Sulcata won't stop digging

Boo628

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Hi everybody i have a question about my sulcata. His name is Bigfoot. So here's the thing, i got him in November and the guy i got him from said he's 10 years old 40 lbs. Ever since day 1 he sleeps in the house. He found a spot and claimed it his. He goes outside everyday except for some days when it was really cold. On those days he'll walk to the door and turn around back to his spot. The thing is he never digs. In the 6 months i got him he never dig anything anywhere. Not even a small hole. He won't even go in the hole i dug for him. He looks at it and turn around. Then yesterday he just started digging out of nowhere but he stopped and went in the house around 3-4pm. But today he was digging for almost 5 hours straight. I went outside told him go in the house and sleep, he stop digging, turn around half way sat there n looked at me, then went back to digging. He NEVER digs before and now he's digging non-stop. I know its getting hot now but he never stay outside past 4pm. It was almost 6pm today and he was still digging. (Getting cold) He never sleep outside since i got him. He refused to sleep outside. Tried it a few times but he fight his way back in the house. From November until a couple weeks ago he goes in the house around 2. If the door is not open for him he would go on a rampage and run everything over. He would go in the house then go into his house but he haven't gone in his house lately he been parking himself next to his house so i took it out and put it in the back yard. I put his house back there before and he wouldn't even go in it but now he's digging under it. Is there a reason why all of a sudden he's digging like that? He didn't wanna walk to the house today so i picked him up and put him at the door, let him decide if He wanna go back to digging or in the house. He walked straight to his sleeping spot and went to sleep. Maybe he's mad about something idk. His digging might seem normal to everybody here but it's not to me cuz i had him for 6 months and he never digs but now theres a big hole he dug. At first i was like yay he's digging but the amount of time hes didn't digging and the way he's acting just doesn't seem normal to me. Maybe he got mad cuz i closed the door on him when he was in front of the house. I wasn't locking him out i was letting him explore. He walked around a lil then came trying to run the door down so i opened the door and he walked straight to the back, laid there for maybe 30 mins and started digging. So, any idea what he's thinking? I'm gonna let him dig all he wants but is there a reason for his change in behavior? Never dug a hole and now he can fit in there. 20180427_154402.jpg
 

Zantino1

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He looks great, he could be heavier for 10 years but I’m not a pro
Next is does he have a place to hide he, could be burrowing if he doesn’t have a hide
But that’s about it besides that he looks great.
 

Boo628

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The guy i got him from said he's 10 so I really don't know. That's what i was thinking too from everything i read he's under weight. When i first got him his back legs were weak. There were times when he's walking n almost just fall down. I think he was sick too. Saw bubbles a few times. But now he's walking fine n fast too. No more bubbles. He have a place to hide. That's his house i was talking about.
 

Zantino1

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The guy i got him from said he's 10 so I really don't know. That's what i was thinking too from everything i read he's under weight. When i first got him his back legs were weak. There were times when he's walking n almost just fall down. I think he was sick too. Saw bubbles a few times. But now he's walking fine n fast too. No more bubbles. He have a place to hide. That's his house i was talking about.

Ok that’s all I know maybe just add more shade
If you can get someone else to give you more info that would be good
I’ve also heard they burrow or dig when the nervous or vulnerable
I hope this helped a little.
 

Tom

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It is normal for them to dig. They can start at any time. I have one that will go months without digging and then one day she just goes crazy with the digging. We have to be careful though. Night temps are still much too cold for them to sleep in a burrow. I only let mine burrow in summer when temps are near 100 every day, and nights are 65-70. Ground temps average around 80 in summer, and so it works well, but the rest of the year the ground is too cold and so are the air temps above ground.

Your tortoise should be sleeping in its heated night box most of the year, including right now with this cold spell coming on. Block the burrow entrance and stop the digging for now.
 

Boo628

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Thx guys for the quick response. Wasn't sure if something is wrong with him. Tom, he sleeps in house with heat lamps (His hide) which is in my house til a couple weeks ago when it started getting hot. He didn't want to go in his house, he slept outside next to it so I'm thinking maybe he's hot in there. The temp in my house been around 70 lately.
 

Boo628

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Ok ill block the burrow cuz it looks like another day or 2 of digging he'll be going under the house. Lol
 

ascott

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Ok ill block the burrow cuz it looks like another day or 2 of digging he'll be going under the house. Lol

I do not house this species of tortoise, so let me make that clear to begin with :) I do have burrowing tortoise here and that is where I base this from. Burrowers suddenly realize, hey, I am designed to burrow...and away they go. My question is this....when that digger decides it is digging and there is nothing you can do actually to stop that drive, is there an acceptable place for that to happen? I mean, I have a tortoise (CDT, much smaller) that dug a beautiful burrow...that happened to go a few feet under the house....now, I do not promote outdoor brumation...because of flooding...but during all other months of the year it is a real necessary thing....so that is why I am asking ...
 

