When is a baby no longer a baby?

MJ008

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Hey everyone! We'd like the group's expert opinions regarding our Sulcata, especially heat advice.

Rex is almost 5 years old. We purchased him at a reptile shop in Feb. 2018. He fit in our hand then. Just last week the vet weighed him at 83.3 pounds! He's approx 24" in length, measured along his plastron. He's a big guy for 5, and incredibly strong.

We've been dealing with health issues since August 1, 2022 (possible RI-awaiting a followup from vet, plus moderate levels of pinworms and entamoeba cysts as per the latest stool sampling). Since we know proper heating is crucial for good health, we're thinking it's time to update Rex's current heat setup. We've been doing more research on TFO and have instigated some changes to his habitat, but are getting confused! Due to his size, we're thinking that the normal juvenile heat protocols aren't appropriate for him any longer.

In January 2022 we replaced his sleeping hide/bedroom(which is enclosed) CHE with a wall-mounted Zoo Med SZMRH20 40-Watt Repti Therm Habitat Heater with thermostat. This increased the average temps in his bedroom from 70-75° range to 80-85° range.

Advice on TFO seems to suggest that larger individuals need heat mats to warm their bodies properly from their underside, so we just added a Kane heat mat to his bedroom floor. The wall-mounted mat and the Kane mat are plugged into an Inkbird thermostat. The wall mat heat range is set to 85-90° and the floor mat heat range is set to 81-85°. We lowered the floor mat temp setting because the mat was heating upwards of 125° according to the infrared thermometer gun when the floor mat heat range was set the same as the wall mat, and that just seemed too hot. A separate thermostat/moisture gauge shows the overall ambient temp range of 80-83 degrees.

This new setup has been in action for only 2 days, so it may be too soon to determine anything. Rex slept soundly throughout the first two nights with the new floor mat, with his body half-on and half-off the floor mat. Each of the following two mornings he left the heated bedroom and walked across his 8'×10' enclosure (approx 100sf total enclosed space) to sit for a few hours in his unheated hide which is also enclosed like his bedroom. This is different behavior. Before adding the Kane floor mat, Rex would typically leave his bedroom and move immediately to his basking lights - aka Sunroom - which has UV lights and a UVB strip bulb to heat himself up. Heat from the lights ranges from 95° in the cooler area, to the basking area of 104°. Another change we are about to make is replacing the UV heat lights with regular incandescent flood lights and 2 more UVB strips (for a total of 3) as recommended by Tom the Dog Trainer.

Our overall house temps range between 71-75° year-round.

Rex's different behavior over these past two days has given us pause. Is the floor mat necessary? Is he getting too hot with it? Yesterday he avoided the sunroom completely. Looks like today, day #2 with the Kane mat, may be the same.

Thoughts, questions, advice are all appreciated!

20220913_141709.jpg 20220824_182458.jpg
 

Grace-Sophia

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My tortoises are always and will always be my babies :<3:
But if you want to get technical, a hatching is up to 1 year, 1-2 years your tortoise is considered a yearling. A tortoise that is between 3-5 years old like yours is a considered a Juvenile and a 10 year old tortoise would probably be considered an adult. But again, I have a 19 year old RT and he's still my little baby 🥰


But I do not have a Sulcata, so I will make sure to tag some Sulcata-specific experts ;)
@Tom
@Yvonne G
@wellington
@zovick
@maggie3fan
 

zovick

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Messages
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My tortoises are always and will always be my babies :<3:
But if you want to get technical, a hatching is up to 1 year, 1-2 years your tortoise is considered a yearling. A tortoise that is between 3-5 years old like yours is a considered a Juvenile and a 10 year old tortoise would probably be considered an adult. But again, I have a 19 year old RT and he's still my little baby 🥰


But I do not have a Sulcata, so I will make sure to tag some Sulcata-specific experts ;)
@Tom
@Yvonne G
@wellington
@zovick
@maggie3fan
The tortoise in question could probably be called either a large juvenile or a sub-adult. At the size that was mentioned by the OP, I would tend toward using the term subadult to describe it.
 

zovick

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Hey everyone! We'd like the group's expert opinions regarding our Sulcata, especially heat advice.

