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What to do when receiving tortoise hatchling by mail?

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by Nimus, Oct 14, 2019.

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  1. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I just purchased my first ever tortoise (a Sulcata; I did months of research to ensure I know what I am taking on with a Sulcata) and I have its home all set up and ready (should arrive Thursday). I know their care requirements but one thing I don't have experience with and haven't found much info on is what to do as soon as it arrives. Should I feed it right away? Soak it? Leave it to calm down and explore?
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  2. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Soak it in warm water when it arrives, and allow it to adapt to its environment. You can go ahead and stick a saucer of food in its enclosure before you place it in, but there is no guarantee that it will eat.

    Where did you order this tortoise from?
  3. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi and welcome! You came to the best place to learn and enjoy good conversation!
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  4. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  5. Jodie

    Jodie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The above is exactly what I tell everyone I ship to. Soak the baby in nice baby bath warm water for 15-20 minutes, then place in front of food in enclosure. May take a day or so to settle in and eat.
  6. method89

    method89 Active Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Jodie, That is a beaut of a tort in your profile pic! did you hatch him/her?
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  7. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I bought it from Tortoise Supply. I saw that Tyler (from Tortoise Supply) was a recommended breeder on here and he has been very helpful in answering my questions over email.
  8. SPILL

    SPILL Active Member

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    It seems I do it a little different from most and maybe someone can chime in on if/why my way is not good.

    I try to only buy from April-September when local weather permits. If the weather is good the first thing I do is set them outside near edible plants/weeds to make sure they move well and hopefully nibble a little. After 15-20 minutes of that they get a soak and then into their enclosure they go. My goal is to see them eat, move, and defecate as soon as possible so I can let the shipper know all is well or that there is a potential problem. I've had great results since starting this routine with 6 of my last 7 eating instantly and the 7th eating by the end of the first day.

    You made a solid choice with Tortoise Supply. I've purchased 3 from them in the past couple of years and all 3 were beautiful, healthy animals that ate immediately.
  9. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Good choice! Tyler’s a cool dude.
  10. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    Yep! He was even running a special (free shipping) until yesterday evening and was willing to let me order the tortoise during the special and still hold it until this Wednesday so that I would be on my day off when it arrives.

    I will say that Lancecham was equally helpful and pleasant to deal with by email (and I've heard they have great quality animals) as well.
  11. Jodie

    Jodie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you. Bought her as a hatchling, but not one of my hatchlings.
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  12. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I received the tortoise about an hour and a half ago. It seemed groggy but today is definitely a little colder than normal and it was probably stressed form the shipping. I soaked it in warm water (88*f) for half an hour (he looked around but didn't walk around much) like you guys recommended and then put it in its preheated basking spot. He didn't move much for about 15 minutes and I thought he might have died because he dropped his head and closed his eyes for a few minutes but then he lifted his head, saw his bowl of food, and made a beeline for it and has been happily eating for a while.
  13. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I'm starting to get a little worried about the Sulcata baby that I received today (by mail). It hasn't been walking around much and when it does walk it doesn't move too far. I soaked the baby immediately after unpacking it and it looked around and drank a little. After the 30 minute warm soak I placed it under its basking spot where it laid for 15-20 minutes with its head down. After it lifted its head up it saw the food and made a beeline to it and ate quite a bit before kind of just laying in its bowl for a few hours. It finally came out of the bowl but only moved about 7 inches away from it.

    I'll attach a picture of how he is laying right now. He lays with his limbs sprawled out rather than hiding in his shell. Here is a video of it taking a bath to kind of show how it was acting. Just to show he can move normally, here is a video of it after it snapped out of its slumber(?) and finally noticed the food bowl.

    Its basking side is currently ~95*F and the cooler side is ~85*F, although he hasn't been on the basking side much because his food bowl is on the cooler side (and he's been in his bowl for a few hours).

    Should I be worried even though it ate great once it got to the food?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  14. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    "New" tortoises take a while to figure out their surroundings.
    If he's sprawled out under the lamp, he could be too cool. However your temps look ok.
    He eats and drinks.
    Those are great signs.
    Just give him a few days
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  15. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    Ok, that makes me feel a little better. This is my first tortoise and only the second animal that I've received by mail so I'm probably more worried than I need to be.

    I will admit that I gave him a second warm soaking (I just put him in his water dish with warm water) 10 minutes ago and he did perk up and he's climbing out of his dish so it's not like he doesn't have any strength. I know that you're suppose to leave them be for a while to get settled so I won't mess with him any more (until I do his warm soak tomorrow).

    He does seem to keep is back feet far behind him though...

    Attached Files:

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  16. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    Be sure you are measuring temps at his level. The humidity is at least 80% and best if he's in a closed chamber.
    Soak him 1-2 times daily in warm water and that his water bowl is easy for him to get in and out of.
    Babies do sleep a lot and they can take some time to get used to new homes.
  17. Yvonne G

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

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    Sounds like he's not warm enough. Spreading out their limbs like that gives them more exposed area to absorb heat from "the sun."
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  18. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I would agree that it sounds like he's not warm enough but I use a temp gun to measure the temp at ground level (to get the 85*F and 95*F temperature readings) and if I put my hand on the substrate below his basking spot I can feel that it's hot. I even have a couple ceramic heating bulbs on both ends connected to a thermostat to ensure an ambient temperature is maintained (80*F at night and 85*F during the day).

    Hopefully he's just nervous and will start moving around more in a day or two.
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  19. Nimus

    Nimus Member

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    I'm feeling much less worried this morning about my new sully (which I've named Atlas!). I saw that he moved around a little more last night when the light was off so I'm thinking he was maybe just scared during the day. He woke up right away when the lights turned on and was active during his morning bath. He also went to town on his food after his bath (Spring Mix, Nopales cactus, and some young grape leaves). I'm hoping to see him more active as the days go by!

    (Sorry I couldn't edit my previous post but I wanted to give everyone an update)
  20. Sue Ann

    Sue Ann Active Member

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    We call that pose “Superman” like he is flying, lol Our Sully loves his bath. He is 8 mo old
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