Hello everyone!

TinysMom

New Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Indio
Hello!
I finally caved in to making an account and hoping to have guidance by all of you in helping me with my new baby. She or he is a sulcata who is almost two years old. I’m not sure how much she weighs at the moment but will definitely have to weigh her. She is about 4 inches in height and about 6 inches in length (head to foot). Finally decided on naming her Tiny, the name is gonna be perfect for when she is huge haha. I have only had her for a couple months now due to my friend who originally was her mom could no longer care for her. So a lot of my time recently has been hours of reading, especially on here, on how to raise her properly. Please bare with me as I’m not sure if I’ll get the terms of what items I was given correctly.

Backstory- She came to me in one of those tortoise tables, the heating reptile lamps, the Mazuri diet and another type of pellet diet. She has gotten slightly bigger already and no longer fits in her little house that she came with so I had to make do with a plastic bin with a cut out door for her to sleep in.

Food- I bought her Timothy Hay and Orchard Hay. Although she hasn’t started eating it on it’s own, I have been putting her Rep-Cal pellets in a little bit of water and I grind the hay to tiny bits to mix it all up and make a tiny “meatball”. Thanks to the person who suggested that idea online! However, I know she’s supposed to be getting a lot more hays and grasses than just that. I’m gonna start on making her a little garden to plant what she needs with the help of the list that I’ve seen Tom has placed on here. I’ve been giving her leafy greens such as, green leaf, red leaf, romaine, arugula, and kale. I do give her a grape tomato as a treat about once a week. I’ve been feeding her around 12pm everyday due to the fact from the information I’ve seen here suggests that they should have the freedom to eat food anytime so I hope I’m doing that right.

Outside Time- I live in Indio, CA, right next to Coachella and no I’ve never been to Coachella Fest lol. It’s hot here in summer time but I’ve been taking her out when it’s a bit more humid than hot. Unfortunately, the humidity out here only hits about 30% and isn’t as high as recommended for them to be getting. We currently cannot have her in our backyard so I sit watching her in our front yard for about 30-45 minutes at least every other day. Then after that I take her to get a warm soak for about 20-30 minutes thanks to the advice from here. And boy does she love pooping during bath time!

Enclosure- The soil I got for her is the Eco Earth Coconut Expandable Substrate, which from what I read so far is not the best so I will have to get a different one.
She did come with those tortoise tables and everything I’ve read on here, especially Toms advice is something I would like to change for her to get the proper humidity. My question would be although she was not brought up in a humid home is it safe to slowly get her to a new enclosure with the proper humidity levels @Tom?
And Tom I must say I admire your knowledge on these little guys and I can’t wait to hear back from you!

I’m excited to be in this community and hope all of you can be of help with raising my little one! Thanks!

here are some photos to help you guys and I’ll make sure to attach a photo of Tiny as well!
57C9F197-AE15-45BE-AC25-3101A404EDD6.jpeg F7450945-32E5-49FE-BB51-FA69A8E13960.jpeg A58426DB-EAA0-44B3-8F9C-893F3241FEC5.jpeg 884661F6-5941-4834-8B83-210C52FA98B1.jpeg 9F33E224-E648-46BA-A732-1FEB308EA05F.jpeg ED0768BA-3945-4078-B711-784186F8F49F.jpeg BC14793B-DD65-4692-BE33-27C69BD53D3F.jpeg 93368EB5-753F-46DB-BD06-AB3B3637A6E8.jpeg
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,806
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello!
I finally caved in to making an account and hoping to have guidance by all of you in helping me with my new baby. She or he is a sulcata who is almost two years old. I’m not sure how much she weighs at the moment but will definitely have to weigh her. She is about 4 inches in height and about 6 inches in length (head to foot). Finally decided on naming her Tiny, the name is gonna be perfect for when she is huge haha. I have only had her for a couple months now due to my friend who originally was her mom could no longer care for her. So a lot of my time recently has been hours of reading, especially on here, on how to raise her properly. Please bare with me as I’m not sure if I’ll get the terms of what items I was given correctly.

Backstory- She came to me in one of those tortoise tables, the heating reptile lamps, the Mazuri diet and another type of pellet diet. She has gotten slightly bigger already and no longer fits in her little house that she came with so I had to make do with a plastic bin with a cut out door for her to sleep in.