Rex is almost 5 years old. We purchased him at a reptile shop in Feb. 2018. He fit in our hand then. Just last week the vet weighed him at 83.3 pounds! He's approx 24" in length, measured along his plastron. He's a big guy for 5, and incredibly strong.

We've been dealing with health issues since August 1, 2022 (possible RI-awaiting a followup from vet, plus moderate levels of pinworms and entamoeba cysts as per the latest stool sampling). Since we know proper heating is crucial for good health, we're thinking it's time to update Rex's current heat setup. We've been doing more research on TFO and have instigated some changes to his habitat, but are getting confused! Due to his size, we're thinking that the normal juvenile heat protocols aren't appropriate for him any longer.

In January 2022 we replaced his sleeping hide/bedroom(which is enclosed) CHE with a wall-mounted Zoo Med SZMRH20 40-Watt Repti Therm Habitat Heater with thermostat. This increased the average temps in his bedroom from 70-75° range to 80-85° range.

Advice on TFO seems to suggest that larger individuals need heat mats to warm their bodies properly from their underside, so we just added a Kane heat mat to his bedroom floor. The wall-mounted mat and the Kane mat are plugged into an Inkbird thermostat. The wall mat heat range is set to 85-90° and the floor mat heat range is set to 81-85°. We lowered the floor mat temp setting because the mat was heating upwards of 125° according to the infrared thermometer gun when the floor mat heat range was set the same as the wall mat, and that just seemed too hot. A separate thermostat/moisture gauge shows the overall ambient temp range of 80-83 degrees.

This new setup has been in action for only 2 days, so it may be too soon to determine anything. Rex slept soundly throughout the first two nights with the new floor mat, with his body half-on and half-off the floor mat. Each of the following two mornings he left the heated bedroom and walked across his 8'×10' enclosure (approx 100sf total enclosed space) to sit for a few hours in his unheated hide which is also enclosed like his bedroom. This is different behavior. Before adding the Kane floor mat, Rex would typically leave his bedroom and move immediately to his basking lights - aka Sunroom - which has UV lights and a UVB strip bulb to heat himself up. Heat from the lights ranges from 95° in the cooler area, to the basking area of 104°. Another change we are about to make is replacing the UV heat lights with regular incandescent flood lights and 2 more UVB strips (for a total of 3) as recommended by Tom the Dog Trainer.

Our overall house temps range between 71-75° year-round.

Rex's different behavior over these past two days has given us pause. Is the floor mat necessary? Is he getting too hot with it? Yesterday he avoided the sunroom completely. Looks like today, day #2 with the Kane mat, may be the same.

Thoughts, questions, advice are all appreciated!

View attachment 350200 View attachment 350201
My impression is that the tortoise is not immediately seeking to use the basking lights because it is already warm enough from being on the heat mat all night.

Is the heat mat plugged into a thermostat or rheostat? Do you know how hot the tortoise itself actually is in the AM? It may actually be feeling too hot from spending the night on the mat. If you have a good temp gun, I would get a reading. If it (the tortoise) is warmer than about 70-74F when it emerges in the AM, I would lower the temp. As long as the tortoise can warm itself each morning, there is not really a need to keep it warmer than 70F at night.

It is not really natural for the animal not to be able to cool down in the evening/night, so that may be throwing it off a bit.
 

OliveW

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I'm sure our resident experts will be along shortly.

In the meantime, I just want to say you have a beautiful boy there!
 

MJ008

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My impression is that the tortoise is not immediately seeking to use the basking lights because it is already warm enough from being on the heat mat all night.

Is the heat mat plugged into a thermostat or rheostat? Do you know how hot the tortoise itself actually is in the AM? It may actually be feeling too hot from spending the night on the mat. If you have a good temp gun, I would get a reading. If it (the tortoise) is warmer than about 70-74F when it emerges in the AM, I would lower the temp. As long as the tortoise can warm itself each morning, there is not really a need to keep it warmer than 70F at night.

