Hello, new Sulcata mom in NC

Chelle Duncan

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Sep 23, 2014
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4
Hello, I am Michelle. My boyfriend, James and I are recent adopters of a female Sulcata tort, age unknown (probably around 5 yrs). Her name is Dandi. She is currently about the size of a "lady's footstool" and weights about 12 lbs. She had a rough start in life and has the long lasting scars to show for it. She suffers an overgrown lower beak, which she gets sedated and Dremeled a couple time/year. She also has some minor pyramiding in her scutes. We were lucky to be picked to adopt her. A very good friend of mine is a veterinarian who also has a great love and interest in many types of reptiles, and has agreed to help me with the special needs of Dandi. When she was rescued by the reptile sanctuary where we got her, she was malnourished and unable to eat due to her beak deformity. Dandi earned her name because when she was finally able to start eating and grazing, her favorite greens were dandelion leaves. She couldn't get enough of them, and still to this day will pass up everything else if dandelion is on the menu.
Since Dandi is still pretty small and portable, she is currently living in a 110 gallon stock tank on our sunporch. This gives her plenty of room to move around and turn around. During the day we take her out for several hours of sunlight and grazing in the yard. Since we are heading into fall and winter here in the mountains of NC, she will probably spend the next 6-7 months living on the sunporch. We are also building her an outdoor enclosure for next summer. An area 3 railroad ties x 3 railroad ties has been partitioned off for her on our 3.76 acre yard. She will still have run of the full yard to graze when we are home to supervise, but she will have a safe dry enclosure to roam when we have to be at work. We are busy dropping posts for the view obscuring fence, and I am trying to decipher the assembly instructions for a garden storage "shed" that will be her heated, night-time hangout.
I am still trying to find the best heating source for her. I have been trying ceramic heat emitters (CHEs), but am having a time getting the ambient temps warm enough. As a vet tech, I am always leary of putting any animal on a heating pad, but was thinking that maybe wrapping the walls of one end of her enclosure with a "pig blanket" or two might work to give her a nest of warmth. I also have some left over reflective insulation padding from building the outside shed. I am trying that with an old blanket, tented over the stock tank to hold heat inside the enclosure (no direct contact with lights or heating elements).
Feeding this girl has turned out to be the easy part. We sell duck eggs through a local organic market and they also provide us produce they can no longer put out to sell. This stuff looks good enough for me to eat, and it is all organic. They originally give it to us for the ducks, but there is plenty for Dandi, too. And as I mentioned earlier we have several acres for her to wander and graze.
I plan to be taking many, many pictures and posting them here and everywhere I can. I am a proud new Sulcata mom!!
Once Dandi outgrows her indoor enclosure, I hope to become the proud mom of a couple of Star Torts as well.
 

Tom

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12 pounds is on the small side for sexing. Post some pics of the anal scutes and tail and we can play the guessing game.

110 gallon is WAYYYYYY to small for a 12 pound tortoise. You need something much larger right away.

Plastic storage sheds are not going to work for a NC winter. A sun porch doesn't sound warm enough for a tropical animal either. You need something like this, or indoor housing depending on how cold it gets there and for how long:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/my-best-night-box-design-yet.66867/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/

Here are some threads to catch you up to speed. Hope we can help.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Michelle, and welcome to the forum!
 

tortdad

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Tom is the "Go to"person around here when it come to Sulcatas. He's got decades experience and a proven track record with 100s of babies so you can trust his threads on how to care for a sulcata


0.0.1 Redfoot (Spike)
0.0.1 Cherryhead Redfoot (Bruce Wayne)
1.0 Sulcata (Hal Jordan)
 

tortdad

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Oh, and welcome to TFO :)


0.0.1 Redfoot (Spike)
0.0.1 Cherryhead Redfoot (Bruce Wayne)
1.0 Sulcata (Hal Jordan)
 

lismar79

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Welcome! It sounds like you care a lot about this girl :) oil filled radiator might be a good way to heat your sun porch up. Any chance you can block a good size area of that room off and get her out of the tank??? Also, I'm sure you are aware but she's going to need uv light throughout the winter if you can not get her out side and the sun room glass will block these rays from reaching her. A powersun heat and uv in one bulb may be good for you to look into.
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Hello chelle welcome to the TFO from AZ . Torts rule !


