Abandoned sulcata

Kaeloni

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This is kind of a long story but I will make it short. Someone in Missoula, MT dumped their sulcata. Ads were posted and no one claimed it. Bad time of year to do this as our temps have dropped to 30 degrees at night. Anyways, I took in this sulcata and must take care of it until spring when the rescue can take it.

I’m planning to keep it inside in a large metal stock tank. Luckily my house is large enough that this won’t be a problem. I read the care sheets and will use the substrate suggested and provide a humid hide. I’m going to have to use a plastic storage box for the hide. I have a mvb with a stand. I bought Timothy hay and orchard hay. I do buy dandelion greens but not often as it’s very expensive. Who would’ve thought? A weed everyone wants to get rid of is expensive. What kind of water dish is best for a sulcata of this size? I will take measurements and better pictures once I get this poor tortoise settled in. All advice and feedback welcome. I have no sulcata experience and want to do the best I can until it can go to the rescue.

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EllieMay

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Oh my gosh! He’s so lucky that you found him!!! You are doing a great thing. Maybe you could put your own ad on the Adoption site here instead of waiting on the rescue. I’ll be following you! Good luck.
 

Kaeloni

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Oh my gosh! He’s so lucky that you found him!!! You are doing a great thing. Maybe you could put your own ad on the Adoption site here instead of waiting on the rescue. I’ll be following you! Good luck.
Thank you EllieMay! I do have a few other options as well. There’s a wonderful lady (member here) that lives 4 hours away that I’m going to visit this weekend. She keeps a sulcata in our cold climate and will be a great resource for me. I was already planning to visit but now have all the more reason! I’ll try to post more pictures later today. I’d like to know what kind of condition it’s in. I’m certainly no expert, but I have seen much worse. Is this tortoise big enough to determine gender? Thanks for the help.
 

Tom

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The dandelions you buy in the store are Italian dandelion. Different than the weeds outside. I grow both here.

I would get a Kane heat mat and put it on a little platform made with 2x4s standing upright and topped with plywood. This will warm the tortoise's core and bottom, but keep the mat out of the substrate and hay.

Also keep ambient in that room 80-85 all winter, day and night.

Be very careful with the heat lamp. This tortoise is really too large for heat lamps. What typically ends up happening is that the room and the floor are too cool, so they spend all day trying in vain to warm up under the lamp, but the lamp can't warm the core and bottom fast enough. The result is a cooked carapace. I call it a "slow burn". Heat lamps really don't work well for larger tortoises.

If you post a pic of the tail and anal scutes, we might be able to sex this one. Generally, females have a tiny little nub for a tail and males will have a 2 or 3 inch long tail that they rest against the back of their thigh. Anal scute shape is different too, but that is sometimes harder to see in juveniles until it is more developed.
 

Kaeloni

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Thanks for all the help. I had to do the right thing even though it feels so wrong. I was contacted this morning by a lady asking if I had her “turtle.” I’m kind of a brat and said that I do not have a turtle in my possession. She was able to prove that she owned the “turtle.” She couldn’t wait to take him home and feed him a pile of cantaloupe and strawberries. [emoji58] I feel so bad. I’m not experienced with sulcatas but I care enough to learn and do the best I can. If I wasn’t risking legal trouble I wouldn’t have handed him over.
 

EllieMay

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Thanks for all the help. I had to do the right thing even though it feels so wrong. I was contacted this morning by a lady asking if I had her “turtle.” I’m kind of a brat and said that I do not have a turtle in my possession. She was able to prove that she owned the “turtle.” She couldn’t wait to take him home and feed him a pile of cantaloupe and strawberries. [emoji58] I feel so bad. I’m not experienced with sulcatas but I care enough to learn and do the best I can. If I wasn’t risking legal trouble I wouldn’t have handed him over.
My heart hurts for you because that’s such a tough situation! Maybe you could just steer her towards the TFO for a learning experience... if she doesn’t care enough to learn, break out your Ninja suit!!
 

Kaeloni

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My heart hurts for you because that’s such a tough situation! Maybe you could just steer her towards the TFO for a learning experience... if she doesn’t care enough to learn, break out your Ninja suit!!
I tried to help her. I printed off all the different sulcata information we have on here. She wouldn’t take it. She said she’s had him for a few years and knows what she’s doing. I probably would have had an easier time reasoning with my houseplants.
 

Tom

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It will probably get loose again with a dummy like that. If it does, I believe you have a moral obligation to NOT return an animal to a situation like that where it is receiving bad care that is likely to kill it or make it sick. I don't know how to reconcile this with the legal obligation to return someone's lost "property" to them, but I know what I would do.
 