It is not really natural for the animal not to be able to cool down in the evening/night, so that may be throwing it off a bit.
Thank you, Zovick! That makes complete sense, and was the theory upon which we were basing our previous heat set up. My concerns arose after reading several times in various TFO posts that the temps needed to be 80+. I was worried that since we had nothing to heat Rex's underside, perhaps he wasn't getting warm enough, which was contributing to his recent lethargy/illness. We are getting a prescription filled today to combat the ringworms/entamoeba cysts and perhaps that's the key to getting our subadult active again and feeling his oats!
 

MJ008

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I'm sure our resident experts will be along shortly.

In the meantime, I just want to say you have a beautiful boy there!
You made Rex blush, Olive! Subadult, juvenile, whatever, he is still our baby!
 

zolasmum

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He is lovely, and you can call him your little baby still when he is too big to lift !
Zola is 22, and I still call him my little tiny baby in private - though I might not do so in public !
 

SinLA

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My tortoises are always and will always be my babies :<3:
But if you want to get technical, a hatching is up to 1 year, 1-2 years your tortoise is considered a yearling. A tortoise that is between 3-5 years old like yours is a considered a Juvenile and a 10 year old tortoise would probably be considered an adult. But again, I have a 19 year old RT and he's still my little baby 🥰


But I do not have a Sulcata, so I will make sure to tag some Sulcata-specific experts ;)
@Tom
@Yvonne G
@wellington
@zovick
@maggie3fan

Out of curiosity, when do they physically stop growing?
 

MJ008

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Messages
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Thank you, Zovick! That makes complete sense, and was the theory upon which we were basing our previous heat set up. My concerns arose after reading several times in various TFO posts that the temps needed to be 80+. I was worried that since we had nothing to heat Rex's underside, perhaps he wasn't getting warm enough, which was contributing to his recent lethargy/illness. We are getting a prescription filled today to combat the ringworms/entamoeba cysts and perhaps that's the key to getting our subadult active again and feeling his oats!

An addendum to my earlier reply, Zovick:

Rex has now been sitting in his cooler hide/den for the past 6 hours, since he walked out of his heated bedroom this morning. I didn't take his temp then, but I did just now: top of shell is 83 degrees, bottom is 80. The hide is approx 72 degrees.

Something else that lead me to believe he wasn't getting enough heat is that on some days in the past 6 weeks (since we first noticed his lethargy) he would sit for 6-8 hours under his heat lamps. We are planning to turn off the Kane heat mat this evening and I will take Rex's temperature tomorrow morning. Based on your comments, it seems he was getting enough heat already. Also, he will get his dose of fenbendacole (for pinworms/parasites) this evening and I'm hoping we see some change in his activity level over the next few days.

I appreciate all the comments and advice!
 

Sarah2020

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Fabulous looking tortoise. It looks like what your doing is working. You can check the care sheet for any extra advise.

 

MJ008

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Fabulous looking tortoise. It looks like what your doing is working. You can check the care sheet for any extra advise.

Thanks Sarah!
 

Markw84

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An addendum to my earlier reply, Zovick:

Rex has now been sitting in his cooler hide/den for the past 6 hours, since he walked out of his heated bedroom this morning. I didn't take his temp then, but I did just now: top of shell is 83 degrees, bottom is 80. The hide is approx 72 degrees.

Something else that lead me to believe he wasn't getting enough heat is that on some days in the past 6 weeks (since we first noticed his lethargy) he would sit for 6-8 hours under his heat lamps. We are planning to turn off the Kane heat mat this evening and I will take Rex's temperature tomorrow morning. Based on your comments, it seems he was getting enough heat already. Also, he will get his dose of fenbendacole (for pinworms/parasites) this evening and I'm hoping we see some change in his activity level over the next few days.

