Hi! Just got my first Tortoise!

Status
Not open for further replies.

PixieKitten

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
Worcester, Uk
Hello everybody! I'm Tash, from the UK, and I'm so excited to be here!
I work for a mobile zoo and being there has really gotten me into keeping a lot of exotic animals, but I'll stick to the tortoise side of it! At work I look after 2 hermanns, 2 horsefields, 2 greeks, and one rather large leoperd tortoise. Working with them has really made me come to love them, and yesterday I went to Birmingham and got myself a Sulcata as an early 21st birthday present!

1013452_10151735235808659_187630058_n.jpg


This is Neo! S/he's around 1-2 years old, but that's all I really know about her background wise. The person who had Neo before got him/her off her uncle, who has around 50 tortoises. When she found out how big Neo was going to get, she realised there was no way she could keep him/her so I decided I could take him/her on!

We have quite a long garden seperated in two by a fence. The first half is the patio and lawn, with borders and a rabbit shed, and the second half used to be a vegetable garden, and my dad's workshop. The vegetable garden was my mums, but she died almost a year ago so we kind of left it to go wild. Over the last week I've cleared most of it out, and de-forested the greenhouse. The greenhouse has a few panes of glass that are cracked, and there's one or two small pieces that have been lost.

The plan is to completely clear the debris from the vegetable garden, plant some grass and rename it the tortoise garden. We'll fix up the greenhouse, put a pond liner on the ground and put either garden soil or bark chippings over that. There's a shelf on the one side that we can hang a heat bulb from at night and in the winter. Neo can then wander around the tortoise garden and regulate his/her own temperature at his/her will.

At the current moment though, I'm real busy with work, so I can't get it all done straight away. However, Neo is still quite small(haven't measured yet!) so temporary measure have been put into place.

When the weather's not too cold, the greenhouse still heats up so I've put a tarp on the floor, made a pen with some wooden planks and put some soil down, and Neo's quite happy to stay in there. When it's lovely and sunny, I have some more planks that I can arrange on the lawn so Neo can walk around and graze at his/her own will. I also have a plastic tub around 30x20inches in my bedroom with my snake's heat mat underneath for night time and when it's just too cold for the greenhouse to warm up.
I realise that's too small, but a) it's only temporary, b) Neo will still be put outside for at least half an hour as he/she will have warmed up by being in the box and c) I couldn't find a bigger box that would still fit in my room at such short notice!

I've been lurking on this forum ever since I found Neo's ad on gumtree and considered it, and I've taken several measures to make the temporary accommodation as benificial as possible. I've been giving Neo grass, clover and dandelion straight from my lawn, sprinkled with calcium powder. When in the greenhouse, there's a shallow pool of water for Neo to drink and soak in if he/she wishes. In the box in my room, I bought a spray bottle so I can mist Neo and the box to keep it humid.
Neo gets a bath every morning with a cloth over the shell for half an hour in the bathroom sink while I get ready for the day and feed all the otehr animals.
The dog is both incredibly friendly and well trained (I can let him outside while the rabbits are having a run free in the garden and he won't go near them, even licks them if they come up to him), however I have set the boundary straight away that he is not to go near Neo unless I tell him he can.

I worry about having a Sulcata here in the UK, as here on the forum everyone goes on about the heat needed, and the temperature here is never anywhere near that. As this is where Neo was bred, born and raised, will He/She be a bit more tolerant of the lower temperatures? Am I doing anything wrong so far? Will he/she still get enough UV when s/he's outside if it's cloudy? I have two bearded dragons as well, would it be beneficial to put him/her in one of those for a while(I'll take the beardie out of course)

Sorry this is so much of an essay, and thank you for reading so far! I can't wait to become a part of this community! :)
 

LaceAnnMan

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2013
Messages
4
Awe! He's so cute. And so much smaller then my own 90 pound Sulcata boy. Welcome!
 

PixieKitten

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
Worcester, Uk
Thank you for the welcome! I just weighed and measured him/her, and s/he's 5.5 inches, weighing 500g. Is that a healthy size and weight for his/her age? The previous owner told me s/he had a bit of a calcium deficiency, which is why I got him/her the powder. Also, is there any way at this stage to get a rough idea of the gender? I don't want to just say one and have it turn out to be wrong, but this whole him/her business is annoying to type!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,022
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi Tash:

Welcome to the Forum!!
 

shanu303

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,074
Location (City and/or State)
India
Hello Tash and Welcome to TFO!! :) Neo is adorable :)
 

LaceAnnMan

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2013
Messages
4
The little boy or girl is a good size. Booboo, my 17 year old Boy sulcata is About 3 ft long now ImageUploadedByTortForum1372661848.450466.jpg


The best way to determine sex is by looking at the tail. Males have a much longer tail than the females. When placed side-by-side it's usually obvious which is male and which is female. Females may have slightly flatter carapaces and males may have slightly more concave plastrons. Regardless, males and females can both be quite aggressive
 
Last edited by a moderator:

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,588
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Hello and welcome from another British tortoise keeper.

There are several "stickY" threads in the Sulcata forum (http://www.tortoiseforum.org/forum-88.html) that will answer many of your questions.

Sulcatas do not hibernate, so you must get something sorted for the winter months in particular when it will be far too cold here.

I have never kept Sulcatas, but from what I have read, my big concern would be the temperatures. I just don't think we get it consistently warm enough outdoors, day or night, in the UK for them. Sulcatas become HUGE, and they grow quite quickly so you really are going to have to think through its accommodation.

The UV is less of an issue. UV passes through cloud without a problem. I know this from bitter experience of major sunburn when I was a teenager. I didn't put sun cream on and got the worst sun burn ever on a muggy, overcast day where I sprawled out on the grass reading a book :( UV does not pass through glass though, so if your tort doesn't get outside for an hou or so a day then you will need a UVB lamp.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top