Advice on boarding or care when on vacation

bsstovel

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Tustin, CA
Hi All,

I will be going on a trip in late September of this year, and I have a yearling sulcata who will be 2 by then. I will be gone for a total of 5 days and 5 nights, and am looking for suggestions on how to care for the little buddy while away. I don't really have anyone nearby who I can depend on to come over and care for my Frankie daily like I would wish, so I am considering putting the little buddy in a vet boarding type hotel.

I trust that the vets will not abuse or cause harm to my tortoise, but I'm worried that Frankie will freak out and will be terrified the entire time.

There is plenty of grass in the little guys enclosure, but he still prefers to eat dandelion, bok choy, etc. and hasn't moved to a full on grass diet yet. And as much as he eats, I would have to leave a pretty substantial amount of food in his area that would no doubt wilt and get nasty after a few days.

Looking for all and any suggestions on what you might have done which has worked or didn't work.

Thanks in advance!
 

jsheffield

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I think that for so short a time, your tortoise is better off staying where he is, not having anyone come in, not going anywhere else.

I've left my torts for ten days before without worry... so long as the temp and humidity will be within the acceptable range, he'll be fine... they can go for a month without eating without any problem.

I would be more worried about someone coming in and doing something wrong, or at bringing him somewhere else where conditions might not be working (as they obviously are in your current location).

I've done it for my Redfoot, my Russians, and my MEP, all without any problems... just big soak and feed before and after I'm gone.

Jamie
 

Tom

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Moving him would be very stressful. I wouldn't recommend that. And vets don't know how to care for them, and don't have suitable housing for them either.

You need to find or hire someone to come check on him daily. They would need to make sure he's in his heated night box, and shut the door every night. Then someone will need to simply open the door each morning, and he can come out and graze when he wants. They don't need to feed or water him, or do anything else.

The food thing is easy. If there is grass there, you don't have to do anything. He'll eat it when he gets hungry. If you want to help with that, get some scissors and finely chop a small handful of grass onto every meal from now on and try to mix it all in with the other foods. By September, he will know what grass is and what to do with it. This would be good to do anyway, even if you weren't leaving. Don't worry about it if he ignores the grass for days or weeks. In time, he won't.

Another food thing is spineless opuntia pads. Buy them or find them around your area. Best to grow your own. You can scatter a few of those around and he can eat them at will. They won't go bad for weeks, even sitting in full sun. If your tortoise doesn't know what they are, start introducing them now. You can buy them at any Mexican grocery store, like Vallarta or Tres Sierras. Many Asian stores sell them too. You have 99 Ranch in Tustin don't you?

In the wild they go 8-9 months a year with no water. 5 days will be no problem. Soak him for an hour the day before you leave, and again the day you get back. Dump the water bowl in the enclosure out so that he can't poop in it and foul it in your absence.
 

Tom

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I think that for so short a time, your tortoise is better off staying where he is, not having anyone come in, not going anywhere else.

I've left my torts for ten days before without worry... so long as the temp and humidity will be within the acceptable range, he'll be fine... they can go for a month without eating without any problem.

I would be more worried about someone coming in and doing something wrong, or at bringing him somewhere else where conditions might not be working (as they obviously are in your current location).

I've done it for my Redfoot, my Russians, and my MEP, all without any problems... just big soak and feed before and after I'm gone.

Jamie
Our nights get too cold for that here Jaimie. Even in summer when the days are 105, it still drops to 60-65 over night. By September we will usually see night temps in the 40s and sometimes even high 30s. Too cold for a young sulcata.

Southern CA neighborhoods are also infamous for roof rats, which will chew on a little one left outside at night. Raccoons and possums too.

Someone has to make sure the OPs tortoise is safely locked in at night.
 

jsheffield

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Our nights get too cold for that here Jaimie. Even in summer when the days are 105, it still drops to 60-65 over night. By September we will usually see night temps in the 40s and sometimes even high 30s. Too cold for a young sulcata.

Southern CA neighborhoods are also infamous for roof rats, which will chew on a little one left outside at night. Raccoons and possums too.

Someone has to make sure the OPs tortoise is safely locked in at night.
Makes sense... all of mine are already inside, in temp/humidity/light controlled environments.

J
 

bsstovel

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Tustin, CA
Moving him would be very stressful. I wouldn't recommend that. And vets don't know how to care for them, and don't have suitable housing for them either.