I appreciate all the comments and advice!
I will disagree with @zovick on this one. Sulcatas should be at 80°+ at all times. In their native environment they never would cool down lower than that. They live in deep burrows. In the coldest time of the year there, the daytime highs average 95° and the overnight lows average 72.5°. Just 3 feet deep, the temperature will vary about 5° day vs night and will fluctuate around the daily average. That means at just 3 feet deep (burrows are often 15+ feet deep) the temperature in the COLDEST time of year will vary between 82° and 88°. At 15 feet deep it will vary between 85° and 87°.

Sulcatas do not experience cool-downs. The biggest mistake most sulcata keepers make is allowing them to cool too much at night.
 

Tom

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I have tremendous respect for @zovick and all that he has done for tortoises over the last 6 or 7 decades, but like @Markw84 I disagree on this point and for the same reasons that Mark enumerated. I've kept them both ways extensively since the early 90s, and I can conclusively say that by any measure, they do better at warmer temps. I have seen them "survive" lower temps, but they thrive at the correct temps for the species. My own adults that I had at the time of this revelation so many years ago, went from merely surviving to thriving within days of the switch. Better appetite, better activity, better growth, better fertility once they started laying... Improvements in every measurable way. This is not a temperate species like a greek or a Russian than need a night time cool down into the 60s or 70s. The cool down for sulcatas is from 100 down to 80-85 at night. It must be remembered that any discussion of above ground temperatures in the Sahel where sulcatas come from is moot. They don't live 2 meters above ground out in the open where the weather station record that data. They live 95% of their lives underground, where as Mark pointed out, the temperature is always low to mid 80s, day and night, all year long.

I agree that the tortoise is not immediately seeking basking lamps because it is already warm enough, but this is not a bad thing. This is a GOOD thing.

I will also add that it isn't safe or practical to use heat lamps over larger tortoises. It does not sufficiently warm their core and sitting under heat lamps for hours slow burns their carapace.

Additionally, 100 square feet is a fraction of what an 83 pound tortoise needs. I use 1000 square feet for 10-20 pound juveniles. Keeping them in tiny enclosures for months at a time is a recipe for any number of problems ranging from constipation, to bladder stones. Tortoises need space. They need huge enclosures compared to other reptiles. And loose on the floor in the house, outside of a room that has been converted for them, is also a way that many get sick or killed.
 

Gijoux

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Hey everyone! We'd like the group's expert opinions regarding our Sulcata, especially heat advice.

Rex is almost 5 years old. We purchased him at a reptile shop in Feb. 2018. He fit in our hand then. Just last week the vet weighed him at 83.3 pounds! He's approx 24" in length, measured along his plastron. He's a big guy for 5, and incredibly strong.

We've been dealing with health issues since August 1, 2022 (possible RI-awaiting a followup from vet, plus moderate levels of pinworms and entamoeba cysts as per the latest stool sampling). Since we know proper heating is crucial for good health, we're thinking it's time to update Rex's current heat setup. We've been doing more research on TFO and have instigated some changes to his habitat, but are getting confused! Due to his size, we're thinking that the normal juvenile heat protocols aren't appropriate for him any longer.

In January 2022 we replaced his sleeping hide/bedroom(which is enclosed) CHE with a wall-mounted Zoo Med SZMRH20 40-Watt Repti Therm Habitat Heater with thermostat. This increased the average temps in his bedroom from 70-75° range to 80-85° range.

Advice on TFO seems to suggest that larger individuals need heat mats to warm their bodies properly from their underside, so we just added a Kane heat mat to his bedroom floor. The wall-mounted mat and the Kane mat are plugged into an Inkbird thermostat. The wall mat heat range is set to 85-90° and the floor mat heat range is set to 81-85°. We lowered the floor mat temp setting because the mat was heating upwards of 125° according to the infrared thermometer gun when the floor mat heat range was set the same as the wall mat, and that just seemed too hot. A separate thermostat/moisture gauge shows the overall ambient temp range of 80-83 degrees.

