Can someone tell me how old my two sulcatas are?

NewTortEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Messages
87
Location (City and/or State)
Bloomington, CA
Hello all. 4 days ago I had purchased two small sulcata tortoises. Both of which are about as big as
a base ball. I bought them from a close neighbor for really cheap because I am his neighbor, who in hindsight isnt a very good sulcata breeder. He had shown me most of his sulcatas, from hatchlings to small juveniles all the way huge tanks. How he was handling things wasnt necesarrily horrible, just disorganized. He had no system of tracking what age group each individual tortoise belongs to. He also over fed some of his oldest tortoises and a few juveniles with some real narly pyramiding; but that was only like 3 so mistakes happen.

My two tortoises are named Steve and George (will change name when sex is finally determined for sure).
What HE TOLD ME WAS the pair are roughly 2 years old. I do not believe him one bit. Regardless of this obvious confusion I purchased these two because I liked how each of them look, aside from some additional issues. Both of them have slight pyramiding already which I am afraid of, since they are obviously not 2 years old if they are about the size of a base ball. I have yet to weigh them and need to purchase a digital scale to get real accurate weight measurements.

My real questions are: how old are my tortoises realistically? Did the breeder really underfeed them or give them a really poor diet? Are they stunted? Or does he have no idea what he is doing?? Ive looked around and compared mine to genuine 2 year olds and yearlings and even 6 month olds and I am still confused; based on the age he gave me. The breeder is flat out wrong about the ages of Steve and George right?...

I care about their health and am paranoid if this is all just purely confusion and he lost track of time, or if they are seriously stunted, yet there is pyramiding and im confused.
Please help.
IMG_5428.JPG IMG_E5463.JPG IMG_E5464.JPG IMG_5435.JPG
 
Last edited:

NewTortEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Messages
87
Location (City and/or State)
Bloomington, CA
Edit:
Steve and George are very active. I have them outside in a temporary enclosure meanwhile I build 4 enclosures in total for my multiple different tortoise species. They walk around really quickly, exploring and showing no signs of physical discomfort or limitation. They drink regularly from a saucer thing I have with fresh water every day. They have already learned the ins and outs of their temporary enclosure and seem to get along very well; where the water is, the 3 places I usually feed them at random, as well at one time of day the sun is too hot or just fresh enough for them to come out of the shade and walk.They sleep together and always walk together every now and then. I am feeding them romaine lettuce, some really small pieces of sliced carrots, mulberry leaves, as well as Repti Calcium. They overall seem healthy except for some somewhat serious early pyramiding. George is the biggest of the two and has the worst pyramiding of the two. With their level of pyramiding at probably a really young age, along with the faulty information the breeder gave me I am just really paranoid about these two and want the best for them.
 

katieandiggy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Messages
1,023
Location (City and/or State)
Suffolk, United Kingdom
I think it’s quite hard to tell how old a tortoise is, it can be so subjective to the care that they have received.
I know of people on here who have Sulcata’s of the same age but the size of them are massively different.

Personally I would start soaking them daily for a while and then maybe move to a couple of times per week once your confident they are fully hydrated. They look like they have been raised quite dry.

@Yvonne @Tom May be able to help you.
 

EllieMay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
9,221
Location (City and/or State)
East Texas
Have you went to the Sulcata topic page and read the care sheets for them? I would get them in a high humidity enclosure very quickly regardless of their age. They need separate enclosures and should not be housed together at all.. these guys are amazing and you can get them back on track but you’ll have a long road ahead of you with the pyramiding.. they definitely need daily soaks.. with the pyramiding you might even do multiple soaks daily. I’m pretty new at this as well but your in the right place.. Good luck!! I’ll be watching for your progress:)
 

daniellenc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Messages
2,097
Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
All great advice I’ll just add check out the sulcata forum for more ideas on weeds and grasses/hay which needs to be the bulk of their diet.
 

daniellenc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Messages
2,097
Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
Also, being raised that dry does stunt growth initially and they may be close to two. With a better diet and daily soaks they’ll start growing like weeds.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,501
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I wouldn't exactly call them "stunted." That implies they won't grow bigger. Once they start getting the right care, food, water and sunshine, they will start growing. Are they small for 2 years? Yes, but that doesn't mean they'll always be smaller than normal. Let's ask @Tom to relay his story about Daisy, who he underfed in order to keep her from pyramiding. @Tom ?? Can we see a current picture of Daisy?
 

