Introducing my first tortoise! PEC

samkerns1

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PEC: Princess Earth Crystal <3
My son and I had a long conversation and eventually agreed upon this rather epic name.

Breeder: Rodriguez Chelonians
Subspecies: P. pardalis
Hatched: Feb. 2018
Mother: Bluebelle
Weight on July 20: 105g
Incubated for female.

First impression: She is absolutely gorgeous. Smooth shell, feels solid all over. We are smitten.

She was shipped overnight via FedEx. The delivery guy was holding the box (clearly labelled Live Animal all over) upside down when I met him in the driveway, so she may have had a tough trip.
She was well-packaged in her insulated box and came out alert.
First thing I did was soak her in ~90F water for 10 minutes. She tooted but nothing more.
Then placed her in 40gal closed-top enclosure next to fresh food (chopped grass, grape leaf, poplar leaf from yard) but she didn't eat. Repeated this in the evening with same results. I've got Mazuri ordered, should arrive sometime this week.
I have 2 thermometers, one on each end, reading 80.2F and 84.5F during the day. Just checked night temps since lights are off, reading 77.6F and 78.0F. Daytime hotspot 96F (that took several adjustments).
The humidity has maintained 80-90% all day.

There are 2 terra cotta hides, but she hasn't gone in either yet.
Also using terra cotta dishes for food and water.

I have some questions for the group.
Can the humidity be too high?
Should I go ahead and mix hay into her food or wait until she's eating readily?
Do most breeders wait until their hatchlings reach a certain weight before shipping or selling?
Do many breeders regularly incubate for a particular sex? If yes, are males or females more likely to sell?

I'm sure I'll have many more questions soon. Here are some photos of PEC's unboxing.

And thanks to everyone who posts questions and responses on these forums. I have learned so much and feel prepared to properly care for this animal. 20180724_112915.jpeg VideoCapture_20180724-113355.jpeg VideoCapture_20180724-113432.jpeg
 

NewTortEnthusiast

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Higher the humidity, the better. Yet, as the humidity gets higher and higher it gets harder to maintain. As long as it is at least 80% humidity your tort will be fine. Anything above that will be fine.
 

wellington

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Can't have too high humidity. Raise your low temps to 80 and not lower day and night.
Females are harder too come by as more are hatched male. Females are easier too sell because of this. Each breeder will have its own age or weight requirement before selling. If you want too try hay chop it up finely and soak it till soft then you can try some. Usually babies don't eat it but never hurts too try.
Incubated for female doesn't guarantee it's female.
Your little one is beautiful.
 

NewTortEnthusiast

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Can't have too high humidity. Raise your low temps to 80 and not lower day and night.
Females are harder too come by as more are hatched male. Females are easier too sell because of this. Each breeder will have its own age or weight requirement before selling. If you want too try hay chop it up finely and soak it till soft then you can try some. Usually babies don't eat it but never hurts too try.
Incubated for female doesn't guarantee it's female.
Your little one is beautiful.

Would you say trying to maintain higher and higher humidity is pointless because it gets harder and harder?
 

wellington

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Would you say trying to maintain higher and higher humidity is pointless because it gets harder and harder?
Absolutely not pointless. It's a necessity for raising a smooth healthy tortoise. In a closed chamber it's not that hard, specially for a leopard that can live in swampy conditions and not get shell rot.
All tortoises benefit from a closed chamber high humidity start.
 

NewTortEnthusiast

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Absolutely not pointless. It's a necessity for raising a smooth healthy tortoise. In a closed chamber it's not that hard, specially for a leopard that can live in swampy conditions and not get shell rot.
All tortoises benefit from a closed chamber high humidity start.

Thank you, until now I was under the impression that humidity should stay around 80-90%.
 

wellington

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Thank you, until now I was under the impression that humidity should stay around 80-90%.
Yes, 80% is the target goal. If it goes higher there is no reason to freak out. It's not a big deal and you can just stop adding water/spraying until it drops back down. The species that get shell rot like the RF it's a little more of a problem because although they still need the high humidity, 80% they need to have the top layer of substrate dry to prevent shell rot.
 

diamondbp

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You picked a great breeder to buy from. I have 4 Rodriguez PP leos. They start their babies properly and are great people.

