Little sulcata does not believe in walls...

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3 days ago, I adopted/rescued a 6-month-old sulcata -- we got him from a relative who rescued a pair from a bad home.

He is 5" long and about 3.5" wide. He's in a 40 x 24" enclosure with wood sides... and is OBSESSED with scraping at 2 of the corners. Not digging down, trying to tunnel out. The other corners he leaves alone. He has a covered, humid hide and a little log dry hide, he walks around just fine, and then suddenly- back to attacking the corners. Is this normal?

(Note: I'm doing a crash course in sulcatas here. Yes, it would have been very nice to have had time for a "what to expect when you are expecting a sulcata" tutorial BEFORE he got here, but, as rescues often go, this one was a bit of a surprise. Please feel free to correct me if I'm doing something ridiculous, but please be kind-- I promise you this is a better home than the one he was in at first.)

Atlas burrows.jpg
 

wellington

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He needs a bigger enclosure and 80% humidity with temps 80 day and night and a basking spot of 95-100.
Read the caresheet in the sulcata section.
Make changes asap!
 
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Ok, well, he has the temps.... I'm really grateful for the advice, but the enclosure is 50x his size. What size would you suggest? He's too small to be outside in our area- we have a ton of predator animals.
 
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wellington

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Yes 80% humidity from hatching to about 3 years and should be in a closed chamber. After that, a humid hide and any humidity that can be added.
A 2x4 foot is used for one leopard hatchling which is smaller.
Btw, are you sure he's only 6 months? He looks big for 6 months.
A 4x4 would work for a while but I would try to do a 3 or 4 by 6 foot. That should last until he can move outside at 10 inches.
The pyramiding he has is because he was raised to dry, no humidity probably in an open enclosure. You can't reverse it but with the proper temps and specially the high humidity you can get it to stop.
 
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Yeah, I am absolutely certain the pyramiding is a dry enclosure thing.. and possibly a diet problem (I believe hard boiled eggs were an occasional part of his diet before for reasons I cannot begin to fathom. And I was informed that he "doesn't like bananas", which should tell you a lot about where he came from.)

The box is your basic "tortoise enclosure" box from Amazon... if he were to stay in it for a while while we figure out what else to do, would placing heat-resistant plexiglass over the wire lid portion be a good option? I could conceivably give him another box connected to this one, giving him a 6x2... do you build the boxes you've used?

He's also getting a few minutes of outdoor yard time when I get home and can hang out with him for a bit. He likes the fescue we have out there.


This is what he's in right now:
enclosure.jpg
 
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And to answer the age question: no, I am not sure 6 months is at all accurate. I have found a vet that specializes in reptiles, so we'll be making an appointment to get him checked out and maybe they will kow?
 

maggie3fan

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And to answer the age question: no, I am not sure 6 months is at all accurate. I have found a vet that specializes in reptiles, so we'll be making an appointment to get him checked out and maybe they will kow?
Sulcata walk for miles in the wild, walking helps them to digest the food. Also his insides need to be 85 degrees to help in digestion
read this...
 

wellington

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Yeah, I am absolutely certain the pyramiding is a dry enclosure thing.. and possibly a diet problem (I believe hard boiled eggs were an occasional part of his diet before for reasons I cannot begin to fathom. And I was informed that he "doesn't like bananas", which should tell you a lot about where he came from.)

The box is your basic "tortoise enclosure" box from Amazon... if he were to stay in it for a while while we figure out what else to do, would placing heat-resistant plexiglass over the wire lid portion be a good option? I could conceivably give him another box connected to this one, giving him a 6x2... do you build the boxes you've used?

He's also getting a few minutes of outdoor yard time when I get home and can hang out with him for a bit. He likes the fescue we have out there.


This is what he's in right now:
View attachment 330371
Putting a tent like plastic over the open lid would work and give you room to hang the lights and heat. Adding another to the one you have or building onto it would be better yes.
Mine went from a large plastic tote at hatchling size into a room and then outside to a shed.
The ones I hatched went right into a portable greenhouse before going to new homes.
As I think you already know, no fruit is to be fed. As for the egg, I think they were following what a redfoot can eat. The shell of a boiled egg can be turned into dust and fed as a calcium, but no, not the whole egg.
Sounds like you are getting things straightened out and learning a lot. Soon he will have a great home with you. Keep up the great work and keep learning only from this forum. Most of the stuff out there is old outdated wrong info.
Also be careful at the vets. They don't know as much about tortoises as they like to think. A lot of us have tortoises that has never seen a vet as sometimes they can do more harm than good.
 
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