Sulcata soaking - too much of a good thing?


New Member
Feb 1, 2023
Location (City and/or State)
We took in a sulcata though a rescue group last year and have been working on getting him healthy and acclimated. He seemed happy when we got him - he was active and engaging in normal behaviors but had some poor habits. He had previously been fed mostly pellets and we were able to quickly get him on greens and fresh grass, but he was reluctant to eat any hay. He also hated water and would not go anywhere near his water pan. We soaked him every day or every other day depending on humidity and diet and he hated every second of it.
A routine vet check up found a 3 inch + bladder stone. We had it removed, he recovered beautifully and now loves his hay and his water. Apparently what we thought was him being picky and stubborn was just because he was sick - poor guy, but he's doing great now.
We live in a colder climate so he's indoors right now. He has a bedroom that's penned off with a rubber floor topped with mulch bedding and his water pan is in there. We keep the heat in his room at 80 - 85 degrees with ceramic emitters for basking and overhead sun lamps during the day. He has a humidifier at 70% as well.
For the last couple of days, he has really been spending a lot of time in the water. Yesterday I cleaned out the pan when I got home from work like I always do, and he jumped right in like he always does. He stayed in there most of the night. I took him out a few times and placed him closer to the heater because I was worried about him getting cold, but as soon an I would leave the room I'd hear him splash back in to the water.
I finally took his water out when I went to bed because he had been in it for over 6 hours. As soon as I put it back today, he jumped right back in. It's been an hour and he's still in there.
Should I be worried? I've always struggled to get tortoises to like water - I've never worried about too much.
At what point should I worry? His appetite is great and he's active and healthy otherwise. Can excessive thirst be an indication of a health issue? Or is he just living his best life and enjoying his pool?
He is 16 and roughly 30 pounds. here's a photo I took tonight of him jumping in the water pan before I had a chance to fill it.
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Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
Location (City and/or State)
He seems to know that he needs as much soaking as he can get!


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Sep 6, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
As long as the enclosure is warm enough I don't think I'd worry. They can get too much. With his past history, stone and pyramiding, and not liking to go too the water on his own until recently, he may be in need with as much hydration as possible.
If he doesn't come out of the water to eat, etc, then I would worry a bit
Just be sure your temps are truly what you think they are, using digital thermostat and even a infrared point and shoot temp gun to check it's not too hot and that's the reason for soaking.

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