Greetings from the Sunshine State!

Barista5261

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Hello Tortoise Forum!

I’m not very good at introductions, but here we go. My name is Amy and I am the proud mommy of 2 Sulcata babies. I live in Central Florida (Orlando to be exact), great tortoise weather almost year round! I found this forum after following a bunch of people on Instagram, and them mentioning this wonderful place. I immediately came here and have been pouring over every sully-related thread I could find and am absorbing every ounce of information I can find. I’ve read and re-read, then re-re-read all of Tom’s threads, they are an amazing learning tool, thank you so much for them. I have gained so much knowledge from this wonderful forum, I thought it’d only be fair that I register and start posting.

Now on to my babies. My fiancée and I are big animal lovers, but unfortunately I have HORRIBLE allergies to anything with fur or hair L (I had to rehome my 17 pound Maine Coon cat. I miss him terribly [DISAPPOINTED FACE]) My fiancee had an 8ft boa as his childhood pet, so I knew we were probably headed in the exotic direction for our first pet together. For a few weeks, he had been talking about getting some kind of tortoise. We knew we wanted a tortoise so we didn’t have to worry about maintaining a water habitat for a turtle. There is only 1 exotic pet store around here, and one afternoon we decided to go check it out as neither of us had been there before. I now know that “hey let’s go to the pet store and look around” means that we probably aren’t going to leave empty handed [FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY]. We had done some reading on Red Foots and really liked them, but the pet store at the time didn’t have any, only Sulcatas. Him and I fell in love with the adorable clutch of hatchlings that were in there and took one home with us.

I did not know at the time, but the information given to us by the pet store owners was only about 50% correct. I feel horrible for following the incorrect information, but I did not know any better back then. These poor hatchlings were started out the “dry beef jerkey” way and were only given iceberg salad mix COVERED in the super veggie powder supplement. We were also told to only soak our baby once a week, use rabbit hay pellets as the substrate, and no water dish or humidity.

I had not done much reading at that point, and my fiancée mistakenly thought that Sulcatas are the “companion” type tortoise and thought our baby needed a friend. Nowhere else around here sold Sulcatas, so we ended up buying another one from the same store, same clutch. We were told we could house them together for the 1st year or so until they get big enough to hurt each other, then separate them. Also just in case one of them turns out to be a girl, and the other one is a boy, that is a no-no.

Major things I have changed since finding this forum:

Substrate. The rabbit pellets were one of the first things to go. I first changed it to Cyprus mulch, which I like because it is very good at holding in moisture without molding. I then learned about coconut coir, so I got some of that and mixed it in with the mulch. My babies went NUTS! They took to it like pigs to mud. I had never seen them dig or attempt to make any kind of burrow until now, and now they partially bury themselves in it and give themselves coco coir covered spa basking sessions daily [SMILING FACE WITH SMILING EYES]

Water dish. I swear by the terra cotta plant saucers. I don’t think you can beat $1 per plate at Lowe’s hahahaha. I also tried the placing of larger smooth rocks around their dish so they don’t track as much substrate into their water. Seems to be working so far.

Hides. I also swear by the terra cotta flower pots. I gave them each one and ever since the addition of the coco coir, dirt naps for all! I also now try to bury the bottom half of the pot into the substrate and cover the top rim with substrate so they can climb over it, much like a Hobbit Hole in the Shire.

Basking spot. I laid down a bunch of smooth rocks to create a basking spot directly under their light. I also repurposed one of those small feeding dishes meant for hatchlings that is too deep and the sides are high, flipped it upside down so they can park themselves on top of it to bask.

Probably one of the most important things that I know I need to do that I have not been able to do yet is completely close off their enclosure. Now let me say this- My fiancée and I had to move out of the house we were living in, and into an apartment. It was after I moved in here that I started learning about how important outside sunshine time is for sullies. I am only here until next August, I am then moving to my (future) Mother in law’s farm up in the panhandle where she’s got a good 60+ acres of grass, cows, horses, donkeys, a gigantic flock of chickens, and plenty of room for us to build good outdoor enclosures for the torts. I’ve been buying a few things for their enclosure every paycheck, and this Friday’s paycheck is gonna get 2 CHE, 2 repti-foggers, another light fixture with the appropriate bulbs, and 2 much bigger enclosures of some type so I can separate them. I know it’s a step by step process, and I am working hard to get it right for my babies. I’ve stopped buying little luxuries for myself so I can give them the best life possible [HEAVY BLACK HEART]️

Diet and exercise. No more iceberg lettuce! Since I can’t let my babies run around outside, I have decided that I am going to bring the outside to them! I have their current enclosure parked next to big windows so they get the sun when it comes through. I also started a window sill veggie box with bok choy, arugula, and mustard greens. I raid my local grocery store's produce section and give my babies a various assortment of all the good greens (minus spinach) and the occasional veggie or fruit. I also started another window box with Bermuda grass. That is taking its sweet time to grow, so I got impatient and bought a tray of St. Augustine grass yesterday hahaha. They also get supervised run around time for exercise every day, along with daily warm soaks.

So, over the past few weeks with my newly acquired wealth of knowledge, I have made drastic changes to my babies’ habitat. I know with all of you guys’ help I am well on my way to raising 2 babies that will someday grow up to be grass-eating dinosaurs J With the changes that I have made so far, I can tell they are happy, they eat like horses, poop like champs, and sleep like rocks!

