I have a baby sulcata

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A list for people who have never bought or hard of CHE or HO etc. I think I understand the best things to do is probably just I'm getting anxiety from forums. Sometimes it seems like no tortoise will survive no matter what. I'm going to study the animal and do my best to recreate how it lives.
 

leigti

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A list for people who have never bought or hard of CHE or HO etc. I think I understand the best things to do is probably just I'm getting anxiety from forums. Sometimes it seems like no tortoise will survive no matter what. I'm going to study the animal and do my best to recreate how it lives.
I would definitely stick to just this forum for your information. There is so much conflicting information out there that you can easily get overloaded and frustrated and confused. I have never had a Sulcata hatchling so take this for what it was worth, but I would get your baby from somebody who has started it right. Otherwise you may be setting yourself up for failure. There are many available from people on this forum, check out the for sale section. I personally would avoid Zillah lighting. it is definitely a process that continues for a while but you will get everything right for your little baby.
 

Tom

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I've read and retained the info and appreciate it. I did mention to him that they were born during the wet season and his reply was yea that's why you soak them once a day.


Is there a bullet list with brand names and model names? I'll get the best for my baby

No. Every enclosure is a custom job. We can offer guidelines, but you'll need to set it up, run it, test it all, and make adjustments.
 

Tom

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I'm going to study the animal and do my best to recreate how it lives.

There is a problem with this. No one knows how they live in the wild. Especially the babies. The top experts in the world, people who live over in sulcata territory don't know. Its not been studied and study would be incredibly difficult because the brush grows in so thick and so fast that babies hatch and quickly disappear. All we have is speculation. Even more problematic is that much of the speculation that has been floating around for decades is based on weather data collected from weather sensors that are 6' off the ground. An area that no sulcata has ever occupied.

Another issue with attempting to simulate wild conditions is that most of the babies in the wild die. It is estimated that between 300 and 3000 babies die for every one that makes it to maturity.

The info I gave you is based on around 20 years of failure trying to follow the advice like your breeder is giving you, and going on around 6 years of doing it the right way, an doing tons of my own "experiments" on how best to raise sulcata hatchlings. I have raised 100's of them using the "rainy season simulation" methods I'm sharing with you, and 100s of other people all over the world have followed the advice and had the same success as I have.

I've raised sulcatas just about every way there is to raise them. Sad to say, I know what will happen if you keep them in dry desert-like conditions. Your tortoise won't like it, and neither will you.
 

Tom

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A list for people who have never bought or hard of CHE or HO etc...

In these cases google is your friend. And you can bounce it off of all of us in the general forums, or pick someone you like for the one on one service you originally requested.


We understand your frustration, and hope we can help.
 
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There is a problem with this. No one knows how they live in the wild. Especially the babies. The top experts in the world, people who live over in sulcata territory don't know. Its not been studied and study would be incredibly difficult because the brush grows in so thick and so fast that babies hatch and quickly disappear. All we have is speculation. Even more problematic is that much of the speculation that has been floating around for decades is based on weather data collected from weather sensors that are 6' off the ground. An area that no sulcata has ever occupied.

Another issue with attempting to simulate wild conditions is that most of the babies in the wild die. It is estimated that between 300 and 3000 babies die for every one that makes it to maturity.

The info I gave you is based on around 20 years of failure trying to follow the advice like your breeder is giving you, and going on around 6 years of doing it the right way, an doing tons of my own "experiments" on how best to raise sulcata hatchlings. I have raised 100's of them using the "rainy season simulation" methods I'm sharing with you, and 100s of other people all over the world have followed the advice and had the same success as I have.

I've raised sulcatas just about every way there is to raise them. Sad to say, I know what will happen if you keep them in dry desert-like conditions. Your tortoise won't like it, and neither will you.


