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Jennw30

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Mar 10, 2020
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My name is Jennifer and I just recently got my first Sulcata Tortoise name Hermione after wanting one for several years. She is a 7 year-old 25ish lb female. I would love any and all information on how to take care of her especially outdoor enclosures and plants to use in them.Hermione.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Jennifer, and welcome to the Forum!

Depending upon your weather, your tortoise will do fine outdoors and may need a heated night box. They come from an area of always warm weather, and they have evolved to live that way. They don't understand cold weather, and most of them don't realize they need to go into their heated night box when they get cold, rather they tend to shelter under a bush or in a corner, waiting for it to warm up.

Can we see pictures of Hermione's under side?
 

Jennw30

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What?!!!! I mean I don't mind but I thought males were U-shaped around their tales and girls had V-shapes!
 

Yvonne G

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Your tortoise is slightly deformed from being raised too dry, but the length of his tail says it all.
 

Ray--Opo

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Welcome Jennifer from a fellow sully owner. Look at the care sheets for sulcata's and the enclosure section for outdoors. @Tom has a design for a outdoor enclosure. He has perfected it over the years.
What are you feeding Hermione?
 

Jennw30

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Mar 10, 2020
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Location (City and/or State)
Chattanooga
Welcome Jennifer from a fellow sully owner. Look at the care sheets for sulcata's and the enclosure section for outdoors. @Tom has a design for a outdoor enclosure. He has perfected it over the years.
What are you feeding Hermione?
I am feeding Hermione Timothy hay and untreated grass when she goes outside. She's also had small amounts of soaked and dusted collard greens. I don't remember what the dust is but my husband uses it on his iguanas in their collard greens. Hermione LOVES the collard greens but bets much more Timothy hay and when it's warm enough outside all the grass she cares to eat. We've also soaked her a few times in our bathtube. I'm calling her "her" for now. We are mating whatever she is with whatever she would need so I'm in denial
 

Jennw30

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Chattanooga
Calcium and Reptical vitamins. My husband raises and breeds blue tongue skinks, and tarantulas. He made the mistake of taking me to Repticon in Knoxville two weeks ago.... I just went to see the displays and habitats as we're getting more serious about doing this and I saw that face staring back at me as I sat on a bench for a moment.....
 

Armadillogroomer

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Welcome! It’s 2020, your tort can be whatever gender she wants 😆

I’m going to state some facts, not telling you what to do - the market is saturated with sulcatas because they lay so many eggs and it can be difficult to find responsible homes due to their adult size. Then there’s incubation failures and hatchling syndrome that require a lot of research.

I definitely don’t mean to discourage you as an owner, it looks like Hermione has had a “bumpy” past and needs some love!
 

Ray--Opo

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Calcium and Reptical vitamins. My husband raises and breeds blue tongue skinks, and tarantulas. He made the mistake of taking me to Repticon in Knoxville two weeks ago.... I just went to see the displays and habitats as we're getting more serious about doing this and I saw that face staring back at me as I sat on a bench for a moment.....
Try and find Mazuri tortoise diet at a feed and seed store. They make 2 types. 5m21 and LS. Try to find the 5m21. You soak the pellets in water to get the pellets soft.It will have the vitamins and you can occasionally give a cuttle bone for calcium.
Also if you didn't know. No fruit.
 

Jennw30

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Chattanooga
Welcome! It’s 2020, your tort can be whatever gender she wants 😆

I’m going to state some facts, not telling you what to do - the market is saturated with sulcatas because they lay so many eggs and it can be difficult to find responsible homes due to their adult size. Then there’s incubation failures and hatchling syndrome that require a lot of research.

I definitely don’t mean to discourage you as an owner, it looks like Hermione has had a “bumpy” past and needs some love!
LOL!!!!! Well the seller told me I could make $10k off HER eggs per year but that sounded exhausting for her and then I read about the saturation and everything else so had decided not to do it already AND Yvonne says she is a male so I've decided that she is my Hermione and doesn't give a damn what I think she is as long as I keep the grasses (and collard greens) coming! My husband has 2 rescue iguanas that are actually very affectionate and love belly rubs (and collard greens what is so freaking special about collard greens?!!) but he would never sell them due to their usual aggressive and territorial behaviors. His are exceptions to the rule and he fusses at pet stores for selling them. She's 7 years-old, 25 lbs and I got her for $750 which is about $750 more than I have ever paid for a pet before... but we have a 1/4 acre yard and Hermione is getting her own area with a 2 foot(ish) high solid fence, a burrow and watering hole that isn't higher than her snout when resting
 

Jennw30

New Member
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Mar 10, 2020
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
Chattanooga
Try and find Mazuri tortoise diet at a feed and seed store. They make 2 types. 5m21 and LS. Try to find the 5m21. You soak the pellets in water to get the pellets soft.It will have the vitamins and you can occasionally give a cuttle bone for calcium.
Also if you didn't know. No fruit.
I read no fruit after we gave her a strawberry which I do understand would have been like candy so I wouldn't have given her more than the occasional one anyway. She didn't really care for it. I will look into the 5m21 and compare with the Reptical we have a ton of. If she needs it it will be hers!
 

