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Wilson the Wandering Wanna-be Sulcata Gopher Tortoise


New Member
Feb 21, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego, CA
A friend of ours found this baby tortoise wandering around in the alley behind a busy street and far from any desert. We named him/her Wilson. At first I just assumed Wilson was a Desert Tortoise since we live in San Diego. But the more I look at pictures and read about how fast Sulcatas grow. The more I think Wilson might be one. On Nov. 11, 2019, the day we got him, Wilson weighed 73 grams and measured 2.5" on his bottom shell. As of today Wilson weighs 140 grams, measures 3.5" and has found his way into our hearts. I think he is fat, but how can you tell? . Never having owned a tortoise before we just made do with what we had. Would really appreciate any input or suggestions on Wilson
His substrate is a mix of coconut coir and succulent potting soil with no additives
I feed him what is suggested for the Gophers, leafy greens and no fruits He loves mushrooms and avocados He eats a lot! I cant go a day without feeding him. He sees me and comes running to eat and he/she is so sad looking I just have to to feed him
He has a large heat lamp and a 120 volt 60 watt lamp.
I try to let him soak in warm water for 15 minutes at least every other day.



The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 9, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
You have a sulcata. Males can get 120+ pounds and females typically top out around 80.

You need to get that substrate out of there ASAP. The white bits are perlite and that can kill them.

Most of the care info you find on the internet is all of the old wrong stuff. Here is the correct care info:

Read these and then come back with all your questions. We here to talk torts! :tort:

Sa Ga

Well-Known Member
Nov 19, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
Welcome and congrats on your new addition! Torties are absolutely wonderful and worth every bit of work, worry, and yes, $$$$$! ❤🐢❤🐢❤

They are definitely NOT a low maintenance or low cost animal if you take care of him correctly! Please do not hesitate to ask any questions and get even fun input and ideas!

Love to you and Wilson!
~Sara 👩🏻 and Morla 🐢


Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
East Texas
Welcome to you and Wilson.. I could be prejudiced, but I think you lucked out with the Sulcata find:) they’re the best 😜
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