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My little Atlas

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by Nimus, Dec 4, 2019.

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  1. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I've had my hatchling Sulcata for a couple of months now and I've become more attached to him than I thought I would! I didn't weigh him when I first got him but from October 30th to November 5th he gained 15 grams (50g > 65g). I've never measured him but I'd say his shell is between 2.5-3 inches now.

    October 17th right after I unboxed him:
    20191017_104804.jpg

    November 25th:
    20191125_095901.jpg
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  2. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Well-Known Member

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    Use a pencil and paper- trace his outline, add weight and date. BOOM instant growth charts to compare! Looking forward to more photos
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  3. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I'm not sure he'd cooperate lol. He's more of a runner than a hider so whenever I pick him up or put him somewhere he doesn't want to be he's instantly on the move. He's surprisingly strong for his size (trying to push away from my hand when I'm transferring him to his morning bath). The second picture was taken right after I put him down and he was on the move a second later.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    The new growth looks great.

    Time to switch from coco coir to orchid bark.

    Does he shrug? HA! Couldn't resist... :D
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  5. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I use Cypress mulch with sphagnum moss mixed in for moisture retention. I've been trying to find a source for cheap bulk orchid bark but haven't had any luck. I haven't seen it at the local nurseries and the hardware stores just have small expensive bags of orchid bark.
  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    A friend of mine just showed me some of his young tortoises that were on sphagnum moss. The type that is like dirt in consistency. Their plastrons were being eaten away by the acidity of the substrate. Well, we assume it was the acidity. He's never had that happen with any other species on any other substrate.

    Just a warning for you. I wouldn't use that stuff. And I wouldn't use the long fiber type either, as that type can cause impaction and they always eat it.

    Where in CA are you? I have no problem finding it here in Santa Clarita. Maybe I can help you find some?
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  7. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    Wow, I didn't know sphagnum moss was dangerous to them when ingested. It seemed like a lot of people mixed it with other substrate to keep the humidity up. I do use the type that is almost like dirt (not the long strands) but only a small portion of the cypress/moss mixture is sphagnum moss.

    I'm in Bakersfield. Unfortunately the nurseries that I visit here like to mark their products up a lot.
  8. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I come up to Bakersfield from time to time. Keep reminding me and I'll bring some up for you if you can't find it there. Or swing by my place if you come through Santa Clarita. I pay about $12 plus tax for 2.0 cu. ft. bags of it.

    Orchid Bark.JPG
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  9. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    Do you think something like this would be fine? I saw this at my local hardware store nursery and it has bigger chunks than the cypress mulch but it didn't say orchid bark so I didn't get it.
  10. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    It says its ponderosa pine and fir. Fir bark is what you want. I don't know about the pine. I wouldn't use that.
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  11. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    Today Atlas is 85g. It seems like he is growing around .8 grams a day so far.

    I'm keeping track of his growth rate here.

    20191219_073445.jpg
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  12. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Well-Known Member

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    Gonna need a bigger scale! Looks good
  13. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    Atlas has grown 55g since October 30th!

    (Picture is blurry because he wouldn't stop zooming around)
    20200108_071246_fixed (1).jpg

    This past weekend I set up a webcam inside his tote so I can see what he's doing during the day. I also added some small aloe plants to add some variation to his enclosure (they were offshoots from my large aloe plant). Today is Mazuri/ZoomMed grassland pellet day for him and he absolutely loves both.
    Atlas Cam - 2020-01-08 15.24.21.jpg

    Here's what the top of his setup looks like. The two larger lamps are CHE connected to a thermostat to maintain around an 82-84*F ambient temperature and the small lamp is a regular heating bulb that comes on during the day.

    20200108_160817.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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  14. KatApril

    KatApril Member

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    Aww atlas looks like a little angel in the first pic lol i so wish there was a mini version of the sulcata lol

    Tom any reason you dont do coco coir but opt for the orchid bark? Think ive asked before but i cannot recall......

    Sphagnum moss is neutral it wont do anything to your tortoise unless it ends up eating it. I use it and its just fine, when i wet it i leave it a couple days to gas off. i get mines from a dart frog guy who makes sure there are no chemicals....

    Peat which is the dirt kind, most of it is acidic. I wouldnt chance it with peat. Its nothing but decomposing organics, the problem which is the carbon content. With a bunch of tortoise excrement and chemistry i wont explain but essentially you create things that can eat away at the tortoise shell over time.

    As long as you change the substrate regularly as in once a month (or watever your schedule) in a closed system you shouldnt have issues....
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  15. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I don't use coco coir for sulcata babies because its too messy. I do prefer it for DTs and Testudo babies. Orchid bark works better.

    The problem with long fibered peat moss is that every tortoise species I've ever kept all try to eat it eventually. It can cause impaction. Its always fine, right up until the day you realize its not fine and your tortoise is all blocked up. This doesn't have in every case all the time, but it happens often enough that we shouldn't be using it in our tortoise enclosures.

    The moss that caused the shell rot in my friends tortoise was fresh stuff. Those tortoises are soaked daily so there was little to no waste in the enclosure.
    Nimus and KatApril like this.
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