Kaeloni

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After getting so excited about helping this tortoise and then not being able to save him, my husband and I have been seriously discussing taking in a sulcata on a forever basis. We don’t want to buy a baby. We want to take in a sulcata that has “outgrown” their owners or is being discarded for whatever reason. It’s a subject that I feel so passionately about. My husband and I have found the one that we want to adopt. This was a big decision. Not like buying a house or a car. More like choosing a spouse or life partner. We will have this tortoise for the rest of our/their life and will only ever have one. He will never have to compete for food, space, shelter. He will be fed the correct diet and have the correct husbandry. We have a little less than 2 weeks to finish setting up his winter area. We’re sulcata proofing our heated 3 car garage for him for the winter. He also has a night box built following Tom’s design. We have a stock pile of Timothy hay, orchard hay and spineless cactus pads. In 11 days we will be making a 20 hour round trip drive with a heated horse trailer to pick him up. Wish us luck!
 

orv

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After getting so excited about helping this tortoise and then not being able to save him, my husband and I have been seriously discussing taking in a sulcata on a forever basis. We don’t want to buy a baby. We want to take in a sulcata that has “outgrown” their owners or is being discarded for whatever reason. It’s a subject that I feel so passionately about. My husband and I have found the one that we want to adopt. This was a big decision. Not like buying a house or a car. More like choosing a spouse or life partner. We will have this tortoise for the rest of our/their life and will only ever have one. He will never have to compete for food, space, shelter. He will be fed the correct diet and have the correct husbandry. We have a little less than 2 weeks to finish setting up his winter area. We’re sulcata proofing our heated 3 car garage for him for the winter. He also has a night box built following Tom’s design. We have a stock pile of Timothy hay, orchard hay and spineless cactus pads. In 11 days we will be making a 20 hour round trip drive with a heated horse trailer to pick him up. Wish us luck!
So happy to see someone doing things correctly before they get their tortoise. May you be blessed in your new husbandry responsibilities. Thank you.
 

EllieMay

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I am so proud of you and so proud for you! I wish more people had your thought process. Congratulations & I can’t wait to see updates and pics!
 

Maro2Bear

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After getting so excited about helping this tortoise and then not being able to save him, my husband and I have been seriously discussing taking in a sulcata on a forever basis. We don’t want to buy a baby. We want to take in a sulcata that has “outgrown” their owners or is being discarded for whatever reason. It’s a subject that I feel so passionately about. My husband and I have found the one that we want to adopt. This was a big decision. Not like buying a house or a car. More like choosing a spouse or life partner. We will have this tortoise for the rest of our/their life and will only ever have one. He will never have to compete for food, space, shelter. He will be fed the correct diet and have the correct husbandry. We have a little less than 2 weeks to finish setting up his winter area. We’re sulcata proofing our heated 3 car garage for him for the winter. He also has a night box built following Tom’s design. We have a stock pile of Timothy hay, orchard hay and spineless cactus pads. In 11 days we will be making a 20 hour round trip drive with a heated horse trailer to pick him up. Wish us luck!
Wow - best of luck! You will enjoy the fun of your Sully.
 

Kaeloni

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Yesterday was a devastating day for my family. I received a call around 4:00 A.M. that my husband was being transported to the hospital and that I should get there right away. My husband is a lathe operator in a plywood plant. He’s told me that he works with sharp blades and has to be very careful. I was so worried that he had lost a finger, hand, arm or something. I was completely shocked to find out what had really happened. He went to turn a 480 volt breaker back on and it exploded on him. I’m not very knowledgeable in the electrical department to explain it better. He called it an arc flash? He has horrible 3rd degree burns all over his entire right arm. His arm looks like a burned piece of firewood. Pitch black and flaking. He’s very lucky that his arm was in front of his face. I can’t imagine the pain that he is in. Today he is going to a burn specialist to have skin graphs done. He was electrocuted in the explosion as well and is being monitored. We’re very fortunate that he’s still alive.
In view of the circumstances, we are not going to be able to travel to get our sulcata this weekend. We’re very sad about it but my husband’s recovery is top priority right now. We’re hoping we can find another to adopt in the future. Thanks again for all the support.
 

Tom

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Yesterday was a devastating day for my family. I received a call around 4:00 A.M. that my husband was being transported to the hospital and that I should get there right away. My husband is a lathe operator in a plywood plant. He’s told me that he works with sharp blades and has to be very careful. I was so worried that he had lost a finger, hand, arm or something. I was completely shocked to find out what had really happened. He went to turn a 480 volt breaker back on and it exploded on him. I’m not very knowledgeable in the electrical department to explain it better. He called it an arc flash? He has horrible 3rd degree burns all over his entire right arm. His arm looks like a burned piece of firewood. Pitch black and flaking. He’s very lucky that his arm was in front of his face. I can’t imagine the pain that he is in. Today he is going to a burn specialist to have skin graphs done. He was electrocuted in the explosion as well and is being monitored. We’re very fortunate that he’s still alive.
In view of the circumstances, we are not going to be able to travel to get our sulcata this weekend. We’re very sad about it but my husband’s recovery is top priority right now. We’re hoping we can find another to adopt in the future. Thanks again for all the support.
Whoa! That took me by surprise. Let him know that we wish him well and are hoping for a speedy and full recovery.
 

LaLaP

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How terrible and scary! So glad he got through will as little injury as he did. Hope his recovery is speedy. Take care.
 

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