Sulcata Hatchling Pyramiding Experiment

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Tom

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Dean, That's what I've been doing with my already pyramided 2 year old. She's all wet all the time and she lives in a total swamp. I think its too late for her, but the new growth does seem to be coming in smooth. This is a big part of why I want to hatch out my own and keep them humid from day one.

I didn't know you were doing all these things with yours too. No wonder they are all so smooth! I should have guessed.

EJ, glad your back in the discussion. Please tell us what you think the ideal temps to prevent pyramiding in sulcatas are. You told me a few posts back that you'd bet my temps were wrong. If I've got them wrong, then I (and everyone else) need to know what's right. Especially before I start up with these new hatchlings.
 

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I believe Richard does not swear by anything. He presents his results...

DeanS said:
I have played so many varients of what Richard has sworn by that I'm seeing this sh*t in my dreams...misting them when they come out...misting them in their sleep, saturating their hides during the day, moistening their bedding mid-afternoon so that it's merely damp when I put it in their den boxes...and the list goes on and on...
 

DeanS

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-EJ said:
I believe Richard does not swear by anything. He presents his results...

DeanS said:
I have played so many varients of what Richard has sworn by that I'm seeing this sh*t in my dreams...misting them when they come out...misting them in their sleep, saturating their hides during the day, moistening their bedding mid-afternoon so that it's merely damp when I put it in their den boxes...and the list goes on and on...

Same difference...and, of course, no disrespect to Mr Fife...just my choice of words:D
 

Tom

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stells said:
Thats the part i don't get... and probably never will... you say about your "control group" but also say you tried various things with them in the past... so it isn't just down to the fact that you raised them dry... it could be down to a number of other things...

Kelly, I love it that you are keeping me honest here. What did I say that I've tried in the past? The only thing new that I've tried has been with Daisy, my two year old. I've been experimenting with new things with her, and failing BTW, but the three adults were housed and cared for pretty consistently for the last 12 years. What I learned from Daisy is that once the pattern of pyramiding is established in the first few weeks or months in a sulcata, it is nearly impossible to halt it. In time, all the big sulcatas seem to smooth out, but they look like knobby tires for a few years first.

Here's the history on my big three. Tell me what has been inconsistent. As hatchlings in July 1998 the two boys started in a 100 gallon glass tank, approximately 60x18", on rabbit pellets with a 60 watt Pearlco CHE on 24/7 and a 50-75 watt flood on a 12-14 hour timer. Room temp was 75-80 in the winter and 80-85 in the summer. I switched to grass hay pellets after a year or so, then to Sani-Chips two years or so after that. They always had a basking spot of 110-130 and the cool side of the cage stayed ambient. When they outgrew this, I built them a big wooden box, now called a tortoise table, that was 70x40". Delores was introduced into this enclosure. She was 2 or 3 and they were 4-5. They all had a large 15x30' outdoor pen here in the CA high desert and spent most of their time in there except cold winter days and night time. I always brought them in at night. The two boys were in this outdoor pen from day one. Delores lived mostly indoors, until I got her at 2 or 3 years old. For a while their indoor pen was half of my living room floor, roughly 9x12'. When the boys were around 7, 2005, I made them an outdoor night house with pig blankets and moved them outside permanently. Its very dry here, usually single digit humidity, and warm for most of the year. Very hot summers. 100 is the norm and sometimes 115-120. They've been living in their large outdoor pen the same way since then.

Since they were a desert species and had to be kept dry, no water dish. They did get warm water soaks several times a week for 30-40 minutes.

Diet has alway been a mixture of store bought greens, grass, weeds and an assortment of other stuff off of the tortoise "safe" lists. Only in the last couple of years did I introduce the grass hay. When they were babies, I gave them Calcium 2 or 3 times a week and vitamins once a week. I slowly tapered that down as they got older and bigger.

Daisy has been basically housed the same, here in the same area, with the same diet, but with ever increasing humidity and moisture. Its been pretty swampy in her enclosure for nearly 9 months now. Her new growth does SEEM to be smoother, but time will tell.

