Please Help Identify

Honuboy

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I just inherited this girl from a co-worker.

Getting conflicting opinions on what species/type of tortoise this actually is.

Woman though it was North American and she said that it hibernates. They had it for 10 years.

Now that I have it at my house people are telling me it's an African Sulacata and they don't hibernate???

It's spring now so the hibernation issue isn't of paramount concern but I'm still confused nonetheless.

It seems a bit slow and sluggish with this bit of cool weather we are getting right now and it's not eating as much as last week when it was warmer. Just wondering if that is normal too.

Sorry... I obviously don't know much about these tortoises.

Any help is appreciated. Let me know if I need to upload any more pics to help identify her.

upload_2016-3-29_18-1-0.png
 

Honuboy

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Also...Is it showing any signs of pyramiding or other health concerns that are noticeable?
 

Tom

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That is a male North American Desert tortoise.

They can hibernate, but it needs to be done correctly. You can't just leave them outside.

If they are going to be kept above ground, they need some night heat on these cold spring nights and in fall too. In the wild they live deep underground and this evens out the temperature extremes that happen on the surface.

It is pyramided, but that is a process that takes years and it likely started when he was a baby. Nothing to do about it now. If all else is good, the damage is only cosmetic.

Most care sheets for these guys recommend keeping them far to dry and dehydrated. Give the tortoise access to water and soak him regularly most of the year, and you might avoid some of the more common health issues with this species.

Here is a diet sheet I typed up for sulcatas. They eat the same stuff, just use a lot less emphasis on grass for a DT.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

Here is an example of a good night box to help keep them from getting too cold above ground. I keep sulcatas and leopards much warmer. You'd only need to set the thermostat for a DT to 65ish.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/

Here is how I house my russians, which need similar care to a DT. This style of housing would suit a DT very well.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/semi-underground-russian-box.98590/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/heating-an-outdoor-russian-night-box.116180/#post-1077261

Please feel free to ask all your questions.
 

Honuboy

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That is a male North American Desert tortoise.

They can hibernate, but it needs to be done correctly. You can't just leave them outside.

If they are going to be kept above ground, they need some night heat on these cold spring nights and in fall too. In the wild they live deep underground and this evens out the temperature extremes that happen on the surface.

It is pyramided, but that is a process that takes years and it likely started when he was a baby. Nothing to do about it now. If all else is good, the damage is only cosmetic.

Most care sheets for these guys recommend keeping them far to dry and dehydrated. Give the tortoise access to water and soak him regularly most of the year, and you might avoid some of the more common health issues with this species.

Here is a diet sheet I typed up for sulcatas. They eat the same stuff, just use a lot less emphasis on grass for a DT.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

Here is an example of a good night box to help keep them from getting too cold above ground. I keep sulcatas and leopards much warmer. You'd only need to set the thermostat for a DT to 65ish.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/

Here is how I house my russians, which need similar care to a DT. This style of housing would suit a DT very well.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/semi-underground-russian-box.98590/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/heating-an-outdoor-russian-night-box.116180/#post-1077261

Please feel free to ask all your questions.


Wow.. great reply Tom....thanks.

What led you to identify it with certainty that it is a north american? Not that I doubt you, just curios what makes you so positive?

How regularly should I soak him? This is to help him hydrate correct? I can search soaking on the forum as well I'm sure.
 

Honuboy

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What size will this girl max out at? Sulacatas get much bigger right?
 

Tom

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Wow.. great reply Tom....thanks.

What led you to identify it with certainty that it is a north american? Not that I doubt you, just curios what makes you so positive?

How regularly should I soak him? This is to help him hydrate correct? I can search soaking on the forum as well I'm sure.

The eyes, the head shape, the long gular scutes, the shell colors, and especially the scalation on the front legs, all tell me this is a Gopherus species.

I recommend soaking two or three times a week in summer and during warm spells.

This species maxes out around 12-13" most of the time. I've seen a few 14" ones, but that would be a biggun'.
 

Yvonne G

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I just inherited this girl from a co-worker.

Getting conflicting opinions on what species/type of tortoise this actually is.

Woman though it was North American and she said that it hibernates. They had it for 10 years.

Now that I have it at my house people are telling me it's an African Sulacata and they don't hibernate???

It's spring now so the hibernation issue isn't of paramount concern but I'm still confused nonetheless.

It seems a bit slow and sluggish with this bit of cool weather we are getting right now and it's not eating as much as last week when it was warmer. Just wondering if that is normal too.

Sorry... I obviously don't know much about these tortoises.

Any help is appreciated. Let me know if I need to upload any more pics to help identify her.

View attachment 168876


It is an extremely large desert tortoise. Either Gopherus agassizii or Gopherus morafkai (I can't tell the difference between the two). And yes, they do hibernate. Your new tortoise is a male.
 

Yvonne G

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Also...Is it showing any signs of pyramiding or other health concerns that are noticeable?

It has some pyramiding, but this happened when the tortoise was just a baby. He looks just fine.
 

Rue

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Congrats on your new family member! He's very attractive!
 

Honuboy

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The eyes, the head shape, the long gular scutes, the shell colors, and especially the scalation on the front legs, all tell me this is a Gopherus species.

I recommend soaking two or three times a week in summer and during warm spells.

This species maxes out around 12-13" most of the time. I've seen a few 14" ones, but that would be a biggun'.

