I need some wisdom on my tortoise.

effpea

New Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
Sandpoint Idaho
In your first post, you said the tortoise has free range of the house. Then you said it likes to go under your bed. Is the dedicated bedroom for the tortoise your bedroom or does it have its own?

There is a thread on here somewhere in which someone dedicated a room of their house to their tortoise. They lined the floor with something waterproof, then filled it with substrate.

There are other people in cold climates who keep their large tortoises outdoors. They usually provide a heated barn for the tortoise and allow the tortoise out during the day, even in the snow.
Our tortoise can go anywhere in the house it wants as it's proofed to do so, however, it doesnt and it chooses to stay in the room it's in. We don't have it set up jsut for the tortoise but it's tortoise proofed and has a large area in there of its own. Eventually when the tuff shed is insulated it will likely be made into its specific room.
 

effpea

New Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
Sandpoint Idaho
Hey y'all,

I have a tortoise that just turned 5 in November, named Ozzy. For about a year prior to getting Ozzy, followed by the whole first year of its life my husband and I were super dedicated to learning about and properly raising a healthy sulcata and have carried on everything we have learned over the years to date. Yet I'm still so perplexed by our tortoise and it seems to just be outside of everything I've read about juvenile sulcatas.

No idea on the sex. Every which way we have read, we end up unsure still. Years ago we thought boy, but I heavily think it's a female now because of shell shape. Wondered if y'all could offer some suggestions on sexing it or about when we would ever know? Only want to know for curiosity, by the way.

Also wanted to give you some specs on my tort and see if it's of healthy size for a 5 year old tortoise cause I honestly don't know and thus worry.
From tail to head its 14.5 inches. From side to side its 14 inches. From the middle of the belly all the way around its shell its 23 inches. Weighs about 16lbs and has huge legs, I'm talking nearly 4.5 inches around. The reason I ask is because I worry my tortoise does not eat enough. I offer it food multiple times a week and it never eats. To no exaggeration, it hasn't eaten in 6+ weeks because it simply doesn't want to, I assume. It just gets up and walks back to the corner and for naps. It's always so sleepy but then randomly one day it's up and active (still yawning tho lol) and eats a whole dunch, does it's business and finds a spot to go snooze again. Then it won't eat again for days and days or even many weeks. I still always get it up once a week at least for a warm soak and I offer fresh greens and mazury. It sits a while, looking around and then it leaves the food. When it free ranges the yard, it will stop to munch any poop it finds on the way to find a spot to dig a hole but it just won't eat anything I try to feed it nor any greens around the yard. Every bath though it will go under drinking water for what feels like a minute or more at a time. And always has a huge bm in the bath or lots of urine with some white powdery chunks.

I'm also concerned about it because it is just so lazy and it just does not like us, even after 5+ years of sweet talking it, taking utmost care of it and it absolutely wants nothing to do with us and acts so scared of us and always has. It even hisses at us and has since it was a baby! I really don't understand and wonder if there is anything we can do to make it come around to us? We had a sulcata before that passed away after one year (bad breeder, we still mourn him) and it was crazy active and loved us, always wanted to be handled and did so much! This one has never ever been that way. All it wants to do is sleep and be left alone lol

It has safe free range of the house often but never leaves the bedroom. It has its own space with a heat pad, uv lights and warmers if it wants but still it prefers to sleep right in the corner of the room head in or to goes under our bed, seems to be it's favorite place to hang out. Most often we could forget we even have a tortoise cause it hides so often.

Any advice or thoughts you have on my skeptical grump would be awesome. Pics for reference on size. View attachment 263439 View attachment 263440 View attachment 263441 View attachment 263442
More photos of sexing 0129190834.jpeg 1548779699415.jpeg 0129190834a.jpeg 1548779715408.jpeg 1548779833594.jpeg 0129190835a.jpeg
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,236
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
I will echo again that your tortoise is simply too cold. Sulcatas act like you describe when their core body temperature is just not warm enough.

I think most do not realize they go into corners, dark places, etc. not because they prefer the temperature there, but because they are programmed to go back into their burrows when they experience cooler weather as their burrow is warmer that time of year!! It is looking for warmth and does not know in the US the "burrow" is even cooler. So it sits and its metabolism slows.

