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Uncle Bri Update

Discussion in 'Aldabra tortoises' started by ben awes, Oct 24, 2013.

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  1. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I got two more back in early Feb. they are super awesome. Growing, eating, active, and still very afraid of me!
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    Wow, February, I am way behind. That's pretty cool and gutsy. They all look great. Are any from Greg?
    Keep up the updates. Show that yes, it can be done even in the snowy cold states. It's not cheap, but can be done. Good for you, very happy for you. Are they all you have now are the three aldabras?
  3. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    None are from Greg, he never had any available. Got mine from Sam. Really great to deal with. All I’ve got are the Aldabras. I’m raising 3, probably only keep two down the road, but we’ll see.

    Thanks for the encouragement! I plan to keep at it!

    Ps. I’ve been very delinquent about update, so you haven’t missed many posts!
    TortyDxb and wellington like this.
  4. Kittivan

    Kittivan Member

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    Thanks for the update Ben! Job12:7 what an awesome name! What is the 3rd aldabras name? I'm jealous of their beautiful shells.

    I remember reading about your lighting set up and how you went thru a number of different set ups. What is your current lighting set up if you don't mind me asking? Do you use multiple UVB/MVB bulbs? Do you use another heater (space heater,oil, etc) in your basement to supplement your homes furnance heat? I'm in Chicago and currently have my Kacie in a 4x8 enclosure kept no lower than 80 degrees at all times. I've noticed that whenever the temps dip below 80 over night, she seems to show signs of a cold. What temps do you have your set up?

    Sorry for all the questions. With you being in Minnesota and having the success you've had with Unle Bri and company gives me inspiration for raising Kacie in Chicago (although we are planning a move to Arizona). Thanks!
  5. Kittivan

    Kittivan Member

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    Oh I forgot to mention. I'm no expert in the matter but I've had experience in the past with having my for sure female box turtle mounting another for sure male box turtle. I was always told by others with more experience that they did that to show dominance or to baisically tell the other to get out of my way like Mike said.
  6. Scubaroo

    Scubaroo Active Member

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    In many mammal species that is very true as well. Same genders will " mount, or hump" others to exert their dominance over them, kind of letting them know who is the boss, especially if they are in a confined space. For example, if you had an older female dog at home, and brought in a new somewhat younger one, the older one may mount the younger one to say " hey, this is my space, i'm in charge here. "
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  7. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    Raising a tortoise of any size can be done in Chicago. It will cost more and you will need a nice size indoor enclosure of some kind, basement, shed, garage. There's plent already in the city doing it.
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  8. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    It’s interesting that we have folks with such divergent weather patterns raising the large torts - esp Aldabras. They seem to grow just fine too, with the right adjustments & indoor areas

    Well done !
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  9. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for the comment. I'm glad to hear this. Of course the jury is still out on Uncle Bri, but he looks female to me. I'll just let him/her be!
  10. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Oh gosh, completely missed you post. Sorry about that! Was not trying to be rude. Lighting! that's a big question. Of course there are lengthy, in-depth, highly technical, biology and chemistry intensive threads, dedicated to this subject. I read some of it, but i mostly look for ideas that have worked for other people, and then temper those with my own experience. Being in this hobby only 13 year, I only have short term experience. (for example, I sprinkle calcium powder on my torts food, and i feed Mazuri on a weekly basis which is supposed to be a complete diet. Am i overdoing the calcium? are my torts developing bladder stones? I might not know this for years. But, i certainly don't want to under do the calcium either because they are growing so fast.)

    That being said, regarding lighting - for years I was sold on MVB bulbs because they had high UV output AND heat. Seemed the perfect match. I didn't like florescent at all because the UV was low and they deteriorated fast and there was no heat. I've never been a heat mat guy so I my lighting creates the basking spots. Over the years became very tired of the UV output on MVB bulbs deteriorating faster than claimed and even more frustrated by them failing out of the blue. And, bulbs are warrantied based on when you purchased them, so you have to use them right away, and if MVB tend to fail at a higher rate then other bulbs, then i felt i had to use them immediately when i got them, so could never have any back-ups.

    I also use CHE's (ceramic heat emitters). they are tried and true and give needed heat when the light are out. I've got a few of those hanging around.