For anyone else reading this, please understand I'm addressing past MISTAKES here. This is NOT how it should be done. Most of this is still how I think it should be done, but the substrate, dryness and lack of hydration is ALL WRONG.
 

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Redfoot NERD said:
It does not matter to me what others think or believe or deny.. and I agree with Richard Fife ( although he has not made it public yet ). All other factors the same.. regardless the species.. the "wet" carapace ( misting the carapace until it drips ) keeps the carapace growing smooth.. from hatchling on.

I appreciate the fact that this may be too simplistic.. but I've tried the ways the old caresheets suggested. Maybe simpler IS better!?

Terry K

What does a Sulcata do when he is in a puddle or mud???
;)














He is telling you something....















If you don't hose me down, I will flip it onto my shell myself.:p
 

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kbaker said:
Redfoot NERD said:
It does not matter to me what others think or believe or deny.. and I agree with Richard Fife ( although he has not made it public yet ). All other factors the same.. regardless the species.. the "wet" carapace ( misting the carapace until it drips ) keeps the carapace growing smooth.. from hatchling on.

I appreciate the fact that this may be too simplistic.. but I've tried the ways the old caresheets suggested. Maybe simpler IS better!?

Terry K

What does a Sulcata do when he is in a puddle or mud???
;)














He is telling you something....















If you don't hose me down, I will flip it onto my shell myself.:p

I LOVE THAT! Simplicity at its best (through the mind of a tortoise).:p
 

chadk

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Gotta say that my Dozer loves flipping dirt and mud on his back.

Just the other day I was filling his water dish \ wading pool as he was walking around me. I decided to spray off some of the built up dirt on his back. He just sat there as I sprayed. I put in on a finer mist and started on his head. He pulled in for a second, then popped back and out and seemed to like me spraying his head as well. Then he walked away and turned around and deliberately walked right back through the spray and just parked there soaking it in with neck stretched out.
 

Tom

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stells said:
This is one post that springs to mind... bear with me though... have the school run to sort out... then i am sure i can find more ;)

http://tortoiseforum.org/thread-11653-post-101713.html#pid101713

I re-read the whole post and don't see where there are any husbandry changes or inconsistencies in the 3 adults, and only the new one, Daisy, has had anything different. For Daisy it was too little, too late.

Please be patient with me, I want to see your point. I'm just not seeing it yet.:D

Chad, Kevin, Dean and Terry, just the other day, I was watering the weeds in my big pen and Scooter came running over to stick his nose in my business, so I gave him a little squirt. He closed his eyes, dropped to the ground, stuck his head out and started flinging the mud up on his back. I let him finish and then I wanted to rinse the mud off. The whole process just kept repeating itself. It was comical. I'd rinse off the mud, he'd plop down and fling on more. Maybe we ought to try mudpacks as a pyramiding preventative!

As a side note, on the rare occasion when it rains here, they all come out of their houses and sit in the rain, at night, in the DEAD OF WINTER. I have to go put them back in and block their doors so they don't freeze to death.
 

DeanS

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Yeah! Mortimer and Aladar love it when the sprinklers go on...they will move from their basking spots to seek out the 'rain'.. plus whenever I'm hosing the flower beds, I'll hose them off as well...they always duck their heads in initially, but then it's all good. I have been trying to devise a proper mudbath (excellent method of sustained moisture, especially for the shell).
 

Tom

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DeanS said:
Yeah! Mortimer and Aladar love it when the sprinklers go on...they will move from their basking spots to seek out the 'rain'.. plus whenever I'm hosing the flower beds, I'll hose them off as well...they always duck their heads in initially, but then it's all good. I have been trying to devise a proper mudbath (excellent method of sustained moisture, especially for the shell).

I just dig a big hole with a shovel and drop a hose in there. Very messy. They love it. I usually do this during those really hot summer days when its 115 out.
 

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I'm actually think about acquiring another LITTLE TIKES pool strictly for mudbaths...and I'm gonna use a large tupperware to let the babies plop around in.
 