They sleep waiting for better weather. In their native range, that would be the next day. But the look for weather around 90°f. Since so many seem reluctant to accept that 75° is too cold, allow me to offer backup for that thought, I will also add a bit from some of the temperature studies on do on tortoises and incubation. For sulcatas, I took the heart of their range and where the bulk of the exports of sulcatas came from when they were being exported into the US. I use a town called Gao, in Mali, just north of the Sahel Reserve where Mali, Niger and Burkino Faso borders meet. It is a good area to study the types of climate the sulcata is designed to survive.

You have to be careful in interpreting weather data, because with tortoises, the ground temperature is what they use most. But the weather controls ground temperatures, so if you understand how that works, you can learn a lot about their needs temperature-wise.

This may get boring and for most it is too much information, but if you are interested in what is actually going on:

Ground temperatures follow daily average temperatures. 60 feet deep, the temperature of the ground stays at the average yearly temperature of a region. It does not vary and is extremely stable. For Gao, Mali, that would be 90°f. So that is the thermal mass stabilizing temperatures throughout the year. In summer, it cools depths towards the surface, and in winter it warms. 6 inches deep, the soil temperature is very much effected by this. In winter, when the earth is warmer than above, the temperature varies from the low of the previous weekly average to a high about 10°f-12°f above that depending upon direct sun exposure. A sulcata burrows to get away from even that extreme. Their burrows are commonly 10 feet deep and more. 10 feet deep the temperature of the ground only varies about 5°F over the course of the year from the yearly average. That means the ground around the tortoise in his burrow is still at least 87°F in the coldest part of winter.

Here is a graph I make of the yearly temps, humidity, cloud cover and rain when looking at an area. This is Gao, Mali 2018 - last year. I show here the "coldest part" of the year - Jan through Mar. 2018. (The whole year would be too wide and loose detail.) Even though temperatures dip into the high 60°s and even hit 58° once in Feb. - the high the next day most always goes back to high 80°s with plenty of sunshine. By the beginning of March, daily lows barely dip below 80° and the highs average over 100° A Sulcata never has to deal with body temperatures under 85°.

Gao weather.jpg
 

mike taylor

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
13,389
Your tortiose needs to be outside in a heated box. I have three large sulcatas and they eat anything and everything put in front of them . As for the shyness my female is the same way . If you get near her food she will try to ram you . My males are more out going . Here's how I keep my sulcatas . I have a big area fenced in . All tortioses are in their own areas. Each tortiose has a heated box with a oil filled heater . The heater is on a thermostat set at 84 . But the heater makes the temperature go up to 90 then cools down slowly to 82 . The two sulcatas pictured will eat all the greens and most of that hay in a day . I feed them every other day in winter and they graze all day in the summer . They go into their heated houses all on their own . The trick is to find the spot in the enclosure they like to be and put the heated box there . You can try that in your house also if she goes off to the opposite side of the heat source. Then you should see her eating better . But as for her looks she is beautiful . I live in the Houston area and it nearly never gets really cold . Our low is usually around 27 once or twice a winter and that's only at night .Most days are in the mid to high 50's. My tortoises will come out when it's sunny and cool to eat and drink . Then once they're full they go back into the heated box . IMG_20181030_172528357.jpeg IMG_20170912_182506726_HDR.jpeg IMG_20170912_193050281.jpeg IMG_20180831_172907063.jpeg IMG_20180831_154952299_HDR.jpeg IMG_20180831_154353075_HDR.jpeg IMG_20180913_162837206.jpeg
 

Ray--Opo

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
4,997
Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay Fl
You have done a wonderful job with Ozzy. The carapace is nice and smooth. My sully will be 2 in June and is 9 5 inches long and a little over 4lbs. @vladimir is closer to the age of Ozzy. Maybe he can give you a comparison. Vladimir also has a second story on the inside enclosure. So maybe getting Ozzy up off the ground might help.
Here is a pic I think I got from a post from EllieMay. IMG_1848.jpg
 

mike taylor

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
13,389
I wouldn't trim the beak . Start feeding her on a paving Stone . As she eats it will trim itself .
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,236
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Hey Mark, does the beak of Ozzy need to be trimmed?
sorry, didn't see this unil Mike's reply. I agree - don't trim. I don't see a problem with her beak anyway. Sulcatas have that bicuspid point to their beak for tearing off vegetation. Doesn't look too long to me in the pictures.
 

