The Best Way To Raise A Sulcata, Leopard, Or Star Tortoise

Michael Cao

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That is a good one. You could do the 22" one if you wanted to.

We can only guess the distance. Every bulb, fixture, and enclosure is different. Somewhere around 18-20 inches is probably a good distance, but you need a UV meter to check it.
What should the uv level be
 

Tom

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What should the uv level be
I like to run a level of or 3-5 UVI for 1-3 hours mid day only.

Other people prefer to run lower level for long periods of time. Either way can work. My way more closely simulates what happens outside with a mid day spike of high UV, and it also makes your expensive bulb last a lot longer.

Only with a meter will you be able to set the height correctly and know what's going on and know when to replace the bulb.
 

Michael Cao

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I like to run a level of or 3-5 UVI for 1-3 hours mid day only.

Other people prefer to run lower level for long periods of time. Either way can work. My way more closely simulates what happens outside with a mid day spike of high UV, and it also makes your expensive bulb last a lot longer.

Only with a meter will you be able to set the height correctly and know what's going on and know when to replace the bulb.
To keep the humidity high in my tortoise enclosure could I spray the enclosure occassionally with tap water? Or do I need to do something to the water? Also can he drink the tap water.
 

Tom

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To keep the humidity high in my tortoise enclosure could I spray the enclosure occassionally with tap water? Or do I need to do something to the water? Also can he drink the tap water.
Spraying the surface of the substrate does very little. You need to dump water Ito the substrate to keep it damp enough. How much water and how often varies with each enclosure and with the seasons too in some cases.

If the tap water is safe for you to drink and shower in, then it is safe for a tortoise too.
 

Sarah2020

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As long as you can drink the water that it is ok for tortoise. Use a dish they can easily walk in and out of and sit in if they wish to drink. For humidity I use tap water in a plant water sprayer or empty the water dish over the substrate and rocks.
 

Michael Cao

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Spraying the surface of the substrate does very little. You need to dump water Ito the substrate to keep it damp enough.

If the tap water is safe for you to drink and shower in, then it is safe for a tortoise too.
Dump water? What do you mean?
 

Tom

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Dump water? What do you mean?
If there is no poop in the water dish, I will often dump it into the substrate. Usually under the humid hide, but also anywhere else that needs it. I then rinse it, wipe it out, and rinse it some more into the substrate. If the substrate is already damp enough, I don't do this. You can also get a large tub or pitcher and do it that way.
 

Michael Cao

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If there is no poop in the water dish, I will often dump it into the substrate. Usually under the humid hide, but also anywhere else that needs it. I then rinse it, wipe it out, and rinse it some more into the substrate. If the substrate is already damp enough, I don't do this. You can also get a large tub or pitcher and do it that way.
Gotcha thanks
 

Michael Cao

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As long as you can drink the water that it is ok for tortoise. Use a dish they can easily walk in and out of and sit in if they wish to drink. For humidity I use tap water in a plant water sprayer or empty the water dish over the substrate and rocks.
I see ty
 

Michael Cao

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If there is no poop in the water dish, I will often dump it into the substrate. Usually under the humid hide, but also anywhere else that needs it. I then rinse it, wipe it out, and rinse it some more into the substrate. If the substrate is already damp enough, I don't do this. You can also get a large tub or pitcher and do it that way.
So my enclosure is 19 inches tall and I need to put substrate in it so the furthest I can get the light from the substrate is 15 inches, I'm housing a sulcata turtle what light would you reccomend. Enclosure length and width is 46 inches by 26
 

Tom

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So my enclosure is 19 inches tall and I need to put substrate in it so the furthest I can get the light from the substrate is 15 inches, I'm housing a sulcata turtle what light would you reccomend. Enclosure length and width is 46 inches by 26
First, I would suggest a bigger enclosure.

The ZooMed HO UV tubes should work for that height, but you really need a meter to check it.
 

