The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
- Jan 9, 2010
- Location (City and/or State)
- Southern California
Any animal that is native to the area between the tropic of Capricorn and the tropic of cancer, can be called "tropical". Most of wild sulcata territory is within that range. The books list what you listed and also "forest edge" as their native habitat. Here is what the books and websites don't say: Babies hatch at the start of the hot, wet, humid, rainy season. Puddles and marshes form, and the landscape turns green with an abundance of food. Think about the conditions on a 100+ degree day with frequent and recent rain, under heavy vegetation in the sun. THAT is what baby sulcatas hatch into. Think South FL or New Orleans in summer. Oppressive heat and humidity, if you are a human, but paradise for a hatchling sulcata. This is the type of environment they hatch into and live for their first few months. Not a dry open topped enclosure with 50-60% humidity shortly after spraying.Hi Tom, I learn something new a few times a day everyday regarding Sulcata's. I'm obsessed about giving baby Myakoda the best care I can. I never thought we'd find a hatchling in the street, it's a miricle she wasn't run over. I feel we found her for a reason. X Ray--OPO and you have given me some great advise. X Ray-- OPO has been really patient lol, hope i'm not unnerving him. We're working on bringing her humidity levels up, now they are at 60+ we will get them higher. We will be getting a large outside tub with organic cocnut soil, and reptibark mixed, as well when we change her indoor substrate, we will be doing the same. The outside tub will have a thin screen on top, then half the tub in the sun, the other in the shade. Of course water, and moist substrate. If you have any suggestions, that would be awesome! We'll do this as often, and as many hours as we can. She's being soaked everyday, her teranium sprayed all the time, and her log soaked. However, you said above Sulcata's are Tropical forest species. I was under the impression they are from enviroments such as, the Sahara Desert and the Sahel, a transitional ecoregion of semiarid grasslands, savannas, and thorn shrublands found in the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Somalia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, etc...? So just curious, being there's so much conflicting info out there. Thank you, obsessed Torty Mommy.
What about after the rainy season? The "dry" season. Two things: We had a member who'd lived in India for a while. In India, the "dry season" saw humidity between 60 and 80%. The "wet season" saw humidity between 80 and 100%. The terms "wet" and "dry" are relative and depend on your frame of reference. Thing number 2: Sulcatas spend 95% of their lives underground. Not topside in hot dry conditions. Underground where their poop and pee, plus vegetation that they drag underground keeps it much more humid, and the ground temps in the region hover between 80-85 all year long all the time.
This brings me back to: We humans sometimes have a skewed view of what "wild" conditions for a given species might be. Our idea of what they need, vs. the actual wild microclimates that they find, create and exploit are often two very different things. Given this fact, how do we know what to do? I propose we look at the results of different keeping styles for clues about what works best right here in ou own enclosures, right in front of our faces, every single day. Keep them dry, in an open topped enclosure, or outside all day, and they grow slowly and pyramid. Many babies die this way. All of us did it that way for decades because that is what we were taught. It was wrong. Some of us could see it was wrong by the results, and we took it upon ourselves to figure out what was right. By contrast, if you start them in a warm humid closed chamber and soak them daily, they thrive, grow much faster on the same food, and remain smooth, as they are supposed to. Many side-by-side experiments have proven this here at my facility, and literally thousands of people all over the entire world have duplicated this "experiment" with the same positive results.
This is why I say "Most of the info you will find out in the world on tortoises is wrong." For decades, all the books, vets, breeders, and "experts" all said the same wrong stuff. We all learned it and taught it to others. When the internet came on-line, websites were created and that same wrong info was continually shared all over the world. Only in the last 10 years or so, and only here on TFO is this new and correct info being shared. More is learned and shared continuously. We are trying to spread the word, but it has been slow to spread outside of this forum. People don't want to be told that they've been doing it wrong for 30 years, and that all those babies that have died in the hands of their customers weeks or months later, died because of their ignorance and mistakes they made/make when the babies first hatch.
Who should you listen to? Look at the results. Do you want a stunted, dry, pyramided baby? Or do you want a healthy, growing, smooth baby? I can tell you how to get either, because I've done it both ways for decades. The people who argue with this info have never done it "my" way. As soon as they try, the arguing stops. The results are obvious.