queen koopa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Messages
675
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas Nevada
Heat and privacy are huge I think. And it’s probably easy to be lacking in those when living in a human dwelling. But I live in Southern Nevada and when we finally got colder temps (60-75) I definitely saw a change in diet & the burrowing began, otherwise Koopa is a monster eater (she is 6, first 5 years the owner raised in an apartment I believe, on spring mix). We have tons of wild bermuda and multiple small lawns. Thought it would be great to wheel her up to one and then try some weed control! Brought her up to the lawn and put a lil fence around her, she pigged out for 2 minutes maybe then pretty much sprinted laps just smashing her face against the fence. So I gave her a hide next time and it went much better, but I also think she didn’t like any lingering dog smell.. guessing she doesn’t want to smell predators or other things. And they let you know. Koopa likes to hiss at my sister! PS she has her own lawn now.
 

C. Nelson

Active Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2016
Messages
135
Location (City and/or State)
Grand Junction, CO
Hey y'all,

I have a tortoise that just turned 5 in November, named Ozzy. For about a year prior to getting Ozzy, followed by the whole first year of its life my husband and I were super dedicated to learning about and properly raising a healthy sulcata and have carried on everything we have learned over the years to date. Yet I'm still so perplexed by our tortoise and it seems to just be outside of everything I've read about juvenile sulcatas.

No idea on the sex. Every which way we have read, we end up unsure still. Years ago we thought boy, but I heavily think it's a female now because of shell shape. Wondered if y'all could offer some suggestions on sexing it or about when we would ever know? Only want to know for curiosity, by the way.

Also wanted to give you some specs on my tort and see if it's of healthy size for a 5 year old tortoise cause I honestly don't know and thus worry.
From tail to head its 14.5 inches. From side to side its 14 inches. From the middle of the belly all the way around its shell its 23 inches. Weighs about 16lbs and has huge legs, I'm talking nearly 4.5 inches around. The reason I ask is because I worry my tortoise does not eat enough. I offer it food multiple times a week and it never eats. To no exaggeration, it hasn't eaten in 6+ weeks because it simply doesn't want to, I assume. It just gets up and walks back to the corner and for naps. It's always so sleepy but then randomly one day it's up and active (still yawning tho lol) and eats a whole dunch, does it's business and finds a spot to go snooze again. Then it won't eat again for days and days or even many weeks. I still always get it up once a week at least for a warm soak and I offer fresh greens and mazury. It sits a while, looking around and then it leaves the food. When it free ranges the yard, it will stop to munch any poop it finds on the way to find a spot to dig a hole but it just won't eat anything I try to feed it nor any greens around the yard. Every bath though it will go under drinking water for what feels like a minute or more at a time. And always has a huge bm in the bath or lots of urine with some white powdery chunks.

I'm also concerned about it because it is just so lazy and it just does not like us, even after 5+ years of sweet talking it, taking utmost care of it and it absolutely wants nothing to do with us and acts so scared of us and always has. It even hisses at us and has since it was a baby! I really don't understand and wonder if there is anything we can do to make it come around to us? We had a sulcata before that passed away after one year (bad breeder, we still mourn him) and it was crazy active and loved us, always wanted to be handled and did so much! This one has never ever been that way. All it wants to do is sleep and be left alone lol

It has safe free range of the house often but never leaves the bedroom. It has its own space with a heat pad, uv lights and warmers if it wants but still it prefers to sleep right in the corner of the room head in or to goes under our bed, seems to be it's favorite place to hang out. Most often we could forget we even have a tortoise cause it hides so often.

Any advice or thoughts you have on my skeptical grump would be awesome. Pics for reference on size. View attachment 263439 View attachment 263440 View attachment 263441 View attachment 263442



Your tortoise is beautiful! You have done a great job so far! I only hope my little baby sulcata grows up to look that fantastic. Congrats!
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top