As Wellington stated I would up the night temps to a minimum of 82. I have much better luck with growth rates if ambient temps stay about 86 day and night.

I don’t try to force the hay feeding. That will come with time and size. For now you want her eating , growing, and feeling comfortable for a few months before trying to alter any diet.

If she is anything like my Rodriguez babies she will love mazuri. I would contact Amber Rodriguez to mimic what they were feeding her prior to shipping.

My Rodriguez babies love turnip greens, collard greens, kale, grasses, grape leaves, mulberry leaves, various lettuces, and mazuri.
I would say their 3 favorites are turnip greens, kale, and mazuri.

Best of luck!
 

samkerns1

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I had some trouble getting PEC to eat for several days. Her breeder (Rodriguez Chelonians) was very helpful and responsive.
PEC was holding out for romaine. After the first day of her eating, I began mixing in yard grass, and that seems to be going well.

She's been with me a little over a week and is much less fearful, so now I take her outside for about 20 minutes everyday. Seems like she prefers grass from the source, because she starts eating almost immediately every time.

At one point she wandered over to the patio and started biting at the concrete. I sprinkle Ca on her food every other feeding, but I'm going to pick up some cuttlebone and see if that cures her craving. I also remember Tom recommending a supplement he uses that may help.

She has the slightest underbite. It doesn't impede her eating, so I'm not too worried about it.

And so far, absolutely no regrets about acquiring a pet tortoise. :) 20180802_110245.jpeg 20180802_110200.jpeg 20180802_110424.jpeg
 

samkerns1

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PEC is doing great. In this video, she's eating a mixture of clover, grass, and spring mix topped with crushed Maz Tort. She is becoming very outgoing.

 

samkerns1

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My pp tortoise is still doing great. She weighed 188g on her 1-year hatch date. I don't know if that's a normal weight, but she is very active and has a good appetite. Always bright-eyed.
I'm really enjoying her personality. She isn't shy and knows when feeding times are. She also knows when she's going outside to graze... she'll open her mouth as I lower her to the ground, like she's going to eat all the green things. 20190220_180821.jpeg 20190220_180900.jpeg
 

TumericTJ

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My pp tortoise is still doing great. She weighed 188g on her 1-year hatch date. I don't know if that's a normal weight, but she is very active and has a good appetite. Always bright-eyed.
I'm really enjoying her personality. She isn't shy and knows when feeding times are. She also knows when she's going outside to graze... she'll open her mouth as I lower her to the ground, like she's going to eat all the green things. View attachment 265463 View attachment 265464
PEC is a melanistic (dark) tortoise? Is that very rare. I've only seen one of those on the forum, a hatchling, and everyone was going crazy over it. But the tortoise looks normal as a baby. Did I miss something, or when did it get so dark?
 

samkerns1

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Southwest Georgia
PEC is a melanistic (dark) tortoise? Is that very rare. I've only seen one of those on the forum, a hatchling, and everyone was going crazy over it. But the tortoise looks normal as a baby. Did I miss something, or when did it get so dark?
Nah, she's just on dark substrate most of the time. She gets daily soaks, but I don't scrub her shell or anything.
 

samkerns1

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PEC is a melanistic (dark) tortoise? Is that very rare. I've only seen one of those on the forum, a hatchling, and everyone was going crazy over it. But the tortoise looks normal as a baby. Did I miss something, or when did it get so dark?
Here she is all cleaned up. 20190222_072807.jpeg
 

jsheffield

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Thanks for sharing the wonderful pics!

It looks like your tort is off to a great start.

Is it just me or do the scutes by neck and tail look like faces?
(the front one a panda, the back one a smiley)

Again, thanks!

Jamie
 
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