CDT question

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blackbird

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I have a semi-rescued desert tortoise (we found her wandering at the end of the road near the beach about six months ago- more info HERE) who is currently living indoors since it hasn't really warmed up yet, but with lots of supervised outside time in the sun in our fenced backyard. We live near a canyon and there are a lot of large birds around here so I don't feel comfortable leaving her outside on her own since she's still sort of small though I'd like to build some sort of wire covered run for her before summer gets here so she can soak up those rays!

Anyway, my question is this: I've been taking her outside almost every day except in the case of bad weather like the rains we've had in SoCal these past few weeks, and I've read a lot of conflicting information on how much sunlight and UV exposure torts need.

I was planning on getting a UV bulb and then I read that tortoises can get enough UV exposure with only twenty minutes in the sun every few days. Other information I've seen says they need anywhere from 2-8 hours daily, some says that they don't need to be outside as long as you've got a good UV bulb- though I don't think that could possibly be accurate- there's no substitute for real sunlight.

I'm new to this and I'd really love to know if there are any general guidelines.
My family's just starting to come out of a pretty rough financial situation so I might not be able to get a UV bulb for a few more weeks, and I'm wondering if I should supplement with calcium or D3 in the meantime, and also, if there are any special considerations regarding supplements because of the pyramiding she has.
 

Laura

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mine lives outside,, 24/7 when its cooler he doesnt come out as much.. when its nice,, he is out.. he has a burrow and a hut.. so he is protected.
It would have to be a pretty large bird to bother him.
 

kimber_lee_314

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I agree with Laura. My vet says an hour a week is enough in the winter, but since yours is young, I would aim for as many hours as possible daily and also use the MVB. (That's what I do for my babies.) Hope that was helpful.
 

Candy

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I have three right now and I live in Alhambra, CA. I only will put them out when it has warmed above 65 degrees and the sun is out. I keep mine indoors at night on a pig blanket for one of them and the other two I put under a heat emitter. They seem to do quite fine with that. My two that I am babysitting for a teacher at my sons school have a little pyramiding going on also. Yours doesn't look that bad and actually has nice color to it's shell. I think in time with new growth that yours will do well. :)
 

ascott

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Hi, you have had the tort for six months? What did you do for uvb rays during the winter months? And I totally understand about money being funny at times....so since we are approaching the nice time of year you can get that little one out side every opportunity possible...every day for as long as you possibly can....

If you do get your tort out in the sun every day for at least and hour (but would recommend more at every opportunity :D) you can get away without a uvb in the indoor enclosure (maybe miss a day or two if bad weather)

Pyramiding can not be reversed but it can be stopped from continuing....what is her enclosure like? What type of substrate? Do you do daily warm water soaks for her? What do you give as food offerings?

....may we see a pic of her, please :p
 

blackbird

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Laura said:
mine lives outside,, 24/7 when its cooler he doesnt come out as much.. when its nice,, he is out.. he has a burrow and a hut.. so he is protected.
It would have to be a pretty large bird to bother him.

We've just moved in and I haven't got anything set up for her in the yard other than a great big patch of weeds and not a hint of weedkiller in sight, lol. We've got a nesting pair of large red-tail hawks and a few large, grumpy crows which are my main concerns- we're literally thirty feet from the canyon edge. I do tend to be fretful about this sort of thing though.. ;D I'll probably build her a little hut in the next few weeks.

kimber_lee_314 said:
I agree with Laura. My vet says an hour a week is enough in the winter, but since yours is young, I would aim for as many hours as possible daily and also use the MVB. (That's what I do for my babies.) Hope that was helpful.

Thanks! I'll go ahead and keep getting her outside as much as I can until I get the MVB :)

Candy said:
I have three right now and I live in Alhambra, CA. I only will put them out when it has warmed above 65 degrees and the sun is out. I keep mine indoors at night on a pig blanket for one of them and the other two I put under a heat emitter. They seem to do quite fine with that. My two that I am babysitting for a teacher at my sons school have a little pyramiding going on also. Yours doesn't look that bad and actually has nice color to it's shell. I think in time with new growth that yours will do well. :)

That's the temperature I usually wait for as well- we've been fortunate enough that while there have been a few cooler days, it usually at least hits 60-65 even on the cooler sunny days. I keep the room about 75-80 degrees during the day and and about 65 overnight with a heat blanket on low in one corner in case she wants warm up a little more but... yeah, I worry :)
I've just noticed during the past few weeks a pink line of new growth on her underside which I'm super happy for ^^

ascott said:
Hi, you have had the tort for six months? What did you do for uvb rays during the winter months? And I totally understand about money being funny at times....so since we are approaching the nice time of year you can get that little one out side every opportunity possible...every day for as long as you possibly can....

If you do get your tort out in the sun every day for at least and hour (but would recommend more at every opportunity :D) you can get away without a uvb in the indoor enclosure (maybe miss a day or two if bad weather)

Pyramiding can not be reversed but it can be stopped from continuing....what is her enclosure like? What type of substrate? Do you do daily warm water soaks for her? What do you give as food offerings?