You need to find or hire someone to come check on him daily. They would need to make sure he's in his heated night box, and shut the door every night. Then someone will need to simply open the door each morning, and he can come out and graze when he wants. They don't need to feed or water him, or do anything else.

The food thing is easy. If there is grass there, you don't have to do anything. He'll eat it when he gets hungry. If you want to help with that, get some scissors and finely chop a small handful of grass onto every meal from now on and try to mix it all in with the other foods. By September, he will know what grass is and what to do with it. This would be good to do anyway, even if you weren't leaving. Don't worry about it if he ignores the grass for days or weeks. In time, he won't.

Another food thing is spineless opuntia pads. Buy them or find them around your area. Best to grow your own. You can scatter a few of those around and he can eat them at will. They won't go bad for weeks, even sitting in full sun. If your tortoise doesn't know what they are, start introducing them now. You can buy them at any Mexican grocery store, like Vallarta or Tres Sierras. Many Asian stores sell them too. You have 99 Ranch in Tustin don't you?

In the wild they go 8-9 months a year with no water. 5 days will be no problem. Soak him for an hour the day before you leave, and again the day you get back. Dump the water bowl in the enclosure out so that he can't poop in it and foul it in your absence.

Thank you so much Tom! That was the absolute perfect answer I was searching for. I've been finely chopping up grass and mixing it with his regular greens for a few months now to get him accustomed to it. I will definitely check out spineless opuntia pads. Yes, there are tons of Mexican markets and Asian markets nearby me, so I should have no issue finding them.

Honestly, I forget that they are such durable little tanks. I mean they've survived for 100+ million years, so they've gotta be good at surviving, right?

Perhaps I can have a neighbor come over a few times just to make sure everything is going fine with him.

This is a very huge relief for me. Thanks once again!

This community is so awesome
 

bsstovel

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Tustin, CA
I think that for so short a time, your tortoise is better off staying where he is, not having anyone come in, not going anywhere else.

I've left my torts for ten days before without worry... so long as the temp and humidity will be within the acceptable range, he'll be fine... they can go for a month without eating without any problem.

I would be more worried about someone coming in and doing something wrong, or at bringing him somewhere else where conditions might not be working (as they obviously are in your current location).

I've done it for my Redfoot, my Russians, and my MEP, all without any problems... just big soak and feed before and after I'm gone.

Jamie

10 days! Wow, and I'm stressing over 5 days. Thank you for your response. It is a very big relief :D
 

Tom

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Thank you so much Tom! That was the absolute perfect answer I was searching for. I've been finely chopping up grass and mixing it with his regular greens for a few months now to get him accustomed to it. I will definitely check out spineless opuntia pads. Yes, there are tons of Mexican markets and Asian markets nearby me, so I should have no issue finding them.

Honestly, I forget that they are such durable little tanks. I mean they've survived for 100+ million years, so they've gotta be good at surviving, right?

Perhaps I can have a neighbor come over a few times just to make sure everything is going fine with him.

This is a very huge relief for me. Thanks once again!

This community is so awesome
If it wasn't so far away, I'd come do it for you! I'm up in Santa Clarita.
 

Guts

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Look for insured in-home pet sitters! They can come check on him and make sure he’s in his night box and refresh his food/water
 

jsheffield

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Maybe consider checking out trustedhousesitters.com, they connect people with pets who are going away with people who can stay in their homes and take care of the pets.

I've done it a number of times and love it... I get to stay in a cool place with nice animals and get some writing done, they get their animals taken care of in their own home.

Jamie
 

Jan A

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Thank you so much Tom! That was the absolute perfect answer I was searching for. I've been finely chopping up grass and mixing it with his regular greens for a few months now to get him accustomed to it. I will definitely check out spineless opuntia pads. Yes, there are tons of Mexican markets and Asian markets nearby me, so I should have no issue finding them.

Honestly, I forget that they are such durable little tanks. I mean they've survived for 100+ million years, so they've gotta be good at surviving, right?

Perhaps I can have a neighbor come over a few times just to make sure everything is going fine with him.

This is a very huge relief for me. Thanks once again!

This community is so awesome
Thanks for asking the question. I learned a lot, too.
 

Jasminemmm

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Maybe consider checking out trustedhousesitters.com, they connect people with pets who are going away with people who can stay in their homes and take care of the pets.

