my sulcata isn’t going in the sun today?

Jesa

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I have a 2 inch sulcata, I don’t use UV lighting in his enclosure, instead I put him outside 2 hours a day. I have a tortoise box that has chicken wire covering and a small portion is just a solid wood covering where he can get water and shade himself.

Yesterday he was in the sun a lot, walking around his box and just being happy. Today every time I check on him, he’s in the boxed part receiving no sun. It’s been 2 hours and 20 minutes because I’m worried he hasn’t gotten any sun at all.

The only difference is that I fed him outside this time, leaving his food in the boxed area so it won’t wilt. He seems to have eaten most of it and I don’t think he’s currently eating still.

Should I trust that he’s gotten enough sun? I really don’t think he’s gotten any. I check on him every 10 minutes or so. It’s 88 degrees right now and not too hot. I do mist down his box shade area before letting him out so maybe she’s enjoying the humidity? naturally it’s 45% humidity outside today, I live in Florida on the river.
 

Jesa

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here’s a picture of his outdoor box, he’s in there for size example. I’ve planted seeds in there for it to be more interesting for him while I start working on his real outdoor enclosure. he’s just a baby so i might be getting ahead of myself making anything for him
 

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iAmCentrochelys sulcata

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You shouldn’t be keeping your tortoise in a tortoise table, you need a closed chamber which maintains humidity and heat you’ll need a CHE. You don’t need UVB as long as you take it outside at least a few hours a week.
 

Chubbs the tegu

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here’s a picture of his outdoor box, he’s in there for size example. I’ve planted seeds in there for it to be more interesting for him while I start working on his real outdoor enclosure. he’s just a baby so i might be getting ahead of myself making anything for him
I would set up the box so that the hidey box part is in the shade and the sun is not beating down on it. Even though air temps are 88.. under the sun is a lot hotter than that
 

Jesa

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You shouldn’t be keeping your tortoise in a tortoise table, you need a closed chamber which maintains humidity and heat you’ll need a CHE. You don’t need UVB as long as you take it outside at least a few hours a week.
hi did you read the whole post? this is just for his outside time, he’s in an enclosed chamber all the time indoors
 

Jesa

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I would set up the box so that the hidey box part is in the shade and the sun is not beating down on it. Even though air temps are 88.. under the sun is a lot hotter than that
i’ll try that, i keep the box on my porch when not in use so it doesn’t get any warmth until i bring it out. i figured that it wouldn’t be so hot in the box but i’ll scoot it in closer to the shade from the house..
 

haydog_99

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here’s a picture of his outdoor box, he’s in there for size example. I’ve planted seeds in there for it to be more interesting for him while I start working on his real outdoor enclosure. he’s just a baby so i might be getting ahead of myself making anything for him
I've seen people on this forum say that a couple hours of sun a week is all they need.
 

KronksMom

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Simple answer to your question: he's gotten enough sun. He really only NEEDS to go outside for 2 hours 3 days a week. Since you're taking him more often than that, he's getting enough UV. He likes the extra though.
 

Jesa

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Simple answer to your question: he's gotten enough sun. He really only NEEDS to go outside for 2 hours 3 days a week. Since you're taking him more often than that, he's getting enough UV. He likes the extra though.
oh no i feel so bad now. i thought i read 2 hours a day.
 

Chubbs the tegu

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A 2 inch sulcata i would let him out an hr a day tops. Yes 3 hrs a week is enough. But more wont hurt.
 

KronksMom

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oh no i feel so bad now. i thought i read 2 hours a day.
Nothing to feel bad about. You were watching him closely, you were doing what you thought was right, and you were almost dead on! We live and we learn. Always come back with any questions you have.
 

Sue Ann

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here’s a picture of his outdoor box, he’s in there for size example. I’ve planted seeds in there for it to be more interesting for him while I start working on his real outdoor enclosure. he’s just a baby so i might be getting ahead of myself making anything for him
Sweet little Sully. You are really very caring. @Tom is best help
 

Tom

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There are a lot of very knowledgable and experienced people on this forum. Much of what I know and assert, I've learned from them over many years of discussions and interaction. I appreciate the votes of confidence, but I'm still learning too. We have soooooo many unanswered questions...

This is a very complex subject with many variables, but the solution is as simple as the problem is complex. No one knows exactly how much UV is needed, or what levels, or what duration, at what temperatures. What about dappled shade? How much UV is lost through a screen or protective wire top? What if the tortoise spends most of its time in the shade?

I encourage everyone to read and learn about UV and tortoises as much as possible, but when you are done, you will realize, like I have, that there are far more questions than answers. Search for any work done by Frances Baines. I consider her the world authority on lighting and UV for reptiles, although recently, I'm starting to think our own @Markw84 may have surpassed even her level of knowledge and study.

As discouraging and hopeless as all these questions sound, its not a problem in any way. There are many many theories, strategies, and recommendations for UV. The only method I've seen that doesn't work well is keeping a tortoise exclusively in a small glass tank with no heat, light, UV, and a diet of mostly lettuce. If you want to see MBD in person do those things, but it will take many months to see damage. From what I've seen ALL of the things we normally do will all contribute to preventing MBD. Supplementation, sunning, indoor UV... All of these help prevent MBD.

I use the "one hour of outside time per inch of tortoise" and my "a couple hours of sun per week" as general easy guidelines for people to follow. There is no specific scientific study to back up those numbers. Only a lifetime of observing hundreds of my own reptiles of many types and species, and also observing other people's reptiles and UV regimes both in person, here on the forum, and also consulting with the many reptile vets I know and work with. I know for a fact that those strategies will work and will keep a tortoise healthy and free of MBD, because I've raided hundred of babies of multiple species following those two guidelines. More than this is fine, and I'll bet a lot less than this would still work.

@Jesa
If your baby is in an outside enclosure for two hours a day, for several days a week, you should have no worries. Its normal and natural for babies to hide a lot, and they don't need to be in direct sun to get UV benefit when they are outside. There is also some UV refraction even in the shade. We had a moderator here named Kristina that had a whole bunch of tortoises of all different species, and she lived in Michigan. Her tortoises were outside all summer in the warm weather, and she'd move them indoors when it got cold. They would spend months indoors in winter with no UV at all, and here tortoises were totally fine. This illustrates the other important point that tortoises store D3 in their fatty tissues. They don't need daily exposure to UV or daily dietary supplementation either. We always have cold rainy spells here in winter when my baby tortoises must go for 3-4 weeks with no outside time at all. This does no harm whatsoever. They use their reserve D3, if needed, and replenish when the weather is nice again.

Hopefully, this info will allow you to relax about UV and enjoy your baby tortoise more. Questions and conversation are welcome.
 
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