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Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by AZRT, Jul 2, 2018.

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  1. AZRT

    AZRT Member

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    Hey everyone,

    Tomorrow I will be picking up my first sulcata (may get a pair). I have read and been told one can live fine for a while in a 20 gal tank while running heat/uvb lights 12-14 hrs per day.


    I have heard you can use rabbit pellets as a bedding since they can begin to burrow a bit and if they eat it, it won’t affect Tom he tortoise. I was told as a baby to give plenty of dark greens and some prickly pear as well

    Anymore suggestions?

    Thanks
  2. Blake m

    Blake m Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I highly suggest you ha e your setup completed before you pick up the tortoise. Have all of your research done; i.e. the temperatures perfect, humidity set, diet, and a big enough tank. A 20 gallon tank is not enough for a baby even to live. Please read through the sulcata threads and how to raise them. Please let us know if you have questions after you’ve read those!
  3. pguinpro

    pguinpro Guest

    Welcome to the forum :) I bought Ollie, a 3-5mo old tortoise, and also got the 20gal. It's just not enough space because they like to roam. Instead I bought a 55 gallon tub; he's much happier and soon I will build a full wood enclosure. Also keep in mind dark greens are great every once in a while but research clearly states their diet consists of 80% grass; better start growing their favorite types now...
    Best Grass for Sulcatas:


    Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
    Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon -- which actually originated in Africa!)
    Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata)
    Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
    Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparious)
    Western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii)
    Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)
    Arizona Fescue (Festuca arizonica)
    Lawn Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
    Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina)
    Creeping Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)
  4. AZRT

    AZRT Member

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    I had originally wanted to go with a 20 gal concrete mixing tub for a baby. Using heat and uvb as normal and was told it won’t allow good humidity. I would buy a hide and out spagnam (S/p) moss plus mist as needed but was told that wouldn’t work. Would that give them more room to wander?
  5. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you need to do a lot of new research.
    Please give these a read and come back with questions-
    How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php...ealthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

    For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

    Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/

    Definitely don’t get a pair. Tortoises do not make friends, and are very solitary.

    I would never keep a tortoise in anything less that 40 gallons, and even that will only last a few months.

    Pellets are not even close to a good substrate, and I would use orchid bark, coco coir, peat moss, or cypress mulch.

    I would not use moss, because a lot of times they eat it.

    Definitely give those links a read.
  6. Blake m

    Blake m Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    It looks like you’re finding some good information! So glad you found the forum and are wanting to learn how you can raise your soon to be baby the best way possible.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    @AZRT

    STOPPPPPPP!!!!!

    You are getting terrible advice from someone or some source. If this is the same source you are about to buy from, DON'T do it. It is very likely to end with the tortoise dying in a few weeks or months, even if you do everything perfectly.

    Before you proceed, PLEASE read those threads that TechnoCheese linked for you.

    Then read these:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/

    #1 Beginner mistake: Buying from the wrong source.

    Please let us help you.
  8. AZRT

    AZRT Member

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    Nope I’m not buying from the same guy don’t worry
  9. daniellenc

    daniellenc Well-Known Member

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    Nope you won’t listen to decades of research and correct your care to raise a healthy smooth baby that won’t pyramid or die of hatchling failure syndrome? You won’t look for breeders raising their babies the correct way? Then you’re gonna get what you asked for and learn the adult lesson sometimes you’re wrong. Enjoy!
  10. AZRT

    AZRT Member

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    What are you talking about? I’m reading all the links I’ve been sent as well as more research. I will get my cage established and buy from a breeder. I have found one on Fuana that’s local and have good reviews and will look at others as well.

    I think your post is **** and troll worthy
  11. daniellenc

    daniellenc Well-Known Member

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    I may have misread that?
  12. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    Definitely a NO on the 20g tank and rabbit pellets. Whoever gave you that advice I wouldn't take anymore from them. I found a lot of conflicting info everywhere before I got my tortoise also. I went with the recommendations from this forum because everyone using them seemed to have great looking healthy tortoises. I now have a smooth, healthy tortoise. Gluck, and happy torting.
    Jay Bagley likes this.
  13. AZRT

