Baby Sulcata

Hashbrown

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Joined
Mar 10, 2021
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4
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
I purchased my first sulcata tortoise yesterday! I was told it’s about 6 months old and it measures about 4 inches long. I have it set up in an indoor enclosure, 2ft by 4 ft plastic tub with a mixture of Timothy hay grass, organic soil and cypress mulch as the substrate, one large wooden hide, 2 terracotta plates for food/water, a tile for basking and a basking/UVB lamp. I’ve been keeping the temperature around 70-75 degF and humidity around 40%. The tortoise hasn’t eaten or really drank water since I’ve gotten it. All it really does is pace back and forth around the tub and scratches at the corners as well as sleep in the corner. I’m not sure if it’s my set up that isn’t working or it just needs more time to acclimate to the new environment.

I’d appreciate any tips! Thank you:)
 

maggie3fan

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Jun 30, 2018
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5,183
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Get rid of the hay it molds. He needs his ambient temperatures 85, basking spot 90 to 100 degrees. Their insides need to be 85 degrees in order for them to digest their food. He needs 80% humidity. So right now he's in danger of getting an upper respiratory infection. His ambient temps needs to go up a bunch, and the humidity as well
Read this, it's very important to your new baby.

 

Markw84

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5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
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Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,432
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
I purchased my first sulcata tortoise yesterday! I was told it’s about 6 months old and it measures about 4 inches long. I have it set up in an indoor enclosure, 2ft by 4 ft plastic tub with a mixture of Timothy hay grass, organic soil and cypress mulch as the substrate, one large wooden hide, 2 terracotta plates for food/water, a tile for basking and a basking/UVB lamp. I’ve been keeping the temperature around 70-75 degF and humidity around 40%. The tortoise hasn’t eaten or really drank water since I’ve gotten it. All it really does is pace back and forth around the tub and scratches at the corners as well as sleep in the corner. I’m not sure if it’s my set up that isn’t working or it just needs more time to acclimate to the new environment.

I’d appreciate any tips! Thank you:)
Welcome to the forum. You've come to the best place for the most up-to-date information on proper tortoise care.

Unfortunately it sounds like you have received bad information about caring for your sulcata. You are keeping your tortoise way too cold and too dry. Timothy hay is not good at all for substrate (or for food for a young sulcata) and will mold in a proper enclosure. I have a hunch the bulb you are using is not good as well. Pictures of your setup will help us help you.

Please read the care sheet and come back with any questions:

 

Hashbrown

New Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Welcome to the forum. You've come to the best place for the most up-to-date information on proper tortoise care.

Unfortunately it sounds like you have received bad information about caring for your sulcata. You are keeping your tortoise way too cold and too dry. Timothy hay is not good at all for substrate (or for food for a young sulcata) and will mold in a proper enclosure. I have a hunch the bulb you are using is not good as well. Pictures of your setup will help us help you.

Please read the care sheet and come back with any questions:


After reading that and finding out an open enclosure isn’t the best because it doesn’t hold temperature nor humidity, what type of enclosure would you recommend?

I’ve attached my current set up. 3CF3AD41-9BBF-42D1-91CC-1CE48AD77B30.jpeg
 

Hashbrown

New Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Get rid of the hay it molds. He needs his ambient temperatures 85, basking spot 90 to 100 degrees. Their insides need to be 85 degrees in order for them to digest their food. He needs 80% humidity. So right now he's in danger of getting an upper respiratory infection. His ambient temps needs to go up a bunch, and the humidity as well
Read this, it's very important to your new baby.

I’ll definitely take out the hay and invest in some orchid bark. I’ll be updating the enclosure today to a closed one, I’m just not sure if a wooden tortoise table will be better or what other options I have I can get or make today and not wait for it to ship to me.
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,432
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
After reading that and finding out an open enclosure isn’t the best because it doesn’t hold temperature nor humidity, what type of enclosure would you recommend?

I’ve attached my current set up. View attachment 320594

You need an enclosed chamber type setup. There are lots if ideas on the forum here of how people have adapted open tables and tubs by covering or putting a greenhouse over them. The greenhouse idea seems to have the best merit to what I've seen if you are not going with a true closed chamber type enclosure, or waiting for one to be built and arrive. Look through the forum for ideas. Been lots of posts on this. You need to enclose the environment with lights and heat emitter inside whatever you cover with to truly keep the warm humid are inside and not constantly escaping.
 

Hashbrown

New Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
You need an enclosed chamber type setup. There are lots if ideas on the forum here of how people have adapted open tables and tubs by covering or putting a greenhouse over them. The greenhouse idea seems to have the best merit to what I've seen if you are not going with a true closed chamber type enclosure, or waiting for one to be built and arrive. Look through the forum for ideas. Been lots of posts on this. You need to enclose the environment with lights and heat emitter inside whatever you cover with to truly keep the warm humid are inside and not constantly escaping.
Just updating in the new set up! Made a little greenhouse structure to go over the enclosure, the temperature is slowing rising and humidity is more stable (spraying it every couple hours to try and raise it to 80%). He still hasn’t eaten yet but he drank a little when he was soaking this morning!

Thank you for the help! B0810F5F-0FE0-4848-95C1-763CAC6D53D0.jpeg
 

maggie3fan

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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
5,183
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
I’ll definitely take out the hay and invest in some orchid bark. I’ll be updating the enclosure today to a closed one, I’m just not sure if a wooden tortoise table will be better or what other options I have I can get or make today and not wait for it to ship to me.
I have wooden tort tables in the house. First I staple shower curtain liner in place to protect the wood. I'll look for pictures of mine
 
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