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Does my sulcata shell have an issue?

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by Thekabagepatch, Sep 9, 2017.

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  1. Thekabagepatch

    Thekabagepatch New Member

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    IMG_4454.JPG IMG_4453.JPG I recently became the new owner of a lost sulcata tortoise today (pretty sure it's a sulcata).
    They shell looks dirty or damaged to me and I can not find info on what it could be. Any advice?
  2. Clamhandsmcgee

    Clamhandsmcgee Active Member 5 Year Member

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    That looks like a desert tortoise to me. I see you live in AZ they have very strict laws on these. Maybe someone else can help you that lives in your state.

    And to answer your question, the shell looks dirty. These are burrowing tortoises and will be dirty from digging.
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Besides looking dirty, your little DESERT TORTOISE looks very dry. He should be kept indoors in a warm, humid environment with a good UVB light. Place him into a bowl that he can't climb out of and add warm water to come up to the middle of his sides. Leave him soaking in there for at least 15 minutes. When ready to take him out you can gently rub some of the water over his shell with your fingers and dislodge the dirt and wash him off.
    sshultz314, Tom and Thekabagepatch like this.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hello and welcome! Glad you found us.

    I agree with Yvonne. Desert tortoise. Gopherus species.

    I typed this up for russians, but care for both species is the same. You can add more grass to the diet of the DT though:
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

    Please be aware that vets, pet stores and most of the websites you'll find for this species give TERRIBLE advice and if you follow it, your baby will likely die of dehydration issues. They should not be in a dry enclosure on dry substrate, and they should not be housed outside all day. Babies need to be soaked daily to stay hydrated. When you tell them this at the pet store or vets office, they will likely ask: "Well who soaks them every day in the wild?" My Answer: "No one. That's why 300-1000 of them die for every one that survives to adulthood." I've raised dozens of the hatchlings. Daily soaks help them to thrive and survive. As does damp substrate to burrow into and a humid hide for shelter.

    Please feel free to question all of this and ask lots of questions. We are here to talk tortoises. We won't be offended or bothered by lots of questions.
    Ms.Opal and nuzul arief like this.
  5. Thekabagepatch

    Thekabagepatch New Member

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    I wasn't sure if it was a desert tort or a sulcata so any info is helpful!
    Should my tortoise have access to a water dish at all times? I read that I shouldn't for desert tortiouses but that seems odd to me.

    Also, what's the best way to soak my little guy ( or girl)? I should do this everyday?

    I have a Bermuda grass lawn, is that good grass to feed him?

    Thank you for all of the help, wanna give this guy the best he can get.
  6. Clamhandsmcgee

    Clamhandsmcgee Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Definitely give access to fresh water all the time. I would soak everyday for a while. Make sure the humidity is high in it's enclosure (closed chamber.) Read what @Tom wrote and go by his advice, he's a very knowledgeable member here. There is a lot of members here that know what they're doing when it comes to keeping tortoises. Don't hesitate to ask any questions.
    Taylor T. likes this.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    This is exactly the kind of bad info I was referring to… What harm do these people think a drink of water is going to do for a tiny hatchling? Sheesh!

    • Yes. Your tortoise should have access to water 24/7. Use a terra cotta plant saucer sunk into the substrate. Start with a 4 or 6" saucer for a baby, and get larger ones as he grows.
    • Soak the baby in a tall sided opaque plastic tub. Make the water about 85-95 degrees and soak with the tub inside the enclosure or somewhere warm, so the soak water doesn't get cold. You can refresh the water as needed for poop or for temperature. Soak for 15 minutes if you are in a hurry and have somewhere to go. Soak for 45 minutes if its a leisurely day and you've got nowhere to be. Soak every day (Its not a big deal to miss a day once in a while…) until the baby is over 100 grams, then go ahead and start skipping a day now and then. Once you tortoise is 6-8", once or twice a week should be plenty.
    • Fresh young Bermuda grass is great for babies. When they are older they can eat the tough stems and all.
    Read this thread for more food ideas. It was written for sulcatas, so just use a little less emphasis on grass for a DT.
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
    nuzul arief and MissMarg&me like this.
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