 2014
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Location (City and/or State)
Jacksonville, Florida
How big is his encloser? I Just wonder?
It's only 4' x 4'. I have had plans drawn up to build a bigger one as he outgrew this one...but seeing as how he hasn't really grown, I haven't needed to build the bigger one. I think someone here told me he'd probably outgrow a 4' x 8' enclosure after a year or two, so I was kind of stunned that he had not even outgrown this 4' x 4' yet.
 

Tom

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We've had our Sulcata for almost a year and a half, and he hasn't grown much at all. I live near the beach in Florida so he gets plenty of humidity (It's never really below 80%). He is soaked at least 3 times a week, but usually more. He eats a pile of *food probably twice his size daily. He's active, he poops, he runs around outside an hour or two a day as time permits. His enclosure has a UVB light for the days I can't get him outside. He has cuttlebone and I do occasionally sprinkle powder onto his food as well. I just can't figure out why he isn't growing.

*Food probably should include more grasses. He does get blue grass (easiest to get for me) and wheat grass, dandelion, chard, a little kale, baby bok choy, etc. I try to mix it up, but as far as the store bought food, he definitely eats the dandelion most often.

Did he have the typical dry start?
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/
Sounds like my Daisy. Some of them make it through and some don't.

Also, high humidity outside is good, but what is the humidity inside in the enclosure?
 

Yvonne G

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I went back and looked at pictures you posted when you first joined the Forum. The little sulcata in the pictures was already showing signs of pyramiding when you got him, meaning he came from a place that dry-started them.

It's not enough that the ambient humidity is 80%, you still need to wet the substrate and cover the enclosure to keep the warm, moist air inside. Good UVB and warm, moist air, a good diet of a variety of greens and weeds and plenty of exercise will help your baby grow.
 

FlyinJohnnyL

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Location (City and/or State)
Jacksonville, Florida
Did he have the typical dry start?
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/
Sounds like my Daisy. Some of them make it through and some don't.

Also, high humidity outside is good, but what is the humidity inside in the enclosure?
Humidity in the enclosure is always >80%. His enclosure is outside on our porch. Most of the time I don't even have to worry about it, but we do get a few dry spells where I'll have to re-hydrate his substrate to keep it above 80%. That's rare though.

I bought him from Arizona Tortoise Compound. I was under the impression that Andrew doesn't dry start his tortoises. He seemed healthy enough when I got him, but who knows I suppose?

I'm at work but I'll try to post some pics when I get home.
 

Tom

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Humidity in the enclosure is always >80%. His enclosure is outside on our porch. Most of the time I don't even have to worry about it, but we do get a few dry spells where I'll have to re-hydrate his substrate to keep it above 80%. That's rare though.

I bought him from Arizona Tortoise Compound. I was under the impression that Andrew doesn't dry start his tortoises. He seemed healthy enough when I got him, but who knows I suppose?

I see two problems working against you.
1. Andy is a good guy, but he does a lot of volume. In addition to breeding his own babies, he also buys from other people. Some people don't do things as well as Andy does. Also, he keeps them outside all day. This is not good for babies in my experience. He uses sprinklers and plants and other techniques, but the babies are still outside in the dry air all day and night, and this really slows growth and contributes to the early pyramiding that Yvonne mentioned.
2. You are keeping the baby outside all day. As I said in number one, this is not good for babies. The typical result is that they grow very slowly if at all. Temperatures and humidity do not seem to matter. Babies just do better inside in the right set up.

Please ask more questions and for clarification where needed. I'm happy to explain.
Here are some threads that might help:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
 

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