help please (lethargic sulcata)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Catalinasgrace

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 2, 2013
Messages
10
RE: could use a bit of help please

Hi Tom,

This is Joe's wife. I'm posting on his behalf tonight after reading through all of the great advice that everyone has posted so far.

To give you a little background on our little tortoise we met the breeder to pick up the tortoise since we live at least 2 hours away (each way), so we were not able to see the actual setup he had for his hatchlings, other than the photos he sent of his backyard and his outdoor tortoises.

We were told to keep the baby dry, that we should/could use alfalfa pellets for bedding, or that the cypress mulch was fine as long as we kept it dry, and that we should soak the baby every 2-3 days.

From what I have read and your advice I am going to make the assumption that he is indeed a dry breeder and that our little guy/girl may have come to us severely dehydrated.

Also we were told by the breeder that he buys bulk amounts of romaine lettuce, which I gathered is what he also feeds his adult tortoises, and he said that he also adds in his lawn trimmings. From what we have read we didn't feel that this was an adequate diet.

We were also told that we could give the baby spring mix greens, carrot once a month, and that it was ok to give zuchini or squash. And that we only occassionally needed to give him/her a calcium supplement.

From the photos we were sent of his backyard where he keeps his tortoises it looked like there was very little vegetation or grass availabe for free grazing, and it appeared that most of it was covered with pea gravel, I'm going to assume for easy maintenance of his yard. However, I can't imagine that his large adults are getting adequate grazing and nutrition living in the middle of downtown Houston with no real yard to roam around in.

When we picked up the baby I immediately noticed the pyramiding of the shell and was concerned that he had brought us a sick tortoise. However, we had our daughter with us and we had already gone back and forth with the breeder for more than a week about picking up the tortoise, so I didn't want to not take it.

We are working to adjust his temps and humidity. We went today today and got a reliable thermometer/humidity gauge to help us regulate it better. We also picked up a bag of sphagnum moss to put in his hide box because I had read that if you soak it and place it in there it helps to keep the humidity up. I hope this was good advice.

He/she did finally have a bowel movement this morning, once while soaking and then twice inside of the enclosure. We've been spraying the mulch and the tortoise several times throughout the day and it seems to be eating ok, but is still not moving around the enclosure much. It appears that it wants to burrow down in the mulch under the basking lamp and just sleep. It won't voluntarily go to the hidebox on the cool end of the tank and we didn't know if it was a good idea to put a hide box closer to the heat source.

We'll post some updates later in the weekend as we try to get the little guy settled in and get the enclosure adjusted to the proper temps and humidity.

We certainly appreciate all of the great responses and I will take time this weekend to read through the links that you suggested we look at. We are just concerned for our little tortoise and want to make sure that he/she gets off to a great start.

If you have any other thoughts or suggestions please let us know.

Take Care,
Sonseria
 

rideburton87

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
86
Location (City and/or State)
NW burbs, Illinois
RE: could use a bit of help please

Like you I too did my fare share of research before I purchased my sulcata and it was very confusing with all the controversial information out there. From what I gathered I was just fine keeping my hatchling in a tortoise table as long as I had open water in it the humidity would be just fine. So for six months that was the way he was raised. Thankfully I did read and follow correct info about soaking him and proper diet. Then I found this website and I completely changed my mind about everything I read on the internet. I started doing what people said to do here and my sulcata has grown more in the last month that he did in the first six. So long story short I would put all your other research aside and stick with this site. Everyone here is super friendly, always willing to help, and not to mention very knowledgeable.
 

Laura

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2007
Messages
7,502
Location (City and/or State)
Foothills above Sacramento CA
RE: could use a bit of help please

well,, Im glad you found us! Im sorry you bought from that breeder and I hope it is not too late to help your new tort....
Let us know if things improve... Hydrate and sunshine... do you have a outdoor set up? safe? secure?
 

tortoise007

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
410
Location (City and/or State)
Phoenix AZ aria
RE: could use a bit of help please

It sounds like the little guy is cold. That is why he sleeps under the basking light. Did you look at the tread that I wrote on how to measure temps? The wet pet moss was a good idea, but wetness also makes it colder, and tortoise HATE cold. I would only fallow instruction on TFO, not other sites or reptile stores and stuff. Most of them are more interested in green paper than tortoises. Please post pics of your enclosure... try lowering the basking light a few inches to make it warmer.
 

pepsiandjac

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Messages
520
Location (City and/or State)
Swansea UK
RE: could use a bit of help please

Catalinasgrace,i live in the UK.and when i first had a tortoise i joined every forum u could join,and this is the only forum i come back too,the members give you so much encouragement and advice,as opposed to wrong advice and criticism,If it's sulcatas you have then Tom is the main man to listen to,and for everything else you won't get better advice than on here
 

Catalinasgrace

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 2, 2013
Messages
10
I just wanted to stop by and give an update. Our little Kelly, is back to normal and zipping all over the place again. We took him outside one very nice day last week and he was trying to get into everything. I don't think there was a single spot in the entire area we have been clearing for our garden that he/she didn't explore. Thank you all so very much for your help!!!

DSC_8415.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sibi

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
6,483
Location (City and/or State)
Florida, USA
He's already looking more hydrated than the first pic I saw. I wanted to say from the beginning that as a baby, he probably needed to sleep and get adjusted to his new environment. Babies tend to do a lot more sleeping in the beginning. Whenever a hatchling is moved from a location, they usually get stressed which is what I suspected was going on besides being dehydrated. Time, humidity, and the warmer temps was all your lil baby needed. I'm thrilled to see he's doing much better. Stay with us here and you will learn the correct methods in caring for your new baby. Keep us posted with updated pics. Oh, and by the way, welcome to the forum!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top