Why are some against keeping juveniles outside?

Relic

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Here
Small torts are much more vulnerable to a host of things that adults aren't bothered as much by: rats, raccoons, predatory birds, fire ants, etc. The outdoor environment is mostly out of your control: temperatures will vary above and below what a youngster prefers, they can overheat quicker in direct sun and dehydrate faster, too, small water dishes can dry-out quicker, etc. Can all these things be accounted for and mitigated against? Of course, but it is more work: some type of housing with a sturdy lid, abundant shade from the sun, porous container so rain will drain out, etc. And...consistent attention to all of these details.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
why do some people say that it is bad to keep young tortoises outside?
Because they don't do as well and it makes them grow slower and pyramid more.

They will grow 2-3 times faster on the same amount of the same foods with the only variable being inside all day vs. outside all day.
 

babyhermanns

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
florida
Because they don't do as well and it makes them grow slower and pyramid more.

They will grow 2-3 times faster on the same amount of the same foods with the only variable being inside all day vs. outside all day.
if they grow slower, does it harm them in any way? is it okay if they grow slower?
 

Relic

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Here
if they grow slower, does it harm them in any way? is it okay if they grow slower?
Think in terms of: Slower growth equals more time in a smaller "package" that is more vulnerable to all the issues listed above. The sooner they attain adult size, the sooner they gain a bit of immunity/resistance to all those potentially bad things...
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
if they grow slower, does it harm them in any way? is it okay if they grow slower?
The pyramiding and slower growth are an indication that things aren't so great for them. Think about it for a minute. Hydration, temps, calories taken in, exercise, etc... All other variables are the same, but one group is outside most of each day and one group is inside most of each day. We are talking two groups of six randomly selected clutch mates that all hatched at the same time. The indoor ones grow 3 times faster. 300%.

Does it harm them? That's tough to answer. In theory it shouldn't, but the evidence is very clear here that outside too much just isn't good for them.
 

pawsplus

Active Member
Location (City and/or State)
Columbia, TN
Predators are not an issue if the person builds a safe enclosure and does not leave them out at night. I live in a humid, hot place and my tortoise was outside during much of the day from the spring after I got her in Oct. of 1998. She was safe and I feel good about her living a natural life and getting real UVB. Her shell is not perfectly smooth, but that is rare in captive breds and I would not call her pyramided. She is healthy as a horse at age 22.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Her shell is not perfectly smooth, but that is rare in captive breds and I would not call her pyramided. She is healthy as a horse at age 22.
First you are talking about an adult. Adults should live outside in most cases, when weather permits. No so with hatchlings and babies, which is what this thread is about.

Her shell is not perfectly smooth, but that is rare in captive breds and I would not call her pyramided.
Its not rare anymore. For people who raise them correctly, a smooth shell has become the norm. I would not expect to see many 22 year old smooth tortoises.
 

pawsplus

Active Member
Location (City and/or State)
Columbia, TN
First you are talking about an adult. Adults should live outside in most cases, when weather permits. No so with hatchlings and babies, which is what this thread is about.
As I think was clear from my post, I was talking about what I did when Beasley was a baby. I got her in Oct but from the next Spring she was out as much as possible from April-Oct in a very secure enclosure.
 

Dlamonda

Member
Location (City and/or State)
Grants Pass
The pyramiding and slower growth are an indication that things aren't so great for them. Think about it for a minute. Hydration, temps, calories taken in, exercise, etc... All other variables are the same, but one group is outside most of each day and one group is inside most of each day. We are talking two groups of six randomly selected clutch mates that all hatched at the same time. The indoor ones grow 3 times faster. 300%.

Does it harm them? That's tough to answer. In theory it shouldn't, but the evidence is very clear here that outside too much just isn't good for them.
To much protein will cause pyarmiding. Such as Spinach, Kale.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
To much protein will cause pyarmiding. Such as Spinach, Kale.
This is not correct. Not at all. We've disproven this many times over many years. That is old, often repeated, incorrect info.

Also, spinach is high in oxalates, not protein.

Kale is high in goiterogens, not protein.
 

Mandysaur

Member
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
Because they don't do as well and it makes them grow slower and pyramid more.

They will grow 2-3 times faster on the same amount of the same foods with the only variable being inside all day vs. outside all day.
Tom don’t you recommend they stay inside the first three years? Is it three years or a certain size?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Tom don’t you recommend they stay inside the first three years? Is it three years or a certain size?
Not at all. I take hatchlings outside in the sun on day one. The important detail is: How MUCH time outside for babies. My general rule is an hour of sun per inch of baby tortoise per day. Then always a soak when they come back in. By two or three years, most any species should be able to live outside full time with the right enclosure and depending on climate and season. I usually get sulcatas outside full time at 12-18 months. The mistake the I see people making is putting babies outside all day. They have been told this is "good" or "better" and that real sun is more "natural" for them. Side-by-side experiments have proven otherwise. Clutchmates with the same amount of the same food, same soaking routine, same temps, same indoor sleeping enclosures for night time, grow three times faster and with no pyramiding when kept mostly indoors following these guidelines, when compared to their siblings housed mostly outdoors all day every day in excellent, well planted, heavily irrigated enclosures.

Too much time outside for babies slows their growth tremendously, causes pyramiding, and in some cases dehydrates them too much. Climate and weather don't matter. This is as true in the tropics or FL, as it is in CA.

My general routine is to put little ones in suitable outdoor enclosure for an hour or two, two or three times a week. I feed them their messy Mazuri in these outdoor enclosures, and always give them a long soak when I bring them back in. If I know I'll be busy with work or something, I might sun them three days in a row, and then skip a week or two. In winter, I usually skip several weeks due to weather, but still get plenty of warm sunny winter days. If climate and weather allow, like they do here in Southern CA, a person doesn't need any indoor UV with this sort of routine. If you live in North Dakota, or in a NYC apartment, you might need indoor UV for 7 months a year.
 
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