This new setup has been in action for only 2 days, so it may be too soon to determine anything. Rex slept soundly throughout the first two nights with the new floor mat, with his body half-on and half-off the floor mat. Each of the following two mornings he left the heated bedroom and walked across his 8'×10' enclosure (approx 100sf total enclosed space) to sit for a few hours in his unheated hide which is also enclosed like his bedroom. This is different behavior. Before adding the Kane floor mat, Rex would typically leave his bedroom and move immediately to his basking lights - aka Sunroom - which has UV lights and a UVB strip bulb to heat himself up. Heat from the lights ranges from 95° in the cooler area, to the basking area of 104°. Another change we are about to make is replacing the UV heat lights with regular incandescent flood lights and 2 more UVB strips (for a total of 3) as recommended by Tom the Dog Trainer.

Our overall house temps range between 71-75° year-round.

Rex's different behavior over these past two days has given us pause. Is the floor mat necessary? Is he getting too hot with it? Yesterday he avoided the sunroom completely. Looks like today, day #2 with the Kane mat, may be the same.

Thoughts, questions, advice are all appreciated!

View attachment 350200 View attachment 350201
Such a gorgeous tortoise!!!
 

Gijoux

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Hey everyone! We'd like the group's expert opinions regarding our Sulcata, especially heat advice.

Rex is almost 5 years old. We purchased him at a reptile shop in Feb. 2018. He fit in our hand then. Just last week the vet weighed him at 83.3 pounds! He's approx 24" in length, measured along his plastron. He's a big guy for 5, and incredibly strong.

We've been dealing with health issues since August 1, 2022 (possible RI-awaiting a followup from vet, plus moderate levels of pinworms and entamoeba cysts as per the latest stool sampling). Since we know proper heating is crucial for good health, we're thinking it's time to update Rex's current heat setup. We've been doing more research on TFO and have instigated some changes to his habitat, but are getting confused! Due to his size, we're thinking that the normal juvenile heat protocols aren't appropriate for him any longer.

In January 2022 we replaced his sleeping hide/bedroom(which is enclosed) CHE with a wall-mounted Zoo Med SZMRH20 40-Watt Repti Therm Habitat Heater with thermostat. This increased the average temps in his bedroom from 70-75° range to 80-85° range.

Advice on TFO seems to suggest that larger individuals need heat mats to warm their bodies properly from their underside, so we just added a Kane heat mat to his bedroom floor. The wall-mounted mat and the Kane mat are plugged into an Inkbird thermostat. The wall mat heat range is set to 85-90° and the floor mat heat range is set to 81-85°. We lowered the floor mat temp setting because the mat was heating upwards of 125° according to the infrared thermometer gun when the floor mat heat range was set the same as the wall mat, and that just seemed too hot. A separate thermostat/moisture gauge shows the overall ambient temp range of 80-83 degrees.

This new setup has been in action for only 2 days, so it may be too soon to determine anything. Rex slept soundly throughout the first two nights with the new floor mat, with his body half-on and half-off the floor mat. Each of the following two mornings he left the heated bedroom and walked across his 8'×10' enclosure (approx 100sf total enclosed space) to sit for a few hours in his unheated hide which is also enclosed like his bedroom. This is different behavior. Before adding the Kane floor mat, Rex would typically leave his bedroom and move immediately to his basking lights - aka Sunroom - which has UV lights and a UVB strip bulb to heat himself up. Heat from the lights ranges from 95° in the cooler area, to the basking area of 104°. Another change we are about to make is replacing the UV heat lights with regular incandescent flood lights and 2 more UVB strips (for a total of 3) as recommended by Tom the Dog Trainer.

Our overall house temps range between 71-75° year-round.

Rex's different behavior over these past two days has given us pause. Is the floor mat necessary? Is he getting too hot with it? Yesterday he avoided the sunroom completely. Looks like today, day #2 with the Kane mat, may be the same.

Thoughts, questions, advice are all appreciated!

