Sulcata Hatchling Growth

AZSid

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Just wondering if my little Remi is on the right growth path. She is approximately 6 weeks old and weighs 57.5 grams as of today after urinating and defecating, though I have not noticed any urates in the past week or so.

She is currently housed in a 2x4' pen with moist ZooMed coconut fiber substrate with bits of grass growing here and there. We live in Southern AZ with a swamp cooler which helps with the humidity and even having the top off the table during the day, humidity stays at roughly 85% throughout the day and rises to between 90-97% for a few hours after misting the substrate every day. At night, the top goes back on the table to help keep it dark and keep the remaining warmth in. The temp stays near 80 on the far end of her pen and her basking light warms the ambient on the other end up a few degrees with a temp between 99-103 directly under the light. She has a hide that mostly goes unnoticed to her except as something to climb on. (She thinks she's a mountain climber!) She doesn't burrow either though... She seems perfectly content to nap under her light during the day and in a corner at night. Though she has a shallow water dish that gets rinsed and replaced daily, she has no interest in drinking from it. It's just another obstacle for her to drag substrate through on her jaunts around the perimeter. But from the amount she urinates, I'm not so concerned with hydration. When we got her at three weeks old, she did have rather dark, tough, leathery skin on her legs, but that has changed radically in the past 6 weeks and her skin has lightened and become softer looking. I attribute this to her almost daily soaks. Her food is also pretty wet as she is eating romaine and arugula that we wet down so that the mashed up ZM Grassland Tortoise Food will stick. Her food is sprinkled with ZM calcium twice a week and I will be getting her a cuttlebone on my next trip to the pet store. She also just today started munching on the weeds outside on her daily stroll through the yard. This was huge for us as she previously ignored all the grass and weeds out there. My husband joked that I would of course pick out the one tortoise that wants to go on a jog everyday as before when we put her out, she would haul *** across the yard and we were having to chase her down before she got to the edge of the property.

Remington is ridiculously active, eats like a champ, and seems to be doing well but as a new tortoise owner, I'm paranoid. Is she gaining enough weight? Does her shell look okay? Should I...? Does she...? I spend literally hours a day reading through threads on this forum and want to thank everyone for their information and expertise.

This was her at about 4 weeks old.
 

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AZSid

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18 days later and she is 65 grams. Does this sound right?
 
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Alaskamike

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I am not the sulcata " guru" but I have raised a few , and many other types of tortoise as well.

They all grow at their own pace. As long as you see gain , she is growing fine.

I weigh my charges once a month - just to be sure they are moving forward. If you check weight too often you can get freaked out since , especially with small ones, a few grams can be ....
Poop - or not recently
Drank water
Active periods where they are constantly moving vs. more hiding and sleeping.

Some gain should be seen regularly. But all torts have times of slow growth and times of rapid.

Your baby is fine :)
 

AZSid

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Thank you. I'm more freaked out about Remi than I was with my own children. I KNEW what I was doing with them and they saw doctors regularly. lol I just went out tonight and bought a HygroTherm to better control the temps and humidity. I was doing okay, but was constantly checking and adjusting. I was excited because today was the first day she's ever willingly climbed into her saucer and just chilled in the water on her own and the past few days, she's been spending more time in her humid hide. She's also sleeping a LOT more than she was a few weeks ago... could this be a growth spurt? Or is it just too hot for her? I set her thermostat to 80 but like I said, that's a new addition. It was pretty consistent around 80 when it was an open table (when she was more active) but ever since I enclosed it, opening it is like walking into a swamp. Ambient was high 80s to mid 90s and for all the plexiglass I used, you can't see in because it is fogged up all the time.
 

Tom

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All sounds good to me.

65 grams at 9-10 weeks is good, especially for one that was started on the dry side. When they stall at 40-50 grams for months at a time is when you should worry. So you shouldn't worry. :)
 

AZSid

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Yay! Thank you Tom. I kind of look at you as a Sulcata Encyclopedia of Knowledge so having your approval is top notch! :rolleyes: I've been trying to grow some of her fave weeds in her enclosure, but they just aren't rooting correctly. I think it's because they are dry desert weeds with tap roots and they just aren't jiving with the conditions in there. So we take her out for 30 to 60 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon to graze on the goat head and milk weeds and then she has a constant supply of Romaine, Arugula, and wheat grass clippings mixed with Grassland in with her dish.
 

