Hi from Texas! Help for new parents! Introducing Tortellini, our baby sulcata...

dallasaggie

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Texas
Hi! We *just* got Tortellini, a Sulcata, and are new to the world of tortoises, so we hope we're heading in the right direction. Tortellini is about 8 weeks old and had been fed spring mix and collard greens. We have found that he/she is a dandelion addict as he/she got full on those that we planted in the terrarium (40 gal). He/she won't touch the pellets, but we have found through research that they aren't good for him/her anyways. We're trying to balance Tortellini's diet as such: 75% grass (Timothy hay and oat grass), 25% weeds, greens, and vegetables. For the vegetables, we are using cactus, butternut squash, bell pepper, and carrots (very small portions on those). Is that an okay mix? We've seen such varying diets for Sulcatas, it gets quite confusing! We know to water the high water content veggies, high proteins, and oxalates.

Tortellini is quite the character! He/she is pretty good about soaking but definitely knows when time is up. Today was his/her first full day with us. He/she had a grand old time exploring the terrarium, basked for a good bit, made a hidey-hole, and managed to flip over (luckily I was right there to turn him back over). He/she is drinking nicely. Oh, and he/she LOVES to come out for pets. We don't know if it's bad to take Tortellini out, but you can tell he/she enjoys the pets, etc.

OK - things we're scared of...
- Tortellini isn't real keen on the new food and was going crazy with the dandelions. Is our break down wrong? Does it take a bit for him/her to get used to the change?
- The whole flipping over thing... What if we aren't home and out of the area when he/she flips over? Do they learn to flip back over? We are trying to flip-proof his/her terrarium.
- Calcium and D3 supplements - if we are feeding him/her the raw diet, do we need to supplement it?
- UVB - Should we take him/her outside for 15-30 minutes on sunny days? I know that you can get a lot more bang for your buck from natural rays than the bulbs.
- Out of the terrarium time - Is it okay to take him/her out and handle him/her often?
- Soaking - Do you change the water out while he/she is soaking to keep the water warm?

Ive attached a picture of Tortellini and his/her terrarium (he was soaking on his own). We have since added a cuttlefish fish bone, Timothy hay/oat grass mix, and we pulled his/her food bowl as it was too deep. We probably have a million more questions, but we just want to make sure we are doing things correctly, especially food-wise. All help is very much appreciated!

Thanks!

Glen and Samantha

PS - Tortellini has an Instagram - Tortellini's Tomfoolery!
 

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dallasaggie

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Texas
Hi! We *just* got Tortellini, a Sulcata, and are new to the world of tortoises, so we hope we're heading in the right direction. Tortellini is about 8 weeks old and had been fed spring mix and collard greens. We have found that he/she is a dandelion addict as he/she got full on those that we planted in the terrarium (40 gal). He/she won't touch the pellets, but we have found through research that they aren't good for him/her anyways. We're trying to balance Tortellini's diet as such: 75% grass (Timothy hay and oat grass), 25% weeds, greens, and vegetables. For the vegetables, we are using cactus, butternut squash, bell pepper, and carrots (very small portions on those). Is that an okay mix? We've seen such varying diets for Sulcatas, it gets quite confusing! We know to water the high water content veggies, high proteins, and oxalates.

Tortellini is quite the character! He/she is pretty good about soaking but definitely knows when time is up. Today was his/her first full day with us. He/she had a grand old time exploring the terrarium, basked for a good bit, made a hidey-hole, and managed to flip over (luckily I was right there to turn him back over). He/she is drinking nicely. Oh, and he/she LOVES to come out for pets. We don't know if it's bad to take Tortellini out, but you can tell he/she enjoys the pets, etc.

