1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Normal growth? Help me :(

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by thegame2388, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. thegame2388

    thegame2388 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Update Christmas 2016:

    Weight: 8984g (19.8lbs)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Couple of behavioral questions:

    1. When it's cold and he doesn't feel like coming out, how long can a sulcata go without eating? It's happened before where he just stays in there for 4-5 days. Should I force him out and feed him, or just wait for the weather to get better?

    2. I feel like when I feed him with a spoon, he recognizes the spoon's color and eats the food. In terms of amount, I can confidently say he eats 15x more when fed then when the food is just lying around in a dish. Not only does he step on his own food and ignore it 80% of the time, but he doesn't eat as much. If I were to feed him everyday, he'd eat easily 15x more. Is this normal?

    3. Again back to #1, how long can these torts go without food, during the winter, that is?
    Tidgy's Dad likes this.
  2. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    31,981
    Likes Received:
    68,487
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Fes, Morocco
    If he is too cold he will lose his appetite and be unable to digest his food properly.
    Can't see that forcing him out into the cold will help if he can't warm up.
    Also, torts can become accustomed to being hand fed (spoon fed) and will then not eat by themselves.
    You must stop it and he will get hungry enough to eat by himself if it is warm enough. Be stronger than him.
    You must get him warm and feed him in a warm place.
    Is his nightbox or shed warm enough ?
    They can go weeks without food, but I'm not sure about this species, exactly.
    Yvonne G likes this.
  3. thegame2388

    thegame2388 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Yes def, his night box is 85-90F 24/7, but his food is placed OUTSIDE his night box.
  4. thegame2388

    thegame2388 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Any thoughts on my new questions?
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    65,153
    Media:
    13
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    21,275
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Clovis, CA
    What ones? How long they can go without eating? It takes a tortoise over a year to starve to death. It's not a pretty death either. And the longer they go without eating the harder it is to get them started eating again.
  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    1. Mine slow down in winter, but they all get hungry and come out to eat. What temp does your box stay? I set mine for about 86 in winter and 70ish in the heat of summer when every day is around 100 degrees.
    2. I've never done that, so I don't know the answer to this question. I've never seen anyone feeding with a spoon, so I'd have to say that its not normal.
    3. I've never tested this. Mine eat regularly.

    This year has been consistently cold and overcast. Very unusual for us. Still, all of mine come out and look for food daily. What is different about your set up from mine?
  7. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    818
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    California
    Mine doesn't come out everyday. Last winter I think he went 6 weeks without coming out or eating. This year, I've been opening his flaps up to encourage him to come out and eat, but if he doesn't want to, he won't. He won't come out on overcast days. He hasn't been out for almost a week now. It is warm and cozy in his box. He is 17 years old.
    Big Ol Tortoise likes this.
  8. Big Ol Tortoise

    Big Ol Tortoise Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    289
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    pflugerville Tx
    That's good that he only eats the amount he wants. Slow growth is better growing him up too fast
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    What is the temperature inside your night box?
  10. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    I don't agree. This old "slow growth is better" thing, is a myth from the past. The goal should be healthy growth. I don't think the speed, whether slow or fast, matters. If a tortoise is suffering from a lack of appetite, then something is wrong and needs to be fixed. All of my experience and all of my experiments over the last 2 and a half decades with this species have shown me that most people keep them too cool. This species is, however, also very adaptable and able to survive in such a wide variety of circumstances that other species couldn't. This ability to survive has led to all sorts of incorrect conclusions about what is "best" for them.
    cmac3 likes this.
  11. thegame2388

    thegame2388 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    It's 85-90F 24/7. But the tort doesn't come out on overcast days (how do they know it's overcast?!) or cold days. In fact, over the past 2 weeks, I'd say he's come out once on his own, and all the other times (maybe 10-11 times) has been through me forcing him out by picking him up.

    I just feel like I'm doing something wrong when he doesn't eat for 2-3 days at a time.
  12. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    818
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    California
    It drops to around 75 on cold nights but gets up to 85 during the day. I have the thermostat set at 85. The sensor is at his shell height. I think he might actually be a little warmer sitting on his heat mat. He has come out on 50 degree days when it is sunny but won't come out on overcast 60 degree days. I don't like leaving his door open if he isn't going to come out because it gets cold in there fast once it is open.

    I can't force him out if he doesn't want to come. He weighs too much.
  13. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    If its dropping to 75 when the thermostat is set to 85, that tells me that either you have too much air flow, or not enough heat.

    If its getting cold with the door open, that tells me you don't have door flaps, or maybe your flaps are letting in too much cold air.

    Just guessing here, but theres got to be a reason why mine are all more active and have more appetite in the same part of the world...
  14. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    Just like we have to put them in their night boxes at first, maybe he needs you to bring him out on sunny days so he can see that he's not going to die because the temperature is less than 90 degrees. At least bring him out in the sun a time or two, and then let him retire back to the warm box if he wants to. Try that and then come back and let us know. Today is supposed to be sunny and a little warmer than it has been. It would be a good day to try out the theory.
  15. cmac3

    cmac3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    2,428
    Likes Received:
    2,612
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Do you not offer food in the box?
  16. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    You bring up a good point…

    I use bremuda grass hay as bedding in my big sulcata boxes and it slowly disappears over time.
  17. thegame2388

    thegame2388 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Funny you say that. He came out today and started eating grass like a monster. Now he's basking somewhere lol.
  18. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    The sun really does have an effect on these guys. All of mine are out and grazing today too. On cold cloudy days I'll see one or two out walking around briefly before going back in the warm box. On sunny days like today, they are all out at the same time and wandering around.

    They hate "winter" days as much as I do!!! :D
    Fredkas likes this.
  19. thegame2388

    thegame2388 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I'm always shocked on how they "know" its cold or hot outside considering their internal enclosure temperature is always constant. Maybe they get close to the door and can sense it.
  20. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    I frequently find my guys sitting at the door with just their head sticking out of the flaps. Seemingly contemplating whether or not to venture out on these gloomy days. My leopards do this too.
Similar Threads: Normal growth
Forum Title Date
Tortoise Health Is this normal shell growth for a leopard? Aug 19, 2016
Tortoise Health Large growth ring. Is this normal? Jun 23, 2016
Tortoise Health Abnormal signs of growth? May 7, 2014
Tortoise Health Normal shell growth? Aug 18, 2012
Tortoise Health Abnormal Growth. Apr 12, 2012

Share This Page