I've done it a number of times and love it... I get to stay in a cool place with nice animals and get some writing done, they get their animals taken care of in their own home.

Jamie
I’m going to look into it. I will leave the country for about 2 month this year... i have tried to find a good solution to take care of my Herman when I’m not at home. Do you know how expensive it might be to get service from the website you recommended?
 

Lyn W

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Another thing you have to be careful of with boarding is making sure yours isn't mixed with other torts or that individual enclosures are thoroughly cleaned. I looked at boarding my tort with a Tortoise Sanctuary once but after visiting and seeing how the torts they already had were kept I decided against it.
 

jsheffield

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I’m going to look into it. I will leave the country for about 2 month this year... i have tried to find a good solution to take care of my Herman when I’m not at home. Do you know how expensive it might be to get service from the website you recommended?
The link I provided gives you a break on their annual membership, which I think is regularly a bit under $100... That seems spendy but is pretty much paid off with the first night or two of the service... I've done about ten nights so far this year.

Jamie
 

Jasminemmm

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The link I provided gives you a break on their annual membership, which I think is regularly a bit under $100... That seems spendy but is pretty much paid off with the first night or two of the service... I've done about ten nights so far this year.

Jamie
Thank you Jamie! I will read through their website. Generally, after you become member, will the other member comes to your place to take care of the pet, or the pet is brought in other's home?
 

jsheffield

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Thank you Jamie! I will read through their website. Generally, after you become member, will the other member comes to your place to take care of the pet, or the pet is brought in other's home?
I've done it as a housesitter four times, and stayed at the pet's home each time.

Jamie
 

DianeS

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Hi All,

I will be going on a trip in late September of this year, and I have a yearling sulcata who will be 2 by then. I will be gone for a total of 5 days and 5 nights, and am looking for suggestions on how to care for the little buddy while away. I don't really have anyone nearby who I can depend on to come over and care for my Frankie daily like I would wish, so I am considering putting the little buddy in a vet boarding type hotel.

I trust that the vets will not abuse or cause harm to my tortoise, but I'm worried that Frankie will freak out and will be terrified the entire time.

There is plenty of grass in the little guys enclosure, but he still prefers to eat dandelion, bok choy, etc. and hasn't moved to a full on grass diet yet. And as much as he eats, I would have to leave a pretty substantial amount of food in his area that would no doubt wilt and get nasty after a few days.

Looking for all and any suggestions on what you might have done which has worked or didn't work.

Thanks in advance!
I would suggest a neighbor. I went out of town for about a month last year. I contacted the tortoise society here in San Diego. One of the members took mine for $10 a day. She had a awesome area for them.
 

bsstovel

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Tustin, CA
I would suggest a neighbor. I went out of town for about a month last year. I contacted the tortoise society here in San Diego. One of the members took mine for $10 a day. She had a awesome area for them.

Yeah, I'm just going to leave my little guy in his area. From what Tom and Jamie said above, he will be perfectly fine for 5 days by himself. I'm just going to give him a super soak and make sure he defecates before I leave. I've never had a reptile before, and I compare them to cats and dogs who need constant care and attention, which is nowhere near the same for tortoises.

I'm going to ask a neighbor if they can come over maybe once or twice just to make sure there isn't anything immediately wrong with him. I just recently took him to the vet for a wellness check, and he stayed hidden in his shell for a few hours even after I brought him back home. I don't want to traumatized him by throwing him in a completely weird and alien environment.
 

Krista S

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Yeah, I'm just going to leave my little guy in his area. From what Tom and Jamie said above, he will be perfectly fine for 5 days by himself. I'm just going to give him a super soak and make sure he defecates before I leave. I've never had a reptile before, and I compare them to cats and dogs who need constant care and attention, which is nowhere near the same for tortoises.

I'm going to ask a neighbor if they can come over maybe once or twice just to make sure there isn't anything immediately wrong with him. I just recently took him to the vet for a wellness check, and he stayed hidden in his shell for a few hours even after I brought him back home. I don't want to traumatized him by throwing him in a complete weird and alien environment.
Have you considered setting up a wifi camera on your tortoise enclosure? Then you could check in on him remotely for your own peace of mind, whenever you want. If you were to notice something out of the ordinary or a burnt out bulb, etc. you could alert your neighbour to go check on things.
 
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