Soaking

TortNZ

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Dec 31, 2019
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Christchurch
Hi
I’m interested to find out at what age or size I reduce the soaking of my tort?
She is currently 13 months old and 127g.
Have been advised by someone here I can now reduce it to once a week.Thoughts?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Hi
I’m interested to find out at what age or size I reduce the soaking of my tort?
She is currently 13 months old and 127g.
Have been advised by someone here I can now reduce it to once a week.Thoughts?
There is much debate about this. The position of "don't soak" holds no water. All the reasons given to NOT soak have been debunked. Thoroughly. It does no harm even if you soak for 6 hours every day. I'm not saying anyone needs to soak for 6 hours a day. I'm only saying it does no harm to soak for 6 hours a day.

Here is my position on the matter: If you soak more often than what your tortoise needs, nothing bad happens. If you soak too little, your tortoise can literally die from dehydration problems.

So how often is it "needed"? Every person you ask will have a different answer. And most of them will probably be right. If you live in rainy warm humid south Florida, you might never "need" to soak. If you live in the Mojave Desert, I think you better soak early and often. My frequency and duration of soaking varies with the weather, season, food items, species, size, enclosure type, etc. Also consider the question of what they need to "survive" vs. what will help them "thrive".

My general guidelines:
Babies are soaked every single day. All species. At least 30-40 minutes, and sometimes longer.
Once they reach 100 grams, I will start skipping a day now and then.
For small species. I slow down to 2 or 3 times a week once they are 3-4 inches long.
As adults, depending on the weather, species, season, and what they've been eating, once or twice a week should be plenty.

All species have one or two water dishes large enough to walk into at all life stages and sizes, and in their indoor AND outdoor enclosures.
 

TortNZ

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Christchurch
Thank you very much this is the kind of advise I needed.
This all came about when I said I have only seen urates about five times in the last two months. My tort gets calcium and vit D3 daily sprinkled on her food and she gets soaked daily (30-45min) plus she drinks water.
As a new owner I was thinking I was doing OK but apart from her soaking I was told not seem regular urates is not good.
I thought if she drinks and gets soaked it is ok not to see it. Do I need to increase the calcium? She eats weeds and some salad.
 

KarenSoCal

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Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
My sulcata tortoise is 8 years old, 80 pounds, and I soak him once each week. This is more for peace of mind since I never see him drink water. He will sit in his pool for 4-6 hours. View attachment 288604
Does he climb in and out by himself?
How do you keep the pool from cracking?
My friend wants me to take her sully. He's 10 and around 100 lbs. One of my concerns is how to make him go where I want him to go.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,350
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you very much this is the kind of advise I needed.
This all came about when I said I have only seen urates about five times in the last two months. My tort gets calcium and vit D3 daily sprinkled on her food and she gets soaked daily (30-45min) plus she drinks water.
As a new owner I was thinking I was doing OK but apart from her soaking I was told not seem regular urates is not good.
I thought if she drinks and gets soaked it is ok not to see it. Do I need to increase the calcium? She eats weeds and some salad.
Your tortoise shouldn't need more than a pinch of calcium once or twice a week with the diet you are offering.

In order to conserve water, our tortoises can concentrate their urine into urates. The less water there is, the more they concentrate their urates and the harder and grittier the urates get. Long term dehydration can eventually cause a large bladder "stone" to form and kill them, or require surgery to remove.

When they are well hydrated and water is in abundance on a regular basis, they simply pass urine and do not form urates. If you seldom or never see urates, this means you are doing a good job of keeping you're tortoise hydrated. Please ignore anyone who tells you this is bad in any way. That is a persistent old wive's tale that just won't die. Good hydration DOES NOT HARM tortoises, but you find find all sorts of stuff about messing up their "water balance" or making them poop too much, or preventing them from digesting their food, etc... It all sounds so logical and believable, but it is completely false. A made up fantasy that has been repeated for decades. They simply thrive with water. All species, all ages. I've raised hundreds of babies with these hydration techniques and people all over the world have duplicated my methods with thousands of babies of all species, and the result is always the same: A healthy, thriving, growing tortoise.
 

C. Nelson

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Nov 25, 2016
Messages
135
Location (City and/or State)
Grand Junction, CO
Does he climb in and out by himself?
How do you keep the pool from cracking?
My friend wants me to take her sully. He's 10 and around 100 lbs. One of my concerns is how to make him go where I want him to go.

I've seen people cute a section down lower so they can get in and out but still give them a good height of water.
 

Blakem

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5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
2,387
Location (City and/or State)
California
Does he climb in and out by himself?
How do you keep the pool from cracking?
My friend wants me to take her sully. He's 10 and around 100 lbs. One of my concerns is how to make him go where I want him to go.

I place him in with warm water and cover it with a tarp to keep the heat in. It stays warm for quite a long time. We’ve had this pool for a few years. I clean it and then put it in my shed after he’s done, which may be why it has lasted so long. He does climb out by himself and doesn’t bend it too much. The sides are shallow enough for him to get out without bending it too badly. They’re very good motivated. If you cannot lift him, then this may not be an option unless you know someone who can do it for you.
 

TortNZ

Active Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
104
Location (City and/or State)
Christchurch
Thanks Tom 👍🐢
Your tortoise shouldn't need more than a pinch of calcium once or twice a week with the diet you are offering.

In order to conserve water, our tortoises can concentrate their urine into urates. The less water there is, the more they concentrate their urates and the harder and grittier the urates get. Long term dehydration can eventually cause a large bladder "stone" to form and kill them, or require surgery to remove.

When they are well hydrated and water is in abundance on a regular basis, they simply pass urine and do not form urates. If you seldom or never see urates, this means you are doing a good job of keeping you're tortoise hydrated. Please ignore anyone who tells you this is bad in any way. That is a persistent old wive's tale that just won't die. Good hydration DOES NOT HARM tortoises, but you find find all sorts of stuff about messing up their "water balance" or making them poop too much, or preventing them from digesting their food, etc... It all sounds so logical and believable, but it is completely false. A made up fantasy that has been repeated for decades. They simply thrive with water. All species, all ages. I've raised hundreds of babies with these hydration techniques and people all over the world have duplicated my methods with thousands of babies of all species, and the result is always the same: A healthy, thriving, growing tortoise.
 
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