Jennw30

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Chattanooga
I read no fruit after we gave her a strawberry which I do understand would have been like candy so I wouldn't have given her more than the occasional one anyway. She didn't really care for it. I will look into the 5m21 and compare with the Reptical we have a ton of. If she needs it it will be hers!
Why do you prefer M521 over LS? Mazuri says LS for Sulcatas. Is there something you think she needs from the other diet at this time due to her shell?
 

Tom

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What?!!!! I mean I don't mind but I thought males were U-shaped around their tales and girls had V-shapes!
You've got this backwards. The U shape allows for egg deposition and the V shape allows more for to maneuver the tail and penis for the male. As Yvonne said, the males have big long tails and the females have tiny little nub tails.

You are getting a whirlwind of eduction in a hurry here... Hold on!

You got taken. People can't find homes for Sulcatas even when they look great and are given away for free. $750 made that seller smile an evil smile, and this tells us about their character. Sorry that this happened. No matter now though. You'll give him a great home, Im sure. $10,000 a year from selling babies is also absurd. At most, on a really really good year when everything goes right, you might get 100 babies per female. 50 is a more reasonable number to expect. If you sell them all individually, a feat that will takes weeks and months of your time, you might get $50 each for them. Sell them wholesale all at once and you will get $35-40 for each of them. The biggest problem here is that the world doesn't need more Sulcatas. There are already more Sulcatas than there are homes for them. If you want to breed tortoises, there are many species in need of attention that are better suited to your climate, much easier to house and care for, and much more valuable, if making money is the goal.

Your boy was housed and cared for poorly in his past. Sadly, due to so much misinformation about where they come form and how to care for them, this is pretty normal. He's undersized, pyramided and possibly had a bout of metallic bone disease. None of this will matter now, and with good care, he should live a long happy life and bring you lots of joy. I just want you to know what you are dealing with.

Timothy hay and grasses is a good diet. I prefer orchard grass hay or Bermuda grass hay, and find Timothy too stemmy, but if he eats it, then you can leave well enough alone. Adding some variety would be good if its not too inconvenient to get other types of grass hay.

Collards are a good item to use once in a while, but they need a lot more variety than that. And so do your husbands iguanas. Here is a thread with a list of good Sulcata foods for you:
If you need to use grocery store foods part of the year, favor endive and escarole as you main staples, and add in lots of other stuff for variety. Cilantro, carrot tops, mustard and turnip greens, box choy, kale, romaine, etc... These grocery store food by themselves are not a very good diet, but used as supplements along with a diet of mostly grass hay, grasses, weeds, leaves, flowers, spineless opuntia pads, these items are fine. Definitely avoid fruit entirely.

Most tortoises prefer the original type of Mazuri and find it more palatable. Either type is good to use in a supplemental capacity. Also look into the ZooMed Grassland tortoise food. Because of what your are able to offer, you might not need these items, but they are all good for variety and all will ensure your tortoises nutritional needs are being met.

I don't know how bad your winters are, but here is a box that should work well for at least part of the year for you in an outdoor enclosure. Half this size would work for your guy for many years:

One note that you might not readily find, is that their pens need to be opaque around the bottom. Fencing of any kind can't be see through. If you have chain link, welded wire, hog wire, or anything like that, you'll need to line the bottom with 12 inch by 8 foot strips of plywood to make a visual barrier.

The other detail has been mentioned, but I'll be more specific: This is a tropical species of reptile. There is no "cold" season where they come from. They need an 80 degree world 24/7 and with a warmer area during the day to raise their body temperature up. They can "survive" lower temperatures in some cases, but its not good for them, and many of those end up sick or dead. Here in temperate North America, the heated box thing works well. They can come out and sit or graze in the sun on a 65 degree day, and then go back into their heated box when they feel like it, and at night. But bringing them in to a 70 degree house is not sufficient. They need warmth.

Hydration. This is critically important for all tortoise species, and Sulcatas are no exception. Regular soaks will help keep your baby hydrated and also keep the gut moving. Once or twice a week is plenty for a 25 pounder.

This is a lot of info to process. Please feel free to ask questions. We are all here to talk tortoises and happy to explain more.
 

Jennw30

New Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
Chattanooga
Wow.. we thought Repticon screen their sellers but no he was a bad guy all around. Told us he paid $1200 for it, said he would give it to us for $750 and then charged us $1070 on our credit card. When we googled ASHTYN RANCE to try to find out why he charged $300 extra we found his extensive criminal record online. How much SHOULD we have paid for him? This is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth. IF he is not aggressive towards us now and we don't introduce a female should he stay pretty chill? I've been reading about what he needs outside and we can provide it. I REALLY appreciate the links. He'll have about 1800 square feet of his own personal area with electrical and water nearby to provide heat, bathing and drinking. Would this be a big enough space? I was asking Mr. Rance a bunch of questions but everything he said was wrong and I want to make sure we can provide what he REALLY needs. He is not getting Hermione back!
 

Ray--Opo

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Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
I read no fruit after we gave her a strawberry which I do understand would have been like candy so I wouldn't have given her more than the occasional one anyway. She didn't really care for it. I will look into the 5m21 and compare with the Reptical we have a ton of. If she needs it it will be hers!
The sugars in fruits is hard on the digestive system. I do slip a piece of mango about once every 2 months to Opo.
 

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