    AZRT Member

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    Yea. I meant to come across as I am not buying from a pet store or the guy who gave me “advice”. I was going to get a “kit” from a reptile store but I’ll look at using a big mixing tub to give more room or build a tortoise table. I’m researching as much as I can and finding so many different ways it seems confusing at first. I’ll do what’s best for the tortoise. I found a local breeder on fauna and will visit today or Thursday
    daniellenc likes this.
  14. pguinpro

    pguinpro Guest

    You read out of context
  15. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Most breeders do not start babies correctly. Almost all of them in fact. For 30 years we all had the wrong idea about sulcatas and baby tortoises in general. Me included. Here on this forum, we have it figured out now. We now know what works and why. Most of the breeders out there still do not understand or know about this new info and they are still doing it the old wrong way. Here is what you need to ask any breeder BEFORE you buy. If they can't or won't answer these questions, move on to the next breeder. If they answer these questions incorrectly, move on to the next breeder.
    1. What was the incubation media? Should be vermiculite. Should never be perlite.
    2. Did they move the hatchling to a brooder box for about a week, or leave it in the incubator while it absorbed its yolk sac and closed up the umbilical scar? Or did they skip the brooder box and go straight to a dry enclosure?
    3. How often was the baby soaked? Should be daily. If it was once a week, move on.
    4. After the brooder box, what substrate was the new baby kept on? Should be something damp like orchid bark, cypress mulch or coco coir. Should never be rabbit pellets, hay, shavings, soil, or any mixture with sand.
    5. Was the baby kept mostly indoors, or mostly outdoors? Too much of the great outdoors is not good for little babies.
    6. Was the baby kept in warm humid monsoon conditions to simulate what they hatch into in the wild, or was it kept in an open topped dry enclosure?
    7. Did the breeder introduce a wide range of grasses, weeds, leaves, flowers and succulents to the little baby, or did they drop in some romaine and spring mix?

    I know of no one on Fauna that does it right. A positive review made by someone who doesn't know these things about a breeder that doesn't know these things will do you no good when your baby is dying in your hands in a couple of months after you did everything right and everything "seemed fine" initially. That is how it typically goes when they are started in the usual dry fashion.

    To save you a heck of a lot of trouble, just buy one from me, Mark @Markw84 , Lance @Lancecham, or Austin @Arizona Sulcata . These are the people that I know start sulcata babies right and have a per`fect track record. If there are others that are starting them in the ways described above, I hope everyone will let me know so that I can add them to this list. "Reputable Seller" has nothing to do with whether or not they start sulcata babies correctly from day one.

    Ask yourself: Why is this guy on the internet taking the time to type all this out and hassle me about where I get my baby and how I'm going to house it? Rather than have you guessing, I will tell you: My motivation is to help new people have a positive tortoise experience. I love these animals and taking care of them. I want the rest of the world to also enjoy them. When people buy from the wrong source, or house them the wrong way, it becomes a very negative experience and they leave the hobby. Then they say things like: "Tortoises are too hard to keep", or my personal least favorite, "Some of them just aren't meant to survive…". I think it is awesome that you want to get into tortoises, and sulcatas are a great species for someone who lives in AZ and has a large yard. The problem is that most people don't find us, don't get this info, and they go right down the path that you were on before we started harping on you. Hopefully, all these words can help steer you in the right direction.

    Please ask questions if any of this doesn't seem right to you. Allow us to explain further. Gain more knowledge about the subject so you can make the right decisions throughout this process. Don't learn these things the hard way. You are one of the lucky ones that found us and got the correct info. Now all we have to do is convince you to listen to it.
    EllieMay and Jay Bagley like this.
  16. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Not a good idea to get two unless you plan on having two separate habitats. Pairs don't do well and you'll end up with one that fails to thrive.

    A 20 gallon tank might be ok for one HATCHLING for a month or so, but it will be too small very soon

    Yes, rabbit pellets as bedding won't harm his digestive system, as it is edible, however, you can't moisten rabbit pellets because they mold, and baby sulcatas require a moist substrate. I like small grade orchid bark.


    Yes, that was good information, and along with your dark greens and prickly pear , you can offer an assortment of edible weeds and plants.

    Please be sure to read the threads others have linked for you. We have new, cutting edge information that supersedes much of the old info floating around about sulcatas.
    Jay Bagley likes this.
  17. AZRT

    AZRT Member

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    I’m trying to read as much as I can
  18. Miscally

    Miscally Active Member

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    It's a lot to take in but worth every minute it takes to read. The advice on here is the very best and the people here really care about the tortoises.
    Good luck and have a great time with your new baby
    Jay Bagley likes this.
  19. shiannem1

    shiannem1 New Member

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    You’re willing to read everything you can and you’re asking questions. You’ll do great :) enjoy your little one while it’s little.
    Jay Bagley likes this.
  20. pguinpro

    pguinpro Guest

    It would probably be easier to get a dog or cat, just saying. The amount of crap you have to read and all of the conflicting information is ridiculuous. It's an opinion war, everyone thinks they're right. Fact of the matter is just trying to replicate their conditions in their natural enviornment which is quite difficult for the first year.
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