The Desert to the Tropics hatchling care

JackieBlue

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So, I was part of this forum about 10 years ago while I was living in Arizona, the advice I received here was AMAZING. I was able to successfully raise two sulcata tortoises from hatchlings until they were about 4 years old. One escaped when the landscapers didn't close our gate. Not too long after that my husbands job moved us to Florida completely unexpectedly; so our friend and neighbor adopted our other tortoise.

So here we are 5 years later and my husband has decided he wants to get more sully's. So I've been brushing up on all of the new and updated information contained on the forum. But, I am starting to realize there is a significant difference between raising a healthy tort in the desert versus the tropics. It literally just occurred to me (as I was eyeballing humidifiers) that I have all of this naturally occurring humidity right outside of my door! I'm picking up our hatchlings tomorrow and was planning on keeping them in the house until they were big enough to roam the backyard. However, I have an enclosed lenai, is there a reason why I can't just keep them out there for the Summer (and away from the AC)? Our temps are already in the 90's and FEEL like 100 degrees because of the humidity. I have their grasses growing out there already (in a container) and I'm starting to roam my back yard identifying the weeds back there to make sure there isn't anything back there that's dangerous to them (there is a LOT of weed varieties in FL!!). Is this a terrible idea or is this a good idea?
 

Maro2Bear

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@Tom can surely best provide you with a thorough response.

But....your night time temps are still too cold. Maybe you are planning on building a fully enclosed enclosure (with heating) but keep that out in your protected lenai.

Temps....
4C086005-4D27-4090-9DED-097777C2840A.jpeg
 

JackieBlue

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@Tom can surely best provide you with a thorough response.

But....your night time temps are still too cold. Maybe you are planning on building a fully enclosed enclosure (with heating) but keep that out in your protected lenai.

Temps....
View attachment 324521
Yes, I know, I’ve already got the ceramic heat lamp because I was planning on keeping them inside, but the humidity with the AC only gets to 50%. Whereas if I kept them outside for the Summer and into the Fall, they’d be moist without my intervention (outside of their daily soaks) and I could still use the heat lamp on the lenai.
 

wellington

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@Tom can surely best provide you with a thorough response.

But....your night time temps are still too cold. Maybe you are planning on building a fully enclosed enclosure (with heating) but keep that out in your protected lenai.

Temps....
View attachment 324521
I deleted my response. I had the wrong species. Was thinking Russian.
 

wellington

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I was going to have an enclosure for them. I’d have to bring them in sometime in late fal.
Them? You do know they can not be housed in pairs?
Two males can not be housed together unless on acreage then still probably not. Either one Male with two or more females or 3 or more females or one male alone.
 

JackieBlue

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Them? You do know they can not be housed in pairs?
Two males can not be housed together unless on acreage then still probably not. Either one Male with two or more females or 3 or more females or one male alone.
I know males can’t be enclosed together; and as hatchlings all females should be fine until they are older. I’m getting all females.
 

wellington

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I know males can’t be enclosed together; and as hatchlings all females should be fine until they are older. I’m getting all females.
Hatchlings can't be sexed except surgically and temp sexed is no where near 100%.
All females might he fine, no guarantees on that either. Both sexes are solitary animals. Be prepared to separate all three incase. Also will need to watch for what's not obvious bullying. One growing much slower, following each other, not letting one eat, sleeping together etc.
 

Tom

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So, I was part of this forum about 10 years ago while I was living in Arizona, the advice I received here was AMAZING. I was able to successfully raise two sulcata tortoises from hatchlings until they were about 4 years old. One escaped when the landscapers didn't close our gate. Not too long after that my husbands job moved us to Florida completely unexpectedly; so our friend and neighbor adopted our other tortoise.

So here we are 5 years later and my husband has decided he wants to get more sully's. So I've been brushing up on all of the new and updated information contained on the forum. But, I am starting to realize there is a significant difference between raising a healthy tort in the desert versus the tropics. It literally just occurred to me (as I was eyeballing humidifiers) that I have all of this naturally occurring humidity right outside of my door! I'm picking up our hatchlings tomorrow and was planning on keeping them in the house until they were big enough to roam the backyard. However, I have an enclosed lenai, is there a reason why I can't just keep them out there for the Summer (and away from the AC)? Our temps are already in the 90's and FEEL like 100 degrees because of the humidity. I have their grasses growing out there already (in a container) and I'm starting to roam my back yard identifying the weeds back there to make sure there isn't anything back there that's dangerous to them (there is a LOT of weed varieties in FL!!). Is this a terrible idea or is this a good idea?
Hi Jackie. I remember you from way back when! Welcome back.

I've done several side-by-side experiments with groups of sulcata clutch mates, and also observed many others around the country. They unequivocally do better inside most of the time in a large closed chamber. Your indoor AC will be irrelevant because they are enclosed. Outside all day causes all sort of problems, even in your climate. While you've been gone, I've had this conversation with any people, and they are all amazed at the difference when they move them inside. An hour or two of sunning time is great for babies, but then a soak, and back in the indoor chamber. My general rule of thumb is an hour of outside time per inch of tortoise. Once they are around 5-6 inches, they can stay outside all day, weather permitting. I don't move them outside full time until around 8-10 inches when they just get too big and unruly to be inside.

Babies can't be sexed reliably. I know people offer "temp sexed" babies for sale, but this has proven unreliable outside of lag grade conditions. A trio or more should be fine together, but all hell might break loose if one or more are male later. You may end up having to house them all separately, or place some.

Almost no breeders start these babies correctly, and most of the care advice given is still all wrong. Outside all day, dry substrate, soaked once a week if at all, and romaine every day is the norm. Don't buy one of those, or more than one. Buy from a breeder that starts them indoors in humidity, soaks daily, and introduces a huge variety of the right foods. I have some regulars and some Sudans right now. If you don't want to buy from me, then look to @NorCal tortoise guy, Austin at @Arizona Sulcata, or tortoisesupply.com for well started healthy babies.

Here is the correct care info:

Here is what happens from the typical dry start breeders:

Here is a thread I did on how I start my babies:
 

JackieBlue

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Hatchlings can't be sexed except surgically and temp sexed is no where near 100%.
All females might he fine, no guarantees on that either. Both sexes are solitary animals. Be prepared to separate all three incase. Also will need to watch for what's not obvious bullying. One growing much slower, following each other, not letting one eat, sleeping together etc.
Yep, I’m aware of all of this and am prepared to keep them separate when the time comes.
I’m looking for feedback on keeping them in the lenai for the summer - are there any potential issues with keeping hatchlings in an enclosed outdoor space?
 

wellington

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Yep, I’m aware of all of this and am prepared to keep them separate when the time comes.
I’m looking for feedback on keeping them in the lenai for the summer - are there any potential issues with keeping hatchlings in an enclosed outdoor space?
The only thing I could even think of is if it gets too hot. You dont want them in 90-100+ temps all day long. If temps can't be controlled that's a problem. In a closed chamber outside in such hot temps, will cook them. Even an open one will get to hot and doesn't work even in Floridas humidity.
 
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JackieBlue

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The only thing I could even think of is if it gets too hot. You dont want them in 90-100 temps all day long. If temps can't be controlled that's a problem.
Ok. That is something to be considered. Because I wouldn’t have ANY control of it does get too hot.
 
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