Without further ado, may I present:

ImageUploadedByTortForum1385589949.753880.jpg

ImageUploadedByTortForum1385590786.989262.jpg

ImageUploadedByTortForum1385590830.638889.jpg
(I love this Superman pose)

Mr. Turtle! He is the first baby we brought home. My fiancée insisted on naming him that because him and I are big fans of the show My Name is Earl, and on the show the character Darnell had a pet Sulcata named Mr. Turtle. He is the bigger of the two.



ImageUploadedByTortForum1385589983.804167.jpg

ImageUploadedByTortForum1385590917.161609.jpg

ImageUploadedByTortForum1385590971.991022.jpg

Pistachio! He is an adorable goof ball. He is slightly smaller, but used to be A LOT smaller than Mr. Turtle. I am glad he is starting to catch up. Another reason why I am separating them soon is Mr. Turtle will walk right up to Pistachio and eat the food right out of his mouth. I thought it was funny at first, but then realized that was an early sign of bullying/dominance. Which leads me to believe Mr. Turtle is most likely a boy.



Questions

I know that tortoises can grow at different rates, even those from the same clutch. Is there such a thing as a “runt” in tortoise clutches? I’m wondering because Pistachio used to be bigger than Mr. Turtle. Then Mr. Turtle started growing like a weed. I am separating them so Pistachio has the best chance possible to grow up to be just as big as his brother [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH]



For the closed chambers- I read that the large plastic tubs with the lids (I think Rubbermaid makes them) are pretty good and not very expensive, are they ok to use or are there some other type of containers/tanks out there that would be suitable?



I apologize for the world’s longest intro, but I am super excited to be learning something every day here and to be part of such an awesome and knowledgeable community!
 
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AZtortMom

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Hi and welcome to TFO [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH] I'm glad you made your way here. Of course you need to provide pictures of your babies [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND SMILING EYES]
 

Barista5261

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AZtortMom said:
Hi and welcome to TFO [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH] I'm glad you made your way here. Of course you need to provide pictures of your babies [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND SMILING EYES]

Thank you for the welcome!

Oh crud, did the pictures not post? I uploaded 5 or 6 with my original post. Sorry, I am still trying to get used to this forum layout and mechanics.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Amy:

Welcome to the Forum!
 

Barista5261

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diamondbp said:
Welcome Amy, the longer the intro the better ;)

Hahahaha thank you! I get carried away waaaay too easily and usually talk too much when I get excited about whatever I'm talking about [FACE WITH STUCK-OUT TONGUE AND WINKING EYE]
 

AZtortMom

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Barista5261 said:
AZtortMom said:
Hi and welcome to TFO [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH] I'm glad you made your way here. Of course you need to provide pictures of your babies [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND SMILING EYES]

Thank you for the welcome!

Oh crud, did the pictures not post? I uploaded 5 or 6 with my original post. Sorry, I am still trying to get used to this forum layout and mechanics.

Your profile pic is adorable [GRINNING FACE WITH SMILING EYES][HEAVY BLACK HEART]️
 

T33's Torts

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Re: RE: Greetings from the Sunshine State!

AZtortMom said:
Hi and welcome to TFO [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH] I'm glad you made your way here. Of course you need to provide pictures of your babies [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND SMILING EYES]

There's pictures there, tort mom.
 

Barista5261

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Central Florida
AZtortMom said:
Barista5261 said:
AZtortMom said:
Hi and welcome to TFO [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH] I'm glad you made your way here. Of course you need to provide pictures of your babies [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND SMILING EYES]

Thank you for the welcome!

Oh crud, did the pictures not post? I uploaded 5 or 6 with my original post. Sorry, I am still trying to get used to this forum layout and mechanics.

Your profile pic is adorable [GRINNING FACE WITH SMILING EYES][HEAVY BLACK HEART]️


Thank you! That was the first time I gave my babies pumpkin. I take it by them FACEPLANTING into it, they like it. I have no idea what possessed me to give them a bath BEFORE feeding them pumpkin. *facepalm*
 

AZtortMom

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Oops! Just saw the more button [FLUSHED FACE] ADORABLE [GRINNING FACE WITH SMILING EYES]
 

T33's Torts

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And I've never seen a runt... It could be what they call mental dominance. Especially if they were housed as a clutch for a long time. I have one (a rescue) that I believe to be a victim of bullying.
 

Barista5261

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tffnytorts said:
And I've never seen a runt... It could be what they call mental dominance. Especially if they were housed as a clutch for a long time. I have one (a rescue) that I believe to be a victim of bullying.

Okay. Yeah Mr. Turtle will climb over him, sit INSIDE the food dish so he covers the majority of the food as if to claim it as his (much like cats sit on everything to claim their property), bullying behavior like that. I want my little guy to grow up and be as big as Sandy's Oliver! [SMILING FACE WITH SMILING EYES]
 

Barista5261

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Tom said:
Hello and welcome.

Have you seen this one yet?
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-76744.html

Yes! Thank you Tom, I often reference this sheet when I am in Home Depot/Lowes/Walmart garden section as to what grass and plants to buy [GRINNING FACE WITH SMILING EYES]

My apartment is quickly turning into a greenhouse [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH][THUMBS UP SIGN]
 
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