Trying to get my Sulcata torts to use their house

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phiraphon

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Hi,
I got a custom made dog/tort house for my torts. It is 3'x3' slant shingled roof with the 20"x20" opening with vinyl flap to kept outside element out. So far, I have to physically moved them from their burrow and stuck them in the house. If wet and cold out, they will slept until it warm out. Once they left, they never come back to the house on their own. Once again, I have to dig and carried them to the house (they are over 50 lbs +).
how can I get them come back to the house on their own like they always went back to their burrow site? I know it has been only few weeks but they are getting too heavy for me now.
Any ideas please let me know.
Thanks,
Peter
 

Laura

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they usually learn this... hmmm.
do they get a long? maybe they are bullying each other and dont feel safe inthe small space..?
 

Tom

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3x3 is too small for one 50 pounder, much less multiples. Instinct tells them to go to ground, even though it is too cold for them. (Assuming you live in the continental U.S.)(Where do you live?) So until you completely fill in every burrow and hidey hole, they will always prefer them over your artificial box. When they have nowhere else to go, and a bigger box, they will go in it after you show them a few times.
 

Yvonne G

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Your tortoise's house serves three purposes: It keeps them cool in the summer, warm in the winter and safe from predators. This is why they prefer a burrow over an above-the-ground house.

First of all, the tortoises will need to have a larger house, one where they can both fit inside with enough room to turn around and each of them have a separate corner. Then you need to have some sort of heat in the house. If you use a pig blanket, the house needs to be big enough that they can get off the pad if it malfunctions. The house should be placed under a tree or on the patio so that it isn't an oven in the sun during the summer. And it needs to be dry during the winter. The house should have some sort of door so you can close out vermin and cool air. Then you need to fill in the burrow and block the entrance.

Peter is in Orange County, Calif. and you can see his pictures here:

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-Boy-or-Girl--17916
 

phiraphon

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Hi all,
Thanks for all replies.
I don't think 3'x3' is too small for them (for now anyway). They can have their own separate corner. I have had another bigger one that was 4'x4' and it was the same problem. I have been physically moved them for about 3 weeks now. One good point though, I never block their burrow sites and I just did it yesterday. I have a ceramic heated bulb on timer. Once I put them in, they are as happy as they can be and will sleep for days if it wet/cold out. Once they left though, they always went back to their sites.
I just want to hear if, at some point they will learn to go to the house, or should I move the house to one of the burrow sites, or no hope :-(
Thanks again,

BTW @ Laura, they got along just fine. I never seen them bothering each other.
 

Yvonne G

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Yes, if they are comfortable in the house and it is giving them what they need, they will eventually go in on their own. You just have to be persistent.
 

phiraphon

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Hi all,
JUst happy to report that both of them are finally go back to their house on their own. I am so thrilled. THank you everyone!!
 

DeanS

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Good news indeed! How about some pictures of them (and their house). Please take into consideration what Tom says...3x3 may seem fine but if they feel cramped, they will rumble eventually...best to avoid that!
 

phiraphon

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DeanS said:
Good news indeed! How about some pictures of them (and their house). Please take into consideration what Tom says...3x3 may seem fine but if they feel cramped, they will rumble eventually...best to avoid that!

Yes, I will make sure have another one built as soon as I think it need a bigger one.
I am so happy about them finally going in and out the house of their own. Bruin (female) especially love her corner. Once she got in, I will hear she moving around to snug into her favorite corner.
I will take some pictures to share it with everyone soon.
Thanks,
Peter Anaheim, CA
 
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