OK - things we're scared of...
- Tortellini isn't real keen on the new food and was going crazy with the dandelions. Is our break down wrong? Does it take a bit for him/her to get used to the change?
- The whole flipping over thing... What if we aren't home and out of the area when he/she flips over? Do they learn to flip back over? We are trying to flip-proof his/her terrarium.
- Calcium and D3 supplements - if we are feeding him/her the raw diet, do we need to supplement it?
- UVB - Should we take him/her outside for 15-30 minutes on sunny days? I know that you can get a lot more bang for your buck from natural rays than the bulbs.
- Out of the terrarium time - Is it okay to take him/her out and handle him/her often?
- Soaking - Do you change the water out while he/she is soaking to keep the water warm?

Ive attached a picture of Tortellini and his/her terrarium (he was soaking on his own). We have since added a cuttlefish fish bone, Timothy hay/oat grass mix, and we pulled his/her food bowl as it was too deep. We probably have a million more questions, but we just want to make sure we are doing things correctly, especially food-wise. All help is very much appreciated!

Thanks!

Glen and Samantha

PS - Tortellini has an Instagram - Tortellini's Tomfoolery!
 

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KarenSoCal

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Tortoise Club
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Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,194
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Hello, and welcome to TFO!

Your new baby is adorable! Of course, you already know that! It's amazing how quickly they can steal your heart away!

For a couple years, don't worry about feeding him hay. Babies don't eat it.

The best way to start is for you to read this care sheet. There is so much bad, old, outdated, and downright dangerous info and 'advice' floating around the tortoise trade that you can easily get confused and overwhelmed. First, forget everything you've been told by pet shops, friends, and even most vets and breeders. This care sheet is the best, most up-to-date, safe, accurate info you can find anywhere. If you follow it carefully, you will be doing the very best for your baby.

When you've read this, come back with questions or concerns you may have. We can help you if there is anything you need to buy, and can make suggestions to help improve your enclosure.

Temps and humidity are very important, so please pay special attention to that section.

Enjoy your little cutie!



For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata:

 

dallasaggie

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Texas
Hello, and welcome to TFO!

Your new baby is adorable! Of course, you already know that! It's amazing how quickly they can steal your heart away!

For a couple years, don't worry about feeding him hay. Babies don't eat it.

The best way to start is for you to read this care sheet. There is so much bad, old, outdated, and downright dangerous info and 'advice' floating around the tortoise trade that you can easily get confused and overwhelmed. First, forget everything you've been told by pet shops, friends, and even most vets and breeders. This care sheet is the best, most up-to-date, safe, accurate info you can find anywhere. If you follow it carefully, you will be doing the very best for your baby.

When you've read this, come back with questions or concerns you may have. We can help you if there is anything you need to buy, and can make suggestions to help improve your enclosure.

Temps and humidity are very important, so please pay special attention to that section.

Enjoy your little cutie!



For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata:

Thanks so much!!! We'll be reading these asap.
 

ammotex

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Texas
Hi,

I'm @dallasaggie 's husband. I built bombs and missiles in the USAF, hence the name.

I've tried to do my due diligence in researching, throughout this forum and other places, but sometimes, new knowledge only leads to more questions.

Today, after reading some of the pointers provided here, we made a few purchases: some 4" terracotta saucers for food and water and a couple of plants and seeds. Tortellini now has a hibiscus, which will grow in the backyard for periodic harvesting. We bought some lemongrass, to plant along the back glass, as Tortellini seems a bit too interested in meeting the tortise on the other side (his reflection). We also bought a few seeds to plant, which seem to be sulcata-safe from The Home Depot (nasturtium, catgrass, hollyhock, squash (for the vines and flowers), lavender, and carrots). The plants came from a local nursery whose plants may not be truly organically grown, as the owner cannot attest to the growers' methods, but she does not use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides.

All of our gardening employs organic methods and amendments (dried molasses, horticultural corn meal, denatured granite, and the similar, employing nothing stronger than fish hydrosolate (fish parts that are allowed to decompose in water to the point of becoming a thick slurry and then filtered to remove solutes) and Garret Juice Plus (https://www.dallasnews.com/arts-ent... Concentrate: Mix together,ready-to-use spray).

