Hello from Northern Utah! (Russians & Sulcata)

wanderlust

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Northern Utah
Hi! My name is Michelle and located in Utah up by the Idaho border. I'm new to the forum and am enjoying it so much! I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful information here. Currently, I have two Russians and a Sulcata.

I've only been a tortoise mom since the beginning of July when a dear friend's elderly friend passed away. The lady who passed away had a number of tortoises and was very active in the tortoise society culture, helping form Nevada tortoise groups and leaving a large sum to tortoise groups. Sadly, I think over the past year, as her health rapidly declined, so did the care of her beloved tortoises. My friend, who drove 10 hours round trip to take care of her multiple times a month, finally convinced her to move from Nevada to Utah with her 13 or so tortoises so that she could receive medical treatment but she passed soon after.

And that's how journey with tortoises started.

I really fell in love with her desert tortoises who had to be returned to Nevada immediately due to federal regulations. I was determined to help my friend so I started researching the types of tortoises she was left with to see if there were any I felt comfortable providing care for. The other option was that my friend would need to pack them up and ship them to the society the lady was a part of in CA. She had red foots, Burmese blacks, and Horsfields which I didn't realize at the time were the same as Russians which I was somewhat familiar with. The Burmese seemed quite aggressive and after looking up red foot care, I decided I could not house them properly, but I fell in love with the little Russians so I brought them home. They have really come out of their shell since coming home with me. They are so active (they slept ALL THE TIME previously) with great personalities and they have really expanded their tastebuds. These two originally came from PetSmart and are much older than I was originally told (5-6 yrs).

My Sulcata, which I've only had since the beginning of July, was found on our local classified site. It was said to be 8" long, ~5 years old, and was kept in a glass tank with 2 other smaller Sulcatas. If I was to get one I had wanted a female, knowing that they do not grow quite as big, but these were too small to tell sex and I couldn't stand to leave these 3 in their conditions. The owner was requesting that the 3 stay together and, after my initial research, I knew that was not what was best for the tortoises especially if they all ended up being males, so they let me buy just one. It's so small for its size that, upon Tom's recommendations, I've taken it back to baby care for the most part. It gets daily soaks and I've limited its daily outings to morning and evening when its cooler to keep it from overheating. After all the guidance and information I've read on this forum, I'm not sure that we are cut out to be a Sulcata family so it may eventually be put up for adoption to someone who can give it the space it needs and take care of it properly but at least I have it going on the right track now. The previous owner bought it online 3 yrs ago from someone in southern Utah.

I now have a soft spot in my heart for these little guys and watch the classifieds to see if there's any I can help. I prefer the species that hibernate in the winter as we do not have a ton of indoor space. The rest of the year, we have an acre with mature trees for shade and irrigation to help keep the humidity up. I really hope to be able to adopt a desert tortoise someday after falling in love with the lady who passed's. Maybe it will work out next year since 2020 adoptions have been shut down to Covid-19.

If you actually read all of this, thank you and I look forward to learning so much more from this forum!

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Russians when I first brought them home.

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Russians now.

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Sulcata pic on classifieds.

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wanderlust

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Northern Utah
Oh yes! And I'm definitely not a newbie to pets and exotics in general. We have 3 mustangs, lots of chickens, 2 dogs, a few cats, and a bearded dragon. Many, many years ago, I worked at a couple of pet stores, a large parrot aviary, as a veterinary technician in an exotics clinic in Hawaii, and I've worked as a zookeeper and in the education department of my local zoo. I tend to like animals more than most people. 😁
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
4,827
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
Hi! My name is Michelle and located in Utah up by the Idaho border. I'm new to the forum and am enjoying it so much! I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful information here. Currently, I have two Russians and a Sulcata.

I've only been a tortoise mom since the beginning of July when a dear friend's elderly friend passed away. The lady who passed away had a number of tortoises and was very active in the tortoise society culture, helping form Nevada tortoise groups and leaving a large sum to tortoise groups. Sadly, I think over the past year, as her health rapidly declined, so did the care of her beloved tortoises. My friend, who drove 10 hours round trip to take care of her multiple times a month, finally convinced her to move from Nevada to Utah with her 13 or so tortoises so that she could receive medical treatment but she passed soon after.

And that's how journey with tortoises started.

I really fell in love with her desert tortoises who had to be returned to Nevada immediately due to federal regulations. I was determined to help my friend so I started researching the types of tortoises she was left with to see if there were any I felt comfortable providing care for. The other option was that my friend would need to pack them up and ship them to the society the lady was a part of in CA. She had red foots, Burmese blacks, and Horsfields which I didn't realize at the time were the same as Russians which I was somewhat familiar with. The Burmese seemed quite aggressive and after looking up red foot care, I decided I could not house them properly, but I fell in love with the little Russians so I brought them home. They have really come out of their shell since coming home with me. They are so active (they slept ALL THE TIME previously) with great personalities and they have really expanded their tastebuds. These two originally came from PetSmart and are much older than I was originally told (5-6 yrs).