DeanS

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ChiKat said:
Tom said:
ED! TEMPS PLEASE.

Yes please! I want to know too!!

With all this talk of sprinklers and hoses and mudbaths...let's just say hot! Anything above 85 is ideal...but upwards of 120 would be good too! But c'mon Ed! You started this...now finish it! Whaddya think? 86, 91, hmmmmm?:p
 
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stells

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I give up making my point tbh... good luck with the experiment Tom...i hope you get the answers you want from it...
 

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Okay, did some research....

http://i-cias.com/e.o/sahara.htm

Sahara has a subtropical climate in its northern parts, and a tropical one in the south. Winters in the north are cold to cool; in the south, mild. Summers are hot all over the desert. The highest temperature every recorded is 58ºC in Aziziyah, Libya. There is very little rain in the northern parts, virtually nothing in the east, although more in the south. Most rain falls throughout the summer, followed by some scarce winter rain.

In the Köppen climate classification system, deserts are classed as BWh (hot desert) or BWk (temperate desert). The Sahara is the world's largest hot desert. The vast Sahara encompasses several ecologically distinct regions. The Sahara desert ecoregion covers an area of 4,619,260 km² (1,791,500 square miles) in the hot, hyper-arid center of the Sahara, surrounded on the north, south, east, and west by desert ecoregions with higher rainfall and more vegetation. The Sahara desert is one of the hottest regions of the world, with a mean temperature over 30 °C (86 °F). Variations may also be huge, from over 50 °C (120 °F) during the day during the summer, to temperatures below zero at night in winter.

http://library.thinkquest.org/16645/the_land/saha_cl.shtml

Dry, subtropical climate

Generally, the dry subtropical climate found in the north is caused by constant high-pressure cells over the tropic of Cancer. The winters are considered cool for desert conditions, with an average temperature of 55° F (13° C). The summers are very hot, with the highest ever recorded temperature at 13° F (58° C). The average rainfall in the subtropical region is approximately 3 inches (76 mm) per year. Precipitation generally falls between December and March, with the maximum rain falling in August and almost no rain at all during May and June. The August storms have been known to cause flash floods which send water to parts of the desert that rarely receive precipitation.

Dry Tropical Climate

The climate of the southern tropical region of the Sahara is dictated by a stable continental air mass and an unstable marine air mass. The average temperature in this region is about 31.5° F (17.5° C), however in the higher elevations, the temperature has been recorded at 5° F (-15° C), which is quite typical. The average annual precipitation is around five inches and includes snow in the higher elevations. In the western part of the tropical region, the cold Canary Current reduces the amount of rainfall, lowers the average temperature, and increases the humidity and the probabality of fog.

http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/11/prop/38.pdf

Distribution
From Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, this species is found in a band 500
kilometres wide between the isohyets of 200 and 800 mm; between 12° and 18° north
latitude. The band descends to 4° north latitude in the Sudan and rises to 20° north latitude in
Mali. The northern limit of its distribution is the Sahara Desert; the southern limit being less
defined because this species is found in the Parc du W in Niger, where the climate is more
humid. Its presence in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where it was probably introduced, is not
confirmed.


From what I could find... Average temperatures run from 13*C to 58*C (55.4*F to 138*F) with a median of (86*F)

I would conclude that a low of 70*F at night, with ambient temperature of not less than 85*F and a basking spot of 110*F to be appropriate.

The reason I say 70*F at night and not 60*F is because the ground is going to hold heat much longer than the air, creating a higher ambient temperature inside the burrow.

As to humidity - the range that I found from CITES shows them to occur more in the slightly more humid area to the south of the Sahara, rather than in the extreme arid climate of the north.

Flash floods not being uncommon in arid climates, it is no wonder that a Sulcata would make good use of a sprinkler flooding the yard, and a mud bath while one could be gotten ;)
 

DeanS

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Here are Snowflake and Eggroll enjoying their daily mudbath...please note that I am spreading the mud on Eggroll's carapace due to the fact that pyramiding is evident...I'm leaving it on for an hour or so then rise it ALL off...

vpvlug.jpg
 
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