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Aldabra Care and Enclosure Advise Questions

Discussion in 'Aldabra tortoises' started by ERoss, Sep 4, 2017.

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  1. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    I have been considering purchasing a tortoise in about a year or whenever I have the appropriate set up done . I have been leaning towards a sulcata but have been reading a lot about Aldabras and had some questions. I was wondering if anyone could answer to see if it would be the right fit. I live on a large ranch in Northern California (near Sacramento) so space is not an issue at all. However it is very dry on average less than 10% humidity. We do have summers we're we have days over 110 and the occasional freezing night in the winters however most of the year is is sunny and hotter than 75. I am not worried about being able to provide a humid set up in doors however when it gets to large to be inside I'm not sure if people in dryer climates have success in raising this species. Is the care similar to what is given for sulcata torts on this forum? Are these tortoises okay to live in pairs or groups or are they similar to sulcatas were they would bully and one would suffer?
  2. GingerLove

    GingerLove Well-Known Member

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    I can only answer one of your questions (sorry), and that would be about the pairs. Aldabra tortoises seem to live together quite well! I know Aldabra man once mentioned that the males block the females from leaving his lovely "barn" set up, but that's all I've heard regarding bullying. (Assuming you meant combining pairs of the same breed, otherwise, do not mix breeds as Aldabra tortoises can weigh up to 600+lbs and could crush a smaller one!!!) Your amount of land sounds great! As for the dryness of the climate, I cannot answer. I know that Aldabra tortoises are used to heat and humidity and they seem to love water, but I would wait for an answer from a more experienced member in that regard. (Btw, Aldabra tortoises are a great option and you should totally do it if possible and then tell us all about it!!)
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  3. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    Thank for you response! I would only want one species, I have read about mixing species and the risk of disease from other members on this forum. But that is great that there isn't the same bullying issue. There is a two acre pasture that I am thinking would be their home when they get bigger and it has a pond on it. I would need to redo the fencing since it's currently cattle fencing (surprising that a fence meant to keep cattle in can't keep in a large tortoise ). I'm wondering if this is a good idea or not the pond is currently dry and the slope is very gradual. I can upload pictures tomorrow if that would help. Eventually we will be putting a pipeline in to have it full all year round. Should I worry about drowning issues with an adult Aldabra? I have read that they are actually decent swimmers but I would not want to risk it if other owners have had a bad experience with this.
  4. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    You might want to ask these questions on a separate thread here on the Aldabra section. There are folks here from many different climates keeping them well. Good questions ! But needs its own thread.
  5. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    I tried to make my own thread but it said I wasn't approved to do that. So not sure if I can. I would love a thread for care tips for aldabras. I am Using the app on my phone so maybe that has something to do with it or because I'm a new member?
  6. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    Hi all,

    I am considering getting a tortoise in a year or two and am trying to decide if aldabras would be a good fit. I live in Northern California on a ranch so I could have a large outside enclosure for them when they are big enough.

    But here are some questions I was wondering if Aldabra owners could help me out with:

    1. My climate is pretty dry is California an appropriate place to raise aldabras in when they are outside full time?

    2. What should the humidity level in an enclosed hatchling tank be? I read from another member that his Aldabra needed less humidity than his sulcata or he started seeing respiratory issues. On another breeder site They said they do not use the enclosed chamber method as there was issues with shell rot and respiratory infection so instead they used a reptile bin with the proper lighting and damp coconut coir and orchid bark substrate with humid hides and daily soak. Any thoughts on these two different Methods?

    3. Is the sulcata care sheet applicable to this species and if it is not has someone developed a care sheet?

    4. For the adult enclosure we have a two acre pasture that I am thinking would be their home when they get bigger and it has a pond on it. I would need to redo the fencing since it's currently cattle fencing (surprising that a fence meant to keep cattle in can't keep in a large tortoise ). I'm wondering if this is a good idea or not the pond is currently dry and the slope is very gradual. I can upload pictures if that would help. Eventually we will be putting a pipeline in to have it full all year round. Should I worry about drowning issues with an adult Aldabra? I have read that they are actually decent swimmers but I would not want to risk it if other owners have had a bad experience with this.

    Thank you in advance for reading through all this!
  7. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    It just let me create one on my third try...not sure what the issue was but I created a new thread. Thanks for the advise!
  8. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I live in Central California and raised two Aldabran tortoises from hatchlings. They lived outside with access to a heated shed ever since I got them 17 years ago. I watered the grass as we normally do to keep it alive, but didn't give the tortoises any additional humidity or moisture other than their water dishes and daily soaks. They have grown up pretty pyramided. This isn't a problem far as the tortoises are concerned, but it greatly decreases their value when it comes to selling them.