My Sulcata, which I've only had since the beginning of July, was found on our local classified site. It was said to be 8" long, ~5 years old, and was kept in a glass tank with 2 other smaller Sulcatas. If I was to get one I had wanted a female, knowing that they do not grow quite as big, but these were too small to tell sex and I couldn't stand to leave these 3 in their conditions. The owner was requesting that the 3 stay together and, after my initial research, I knew that was not what was best for the tortoises especially if they all ended up being males, so they let me buy just one. It's so small for its size that, upon Tom's recommendations, I've taken it back to baby care for the most part. It gets daily soaks and I've limited its daily outings to morning and evening when its cooler to keep it from overheating. After all the guidance and information I've read on this forum, I'm not sure that we are cut out to be a Sulcata family so it may eventually be put up for adoption to someone who can give it the space it needs and take care of it properly but at least I have it going on the right track now. The previous owner bought it online 3 yrs ago from someone in southern Utah.

I now have a soft spot in my heart for these little guys and watch the classifieds to see if there's any I can help. I prefer the species that hibernate in the winter as we do not have a ton of indoor space. The rest of the year, we have an acre with mature trees for shade and irrigation to help keep the humidity up. I really hope to be able to adopt a desert tortoise someday after falling in love with the lady who passed's. Maybe it will work out next year since 2020 adoptions have been shut down to Covid-19.

If you actually read all of this, thank you and I look forward to learning so much more from this forum!

View attachment 300953
Russians when I first brought them home.

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Russians now.

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Sulcata pic on classifieds.

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Personally, it was fun to read what you wrote. It's pretty unusual to meet someone who talks as much as me...lol welcome. My bigger Sulcata had the same thing happen this winter. His carapace was perfect until I had to put him in his shed for the winter and a 150 watt UVB flood light. Now there's a 'hump' over his neck
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maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
4,827
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
Personally, it was fun to read what you wrote. It's pretty unusual to meet someone who talks as much as me...lol welcome. My bigger Sulcata had the same thing happen this winter. His carapace was perfect until I had to put him in his shed for the winter and a 150 watt UVB flood light. Now there's a 'hump' over his neck
View attachment 301037
And I am changing his name from Big Sam to Humpy...
 

wanderlust

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Northern Utah
Personally, it was fun to read what you wrote. It's pretty unusual to meet someone who talks as much as me...lol welcome.

LOL! I'm actually a shy person in real life. I attribute my ability to talk to people as needed to growing up as a military brat and then becoming a military spouse. It would have been a lonely world if I didn't force myself out of my shell, especially since moving to Utah where we are not in a military community and not members of the dominant culture.
 

maggie3fan

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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
4,827
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
That's interesting that one winter would cause that much change! How old is he?
7 or 8. I live in Oregon, where people don't tan they rust. So I put him in his shed in October, (a perfect and beautiful carapace) and he didn't go out for 6 months, and with the new powerful UVB bulb 12 inches off his carapace, he was doomed from the start. He now has a 75 watt incandescent light bulb, and I am going to open his doggie door every morning rain or shine and he can make up his own mind if he wants to go out or not and I will hope that pyramiding stops.
 

maggie3fan

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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
4,827
Location (City and/or State)
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As an over the road truck driver, I am very familiar with Northern Utah. It was there that I first saw a herd of real antelope, and drove on snow, over time I drove for 3 different trucking companies based in SLC...I like Utah
 

KronksMom

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Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
348
Location (City and/or State)
Illinois
Hello and welcome! So happy that you could help both that woman and her pets. It brings so much relief to know that our the animals we care about will be cared for once we're gone. I hope you realize how much of a difference that made in the end of that woman's life. For those of us who struggle with our own health, trust me, you've done something wonderful for her. Thank you. They'll more than be worth it :)
 

Hutsie B

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Joined
Mar 24, 2013
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448
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NC
Welcome to the forum it is a great place to "talk" to other folks interested in turtles.
 

wanderlust

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Northern Utah
As an over the road truck driver, I am very familiar with Northern Utah. It was there that I first saw a herd of real antelope, and drove on snow, over time I drove for 3 different trucking companies based in SLC...I like Utah

Me, too. My family was stationed here when I was in high school and after graduating, I swore I'd never willingly come back. 😂Then my husband unexpectedly separated from the military while we living in Germany. Utah seemed like a reasonably affordable, safe place to move the fam.
 
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