Beefing up Baloo

Lunaqua

New Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Hi Everyone!
I’m a new Sulcata owner. I recently acquired a young Sulcata posted as “free” on Facebook. Not the best place to get a pet, I know, but as my friend put it, better than someone who knows nothing picking up this free tortoise. My 3 year old son, who ADORES turtles, helped me name him/her “Baloo”.
Without going into specific details, I have some prior experience with Sulcatas and multiple exotic species in general. I was given a deformed Sulcata hatchling some years ago, but unfortunately the defect prevented the little one from growing and thriving properly and I euthanized him/her (I called her “Lucy” [emoji175]).
I have some concerns with Baloo’s shell and would like some feedback on my husbandry. Here are all the long, gory details. I apologize for the long read.
Baloo was in rough shape when I got him. He came with his enclosure - a 20 gallon long aquarium with screen top, food dish, tiny water bowl spray bottle, 60W CHE, 160W Mercury Vapor Bulb, and coir bedding. His food came along too. Timothy and Orchard grass hay, Mazuri and Repti-Cal tortoise pellets and there were some sort of greens dried up in his food dish. He also came with Repti-Calcium Powder. He was TINY at 150 grams (7 months old!) and VERY dehydrated (not surprising). The coir in his enclosure was powder dry and when rehydrated, had such a strong ammonia smell that I threw it all out. I gave him a warm soak as soon as I got him home and he drank and drank. Poor thing!
The corrections to his environment that I made were as follows: I put him in a 64 gallon (4’ x 2’ rough dimensions) storage tub with framed plexiglass top for my viewing pleasure. It is a closed chamber with a 60W CHE on a thermostat set to 85*F, a 50W plant grow spotlight for basking and a 15.0 UVB. The basking area gets 95-100*F and cool areas stay above 80*F, even at night, though the basking area drops to about 90*F at night. The lights are on 13 h, off 11 h. This lets them come on before I leave for work and gives me about an hour of light in the enclosure after my kiddos go to bed for observation. The substrate is 2 parts coir and 1 part play sand, 2-4 inches deep over a 2 inch aquarium gravel drainage layer. The 2 layers are separated by a fine screen. There are 2 clay pot hides on opposite ends, a clay dish for water just right for self soaking near the basking area, a gravity waterer at the cool end just big enough to drink from, because I’m paranoid that he’ll run out of water while I’m at work. There is a stone under the basking light to warm up on and a piece of tile under the food dish. I poop scoop the enclosure daily, a Reptifogger runs for 30 minutes 4x a day to keep the humidity above 80% in most places in the enclosure (basking areas need not apply). I also have a small watering can and wet the substrate through 1-2x a week. Lastly, there is a small potted Sanservieria plant in there, well seated to prevent tipping. Baloo also is given a warm water bath for 15-30 minutes a day. He no longer drinks like he did that first day and loves to poop in it, of course.
His diet is as follows:Cuttlebone at all times. Daily: salad style orchard grass hay soaked and sprinkled generously on his “greens of the day”. So far I have offered him wheat grass clippings, parsley, dandelion greens, escarole, pak choy, mustard greens, and thistle. More dandelions and grass clippings, less of the other stuff. 3x a week: 1-2 tsp of soaked Mazuri Grassland Tortoise pellets(I threw out the Repti-Cal pellets), a few rehydrated hibiscus or cornflower petals. 2x a week: calcium/vitamin supplement. He has a kids swimming pool enclosure with similar substrate, hides, bowls, etc. on my screened in porch that I put him outside in for about 30-60 minutes when it’s above 70*F for the sunshine. I’ll probably increase that time as the temperatures warm up. I live in coastal Virginia, so the outdoor humidity and temperatures are often over 85 in the summer.
He’s (or she) has gone from 150g when he first arrived to 178g now. It’s been almost 8 weeks. I’m concerned about pyramiding. It was slight upon arrival but more noticeable now and I’m worried that I’m doing something wrong. Here are some pictures below.
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Taking that loooong drink during our first bath.
IMG_1055.jpg
In the original enclosure.
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New enclosure phase 1
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Baloo’s biggest fan
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Do my scutes look too triangular?
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PEEKABOO and Thank You!

Thank you for reading all of this!
Dana & Baloo [emoji217]
 
Last edited:

Cheryl Hills

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
2,343
Location (City and/or State)
Youngstown, Ohio
Most of what you are doing is good but, I see some things that needs to be changed. The sand in the enclosure is a bad idea. It isd can cause impaction if eaten. What kind of lights are you using? If they are the curly bulbs, they are not good. They have been known to the torts eyes. We have a Sulcata section in the species spacific area. Please go and read out care sheets, How to raise a healthy Sulcata baby, it will give you all the up to date information for raising him health. Come back with all your questions. Thank you for rescuing this baby!
 

TechnoCheese

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Messages
4,163
Location (City and/or State)
Lewisville, Texas
Please give these a read if you haven’t already-

How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php...ealthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/

Your tortoise is already pyramiding from being kept too dry originally, so please be sure your humidity stays 80+%, and that you are soaking daily :)

Also be sure you get rid of those analog thermometers and get digital ones with probes, or a temp gun and digital thermometer. Analog thermometers are extremely inaccurate.

Thank you for rescuing this tort!
 

Lunaqua

New Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Please give these a read if you haven’t already-

How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php...ealthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/

Your tortoise is already pyramiding from being kept too dry originally, so please be sure your humidity stays 80+%, and that you are soaking daily :)

Also be sure you get rid of those analog thermometers and get digital ones with probes, or a temp gun and digital thermometer. Analog thermometers are extremely inaccurate.

Thank you for rescuing this tort!

I have a temp gun that I use every few days and every few hours whenever I change anything in the enclosure. I use the analog mostly for the humidity.

Any tips for hanging tube lights in a closed chamber?

Thanks!
 

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
5,107
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
Welcome and thank you for saving your sully.
The lights you have now are they under or over the plexiglass?
 

Lunaqua

New Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
IMG_1270.jpg IMG_1294.jpg IMG_1295.jpg

Guess who is up to 211 grams!?!! We get to go out almost daily now, here are a few pictures.
 
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