Food- I bought her Timothy Hay and Orchard Hay. Although she hasn’t started eating it on it’s own, I have been putting her Rep-Cal pellets in a little bit of water and I grind the hay to tiny bits to mix it all up and make a tiny “meatball”. Thanks to the person who suggested that idea online! However, I know she’s supposed to be getting a lot more hays and grasses than just that. I’m gonna start on making her a little garden to plant what she needs with the help of the list that I’ve seen Tom has placed on here. I’ve been giving her leafy greens such as, green leaf, red leaf, romaine, arugula, and kale. I do give her a grape tomato as a treat about once a week. I’ve been feeding her around 12pm everyday due to the fact from the information I’ve seen here suggests that they should have the freedom to eat food anytime so I hope I’m doing that right.

Outside Time- I live in Indio, CA, right next to Coachella and no I’ve never been to Coachella Fest lol. It’s hot here in summer time but I’ve been taking her out when it’s a bit more humid than hot. Unfortunately, the humidity out here only hits about 30% and isn’t as high as recommended for them to be getting. We currently cannot have her in our backyard so I sit watching her in our front yard for about 30-45 minutes at least every other day. Then after that I take her to get a warm soak for about 20-30 minutes thanks to the advice from here. And boy does she love pooping during bath time!

Enclosure- The soil I got for her is the Eco Earth Coconut Expandable Substrate, which from what I read so far is not the best so I will have to get a different one.
She did come with those tortoise tables and everything I’ve read on here, especially Toms advice is something I would like to change for her to get the proper humidity. My question would be although she was not brought up in a humid home is it safe to slowly get her to a new enclosure with the proper humidity levels @Tom?
And Tom I must say I admire your knowledge on these little guys and I can’t wait to hear back from you!

I’m excited to be in this community and hope all of you can be of help with raising my little one! Thanks!

here are some photos to help you guys and I’ll make sure to attach a photo of Tiny as well!
View attachment 331522 View attachment 331523 View attachment 331524 View attachment 331525 View attachment 331526 View attachment 331527 View attachment 331528 View attachment 331529
Hello and welcome. Always nice to welcome other tortoise keeper to the fold! :)

I'll share my thoughts on what you've explained here.
-You can call her a she if you like, but you won['t know the sex until she's around 14-16 inches.
-That enclosure is definitely too small, and your tortoise would definitely benefit from living in a large warm humid closed chamber for another year or so. I like the ones made by @Markw84 . The ones from Animal Plastics are nice too, but by the time you get it, your tortoise will have outgrown it. I like to move them outside full time, with a heated night box in late spring once they reach 8-10 inches in length. Yours is still a little too small. Next spring, probably June, he/she will be large enough to go live outside full time. Many ways to do this safely. You'll need a large closed chamber just to get you through Fall and winter.
-Make an enclosure outside. Letting them run loose will result in their loss, one way or another, sooner or later. Everyone has good intentions and thinks nothing will go wrong, but something always does go wrong when they are out loose. Contain that little baby and keep her safe.
-Hay is for older larger sulcatas. I don't bother to start them on dry hay until they reach 12 inches or so. When that time comes, I feed them their other foods on a bed of orchard grass hay. In time they begin eating the hay too. Takes no effort at all. Orchard grass hay is best, and Bermuda s good too. I don't care for the Timothy because it is too stemmy, especially for little one. Large adults can eat any hay. Heck, large adults can eat sticks and branches...
-Don't worry about your area being too dry during outside time. Nothing you can do about that. Limit outside time to 5-6 hours a day for now, and keep the tortoise in its humid closed chamber over night and the rest of the time. When the time comes for a night box, add water tubs to increase humidity inside the box.
-Along these lines, I let them burrow and live underground in our hot summers. Then I block off the burrow entrance in Fall, and make them sleep in their heated night boxes all winter until hot weather returns in late spring. If you can swing that, it works great and tremendously reduces the effects of our dry climate.
-The Mazuri is great. I like to offer that a couple of times per week. Grapes and tomatoes should be omitted from the diet entirely. Look for, or grow, fresh grass, weeds, mulberry leaves, grape leaves, lavatera flowers and leaves, hibiscus flowers and leaves. If you must use grocery store greens, favor endive, escarole, arugula, cilantro, and then use collards, kale, turnip greens and mustard greens for variety once in a while. Avoid lettuce when possible. With grocery store greens mix in some dried leaves from Kapidolo farms, or some Herbal Hay from Tortoisesupply.com. You can also soak and mix in horse hay pellets. Another great food for them is spineless opuntia pads. Grow your own, or buy some at any Mexican grocery store, like Tres Sierras or Vallarta. I'm not a big fan of the tortoise fruity pebbles, but use up what you've got there by mixing it in with other stuff until its gone.
-The Eco Earth isn't bad,. Its my second favorite sulcata substrate. As you are seeing, it is too messy for sulcatas, and in an open table it dries out too quickly. When it gets dry, it gets dusty. Fine grade orchid bark works best, but what you've already got is good enough. Keep the eco earth damp and hand pack it down to reduce the mess.