In regards to the lemongrass, do I need to start it growing in a planter before transplanting it to the vivarium? I don't want to make him or her sick and am unsure how long it needs to be growing in an organic medium before it is safe.

As far as the hibiscus, can leaves be clipped and fed now or only new growth?

I think that all of the seeds are safe. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Do they need to be started elsewhere before planing or can they be sewn deeply in the substrate (if memory serves, I've read start them elsewhere and transplant after two months)? I've tried to select a few things that are safe, but may not be a favorite food item to try to obscure the glass just a bit.

Temps (with lights on): Hot side substrate is noticeably warmer, but the ambient thermometer only registers about 80°F (may be a placement problem--they are both mounted near their respective end glass about 2 inches from the top) while the cool side registers about 75°F. The humidity for both zones has been staying at around 80%. I've seen lots of options to raise the overall temperature such as ceramic bulbs and under glass heating pads but I'm a bit inexperienced to make an educated decision. I've no idea what the temperature drops to with the lights off.

Thanks and I apologize if I missed some of the information in other threads, because there are a LOT of them,

Glen
 

Jan A

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
1,293
Location (City and/or State)
Boulder, CO
Hi,

I'm @dallasaggie 's husband. I built bombs and missiles in the USAF, hence the name.

I've tried to do my due diligence in researching, throughout this forum and other places, but sometimes, new knowledge only leads to more questions.

Today, after reading some of the pointers provided here, we made a few purchases: some 4" terracotta saucers for food and water and a couple of plants and seeds. Tortellini now has a hibiscus, which will grow in the backyard for periodic harvesting. We bought some lemongrass, to plant along the back glass, as Tortellini seems a bit too interested in meeting the tortise on the other side (his reflection). We also bought a few seeds to plant, which seem to be sulcata-safe from The Home Depot (nasturtium, catgrass, hollyhock, squash (for the vines and flowers), lavender, and carrots). The plants came from a local nursery whose plants may not be truly organically grown, as the owner cannot attest to the growers' methods, but she does not use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides.

All of our gardening employs organic methods and amendments (dried molasses, horticultural corn meal, denatured granite, and the similar, employing nothing stronger than fish hydrosolate (fish parts that are allowed to decompose in water to the point of becoming a thick slurry and then filtered to remove solutes) and Garret Juice Plus (https://www.dallasnews.com/arts-entertainment/2019/06/18/how-to-make-this-do-it-yourself-organic-fertilizer-and-pest-control-spray/#:~:text=Garrett Juice Concentrate: Mix together,ready-to-use spray).

In regards to the lemongrass, do I need to start it growing in a planter before transplanting it to the vivarium? I don't want to make him or her sick and am unsure how long it needs to be growing in an organic medium before it is safe.

As far as the hibiscus, can leaves be clipped and fed now or only new growth?

I think that all of the seeds are safe. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Do they need to be started elsewhere before planing or can they be sewn deeply in the substrate (if memory serves, I've read start them elsewhere and transplant after two months)? I've tried to select a few things that are safe, but may not be a favorite food item to try to obscure the glass just a bit.

Temps (with lights on): Hot side substrate is noticeably warmer, but the ambient thermometer only registers about 80°F (may be a placement problem--they are both mounted near their respective end glass about 2 inches from the top) while the cool side registers about 75°F. The humidity for both zones has been staying at around 80%. I've seen lots of options to raise the overall temperature such as ceramic bulbs and under glass heating pads but I'm a bit inexperienced to make an educated decision. I've no idea what the temperature drops to with the lights off.

Thanks and I apologize if I missed some of the information in other threads, because there are a LOT of them,

Glen
Welcome to the forum. I'm no expert & others will be along with experience to guide you.

Photos of your tort & enclosure would help. How old & what species do you have? What kind of substrate are you using ? We have up-to-date care sheets developed by experienced owners & breeders.

So welcome.
 

dallasaggie

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Texas
Update: @ammotex and I are getting new thermometers to get an accurate reading. I'll post once we get the updated info.
 
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