    My take on lighting changed when i discovered Arcadia bulbs. Not to go nuts or anything, but in my few years experience with them, there is simply no comparison. The UV output is heads and tails higher, and lasts for years. I just went and measured. Iv'e had a set of 48" 12% Aracadia in for at least a year but possibly two years. I cant seem to find my records of when i put them in. Either way, it reads 120 @ 16", 190 @ 8". My MVB has been in for about the same amount of time and it reads 22 @ 16". Of course, there is no danger in my torts getting to close to the Arcadia (except if they try and bite it!). I have only one 4' fixture with two bulbs in it. Its a 4 lamp fixture, but i only put 2 Arcadia lamps in it (with two HO standard lamps for additional light) because it seemed overkill on the UV. I do have one MVB that the little guys like to sit under and i'll probably keep one MVB going just because torts have different preferences and i want there to be some options. I also have three heat emitters spread around and then some bright room lights so that during the day it's pretty bright. I don't want it to feel like a basement. I want it be clear that its daytime. I use Hydrofarm's EnviroGrow fixture for the Arcadia. they are expensive but super high quality. I had trouble with lower quality fixtures (that have low quality ballast!) not being able to fire the lamps properly and I got tired of that so I went with the good stuff and have had no regrets. They should last for years.

    Considering what these guys are worth (and the relative low cost to feed them - a bale of hay, are you kidding!) giving them excellent lighting is the least I can do. Mostly, these lights are reliable. That is very important. The fact that they are the most reliable AND the best performing seems an impossible combo, but it's true so far with these.

    There, that's my pitch. I look forward to comments, for and against!
    Kittivan, Fredkas and wellington like this.
  11. Kittivan

    Kittivan Member

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    Thanks Ben for taking the time to get back to me. There’s a plethora of reviews and information on the topic of lighting. At the end of the day two factors played a major role in my decision of which lighting to go with. The first is the quality of UVB output and the second is ease of getting the physical lights in my hands.

    Withought going into depth with comparisons between certain lighting manufactures I will say that the zoomed products appealed to me as they provide a good solution for my two factors. I went for multiple (6) zoomed T5 HO 10.0 34” strips (couldn’t find the housing for the larger strips at the time) and 4 160 wat zoomed power sun MVB bulbs all set up throughout a 10x20 foot enclosure. The fact that I could easily run to my local reptile specialty pet store to grab these to replace any burnt out ones was important to me. They may not have better UVB ratings as say the Arcadia (although some tests showed otherwise) but I think they can get the job done. I know myself, if a bulb burnt out and I didn’t have a replacement immediately, I’d go crazy so if I were to buy the Arcadia, I’d have to have a supply of back ups that may or may not work when I need it.

    To keep certain areas of the enclosure (inc the hide) hot, I went with the CHE type. They do their job and from my experience are bulletproof. I use the wire cage ceramic housing for them. And then the MVB’s provide a heat source as well.

    Lastly, I got another Aldabra with the same thought process you had in mind. I really think the Aldabra species do enjoy the company of each other. Almost all the pictures and videos of wild aldabra in their natural habitat that I’ve seen had multiple Aldabra in them. So right now I have a yearling that is just over 2 pounds and 6”, and the new one I got from @ALDABRAMAN is almost 4 years old 11” and just over 11 pounds. I plan on starting a new thread about both of them so I won’t go into much details here but after introducing them to each other(after the initial quarantine) I’ve noticed big differences in both of their behaviors. My little one Kaci acts like a whole different tort now! She’s much more outgoing, more aggressive with eating (way less picky, even eats hay), and lets me rub his neck, shell, and legs when before he would scurry away whenever I tried to touch him. Keep in mind, this all happen instantly after the introduction! As for Sally the new tort, she was pretty shy when I brought her home but now she will walk to me and let me pet her and just goes into that typical Aldabra trance standing tall. They both are very good together and seem to enjoy each other’s company. However they do go their separate ways when they sleep. Also I notice Sally (the bigger one) just does her own thing while Kaci sort of follows her around and just seems in awe of his new buddy. Needless to say I’m extremely happy for the opportunity to have two in my care now.

    I wonder if the outcome would be different if I had went for a hatchling instead of an older Aldabra like you had.

    I hope they are all doing well and we all look forward to your updates!
    Fredkas, ALDABRAMAN and Sesel like this.
  12. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Uncle Bri and Job 12:7 visiting 2nd grade! Our first school visit!
    Kasia, Olddog, Sesel and 1 other person like this.
  13. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I'm in the process of changing out all my MVBs to UVB tubes too.
  14. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  15. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  16. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    i guess Uncle Bri won’t get out today! IMG_9064.jpg
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  17. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Found this little tear in the crease of Bri’s right front foot today - is this something I should have looked at? Don’t see any sign of bleeding or infection, but..? IMG_0971.jpg IMG_0972.jpg IMG_0973.jpg
  18. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    @ALDABRAMAN
    I would put an antibiotic cream on it just incase if it were me. Cleaning it every day first, pat dry, then the cream.
  19. Tortoisefanatic88

    Tortoisefanatic88 Well-Known Member

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    He looks great. Your very lucky to be able own such an amazing animal[emoji217] I love aldabras
  20. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Uncle Bri, Nearly 6 years, 22”, 70 lbs
    IMG_1069.jpg
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