Boo628

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I don't really get ur question. If ur asking if there's another place for him to dig without going under the house yes there is. He just have to turn around and dig the other way. I only have him for 6 months and this is the first time he's digging. Same spot going the same way but its only been 2 days so let's see what he does tmr.
 

ascott

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I don't really get ur question. If ur asking if there's another place for him to dig without going under the house yes there is. He just have to turn around and dig the other way. I only have him for 6 months and this is the first time he's digging. Same spot going the same way but its only been 2 days so let's see what he does tmr.


No, you did get it. I mean, some folks get a burrowing tortoise and then don't agree with it on the burrow location....so my question was just that....do you mind if the tort digs under your house....the large tortoise vs small tortoise certainly does make a difference as to the end size result in the burrow...so some folks do not want a burrow that goes under the house, in which case the house should be off limits in the enclosure/yard and some folks do not mind, that was all I was getting at :)
 

Boo628

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I have a CDT too. I thought its a boy but now thinking it's a girl. It is a desert tortoise right? Don't tell me I'm wrong about that too lol 20180419_122219.jpg 20180417_143051.jpg Screenshot_20180205-125532.jpg
 

ascott

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I have a CDT too. I thought its a boy but now thinking it's a girl. It is a desert tortoise right? Don't tell me I'm wrong about that too lol View attachment 237138 View attachment 237139 View attachment 237140

LOL...DT for sure...and that last pic had me laughing out loud....not because it is necessarily funny...but because when ever I see one in that roll over situation I think, how the hell did you make it so many years in this world....beautiful tort by the way ...oh and male :) by the way, wrong only makes us still learning...don't sweat wrong....
 

Big Charlie

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No, you did get it. I mean, some folks get a burrowing tortoise and then don't agree with it on the burrow location....so my question was just that....do you mind if the tort digs under your house....the large tortoise vs small tortoise certainly does make a difference as to the end size result in the burrow...so some folks do not want a burrow that goes under the house, in which case the house should be off limits in the enclosure/yard and some folks do not mind, that was all I was getting at :)
I wouldn't let a sulcata dig under my house. A DT might be okay. Our sulcata started a burrow that wasn't right next to our house. The thing is, he kept that burrow for several years, and he never stopped digging. So eventually the burrow went under our patio and then it turned and went under our bedroom. That was when we realized our house could collapse, so we had to fill in the burrow and block off the entrance so he wouldn't dig there any more.

That was several years ago, and he hasn't dug another burrow since. But if he does, we have places that would probably be fine.
 

Boo628

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Yeah he continued on digging today. He didn't even want to eat. Usually he see me n come to me. Today i put it in front of him, looked and sniffed it then went on digging. And i gave him cabbage. He never say no to cabbage. Is this normal behavior? When in the mood to dig they don't want to eat?
 

Boo628

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Oh and i covered up the hole he dug yesterday and moved him to a diff spot to dig lol
 

Big Charlie

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Yeah he continued on digging today. He didn't even want to eat. Usually he see me n come to me. Today i put it in front of him, looked and sniffed it then went on digging. And i gave him cabbage. He never say no to cabbage. Is this normal behavior? When in the mood to dig they don't want to eat?
I only have one tortoise so I don't really know what is normal behavior. My tortoise doesn't dig incessantly. The only time I saw him dig without stopping was the first summer I put him in the yard. Now I realize he was trying to escape the heat. The last several years he has had a heated night box, and since then, he hasn't dug. During the summer, he sits in a shallow muddy depression under a bush to cool off. I think because his temperature needs are being met, he doesn't feel the need to dig.

Is that his house in your avatar? He looks like he is outgrowing the doorway. He needs something that is insulated. Heat lamps aren't good for larger tortoises because it concentrates the heat in a small spot and the rest of the tortoise stays cold. They can end up with burns on their shell.

My tortoise won't use his house during the summer. He prefers to sleep out in the yard. It doesn't cool down very much at night where we are. I think that most tortoises on the forum use their heated night boxes all year.
 

Tom

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The two tortoises live separately, right?

Can you pick up your tortoise and hold the carapace against your torso with the tortoise's nose pointing toward the sky, and have someone take a pic of the tail and anal scutes?

Is the tortoise always digging with its front feet, or does it also turn around and dig with its back feet?
 

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