temperature at night

dmccld

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My tort is about a year old. She spends most of the day outside but I bring her in a night ( I am just assuming she is a she). I live in SE Louisiana and we are averaging 94 degrees and 90% humidity. The past couple of weeks she has wanted to sleep away from the heat lamp which I have set at 85 degrees at night. last night I basically turned off the lamp and she stayed inside her hide. Is it possible that 85 is too hot for her?

this is folly

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Markw84

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85° is not too hot for a sulcata at night. I do let mine stay at 80° at night.

You mention a heat lamp. What are you using? If it gives off any light at all, it is not suitable and your tortoise would then be trying to find a dark place to sleep. A Ceramic Heat Emitter or a Radiant Heat Panel on thermostat is what is recommended to maintain a minimum nighttime temperature.
 

iAmCentrochelys sulcata

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As mark said, you should Follow.
You said your tortoises stays outside correct? It would be better not to keep your tortoise outside due to many variables. I can see that your tortoise is Pyramiding which means is being kept in dry conditions. The Humidity In Louisiana isn’t that high it’s definitely not 90% each day.
 

dmccld

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Now I am confused. I thought that being outside was the best thing for them, especially when it is hot. They live in a desert? She has shade and a hide and water. Is this matter of age ?
 

Tom

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My tort is about a year old. She spends most of the day outside but I bring her in a night ( I am just assuming she is a she). I live in SE Louisiana and we are averaging 94 degrees and 90% humidity. The past couple of weeks she has wanted to sleep away from the heat lamp which I have set at 85 degrees at night. last night I basically turned off the lamp and she stayed inside her hide. Is it possible that 85 is too hot for her?

this is folly
In addition to what Mark said, the whole indoor enclosure should be 80, so that where ever the tortoise chooses to sleep, it will be in the correct temperature.

Outdoors, "average" temperatures don't mean much. Here I have nights in the 50s in summer (much too cold for a baby), and days over 100 (much too hot for a baby), all summer long. The average temp would be around 75-80, but that is meaningless as far as tortoise care due to the extremes. You need to look at the daytime highs that the tortoise will be exposed to.

Also, I don't like to leave them outside all day until they reach at least 5-6 inches. I can't tell how big yours is in the pics.
 

dmccld

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85° is not too hot for a sulcata at night. I do let mine stay at 80° at night.

You mention a heat lamp. What are you using? If it gives off any light at all, it is not suitable and your tortoise would then be trying to find a dark place to sleep. A Ceramic Heat Emitter or a Radiant Heat Panel on thermostat is what is recommended to maintain a minimum nighttime temperature.
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dmccld

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That is what I have. I have uvb light that I turn off at night that is in the open section of her enclosurer.
 

dmccld

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In addition to what Mark said, the whole indoor enclosure should be 80, so that where ever the tortoise chooses to sleep, it will be in the correct temperature.

Outdoors, "average" temperatures don't mean much. Here I have nights in the 50s in summer (much too cold for a baby), and days over 100 (much too hot for a baby), all summer long. The average temp would be around 75-80, but that is meaningless as far as tortoise care due to the extremes. You need to look at the daytime highs that the tortoise will be exposed to.

Also, I don't like to leave them outside all day until they reach at least 5-6 inches. I can't tell how big yours is in the pics.
 

Tom

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Now I am confused. I thought that being outside was the best thing for them, especially when it is hot. They live in a desert? She has shade and a hide and water. Is this matter of age ?
All wrong. They are not from a a desert. They occur in grasslands and forest edge areas in the wild. NOT a desert. They hatch in the monsoon season which is similar to NOLA in the summer time. Rain, heat and humidity. Lots of humidity. Definitely NOT desert like in any way.

You will frequently see "outside all day is best for them" in old care sheets and websites. Its wrong. I've done several side-by-side experiments with clutch mates of different species to prove this is wrong. They do BEST in the correct controlled conditions indoors in large closed chambers. Temps and humidity outside don't seem to matter in this regard. Babies do better in every measurable way indoors. Adults do better outdoors due to space requirements.

