New Sulcata Daddy

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carsrus10

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Hi all, I'm Don from Bloomington, Indiana. Home of IU basketball and DaVinci and Azisa, two African Spur Thigh Tortoises.
I got them a week ago from a local lady. I have read many of the posts here and now my head is spinning. The lady I got them from uses the small alfalfa pellets for a substrate. So I have been.
My guys have a uvb light 16 hours a day, and an incandescent 60 watt for heat that keep the hot side at 84. They have constant water supply, constant food almost. They have fresh timothy hay in a corner to burrow and munch. They have a shelter to totally hide in, but prefer to burrow in the hay.
They are very very active and eat like carnivorous vegans.
Diet. Baby Spring Mix, yellow squash, carrot, spinach, tiny bit of tomato somtimes, zucchini also a pellet or two of ZooMed Grassland Tortoise food, wetted.
They get a thirty minute "hot tub" soak daily. Shell wax weekly, and a sprinkling of Repti Calcium 3 times a week.
They are petted and rubbed a lot and talked to.
I am building a 2'x4' enclosure for them and will incorporate changeable pans with fresh growing grasses, as well as an oasis for drinking and bathing.
I have a couple of questions.
Under substrate heater? Sun is overhead, but opinions?
My substrate? right or wrong, if wrong what?
I look forward to being a good turtle daddy,,, so far I have found they are chick magnets!
 

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Yvonne G

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RE: New Sulcate Daddy

Hi Don:

Welcome to the Forum!!

Yeah...alfalfa pellets for substrate is old school. You should use something that you can wet. I prefer orchid bark. Some on here use coconut coir.

First thing that I see wrong with your first post is "African spur thigh tortoise." When you say "spur thigh" you are referring to a Greek tortoise. When you put "African" in front of it, it would be more correct to say "African spurred tortoise." But even easier is to change altogether and call them "sulcatas." :p

For very tiny babies, I sometimes use a seed starting heat mat. It doesn't get over 80F degrees, and with moist substrate on top of it, you get the moist air coming up that keeps them growing smooth. I never use underneath heat that has the potential of getting hotter than 80F because babies sometimes can't figure out that if they move off it they can get away from being too hot.

Pah...chick magnets indeed! :p
 

wellington

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RE: New Sulcate Daddy

Hello and Welcome.:) get rid of the pellet substrate ASAP, the worse thing to use. I like coconut coir, won't mold, holds in humidity, which they need to grow smooth. I already see some pyramiding. The person you got them from kept them too dry. Some people like cypress mulch. Check out the threads below in my post they will help you a lot. Also, the hot/basking spot needs to be 95-100 the all over temp 80 and the humdity 80.
 

mainey34

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RE: New Sulcate Daddy

Hello and welcome, sorry to bring bad news, but the pellet substrate you are using is no good...you need to remove it immediately and replace it with something like coco coir, cypress mulch, as far as " hot tub " soak what is that? Soaks should be like bathwater for a child around 80-90*. Your temps are not warm enough they should be around 100 in basking. What are your 3 temps? Also what is your humidity? Did she go over that with you? One last thing. It would be great if you could take a picture of your set up o we can help you out there..
 

carsrus10

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RE: New Sulcate Daddy

mainey34 said:
Hello and welcome, sorry to bring bad news, but the pellet substrate you are using is no good...you need to remove it immediately and replace it with something like coco coir, cypress mulch, as far as " hot tub " soak what is that? Soaks should be like bathwater for a child around 80-90*. Your temps are not warm enough they should be around 100 in basking. What are your 3 temps? Also what is your humidity? Did she go over that with you? One last thing. It would be great if you could take a picture of your set up o we can help you out there..

When I say "Hot Tub" i was referring to their soaking. NOT HOT WATER. Just slightly warm so as not to shock them.
Ok, I was planning on changing out the substrate tomorrow so I will go with one of the suggestions. Living in Indiana, humidity hasn't been a problem so far but with cold weather and indoor heat coming, I will get a monitor and check it. I will change up to 100 watt incandescent and see if i can gain some degrees for basking.
 

tyrs4u

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Hi carsrus10:

Welcome to the Forum Don!

Welcome baby Torts... Too cute... Coco Coir & a misting bottle =] daily soaks... Best of luck :)
 
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