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Tortoise found in backyard!

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by theezy, Apr 22, 2011.

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  1. theezy

    theezy New Member

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    So I go in my backyard today. I moved one of my garbage bins and what did I find underneath it???

    This guy:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I made him a little habitat by taking a pet carrier (for a dog or cat) apart and zip-tying the two pieces together. I had a heat lamp from a lizard I had years ago...

    Here's his house:
    [​IMG]


    ...Anyway, I knocked on my immediate neighbors doors and asked them if they lost a turtle/tortoise and they said no.

    I know that tortoise's eat veggies so I made him/her a plate of lettuce and broccoli.

    I have a few questions to anyone who knows turtles/tortoises:
    - What type of tortoise is it?
    - How do I figure out how old it is? (it seems pretty big)
    - How do I figure out if it is male or female?
    - Is the soil I put in there a good bedding or should I use something else?
    - Should I add or take out anything from it's habitat?
    - What should I feed it?
  2. dmmj

    dmmj Thhe member formerly known as captain awesome Staff Member

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    Sulcata, to young to determine sex, looks young since it is still small maybe 4 to 6 years old. No veggies, weeds leaves and flowers should be the majority of it's diet. So do you have an open backyard so it could get in?

    And in case no one says it, Welcome to the forum.
  3. dmarcus

    dmarcus Active Member

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    Hello and welcome to the forum. You have a young Sulcata and the lettuce and broccoli is not good for him/her. You should be feeding the tort darker greens, if you click on forums then go to the tortoise diet section, you will find a very good list of things to feed. The tortoise also has some pyramiding which can be helped with a proper diet and nutrition.
  4. Fernando

    Fernando New Member

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    Hi! Welcome to TFO!

    Definitely a Sulcata. Is that just regular dirt he's on? Like dmmj said, Don't give him veggies. Their main diet is grass and weeds. So if you have a big yard and it's warm enough 65+ let him roam outside and graze. If not you can go to the market and purchase some greens like Kale, endive, escerole, chicory, romain...there are a lot of care sheets with diet info.

    www.sulcata-station.org has some good info. [hr]
    Try this

    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-How-To-Raise-Sulcata-Hatchlings-and-Babies#axzz1KCbApusO

    Your sulcata is still pretty young so it's still a good starting point for someone like you. He'll need more then just heat...he'll need UVB rays. So regular Sunshine or a strong UVB bulb[/b]
  5. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

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  6. theezy

    theezy New Member

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    Thanks.. My backyard is all fenced in and I don't see how it could have gotten in.. Its a mystery. :O

    I don't have anything else to feed it at the moment. But I'll look around to see what to get for it.
  7. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    its a sulcata who probably wasnt raised all that well..
    If you dont have a yard for it to graze in, id get spring mix salad mix.
    Where do you live?
    Very clever quick enclosure you built for it..
    its a small one.. full grown they are 100 plus pounds!
    if you cant house a large tort like that.. try to find the owner, if they arent found, work on rehoming him.
  8. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to TFO. I appreciate the little home you made for him, it is very clever. He should eat dark leafy greens like, green leaf lettuce, romaine, collards, endive or escarole. Actually if you have a regular yard with lawn and flowers n stuff, he can just graze around your yard. That would be good for him, as long as your grass doesn't have fertilizers or other stuff that would not be good for him to graze on. Being outside is the best thing for him...
  9. vampire5003

    vampire5003 New Member

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    Long story short that is a sulcata tortoise. Do you want to keep it? If not try to find the owner of call your local rescue place and tell them it popped up at your backyard. If not they will make you pay to leave him/her there.
  10. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    he probably could use a nice warm soak...
    bath tub or bucket... nice warm water about an inch deep.... it needs to be big enough for him to stretch out. they put there heads under water and suck it up.
  11. theezy

    theezy New Member

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    Thanks all for the tips. I might make him an enclosure for the backyard, there is plenty of weeds to munch on back there. I just found him a couple hours ago so I dont know if I want to keep it or not. I had a little box turtle as a child (parents did all the upkeep) and I loved that little guy. :p If I do decide to keep it, I suppose I need to do a little research and get properly educated.
    I haven't had any pets aside from my aquarium for a while.

    I'll try giving him a soak. Was just reading about that on that Sulcata Station website linked earlier. [hr]
    Yeah he is on regular soil at the moment. I figured it would be better than plastic.. There is just a regular 60 watt bulb in the lamp at the moment.
  12. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART

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    Welcome and good luck.
  13. Jacob

    Jacob New Member

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    Welcome, he needs a good diet!
  14. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    Hi theezy:

    Welcome to the forum!!

    May we know your name and where you are?

    If your backyard is secure, then maybe someone put him in there. He hasn't had the best of care, as he's pretty bumpy. They're supposed to be smooth.

    Sulcata tortoises come from Africa. They don't hibernate and they get to be around 150lbs in about 20 years. I'd say yours is probably around 3 or 4 years old.

    Pleas make up some fliers listing "found tortoise" and your phone number. If he wasn't put in your back yard on purpose, he might have escaped his yard. Make anyone who calls you identify him before giving him back.

    If you live in a warm climate, since the tortoise was found outside, I'd say leave him outside and let him graze on grasses and weeds.
  15. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    when you run to the store.. get him a cuttle bone too. its sold in the pet bird section. put it in with him and just let him eat itif he wants to.
  16. theezy

    theezy New Member

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    Thanks! Im in california and theezy is good enough.
    Okie dokie.
  17. theezy

    theezy New Member

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    I was just doing some research on his shell...


    Apparently his shell is so bumpy because he is unhealthy. It should be a smooth rounded shell.

    Its called "pyramiding"
    Caused by:
    A) A diet which contains animal proteins (many tortoises are vegetarian animals, and eat NO meat whatsoever.)
    B) A diet which contains a high percentage of vegetable proteins, even for vegetarian tortoises.
    C) Not enough calcium in the diet. Calcium is very important for proper growth!
    D) Little or no exposure to natural sunlight. Tortoises kept indoors are much more prone.
    E) Inadequate intake of Vitamin D3 in the diet and/or too much Phosphorus.
    F) Intake of grocery produce which contains too much moisture, has little vitamin content and not nearly enough fiber.

    So apparently the best way to take care of a tortoise like this is to get some chicken wire, fence off an area in the back yard and let him roam free munching on weeds and grass.

    (According to what Ive gathered on a couple websites... )
  18. jeffbens0n

    jeffbens0n Member

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    While all of those things could have very well contributed to his pyramiding, there is alot of recent research that shows that a lack of humidity or hydration while they are young is one of if not the main cause of pyramiding. To many people think that since they are desert tortoises they don't need a water supply, but as hatchlings they really need to stay very well hydrated and have a warm humid place to hide. The best way for you to help him now is to make sure you get his diet corrected as you already mentioned, but also to keep him well hydrated. Soak him whenever you get a chance, daily, every other day, what ever you have time to do. If he is out in the yard grazing on warm days, spray him down with the hose a couple times. Then if you bring him inside at nights, make him a humid hide box to sleep in with some damp sphagnum moss to keep the humidity up. The most important thing with humidity though is to keep him warm. Humid and warm=good. Humid and cold=bad.
  19. SnakeyeZ

    SnakeyeZ Member

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    Pyramiding or not... he's still a gorgeous little tortoise.

    I wish I could find something like that in my backyard. :)
  20. murdocjunior

    murdocjunior Member

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    Make sure your yard doesnt have any chemicals in it for example fertilizers etc. By the way welcome.
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