HoosierTort

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It was great meeting you at TTPG Tom! Been handing your care sheets out for years. I can testify to how well it works!
 

Carceneaux

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I have one sulcata he is 6 months old. I would like to add another so he can have a friend. Is this a good idea?
 

Tom

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I have one sulcata he is 6 months old. I would like to add another so he can have a friend. Is this a good idea?
No. Terrible idea. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but its true. Torts should never be housed in pairs. Other torts are not seen as friends. They are seen as intruders to be driven away and competitors for their resources. Groups of juveniles can usually work, but never pairs. When they grow up, you will have your hands full with even one. If you have a trio or more, they may all have to be separated depending on the sexes as they near maturity. If you really really like sulcatas and want to maintain 3 or more in separate enclosures, then go for it! If that is more than you'd like to get into it, then better to stay with just one.

They make fine pets as singles, and you and your family can be the tortoise's "friends". They do not get lonely and do not want company from other tortoises.
 

HoosierTort

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No. Terrible idea. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but its true. Torts should never be housed in pairs. Other torts are not seen as friends. They are seen as intruders to be driven away and competitors for their resources. Groups of juveniles can usually work, but never pairs. When they grow up, you will have your hands full with even one. If you have a trio or more, they may all have to be separated depending on the sexes as they near maturity. If you really really like sulcatas and want to maintain 3 or more in separate enclosures, then go for it! If that is more than you'd like to get into it, then better to stay with just one.

They make fine pets as singles, and you and your family can be the tortoise's "friends". They do not get lonely and do not want company from other tortoises.
Exactly! You might be who I first heard it from, but it goes something like “Turtles and tortoises see other turtles or tortoises as either a competitor or possible mate.”
I would say that is especially true for sulcata. I have a pair of young adult emys emys that I’m sadly about to have to split up.
After seeing the results of raising my spengleri and japonica separately, along with how Ralph Till has had his success, I’ve begun splitting everything up until it hits 2-3 months and out of the real fragile state. If I cohab it is in trios, or whole groups in large enclosures with tons of site barriers. That said, I’ll still get a nipped tail on some turtles.
 

HoosierTort

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I have one sulcata he is 6 months old. I would like to add another so he can have a friend. Is this a good idea?
Even two females can be dominant and want to hog the food or best basking spots. Male sulcata will never leave a female alone and two males will battle until the death.
I’d stick with one and maybe look into a different turtle or tortoise species you can also keep? Not together with your sulcata, but something smaller that needs less space.
 

Tom

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Even two females can be dominant and want to hog the food or best basking spots. Male sulcata will never leave a female alone and two males will battle until the death.
I’d stick with one and maybe look into a different turtle or tortoise species you can also keep? Not together with your sulcata, but something smaller that needs less space.
All true. Thanks for adding another voice of experience to this recurring/ongoing discussion.
 

jcase

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@Tom

What age/size would you say you stop using enclosed chambers with platynota?
 

Tom

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@Tom

What age/size would you say you stop using enclosed chambers with platynota?
I say, let any tortoise live in them as long as you can. Mine started getting unruly and too big to be inside around 8 inches and that is when I finally made to the move to outside full time. At that time I had 6 females in one 4x8 closed chamber, enclosure and 8 males in an identical 4x8 foot enclosure. They had been spending lots of time in their outdoor 8x28 foot enclosures, but I always brought them in at night, or left them in in inclement weather. I keep their night boxes humid and set the thermostats to 80 degrees, and I have 65 watt flood lamps for basking on cold winter days. The flood lamps raise ambient temp in their boxes during each day too. I don't use the heat lamps outdoors once temps are in the high 70s or greater. I waited until the females were over 3000 grams before allowing the males access. The males never fought and got along well in their bachelor group. Over the years I have witnessed two instances of one adult female mounting another, but that is the only display of dominance or aggression I have ever seen with the whole species.
 

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