Sulcatas in Maryland/Pennsylvania

mikeylazer

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Hi I am new to the forum and I just had a few questions regarding a soon to be purchase of a juvenile/sub adult sulcata that could make or break me buying this specific species.

First off, does anyone on this site own a sulcata in a place with 4 drastically different seasons such as somewhere in the mid-atlantic? It seems that everyone that owns one of these beasts lives in Florida or California.

Second, would I need to establish an indoor enclosure during the winter months were is can get 0 degrees sometimes or colder. If not is it even safe to have a tortoise live in a tortoise house in these temperatures, heating or not?

Third and finally, am I completely crazy for thinking I can own a desert tortoise where I live?

Thanks in advance everyone!
 

russian/sulcata/tortoise

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welcome to the forum! before you get your sulcata make a plan for the future because this animal will out live you. if you are going to keep it indoors during the winter an entire room will have to be dedicated to this animal. baby/juvenile sulcatas temps can't go below 80 if they do go below 80 they can get a respiratory infection. you can have a sulcata where you live but it will be pretty expensive. how big will its indoor enclosure and outdoor enclosure be?
 

ZEROPILOT

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mikeylazer, many people here are doing just THAT. Raising Sulcatas in a colder climate!
Do some searching for tips.
There are tortoise owners here from all corners of the world and the United States and success stories from all of them.
Others have already done the hard part. get the tips for free!
WELCOME
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

Try to think about the animal's comfort and safety once it reaches over 100lbs. Can you still provide warm winters for it? They're not easy (or cheap) to keep in the winter. They are bulldozers and fight to get what they want - banging on the walls, etc. to get outside.

Take a look at Maggie's shed for Bob:

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/bobs-shed.20710/

They have fairly harsh winters where she lives, with a bit of snow. On snow days Bob rams the walls wanting out.
 

mikeylazer

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Yes I would be able to dedicate a room inside to it. That was my initial plan, but I wasn't sure how practical it was. They would also have plenty of yard space to graze and get exercise. I own redcoats now, but that are a completely different tortoises as far as size, so I know I could keep them inside during winters. I have been doing my research as well, I just couldn't seem to find anything about sulcatas in colder climates.

I am aware of the humidity and temp requirements for one, and indoors that won't be an issue. I plan on getting one that is about 4", so I can keep him in a tortoise table for a few before he becomes a giant.

As far as being expensive in winter, what are we talking?
 

Tom

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Here is how I think of it:

If you can keep a large goat or a pony in a space that is always 75-80 degrees with a large warm spot that is near 100 degrees, then you can keep a large sulcata. Do you have the space, time, money, and are you interested in taking care of the damage caused by the urine, poop ramming that a 100-150 pound animal will do to the inside of your house?

There is a reason why most of them are in CA, FL and AZ. Its because they can live outside year round. It is not impossible to keep them in a climate like your. Many people do it and do it well, but it is not cheap, practical or easy in any way. There are many other species that would be easier for you. In fact, I think every other species would be easier for you. Sometimes "easy" is not what people are looking for. How much trouble and expense do you want to invite into your life?
 

mikeylazer

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Okay that does make a lot of sense! If there is one thing about me that everyone knows, it's that I LOVE my animals, and I would do everything and anything for them. The expense and ease of all of this is not of huge concern to me. I love building and creating things especially when it is for my animals, and building a shed seems really fun to me actually. Like i said before, I would get one that is already 4-5" so it would probably be 8-10 years till it would need to be a full-time outdoor pet?

Thanks for the help Tom
 

russian/sulcata/tortoise

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Okay that does make a lot of sense! If there is one thing about me that everyone knows, it's that I LOVE my animals, and I would do everything and anything for them. The expense and ease of all of this is not of huge concern to me. I love building and creating things especially when it is for my animals, and building a shed seems really fun to me actually. Like i said before, I would get one that is already 4-5" so it would probably be 8-10 years till it would need to be a full-time outdoor pet?

Thanks for the help Tom
these guys grow fast. if your tort is given proper care he could be outside fully in 2 years maybe more maybe less.
 

mikeylazer

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When most likely would a 4" sulcata grow above 12 inches? like how many years would that take on average?
 

Tom

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Like i said before, I would get one that is already 4-5" so it would probably be 8-10 years till it would need to be a full-time outdoor pet?

My babies go from a 35 gram hatchling straight out of the egg to an 8" 1000 gram eating machine in about 12 months. If you are starting with a bigger one, you are greatly underestimating your time frame.

I have a 4 and a half year old female that is 20" and 50 pounds, just for reference. I can't imagine keeping her in a shed for months at a time. She and her two similarly sized female roommates share a 7000 sq.ft. outdoor enclosure with a 4x8' heated night box. Here are some ideas:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/enclosure-expansion.38788/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sulcata-burrows.50846/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/my-best-night-box-design-yet.66867/

These threads should give you some idea of what you might be getting into.
 

Turtulas-Len

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I keep sulcatas in the Wash DC area and they live outside all year. I build just about everything they need to help keep construction and operating cost down. I believe understanding the needs of captive sulcatas is very important when deciding to keep them no matter where you live. Another must to have in a cold climate when keeping large tortoises are generators, because what are you going to do with them if the power goes out. They are fascinating animals and a joy to have around, especially when they get large and seek your attention. I got my first hatchling in 1996 he is now over 125 pounds and he has taught me so much about sulcatas in that time. The cost for my 4 heated houses is less than 1000 watts total in the coldest weather we get, our lowest temp that I seen here this year was just under 2 F we didn't reach 0 all winter.
 

bouaboua

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Hello and Welcome! ! !
 

lighthiker2

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Welcome, fellow MidAtlantean. Not only I sit possible to raise healthy, smooth torts on this area: it is a joy to do so. It does, however, require extra due diligence to provide what your sulcata needs to THRIVE, not
Merely SURVIVE.

You will find no better place for specific step by step advice than fr highly successful and experienced bets on this particular forum. The caveat is that most
Pet stores and most other forums (pinky promise) are giving outdated advice that will prove deleterious to the health of your tort.

Check out the habitat, lighting, temp and humidity control, and the nutrition threads.

My girl (recently sexed) has an indoor enclosure, supervised house time, and an outdoor setup. She uses all three at various times and is quite content and as socialized as 2 yr old Sulcata can be.

Once again, welcome. No question is too big or small, so ask freely.

Blessings.
 

argus333

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ya i have a heated insulated shed, and i built a greenhouse that it 20 ft x 12 ft. it works great. even on coldest days if sun is out even a little it gets really warm in there. they also have access to go outside all yr. round even in snow. but seem to like the greenhouse more when its chilly out. i spent maybe $150 on shed on about $200 building greenhouse. i feed them hay and some greens in winter and only mixed grasses in summer. cheep and easy!
 
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