AZSid

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So... I had to go out and buy a new scale tonight because I kept weighing her and it kept saying the wrong thing. Over and over.... holy crap, the new scale says the same thing! 74 grams!! And that's after a nice long soak where she pooped her heart out! A 9 gram jump in 7 days?? So, Tom, when you say 65 grams for 9-10 weeks is good, I'm going to guess that 74 grams for 9.5 weeks is really good! I'm so excited.
 

AZSid

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Remi hit 12 weeks yesterday and came in at 95 grams. She ate my yard out of goat head weeds, which seem to be her favorite grazing treat. We were forced to go ask the neighbors if we could let her graze in their yard as they have plenty of the lush green plants with delicious little yellow flowers!
 

keepergale

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Remi hit 12 weeks yesterday and came in at 95 grams. She ate my yard out of goat head weeds, which seem to be her favorite grazing treat. We were forced to go ask the neighbors if we could let her graze in their yard as they have plenty of the lush green plants with delicious little yellow flowers!
It feels a little stupid sometimes checking in with the neighbors huh? "Mind if I pull some of your weeds"
 

AZSid

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:D I had actually tried transplanting some into my yard and it didn't work out too well. I think I'll just be taking her over there to graze for 30 minutes a day while I stay with her.
 

Yelloweyed

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If you are referring to dandelions, they have a 'tap' root, a large main root that must be pulled up with the rest of the plant.
 

Tom

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Remi hit 12 weeks yesterday and came in at 95 grams. She ate my yard out of goat head weeds, which seem to be her favorite grazing treat. We were forced to go ask the neighbors if we could let her graze in their yard as they have plenty of the lush green plants with delicious little yellow flowers!

Goat head weed is a really good tortoise food. It is one of the natural foods of wild leopards. I don't know if it occurs in sulcata territory or not. I won't touch the stuff. I've been stuck by the little seeds heads too many times in New Mexico and AZ. Its popped my bicycle tires and gone right through the soles of my shoes and into my feet. Blechhh. Hate that stuff!
 

leigti

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Goat head weed is a really good tortoise food. It is one of the natural foods of wild leopards. I don't know if it occurs in sulcata territory or not. I won't touch the stuff. I've been stuck by the little seeds heads too many times in New Mexico and AZ. Its popped my bicycle tires and gone right through the soles of my shoes and into my feet. Blechhh. Hate that stuff!
I hate those things. I have them in my yard. I tried to get rid of them as quickly as possible. When I was a kid I was riding my grandpa's horse when the horse fell to his knees and I flipped over his head, rolled down a little hill right into a huge patch of those things. The horse ran all the way home. So I had to two. I knew if my grandma saw the horse running by the window without me on it she would have a heart attack. It took over an hour to get those damn stickers out of me. So I don't care how good of tortoise food it is. I hate that stuff.
 

AZSid

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Oh yeah, growing up in Tucson, we've grown up stepping on the stupid things and going through hundreds of bike tires. Lol. I used to pull them at first sign, but let them grow this year since Remington loves them so much. She ate them faster than they could produce stickers so we did okay.
 

AZSid

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Wow! Remington hit the scale at 100 grams today and that was before grazing for 2 hours, two HUGE helpings of dinner, and a soak. Seriously, I've never seen her eat so much in a day. Should I be concerned that she demolished two full handfuls of food within 6 hours? They were mixes of grama grass, milk weed, goat head, romaine, endive, grassland and mazuri soaked in arugula juice. Friday she gets to try a little pumpkin for the first time and she's been nipping on the opuntia piece I left in her enclosure. I cut off a piece about the size of a quarter and just left it near her food dish. She doesn't seem super interested, but there are a few bites taken out of it.
 
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