View attachment 350200 View attachment 350201
I have to say that looking at the growth and shape of your tortoise, you are doing something right. Tortoise growth is very dependent upon proper higher end heat ranges (and humidity during the first year or two) and your tortoise appears to have been getting what he needs. I have one Leopard Tortoise that always begins to slow down at this time of the year (I live in So. Calif.) in preparation for the "winter slow down" so perhaps your fellow will just start to slow down a bit at this time of the year.
When I researched Kane mats I learned that the Kane mat will heat up to 37℉ above the ambient temperature if not installed with temperature controls (rheostat/thermostat) . I do not us the rheostat, but set my thermostat to "Ramp up" the heat slowly, but I still find they get hotter than the set temp. I use a 80w Radiant Heat Panel above (wattage depends upon the distance from the RHP and the top of your tortoise) and add the Kane mat around the end of November here in So. Calif. and remove it in early Spring. Timing will be different where you live. You want the ambient temperature to be around 80℉ "minimum", even for adults. Are there symptoms of an actual RI with bubbles at the nose? Are you using any type of substrate that could have molded? Moldy Hay for instance? Best of luck. That is such a beautiful tortoise and it is obvious that you care.
 

MJ008

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Thanks for the input, @Markw84, @Tom, and @Gijoux and everyone else! We highly regard your expertise and advice.

As all of us on TFO, we do our best to give Rex his best life possible. We have always known that he would need to move outside fulltime, but we weren't planning to have to make that transition so soon. Obviously he is a much larger 5yo baby than most other 5yo I see mentioned on the Forum. Who knew Rex would grow so big so quickly! For a few different reasons, he will spend one more winter season inside.

A little more insight into our husbandry...We had a 1,500sf fenced paddock built for Rex in 2020 and he spends mid-May to early-September in the paddock during the day. We also take him on 2+ mile walks around our property daily during this period. He comes inside for the night, into his indoor pen. @Gijoux, we feel the same, that Rex knows when fall is coming, which means it's time to move it indoors for the winter, and we think he gets depressed because of it, and perhaps that is part of the reason for the lethargy.

He is now inside now for the winter months. The dining room is his room and we built a 100sf pen for him. We open the gate to his pen in the morning and he is free range on the first floor, which gives him another 1,500sf to roam. We have heard everyone's comments loudly and clearly about that setup being a potential disaster waiting to happen, and we have experienced our share of mishaps. But we are around him all the time so the terrain is safe as we can make it, and we feel he has adapted to this setup. Again, this is our only option at this point and we're making it work for us. Plans are in the works to expand the barn in the spring and move him outdoors fulltime.

Rex's shell average temperatures measure in a range of 84-89 degrees in the morning and throughout the day. We are adding an oil-filled heater to his room to up the ambient in that room from the current 75 degrees to 80+. We were experiencing the same heating concerns with the Kane heat mat as you experienced, @Gijoux, but have decided to reintroduce it in Rex's bedroom, again setting the thermostat to slightly lower set points than the wall-mounted heating mat. Our concern is that he will continue to stay warmer and avoid the basking lights - though he did sit under them for a couple hours yesterday - and lose vital UV exposure. However, as we've discovered and observed over the years, Rex's routine will adapt and he will find the best way for him, with our guidance of course.

We are in great hands at Radnor Veterinary Hospital radnorvet.com. We've decided on a systematic approach with Rex's issues. We are treating the worm issue first with fenbendacole, and will then further investigate the possible RI. Apparently the culture results from the nasal swab show a heavy growth of pseudomonus, which could mean RI, he says. Xray shows clear lungs, so Dr. says if it is RI, it's likely upper RI, not lower. In the meantime, we have removed the hay we were using in Rex's pen. We never wet down the hay per se, but we've decided no more hay. Incidentally, we had added hay to his outdoor enclosure in the late spring, and though it was changed out every couple months, it would still get wet, and often remained wet. While we were thinking that that was adding necessary moisture to his environment, perhaps it was also adding not-so-good bacteria or whatever. Hay gone.