Sent from my iPhone using TortForum
 

Chelle Duncan

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Sep 23, 2014
Messages
4
Welcome! It sounds like you care a lot about this girl :) oil filled radiator might be a good way to heat your sun porch up. Any chance you can block a good size area of that room off and get her out of the tank??? Also, I'm sure you are aware but she's going to need uv light throughout the winter if you can not get her out side and the sun room glass will block these rays from reaching her. A powersun heat and uv in one bulb may be good for you to look into.

Thanks for the welcoming greeting. Thank for the suggestion of the radiant heat, I have been considering which would work better, radiant oil or a few ceramic area heaters. Our sunporch faces south and east so it gets very warm in there during the day, and I have been assured that is still the case in the winter (during the day), we will primarily be needing heat at night. Her current stock tank is solely an "at night" and "during working hours" situation. Right now she gets several hours of sunlight and exercise out in our yard. During the winter, she will have run of the sunporch and probably be brought indoors on occasion. I have a desert reptile UVB lamp on order (probably already been delivered to work). Having difficulty with the utility shop style dome lights, even the ones from the pet supply stores don't seem to hold up well (short circuits, blown bulbs, and poor wiring). Currently researching pig blankets to use as supplemental heat during colder nights. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
 

Chelle Duncan

New Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
4
12 pounds is on the small side for sexing. Post some pics of the anal scutes and tail and we can play the guessing game.

110 gallon is WAYYYYYY to small for a 12 pound tortoise. You need something much larger right away.

Plastic storage sheds are not going to work for a NC winter. A sun porch doesn't sound warm enough for a tropical animal either. You need something like this, or indoor housing depending on how cold it gets there and for how long:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/my-best-night-box-design-yet.66867/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/

Here are some threads to catch you up to speed. Hope we can help.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

I understand you are the go-to guy for any info related to sulcatas and other desert torts. I appreciate and respect your knowledge, enthusiasm, and dedication to making sure all torts get the care and husbandry they need. BUT your manners suck. Scolding me in the first two lines of your "greeting"... not the best way to keep someone who still needs to learn asking questions. I am not ignorant, but I am not an expert. I would love to learn from someone like you, but your approach is off-putting. I hope we can start over on a better footing.
 

Chelle Duncan

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Sep 23, 2014
Messages
4
Attaching some images Dandi. Up load is taking forever, so pictures of her enclosures will have to come later.
 

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Tom

The Dog Trainer
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I understand you are the go-to guy for any info related to sulcatas and other desert torts. I appreciate and respect your knowledge, enthusiasm, and dedication to making sure all torts get the care and husbandry they need. BUT your manners suck. Scolding me in the first two lines of your "greeting"... not the best way to keep someone who still needs to learn asking questions. I am not ignorant, but I am not an expert. I would love to learn from someone like you, but your approach is off-putting. I hope we can start over on a better footing.

Scolding? No. That was some helpful tips for some mistakes that you are making. And yes, you are ignorant. That is why you are making mistakes and don't know how to house your tortoise properly. Its not an insult. We were all ignorant of proper tortoise care at one time. Me included. I was attempting to assist you in eliminating this ignorance with simple straight forward tips and language. If you choose to take this as sucky manners and scolding, then I will simply let others advise you and both of our lives will be simpler. Good luck.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,467
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I understand you are the go-to guy for any info related to sulcatas and other desert torts.

And PLEASE don't leave the forum because my mannerisms have offended you. You and your tortoise need some help and I am just not the guy to give it you. There are lots of other experienced keepers here that are ready, willing and able to help you in a way that I hope you will find more palatable.
 
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