Give this a read:
 

dmccld

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Thank you. She is about 3 1/2 inches. I don't leave her out all day. I she is out for about 4 hours.
 

Tom

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Thank you. She is about 3 1/2 inches. I don't leave her out all day. I she is out for about 4 hours.
My general rule of thumb is an hour of outside time, per inch of tortoise, so you are pretty close to that.

Read the care sheet I linked and lets see if we can figure out why your tortoise is pyramiding when you have such good local humidity. Either the enclosure is too dry and open, or you might have the wrong bulb. Also, at one year old, your tortoise should be around double that size. Something is off somewhere. Happy to help you figure it out.
 

dmccld

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This is the second tort from the same pet shop. It was a replacement for the first that died about a month after I got it. The first showed definite signs of a dry environment when I got it. It had trouble walking. This one appears much more active and healthy, but I would assume it has been in the same environment. It does not want to eat grass, so putting it outside is one of the ways I have trying to encourage her to graze. I have planted desert grasses. It may be here diet. I give her mulberry leaves, some geranium, sometimes hibiscus flowers, Turks cap leaves, and flowers, some ( not much Kale), squash blossoms, some violet leaves, and st Augustine grass. Her primary choice of food is romaine. She will not east mazuri and will leave all the food untouched if it is mixed in. I have tried grinding into small pieces and even wetting it.. She is growing and has doubled in size recently.
 

Nickolas

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Can you wet the substrate to increase humidity? There is nothing wrong with soaking that often, but it wouldn't be necessary if there is the proper humidity. You can use sphagnum moss to create a humid hide for the tortoise. Do soak once every day even if you have a humid hide. Wrong humidity will cause pyramiding even if you soak 2x every day.

Oh...
This is just something I have learned from experience. If you purchase an animal from someone who is keeping it wrong, you are not only funding them, but also possibly wasting your money. I know, I feel the same way that you're helping out an animal in need, but you have to realize that that one sale could fund them to sell 10 more. I always feel ashamed when I walk into petcos and petsmarts. I have met employees that actually know what they are doing, but aren't allowed to take care of the animals properly because corporate says so. I even met someone who is studying to become an exotic veterinarian. I am not saying this to sound crude, but if that tortoise doesn't make it, do NOT buy another from the same seller. EVEN if they offer to give you another. It's just bad business. I sincerely hope that you are able and willing to take care of that second tortoise correctly. 👍
Also, if you ever consider getting another tort, I recommend Tortoise Supply and Turtles and Tortoises inc. I know that there are many other reliable sellers/breeders, but those are just the ones I have dealt with and have had good experiences with.
 

dmccld

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I didn't buy the tort, it was a gift. The second one was given as a replacement for the first and again I did not purchase it. Had I know how important is where you buy a tortoise from I would have made sure they made a better choice. Hindsight is 2020.
 

Nickolas

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I completely agree. I got my first torts from a shady craigslist seller. Now I obviously would not. 😆
Good luck with your tortoise! They are such interesting pets👍
 

Tom

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You can use sphagnum moss to create a humid hide for the tortoise.
They will eat the moss and it can cause impaction. It should not be used.

Dampening the substrate under the humid hide does the same thing.
 

Melissacoop

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I know how you feel. I had this same conversation on this forum a few weeks ago and was directed by Tom to bring mine inside. I have to tell you and @Tom that my tort has definitely grown more and added some growth lines per week then he was doing before. His behavior is also different. He is alot more active and spends more time under the basking bulb. He even goes to his cool side now which he never did before. I use coco coir mixed with topsoil. I just wet the substrate once or twice a week and it maintains humidity of at least 75 -80 %. Mine is also almost a year old. I've have had him in an enclosed box since I got him in January so he hasn't had any pyramiding.
These breeders and tortoise experts on this site are amazing! Take their advice. They are passionate about educating new owners and have proven results. I am grateful!
 

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