We learned on TFO that not all RI cases exhibit discharge from the nostrils and/or eyes. Rex has not exhibited any discharge but he has exhibited these symptoms:
- seemingly more yawning than normal
- heavier breathing
- seems to always be clearing his throat
- rubbing his face on his front legs regularly
- eyes seem to be a little swollen
- lethargic
- doesn't seem to want to leave his pen/indoor enclosure

Over the past few days, he is still lethargic but his activity level is picking up. The other symptoms seem to be subsiding. We feel confident that our strong boy is going to be alright! Again, thanks all!
 

AmandaF

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Jul 22, 2022
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93
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Congresbury
Hey everyone! We'd like the group's expert opinions regarding our Sulcata, especially heat advice.

Rex is almost 5 years old. We purchased him at a reptile shop in Feb. 2018. He fit in our hand then. Just last week the vet weighed him at 83.3 pounds! He's approx 24" in length, measured along his plastron. He's a big guy for 5, and incredibly strong.

We've been dealing with health issues since August 1, 2022 (possible RI-awaiting a followup from vet, plus moderate levels of pinworms and entamoeba cysts as per the latest stool sampling). Since we know proper heating is crucial for good health, we're thinking it's time to update Rex's current heat setup. We've been doing more research on TFO and have instigated some changes to his habitat, but are getting confused! Due to his size, we're thinking that the normal juvenile heat protocols aren't appropriate for him any longer.

In January 2022 we replaced his sleeping hide/bedroom(which is enclosed) CHE with a wall-mounted Zoo Med SZMRH20 40-Watt Repti Therm Habitat Heater with thermostat. This increased the average temps in his bedroom from 70-75° range to 80-85° range.

Advice on TFO seems to suggest that larger individuals need heat mats to warm their bodies properly from their underside, so we just added a Kane heat mat to his bedroom floor. The wall-mounted mat and the Kane mat are plugged into an Inkbird thermostat. The wall mat heat range is set to 85-90° and the floor mat heat range is set to 81-85°. We lowered the floor mat temp setting because the mat was heating upwards of 125° according to the infrared thermometer gun when the floor mat heat range was set the same as the wall mat, and that just seemed too hot. A separate thermostat/moisture gauge shows the overall ambient temp range of 80-83 degrees.

This new setup has been in action for only 2 days, so it may be too soon to determine anything. Rex slept soundly throughout the first two nights with the new floor mat, with his body half-on and half-off the floor mat. Each of the following two mornings he left the heated bedroom and walked across his 8'×10' enclosure (approx 100sf total enclosed space) to sit for a few hours in his unheated hide which is also enclosed like his bedroom. This is different behavior. Before adding the Kane floor mat, Rex would typically leave his bedroom and move immediately to his basking lights - aka Sunroom - which has UV lights and a UVB strip bulb to heat himself up. Heat from the lights ranges from 95° in the cooler area, to the basking area of 104°. Another change we are about to make is replacing the UV heat lights with regular incandescent flood lights and 2 more UVB strips (for a total of 3) as recommended by Tom the Dog Trainer.

Our overall house temps range between 71-75° year-round.

Rex's different behavior over these past two days has given us pause. Is the floor mat necessary? Is he getting too hot with it? Yesterday he avoided the sunroom completely. Looks like today, day #2 with the Kane mat, may be the same.

Thoughts, questions, advice are all appreciated!

View attachment 350200 View attachment 350201
He is gorgeous
 

wellington

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My impression is that the tortoise is not immediately seeking to use the basking lights because it is already warm enough from being on the heat mat all night.

Is the heat mat plugged into a thermostat or rheostat? Do you know how hot the tortoise itself actually is in the AM? It may actually be feeling too hot from spending the night on the mat. If you have a good temp gun, I would get a reading. If it (the tortoise) is warmer than about 70-74F when it emerges in the AM, I would lower the temp. As long as the tortoise can warm itself each morning, there is not really a need to keep it warmer than 70F at night.

It is not really natural for the animal not to be able to cool down in the evening/night, so that may be throwing it off a bit.
Actually sulcata should not be kept in temps below 80. Same with leopards.
 

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