Desert Tortoise Newbie.

AZGirl

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Sep 11, 2019
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Pyramiding doesn't go away, but does become less noticeable over time.

Adulthood comes with size, not so much age. They can breed at 8-10 inches.

I like to soak for 30-40 minutes. Longer will do no harm.

60s at night and high 70s to 80s AND sunny, are good temps for them.
That’s what I thought about his skutes, that they’d like look better as he grows. Those are about our temps now although this week nights will drop below 60. But I bring him in at night. I’m thinking to stop offering food to let dig track clear but concerned about his weight. Vet check detailed below in other post. He has not gained weight since last year. Thanks for all the info.

Am soaking him daily, also see below.

Thanks, Dee
 

Blackdog1714

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I would take a pencil and paper and weekly trace his shape. Compare them to see size/shape growth differences
 

AZGirl

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That’s what I thought about his skutes, that they’d like look better as he grows. Those are about our temps now although this week nights will drop below 60. But I bring him in at night. I’m thinking to stop offering food to let dig track clear but concerned about his weight. Vet check detailed below in other post. He has not gained weight since last year. Thanks for all the info.

Am soaking him daily, also see below.

Thanks, Dee
Actually see above.
 

AZGirl

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View attachment 280701


Well, took Parker to vet on Monday. This one is reptile certified. Last year was just vet, didn’t seem to know too much about torts. So he said Parker looked good. He listened to his heart and lungs, checked his eyes and extremities, his shell (he said was good and hard) and even pried open his mouth to see the color and (saliva?) )Parker was not real cooperative with the mouth inspection ). He said Parker looked really good and that he was well hydrated. My main concern is that he has not gained but one gram since last year. He looks like he’s grown some in size but he weighed 1lb last year at this time and 1.01 this year. So I’m thinking his bad diet and picky eating habits. I’m trying to wean him off romaine offering other things but he is either slowing down his eating or just walking on by. How much should they gain in a year? How do I tell if he’s ‘fat’ enough to Hibernate? It’s late in the season to try and fatten him up. It’s starting to cool off at night here but days still in 80s so still taking him outside and soaking him daily. He seems to like until water cools. I could replace water to warm again but he gets a good 20 minutes. What do you all think about his weight?

Here he is saying okay, done soaking Mom.

Wonder if @Tom, if you think I should hibernate him since he has not gained weight and I’ve been feeding him WAY too much lettuce. I think it’s too late to fatten him up. Now I’m stressed about it. Hi is well hydrated though. Won’t eat the other things I offer. What is the dry hay I can get and soak? Should I try that at this point? Thanks for your input.
 

AZGirl

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I have several desert tortoises who live in a large outdoor yard:

View attachment 280533

They have two shelters, one in the lower left corner of the picture and one in the upper right corner, and both are in deep shade all day long (the little cabin in the upper right corner is a bird house hanging from the tree). They are set on a cement floor (rectangular cement stepping stones, or masonry caps), cinder block walls lined with plywood and a plywood roof. In the fall when the leaves start falling, I rake up leaves and cover both the houses:

View attachment 280534

Eventually, the whole thing is covered with leaves and you can't see any part of it. I make sure all the tortoises are inside and then I block the door. It is dry inside all winter and it never gets down below freezing inside. It's important that you don't allow your desert tortoise to be wet during brumation, and if it freezes where he is, his eyeballs will freeze.

When the days start to get shorter and the nights are staying cool, the tortoises stop eating on their own. They will come out and bask in the sun, then go back into the shelter. They do this for a couple weeks. Eventually they will no longer come out. At that time I know they're ready to brumate, so I make sure they're all inside and I block the door, adding more leaves until the shelter is completely covered.

In the spring, when the night temperature is consistently 50F or above, I unblock the door and allow the tortoises to come out whenever they're ready. One of the tortoises that lives here is Mi-Shell, a 70+ year old female that was my first desert tortoise. I've had her 30 or 40 years and she was full grown when I got her. She has brumated in this shelter every winter and come out just fine in the spring.

There's nothing wrong with your tortoise's mouth, and the shell looks just fine.

Thank you @Yvonne!
 

Tom

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Wonder if @Tom, if you think I should hibernate him since he has not gained weight and I’ve been feeding him WAY too much lettuce. I think it’s too late to fatten him up. Now I’m stressed about it. Hi is well hydrated though. Won’t eat the other things I offer. What is the dry hay I can get and soak? Should I try that at this point? Thanks for your input.
I wouldn't until you get things sorted.

I'd make a large indoor enclosure with good lighting and keep him up. He can still go outside all winter on warm sunny days. Just leave him in on cold nights and overcast or rainy days.
 

AZGirl

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I wouldn't until you get things sorted.

I'd make a large indoor enclosure with good lighting and keep him up. He can still go outside all winter on warm sunny days. Just leave him in on cold nights and overcast or rainy days.
Average temp where I live is 54 in winter @Tom although we occasional 60 65 day. It would be much too cold to let him out I think. I think they did not use a gram scale last year and this year new vet did. How many grams should DT gain in year at 5 yo? Do you know? Thank you very much for your input
 
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