When we say enclosure are we talking a glass aquarium ? With a glass top ? And what's a good substrate and way to keep it humid and wet inside
 

Tom

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When we say enclosure are we talking a glass aquarium ? With a glass top ? And what's a good substrate and way to keep it humid and wet inside

Glass tanks are one way to do it, but most glass tanks are going to be too small pretty quickly. There are many substrates that can work. My preference is to use orchid bark with baby sulcatas. There is much more explanation on this in the care sheet.
 
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I built a wooden box and put the brick of coconut shell stuff and got a hiding area a food andiet water dish and I ceramic heater in a clamp lamp and another light that's warm. I put a sponge in the top of the hiding box and planned on daily soaks. This sounds no good to the forum. I am buying a 30 gallon glass tank tomorrow. ..picking up actually. And was going to transfer bedding and dishes and lights to that. But so glass is no good? The best thing from all this is I think I'll learn how to answer questions and give idiot proof guidance to people like me. Like "get a box like this" "this for food" "this lamp" etc. Maybe forums get a little too competitive for me. I just need it In layman's terms. I read the articles here and many other places and talk lots of people. I JUST WANT TO GIVE THE LITTLE GUY A GOOD LIFE. but feel as though it should be illegal to even own these things now. I had no idea how fragile they were. I mean I have human kids and have found baby birds pushed out of nests etc but this thing is like a premature unicorn.
 

Tom

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Glass tanks are fine. I've raised hundreds of baby tortoises in them with all excellent results.

I think a 30 is too small. Can you get a 100? That should last you for a few months at least.

I don't know what is making you think they are fragile. Its pretty easy to set them up and get them going. Big enclosure, heat lamp, water dish, CHE on a thermostat to keep the ambient warm, D3 from either real sunshine or an indoor source...


I guess if you try to follow all sorts of people's advice at the same time it would be a bit mind boggling... How about you pick one person, evaluate their results, and just talk to them about how you can get the same results as them?
 
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Glass tanks are fine. I've raised hundreds of baby tortoises in them with all excellent results.

I think a 30 is too small. Can you get a 100? That should last you for a few months at least.

I don't know what is making you think they are fragile. Its pretty easy to set them up and get them going. Big enclosure, heat lamp, water dish, CHE on a thermostat to keep the ambient warm, D3 from either real sunshine or an indoor source...


I guess if you try to follow all sorts of people's advice at the same time it would be a bit mind boggling... How about you pick one person, evaluate their results, and just talk to them about how you can get the same results as them?



I picked one. Congratulations Tom
 
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So the right food. The right temps. The right humidity plus exercise...seems to be the big things. A ceramic heater with a thermostat and a mercury vapor light for warmth and UVB. Not sure of wattage on any. Not sure how to keep it humid. Un less I soak da2 and mist often. Not sure What food. I'd like to find a big bag a grasses mixed and maybe some fresh leaves mixed in.
 

Dizisdalife

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So the right food. The right temps. The right humidity plus exercise...seems to be the big things. A ceramic heater with a thermostat and a mercury vapor light for warmth and UVB. Not sure of wattage on any. Not sure how to keep it humid. Un less I soak da2 and mist often. Not sure What food. I'd like to find a big bag a grasses mixed and maybe some fresh leaves mixed in.
You are right where I was about 4 years ago. Tom and several other Forum members helped me to help my tortoise. Relax. You are on the right track. Once you have the substrate moist and the top enclosed the humidity will stay up. You will need to add water from time to time as it drys out. I kept a sponge in the top of the hide I made for my tortoise to keep it as moist as possible. When the tortoise got a little bigger I put the sponge on top of the hide. It didn't look like much, but it helped keep the humidity up. Today, my tortoise is 50 pounds and sleeps in a heated box outside. There is a sponge in there too, it helps raise the humidity.
 

Tom

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So the right food. The right temps. The right humidity plus exercise...seems to be the big things. A ceramic heater with a thermostat and a mercury vapor light for warmth and UVB. Not sure of wattage on any. Not sure how to keep it humid. Un less I soak da2 and mist often. Not sure What food. I'd like to find a big bag a grasses mixed and maybe some fresh leaves mixed in.