Bee62

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 13, 2016
Messages
11,997
Location (City and/or State)
Germany
Tortoises get no pyramiding from being overfeed. That is completely wrong.
Tortoises pyramide and grow very slowl when they have to live in too dry conditions. That`s what you see with your two new tortoises.
All they need now is a closed chamber with high humidity ( around 85 % ), warmth day and night and fresh greens to eat.
Keep them in these conditions and after a half year they will begin to thrive and grow.
 

jojay327

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
233
Location (City and/or State)
Elgin, South Carolina
Hello all. 4 days ago I had purchased two small sulcata tortoises. Both of which are about as big as
a base ball. I bought them from a close neighbor for really cheap because I am his neighbor, who in hindsight isnt a very good sulcata breeder. He had shown me most of his sulcatas, from hatchlings to small juveniles all the way huge tanks. How he was handling things wasnt necesarrily horrible, just disorganized. He had no system of tracking what age group each individual tortoise belongs to. He also over fed some of his oldest tortoises and a few juveniles with some real narly pyramiding; but that was only like 3 so mistakes happen.

My two tortoises are named Steve and George (will change name when sex is finally determined for sure).
What HE TOLD ME WAS the pair are roughly 2 years old. I do not believe him one bit. Regardless of this obvious confusion I purchased these two because I liked how each of them look, aside from some additional issues. Both of them have slight pyramiding already which I am afraid of, since they are obviously not 2 years old if they are about the size of a base ball. I have yet to weigh them and need to purchase a digital scale to get real accurate weight measurements.

My real questions are: how old are my tortoises realistically? Did the breeder really underfeed them or give them a really poor diet? Are they stunted? Or does he have no idea what he is doing?? Ive looked around and compared mine to genuine 2 year olds and yearlings and even 6 month olds and I am still confused; based on the age he gave me. The breeder is flat out wrong about the ages of Steve and George right?...

I care about their health and am paranoid if this is all just purely confusion and he lost track of time, or if they are seriously stunted, yet there is pyramiding and im confused.
Please help.
View attachment 245679 View attachment 245680 View attachment 245681 View attachment 245682
Please listen to everyone that gives you advise. These guys had a ruff start but all that can be fixed but only if you do your research and listen to all the people willing to help you. These guys need very specific care and you can have some beautiful torts if you are willing to put in the time and work. Good luck. Always remember that caring for these guys needs to be a passion and not a chore. Have fun and continue to post more pics
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,106
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
The breeder is wrong about a lot pf things, but he might not be wrong about the age. When you raise them all wrong, they grow very slowly.

The first thing you need to do is separate them. They should never live in pairs. Everything you described about their behavior is tortoise aggression and territoriality. They need separate enclosures ASAP.

Next thing is the diet. The mulberry leaves are great, but time to cut out the carrots and romaine. Read this for more food ideas:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

Start with these two for more care info and then come back with questions:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,501
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
@Tom - Will you please tell your Daisy story again for this new member - how you with held food hoping she wouldn't pyramid and then much later learned how food isn't the pyramiding culprit. This story also shows how slow growth from lack of food hides the actual age due to the small size.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,106
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom - Will you please tell your Daisy story again for this new member - how you with held food hoping she wouldn't pyramid and then much later learned how food isn't the pyramiding culprit. This story also shows how slow growth from lack of food hides the actual age due to the small size.
That was Scooter, Bert and Delores. My first sulcata pyramided, and all the experts told me it was because I fed it too much, and too much grocery store food. They incorrectly opined that in the wild they wouldn't have much to eat and the "fast" growth on a constant diet of "rich" grocery store greens, along with excessive protein in the diet was the cause of the pyramiding.

Scooter, Bert, and Delores suffered the consequences of their ignorance and mine, and I fed them very little. They ate every other day and only small amounts of all "natural" foods like grasses and weeds. They grew very slowly and were still pyramided. They were 30-40 pounds at 12 years old. You can see them here: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/meet-toms-sulcatas.56465/

Daisy was my "guinea pig" that was the first sulcata I tried my "wet routine" experiments with. She got daily soaks, damp substrate and humid conditions. It was predicted she would get shell rot, a respiratory infection, and die. I knew better. What she got was good health, smooth growth, and she has now reached a hefty 60-65 pounds at 10 years old. She also lays clutches of 30+ eggs and almost all of them hatch. Her last clutch was the subject of an experiment here and 31 out of 32 hatched. And her babies hatch out larger and more robust than most sulcatas. See the experiment here: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/2018-incubation-experiment.165106/

Sulcatas thrive in warm humid monsoon conditions.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top