....may we see a pic of her, please :p

Haha, honestly, "winter" in SoCal just means it's not 75 degrees and sunny all the time- instead, it's 55-60 and partly cloudy ;D
I took her outside a couple times a week during the winter months as well. She was skinny and felt pretty light when I got her so I didn't hibernate her this year. She had her sleepy days but for the most part she was happy to stay awake and work on regaining some weight, lol.

She loves to run around the yard and "take care" of the dandelions for us-little does she know I've been running around waving dandelion wands so they'll grow for the past two weeks- so yeah, the outside time is a favorite for both of us.

HERE's a photo of her, and I'm going to upload a few more in the morning, that's just the one from my intro post.

I've been struggling with the substrate for her- my family has some allergies as well as some serious issues with bugs (and dirt) of any sort and the only happy medium I've been able to settle on with them for indoors is layers of clean newsprint. Mulch got vetoed and dirt is apparently too dirty (...duh.). I freely admit there's a fair bit of OCD in my family, and I'm kind of at my wit's end, so right now the only digging Bogey gets to do is out in the yard. Sigh. But yes, I do daily warm water soaks which she seems to enjoy and she gets mixed greens every day, along with a piece of fruit as a treat every few weeks.
 

ascott

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LOL...another OCD household...awesome :D How big is Bogey? I mean how long is she? I would continue with the out door time...in the photo you have here I see that she is a little flat on the area that is normally the hump of their shell...this is likely due to whoever had her before did not offer up adequate sun....so the more for her the better (I dont mean bake her :p but as much as possible) as you seem to be doing...awesome :D
 

Tom

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There are far too many variables for anyone to have a definitive answer about exactly how much UV any given tortoise actually "needs". The 20 minutes a few times a week is enough to prevent MBD, but it is just a minimum. More time is better and they also get the benefit of grazing and exercise if you can leave the out longer.

How long is your baby? If its five or six inches, it's is probably okay to be outside. If its smaller than that, here's an idea for you:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread...ut-Safe-Outdoor-Baby-Enclosures#axzz1bv5qbbcz

A word of caution: I worked at a pet store near Hermosa and Manhattan Beach and the cold clammy beach environment made every single CDT I ever saw living down there for any length of time sick. We cured them by taking them inland to Whittier, where it is much dryer and hotter. If I were you, I would put the tortoise out on warm sunny days, but bring it inside and under a heat lamp on cold or over cast days. Watch for gaping, yawning, breathing noises and nasal bubbles or discharge.
 

blackbird

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ascott said:
LOL...another OCD household...awesome :D How big is Bogey? I mean how long is she? I would continue with the out door time...in the photo you have here I see that she is a little flat on the area that is normally the hump of their shell...this is likely due to whoever had her before did not offer up adequate sun....so the more for her the better (I dont mean bake her :p but as much as possible) as you seem to be doing...awesome :D

Lol, not sure 'awesome' is the word I'd use, but yeah let's go with that ;D They're surprisingly fond of her though, so I can live with it.
She's somewhere around 6-1/2 inches long? And yeah, actually I was really worried about that we got her- the flat area seemed more pronounced (or maybe it was because she was skinny?) and I initially thought that something had stepped on or tried to attack her. I have some pictures from around then that I've been trying to find. And thanks- I'm gonna work hard at keeping her happy. :)

Tom said:
There are far too many variables for anyone to have a definitive answer about exactly how much UV any given tortoise actually "needs". The 20 minutes a few times a week is enough to prevent MBD, but it is just a minimum. More time is better and they also get the benefit of grazing and exercise if you can leave the out longer.

How long is your baby? If its five or six inches, it's is probably okay to be outside. If its smaller than that, here's an idea for you:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread...ut-Safe-Outdoor-Baby-Enclosures#axzz1bv5qbbcz

A word of caution: I worked at a pet store near Hermosa and Manhattan Beach and the cold clammy beach environment made every single CDT I ever saw living down there for any length of time sick. We cured them by taking them inland to Whittier, where it is much dryer and hotter. If I were you, I would put the tortoise out on warm sunny days, but bring it inside and under a heat lamp on cold or over cast days. Watch for gaping, yawning, breathing noises and nasal bubbles or discharge.

She's definitely at least six inches long, so I'll try letting her chill out in the yard for the day then? I'm puttering around at home for the time being so I'll be able to keep an eye out. We run a dehumidifier in the house for a few hours a day since this place had some mold issues before we moved in- so on the other side of the coin, that won't hurt her will it? She always has access to her water..
 

Tom

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Shouldn't hurt her as long as she's hydrated. I would soak regularly, just to make sure and offer a humid hide box in the indoor enclosure. Temps are the important thing in that environment. Its a rare day for it to warm up to what a CDT needs on the coast. Definitely get some sunshine whenever possible, but maintain those warm indoor temps with a basking spot too.
 

MikeCow1

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I've had CDTs for over 40 years. And they have always done just fine outdoors summer and winter. As long as they have access to water, food and shade when they want it they've been very happy.
 
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