No one can tell you what wattage equipment you will need. Every house and every enclosure is different. We can suggest a starting point, but your thermometer will have the final say. Probably a 100 watt MVB and a 100 watt CHE will get your job done. When you move up to a larger enclosure (hopefully soon...), you will need more or larger heating elements most likely. Its a constant cycle of: Guess, set it up, run it, check it, and adjust... With time and experience your initial guesses will get better and better.

To keep it humid you must close the top to prevent your warm humid air from floating away into your house. If you buy or build a closed chamber your life will be worlds easier, and your tortoise will have better, more stable conditions. Check it out: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/closed-chambers.32333/

For feeding you will need to get creative, do some scrounging, and figure out what is near you. Grocery store greens will work if you can't find the other better stuff because of the season, but amend your grocery store greens with some rehydrated finely chopped grass hay or some "herbal hay" mix. Here are some feeding tips: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
 

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I suppose you posted this link as a potential information site for good care. I too read this site very carefully in the recent past.

There is some very good information there ..... But.......

You really must take it wilth a grain of salt. Here is the issue. The care and husbandry of Chelonia has evolved and advanced greatly , even in just the last few years. As with any hobby or science we learn new things constantly, and we do not all 100% agree.

As a new person, there is no good way for you to know all that is accurate or best by taking a little of "this"and a little of "that" - Only experience over time can provide the insight to do that well.

I suggest you follow the care sheets here. You cannot go wrong that way. Sometimes information " sounds right" to us - but there is no substitute for positive healthy results. The long time keepers here on this forum have those results; gained by hard work, research, and many mistakes along the way.

We who are newer ( I put myself in that category ) do well to listen and gain from this hard fought for knowledge.
I applaud your search to be the best parent you can be for your baby.
You've come to the right source here
Mike
 

Tom

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Dave, the man who wrote that, is now a friend of mine. He seemed to have written it to promote the old fashioned outdated ways of doing things and refute the new findings that I and others had been producing at the time. Many of his assertions about the wild are just plain wrong. A fact that he and I both learned when we met and spent time with Tomas Diagne, who is a sulcata researcher from Senegal, where they are native. For example, Dave says humidity in their natural range is 45-50%. It is almost never in that range. During the dry season when the sulcatas are deep underground, humidity is much lower than that above ground. During the 3-4 month rainy season, ambient humidity in wild sulcata territory is much higher than that. Where did he get that number? I don't know. Tomas confirmed the things that I was promoting and offered a whole lot of new and novel info to us. My friend Dave has since recanted much of what he said on that care sheet due to conversations with me, Tomas and many others. Yet his old info remains on the web for other people to see and have their brains muddled by contradictory info on how to care for their babies. Dave has been having a lot of health issues of late and I suspect that changing the old website is a low priority. He's a good man and I like him, but we disagreed about some key husbandry points in the past. We don't disagree now.

The proof is also very evident as Mike pointed out. Get yourself 12 hatchlings. Raise 6 my way and 6 Dave's way. The difference in results will be obvious. I have done this. I have done many variations of this over many years. I have started and raised hundreds of them in so many ways. If Dave's assertions were true that what I recommend is "wrong and unnatural", then wouldn't my babies fail and do poorly? Yet in reality it is just the opposite. I show Dave pics of my results from hatching to two years old and his eyes got real big. None of his look so good and healthy. Mine look more like they do in the wild. His less so. I don't just have a 100% survival rate for babies that I hatch and start, I have a 100% THRIVE rate for babies I hatch and start. Notice there are no pics of 6 month old or 12 month old tortoises on Dave's site and care sheet there? No 18 or 24 month old pics? There is a reason for that. I have pics of these ages all over the place on my threads.

You will have to choose whose advice you wish to follow. In time you will figure out and learn which ways work best and produce good results. It has been a 20+ year journey for me to figure this all out. I hope I can share what I've learned and shorten your journey considerably.
 
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