    In my opinion, if you make a moist, humid environment for your aldabra tortoise by artificial means, it is doable in your climate. Maybe put up a string of misters across his yard. And certainly keep him warm and humid while he is a baby.
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  9. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    Thanks for your response! The misters are a great idea! I hadn't thought of that.
  10. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Tortoisefan and ERoss like this.
  11. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    Oh my gosh! Yes we will definitely need to build a strong fence!
  12. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    Can't answer all your questions. But I've had mine for 3 yrs now. So I am still a bit new to Aldabra mysel. He/she is still small at 18 lbs - some can reach almost 30 lbs in that time.

    No matter , care is the same. As far as can you do it there , yes , of course. As has been stated you need to be mindful of temps and humidity. What humidity? Where they are originally from - in the islands the average humidity year round in 80%. It doesn't mean they have to be in that all the time. But I would with a young one - under 2 yrs.

    A shallow pond is a good idea. On hot days they love to just sit in it.

    Yes they float. They swim.

    Food. They are grazers. And opportunists. Much the same as Sulcata. Variety is important. I give mine as much variety as I can find. You want them to get 90% of their food from free grazing if possible. Pasture mix seed does well. A mix of all the grasses that will grow there works too. Mine also eat grape leaves , hibiscus, prickly pear cactus , purslane, thistles, and a couple times a week Mazuri tort food. I sprinkle calcium powder once a week on some spring mix , she eats it right down.

    Sprinkle / water / mist on hot dry summer days. Keep water in their hide/ shed for humidity. They do not burrow like Sulcata , but , they do dig a bit and hunker down in dirt. If you heat a hide, keep it at 85f, and 80% humidity you're good :)

    They seem to be hearty, personable, and curious of their environment. Much like Sulcata just not as bold as fast( young) . They get along fairly well with other Aldabra of similar size.

    If $ were not an issue , were it me ( a richer me ) I would get three Aldabras 6 mos to a yr old. Raise them together. And give them lots of room & care.

    If you go with Sulcata , just have one. They are more aggressive

    Good fortune to you :)
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  13. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    IMG_7743.JPG Here is my CupCake this last week or so
  14. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    @Alaskamike thank you so much! That was super helpful And your cupcake is such a cutie!!! Yeah I think I would like to get three once I am set up (my husband and I are currently building our first home so we need to finish that first haha). And it will require some savings for sure!

    Do you recommend getting them at 6mo- 1 yr because hatchlings are harder to raise as hatchlings or is there a higher mortality rate?

    Also does anyone know if they can be temp sexed during incubation?
  15. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    The temp sexing is not a sure thing. By any means. Since it takes so long for them to sexually mature you might not be sure for 10+ years. Higher temps often produce split schutes. Sometimes more of these are female.

    The age / size you start with is a very individual thing. For me , I do not relish indoor set ups - but , I live in hot/humid South Florida so I can get mine outdoors much sooner. It depends a bit on your attention to detail & desire. I got mine ( an @ALDABRAMAN baby ) at 7 months. She ( he) was a little over a lb. But ... the older they are the more $ they are. For me it was worth the extra bucks to have one well started. Up to the individual. Many get them very small 3-4" and do just fine.

    Prep is a good thing. These will outlive you. Would be an awesome legacy to pass down to a child one day.

    Good fortune to you :)
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  16. ERoss

    ERoss Member

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    @Alaskaman thanks for all of your help! And yes hoping one day my grandchildren and even maybe my even my great grandchildren will be taking care of them!
    Alaskamike likes this.
  17. Willy's Keeper

    Willy's Keeper Member

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  18. TortyDxb

    TortyDxb Active Member

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    Hi Yvonne,

    I've really enjoyed reading your posts as I catch up with all things Aldabra - thank you. I'm still in two minds about keeping the hatchlings in my care. I absolutely luv 'em tho!

    I was wondering if, to you, and in the end, you felt it was all really worthwhile? I mean bringing up the two Aldabras from hatchlings, only to have to let them go some 15 years later or so.

    I wonder whether in hindsight it would have been better not to go through it at all? I know the standard answer will be that it was worthwhile and they added depth to your life experience etc, but it seems bitter sweet to me that all your effort is essentially rewarded with a forced sale (and I'm guessing a big financial loss too, not that it matters).

    I also think that the more they grow, the more they increase in value, the more at risk you become of a theft - which again would be heartbreaking. The road ahead seems complex.

    I'd love to know what your brutally and uncut honest conclusions were, once your two lovely Aldabras were passed onto new owners (something we will all have to do at some point).

    Thanks!

    Torty
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