Greetings from Brooklyn! I just inherited an abandoned Sulcata.

LilyPlath

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Jan 27, 2019
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Brooklyn, NY
Hello tort friends,

As the title states, I inherited an abandoned Sulcata. She is 32 years old and a whopping...8 pounds. She did not receive great care, being fed only kale and water every other day for many years. Her original owner had a house fire and lost almost everything, so I took in Lily temporarily. However, the owner's life situation has drastically changed since the fire, so he is not taking her back. I considered rehoming her and even called a few sanctuaries, but nobody had availability. I have the resources, I've read up on Sulcatas and know what to expect, and I'm totally smitten, so...here I am!

Lily has metabolic bone disease. The pyramiding is significant, and due to an acute bacterial illness last year, she lost most of her scales. Since entering my care, her skin lesions have healed and she has even started growing again! The vet initially told me to just make her comfortable, but it's clear that Lily is not ready to go just yet.

I live in an apartment. I know that's not ideal. However, my building has a nice outdoor space to bask in during warmer months. My partner and I will be moving into a garden apartment later this year, so she will definitely have dedicated outdoor space from then on. For now, it's far too cold out anyway, so she is indoors. At first she was roaming my apartment freely because that's what her prior owner did. But then she started brumating, which I have come to find out is life-threatening. I have since contained her in a 55-gallon bin-turned-enclosure. Her substrate is a mix of Zoo Med Forest Floor cypress mulch and Eco Earth.

I have graduated Lily from kale to a mix of dandelion, collard greens, prickly pear, and the occasional strawberry. She absolutely positively will not eat hay, soaked or not. I've also ordered Mazuri pellets and calcium powder, which I understand I should use sparingly.

Any recommendations for lamps? I have the Fluker's large sun dome for basking, but I suspect she is still not getting warm enough.

Thanks!
 

queen koopa

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8 pounds in 32 years! !? maybe house fire was karma for lilys treatment. Check out the Sulcata section on this forum. They have everything. Here’s a start: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/african-spurred-tortoise-sulcata-care-sheet.52524/

Can you post a pic? And best of luck to you. I adopted a 5 year old Sulcata who was apartment raised on spring mix and then housed in s garage. She’s good to go now ! It’s astonishing how these animals survive and adapt to random unatural care!
 

Yvonne G

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I'd sure like to see pictures of this tortoise. I can't believe a sulcata only grew to 8lbs in 32 years. That's VERY small for a sulcata, even with bad care and MBD.
 

LilyPlath

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C3BF3F8D-2AD8-4A3A-BA04-FA50E651D5DD.jpeg 4C9BB610-673B-4B63-81E0-F4EEB17BF2B5.jpeg 257982DA-3EBB-417A-90D3-B38BCE7899BD.jpeg Thank you! Yes, it’s pretty incredible. She’s small but feisty! The first two pics are from when I first got her, scales and all. I suspect the fire caused a lot of stress too, hence scale loss. It’s pretty miraculous that she even survived AND was found before demolition. They found her hiding in a wall that hadn’t burned as badly as the rest.
 

Yvonne G

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Yup, it's a sulcata alrighty. But I'll bet the age is wrong. At any rate, there are only about 10 or 12 growth rings - not an accurate way to age a tortoise, but it shows 10 or 12 growth spurts in his lifetime.

Poor Lily. Do your best. He deserves nothing less.
 

LilyPlath

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I suppose it's possible the owner lied...but he said he has had her since early childhood, and we are both in our 30's. Can't imagine why someone would lie about that, though. I guess crazier things have happened.

Any chance she might ever grow her scales back?
 

Toddrickfl1

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That poor tortoise, I'll never understand people that get tortoises or any animal for that matter and neglect them to this extent when it's obvious this is not how a Sulcata is suppose to look. Good job taking it in. Spoil that tortoise for the rest of it's days!
 

LilyPlath

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Thank you! I'm sure you'll be seeing my posts all over the place since I'm a bit of a reptile noob. I'll do my best to make her happy. She loves getting out and chasing my dog.
 

Melis

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Welcome! What great things you are doing!

Few pointers. Sulcatas don’t Brumate. A slow down could be caused by temps being too low. What are the temps? You will need a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) for night.
Also, public grass areas could be chemically treated so keep that in mind. And roaming the floors of your apartment could be dangerous and too cold.

What a lucky tort to have found you!
 

Ray--Opo

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Welcome and thank you for rescuing the poor tort. If something comes up and you can't care for the little tort and can't find a good home. if it is possible to send thru the mail in a safe way. You can send to me. I will cover the costs. Any other members please chime in if it is feasible to send in the mail. I want the little guy a plan B
 

LilyPlath

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She's in an enclosure at this point, no apartment roaming. I didn't consider that about the dog, though she does seem to like him--once she catches up she just snuggles up, no ramming or biting. Body heat maybe?

Thanks for offering her a home if anything comes up. I don't imagine I'll need to rehome her, but I really appreciate the offer! I'm so glad everyone is so welcoming and helpful!
 

TechnoCheese

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She's in an enclosure at this point, no apartment roaming. I didn't consider that about the dog, though she does seem to like him--once she catches up she just snuggles up, no ramming or biting. Body heat maybe?

Thanks for offering her a home if anything comes up. I don't imagine I'll need to rehome her, but I really appreciate the offer! I'm so glad everyone is so welcoming and helpful!
“Snuggling” is actually “crowding”, the tortoise trying to stress the dog out of her territory :)
 

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