New Parent of 5-year-old Leopard Tortoise

Emil

New Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Northern California (Central Valley)
Hi there everyone!

Two days ago I acquired a five-year-old female Leopard Tortoise from a friend who got the tortoise from someone else.
I live in Modesto, Ca, which is in the Central Valley and it gets pretty hot in the summer. Beyonce, the said tortoise, (I am not a fan of the name but have promised my friend not to change the name; we'll see how long that lasts!) enjoys the yard during the day- there's plenty of room for her to roam and there are no holes in the fence from which she can escape. She's active out there and I've even seen her graze.
I do bring her in at night and presently she sleeps in my huge tub, where I have placed a box for her to crawl into and hide.
I plan on building her an indoor enclosure (by winter) by cutting "doorways" in 3 or 4 giant rubber tubs and zip-tying them to each other so she can have sufficient space. I will also provide a heat lamp and a UV lamp, which I'm still researching.

I've done hours of research as I want to give Beyonce (wince) a happy and healthy life, but there's more info on hatchlings than on older Leopards, so I've got a few questions that I'm sure you guys can help me out with. Questions like:

Can I leave Beyonce (wince) outside overnight if temps are going to be 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above? Is the cut-off 50ish?

I know younger Leopards need humidity and soaking, but do I need to soak Beyonce (wince) once in a while also or should adult Leopards not get wet at all? (If I know it will rain/drizzle should I bring her in or will she be fine in the yard?) (Basically, I'm confused about moisture/wetness with adult Leopards.)

If she's going to be outside for the summer should I place water dishes in more than one spot or will she learn where the one water dish is? (Same with food dish.)

Can I feed her the cactus pads they sell for human consumption at some grocery stores?

The grass in the yard gets pretty yellow/dry in the summer here with the drought and watering restrictions. Can she eat the dry grass? (Probably a preference thing, huh?)

I guess these are the things I'm presently grappling with. I will continue to read on here and elsewhere for more insight, but I have to say that she is a beautiful creature and very interesting and delightful. I don't have any amazing pictures of her yet because she's very shy yet and retreats into her shell, but I will post some soon. (You can kind of see her in my profile pic.)

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and answering my questions.

Emil
 

William Lee Kohler

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Messages
817
Location (City and/or State)
Eugene, OR
Can leave outside if you have a warm little house tortoise can retire into. Say 70-75 degrees or so. Thermoregulation is natural for these critters so they learn to find this place but you can help for several days by showing where it is at. Placing food nearby regularly can make this a kind of center of operations for your pet. Some nights in natural habitat can get pretty chilly with little real shelter so an occasional cool DRY nite out in open will not be fatal.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,044
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Welcome to the Forum, Emil!

Here's a picture of one of my leopard yards:

leopard shed.jpg leopard tortoise yard 3-10-14 b.jpg

I have 1.2 full grown leopards in one half of the space and 1.1 young adults in the other. All my leopards share the shed in the picture, and there's a divider in the shed with a door out to each yard. They live there 24/7/365. The shed has heat in the winter, but as soon as the nights are consistently over 50 I turn off the heat. Here in Clovis we also have watering restrictions, but my animals come first. I water my animal pastures once a week to keep them green. Once a week I cut branches off the mulberry tree for the tortoises, and occasionally I give them pieces off the grape vine. In your case, if you won't water, then you can feed Miz B from this list:

Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

You can also buy dark, leafy greens from the produce section of the grocery store, including the nopalitas or nopal pads (cactus) that they sell there.

Can we see a picture of Miz B?
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,044
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I don't. There's a large circular top from an evaporative cooler recessed into the ground and they drink on their own. I'll go get a picture of it . . .
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,044
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
. . . I also took a picture of my evaporative cooler on my roof so you could see what the waterer came from (an old, broken cooler):

cooler.jpg leopard waterer.jpg
 
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