Questions are welcome!
 

TinysMom

New Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Indio
Hello and welcome. Always nice to welcome other tortoise keeper to the fold! :)

I'll share my thoughts on what you've explained here.
-You can call her a she if you like, but you won['t know the sex until she's around 14-16 inches.
-That enclosure is definitely too small, and your tortoise would definitely benefit from living in a large warm humid closed chamber for another year or so. I like the ones made by @Markw84 . The ones from Animal Plastics are nice too, but by the time you get it, your tortoise will have outgrown it. I like to move them outside full time, with a heated night box in late spring once they reach 8-10 inches in length. Yours is still a little too small. Next spring, probably June, he/she will be large enough to go live outside full time. Many ways to do this safely. You'll need a large closed chamber just to get you through Fall and winter.
-Make an enclosure outside. Letting them run loose will result in their loss, one way or another, sooner or later. Everyone has good intentions and thinks nothing will go wrong, but something always does go wrong when they are out loose. Contain that little baby and keep her safe.
-Hay is for older larger sulcatas. I don't bother to start them on dry hay until they reach 12 inches or so. When that time comes, I feed them their other foods on a bed of orchard grass hay. In time they begin eating the hay too. Takes no effort at all. Orchard grass hay is best, and Bermuda s good too. I don't care for the Timothy because it is too stemmy, especially for little one. Large adults can eat any hay. Heck, large adults can eat sticks and branches...
-Don't worry about your area being too dry during outside time. Nothing you can do about that. Limit outside time to 5-6 hours a day for now, and keep the tortoise in its humid closed chamber over night and the rest of the time. When the time comes for a night box, add water tubs to increase humidity inside the box.
-Along these lines, I let them burrow and live underground in our hot summers. Then I block off the burrow entrance in Fall, and make them sleep in their heated night boxes all winter until hot weather returns in late spring. If you can swing that, it works great and tremendously reduces the effects of our dry climate.
-The Mazuri is great. I like to offer that a couple of times per week. Grapes and tomatoes should be omitted from the diet entirely. Look for, or grow, fresh grass, weeds, mulberry leaves, grape leaves, lavatera flowers and leaves, hibiscus flowers and leaves. If you must use grocery store greens, favor endive, escarole, arugula, cilantro, and then use collards, kale, turnip greens and mustard greens for variety once in a while. Avoid lettuce when possible. With grocery store greens mix in some dried leaves from Kapidolo farms, or some Herbal Hay from Tortoisesupply.com. You can also soak and mix in horse hay pellets. Another great food for them is spineless opuntia pads. Grow your own, or buy some at any Mexican grocery store, like Tres Sierras or Vallarta. I'm not a big fan of the tortoise fruity pebbles, but use up what you've got there by mixing it in with other stuff until its gone.
-The Eco Earth isn't bad,. Its my second favorite sulcata substrate. As you are seeing, it is too messy for sulcatas, and in an open table it dries out too quickly. When it gets dry, it gets dusty. Fine grade orchid bark works best, but what you've already got is good enough. Keep the eco earth damp and hand pack it down to reduce the mess.

Questions are welcome!
Thanks so much Tom!
I will start working on a game plan on everything you have suggested and go from there 🙂
 
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TaylorTortoise

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
1,029
Location (City and/or State)
Abington
Beautiful. You came to the right place! In the right time.
Can we see updates on enclosure and if there are any other updates with Tiny? He/she is beautiful and looks extremely happy. Good luck with your new life long bestfriend.
 
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