I measured this guy at 13".
 

Gillian M

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Welcome to the forum!

The tortoise is obviously dehydrated. Please concentrate on soaking it, especially if you live in a dry climate. I for one do (I live in Jordan-very dry climate), therefore I soak Oli (my beloved Greek tort) daily and sometimes twice a day during extremely hot Summer days.
 

Honuboy

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Welcome to the forum!

The tortoise is obviously dehydrated. Please concentrate on soaking it, especially if you live in a dry climate. I for one do (I live in Jordan-very dry climate), therefore I soak Oli (my beloved Greek tort) daily and sometimes twice a day during extremely hot Summer days.

What makes it so obvious if you don't mind me asking?

I saw him urinate the other day when he was cruising around on my front lawn, so he must be hydrated to some degree right?

What color is the urine of a healthy and hydrated tortoise by the way?

@Tom if you got any info on this as well. Thanks.

Thanks for your reply and help.
 
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Tom

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What makes it so obvious if you don't mind me asking?

I saw him urinate the other day when he was cruising around on my front lawn, so he must be hydrated to some degree right?

What color is the urine of a healthy and hydrated tortoise by the way?

@Tom if you got any info on this as well. Thanks.

Thanks for your reply and help.

I'm not seeing dehydration, obvious or otherwise.

Its still a good idea to soak your tortoise in a large, tall sided, opaque tub with warm water about halfway up the shell. Every day would not be too much, but twice a week should be plenty for a tortoise this size in summer.

Many DTs also like to drink from the puddles formed by a hose running on the lawn. This good way to ensure hydration too.

Many DTs die of dehydration related issues and this is why I spend so much time emphasizing soaking and hydration for them.
 

ascott

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It is an extremely large desert tortoise. Either Gopherus agassizii or Gopherus morafkai (I can't tell the difference between the two). And yes, they do hibernate. Your new tortoise is a male.

I would almost lay bets Yvonne that this is agassizii, but I would have to see a top down view to give a more confident vote....

Also, if the person that you adopted the tort from has only had it for 10 years, then It lived a good amount of years elsewhere before that person ever took him in....I also would find out as much as you can from the tortoises prior human to get as much info as to how they have brumated the tort for each of the last 10 years...this way you can assure to do at least the similar set up so as to help assure continued health....he has gorgeous eyes, those trademark eyes, beautiful.

Hydration is key, it is also not uncommon for folks to presume that a tortoise is dehydrated if the exterior does not look wet and juicy....when in fact the wet and juicy look is not natural...well, unless the tort has just come out of a soak pallet or been oiled up by a human :D ...nice round plump eyeballs , not sunken in and tired looking, raised high up on all four legs when in motion, plump looking skin wrapping around a meaty leg, not sagging skin....interest in what is going on in its space....all are good signs that a tort is in good condition....access to a drinking water dish along with a soaking dish large enough for the tort to comfortably walk into and able to lay down and soak in is a good thing to offer....and during hot days and nights a small sprinkler turned on for over all mucking about in often seems to be a welcomed treat...
 

Honuboy

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I'm not seeing dehydration, obvious or otherwise.

Its still a good idea to soak your tortoise in a large, tall sided, opaque tub with warm water about halfway up the shell. Every day would not be too much, but twice a week should be plenty for a tortoise this size in summer.

Many DTs also like to drink from the puddles formed by a hose running on the lawn. This good way to ensure hydration too.

Many DTs die of dehydration related issues and this is why I spend so much time emphasizing soaking and hydration for them.

Gonna soak him tomorrow for the first time. Or should I let him be because he is so sluggish? Is this the brumation process?
 

Honuboy

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I would almost lay bets Yvonne that this is agassizii, but I would have to see a top down view to give a more confident vote....

Also, if the person that you adopted the tort from has only had it for 10 years, then It lived a good amount of years elsewhere before that person ever took him in....I also would find out as much as you can from the tortoises prior human to get as much info as to how they have brumated the tort for each of the last 10 years...this way you can assure to do at least the similar set up so as to help assure continued health....he has gorgeous eyes, those trademark eyes, beautiful.

Hydration is key, it is also not uncommon for folks to presume that a tortoise is dehydrated if the exterior does not look wet and juicy....when in fact the wet and juicy look is not natural...well, unless the tort has just come out of a soak pallet or been oiled up by a human :D ...nice round plump eyeballs , not sunken in and tired looking, raised high up on all four legs when in motion, plump looking skin wrapping around a meaty leg, not sagging skin....interest in what is going on in its space....all are good signs that a tort is in good condition....access to a drinking water dish along with a soaking dish large enough for the tort to comfortably walk into and able to lay down and soak in is a good thing to offer....and during hot days and nights a small sprinkler turned on for over all mucking about in often seems to be a welcomed treat...


Thank you for the reply.

I would in fact bet that wild desert tortoises in places like the mojave rarely have that wet and juicy look. Rather they would have the sort of look my tortoise has?

Nonetheless I will soak him just to be sure. I just want him to be healthy and happy. Thanks for your concern for these animals.
 

Tom

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Gonna soak him tomorrow for the first time. Or should I let him be because he is so sluggish? Is this the brumation process?

It will be fairly warm here tomorrow. I think its safe to soak him. Just do it mid day and use warm water.
 
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