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Did my sulcata stop growing? (1 yr old)

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by Brotherhood, Oct 14, 2007.

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  1. Brotherhood

    Brotherhood New Member

    Hey everyone, thought I'd start my new membership off here by asking a question that's really been bothering me the past couple days.

    See, last year I bought my sulcata after doing much research and spent $500 initially just to make sure I started off right. Well, there's been a couple of problems I've had with the substrate but otherwise I'd say everything is going well.

    Alphonse is just about the same size he was as the day I bought him; 2.5 inches long by about 1.5 inches high (shell length only). Now, I've been looking at pictures of other torts to kind of gauge his progress, and I'll see pics of sulcata with people saying they're about 3-5 years old and they seem to be at least the size of a decent watermelon.

    I'm getting really concerned and wondering why Alphonse hasn't grown at all in one year. Is it natural?

    I'll include some random specifics;

    -I give him calcium/D3 (phosphorous free) supplement once or twice a week

    -I bathe him once or twice a week, and let him crawl around inside after he's warm and dry

    -His diet consists of wheat grass and a little dandelion greens and clovers
    (is all that's available here or the next town over, and I only recently ordered a pound of various grazing seeds)

    -He gets some exercise outside though not as much as I like (I'm really nervous because of all the cats, we always have between 5-8 cats laying on our porch, most of which are not ours)

    -He gets UVB lighting with basking lamp

    -He doesn't seem stressed, and actually spends quite a bit of time crawling between and on top of hiding spots in his cage (which is 24 inches X 24 inches)

    -His shell is nice and firm with no pyramid shell

    Anything else you guys can think of, just ask.
  2. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    That seems very odd to me. I would definately take him to a herp vet and find out what is going on. I have a sulcata that is eight years old and weighs over 40 pounds now. He was a rescue and in the last six months has packed on the pounds and grown like a weed. what kind of UVB bulb are you using? Also how far away from the bulb is your tort? What are the temps of your basking spot and enclosure? Also how high is the humidity? Sorry for all the questions, lol. It would be more helpful to know these things. Does he have a good appetite, and does he defacate well?
    On another note welcome to Herp Center.

    By the way what kind of substrate are you using now? and what were the problems with the other ones you used?
  3. Lyn

    Lyn Elite Member

    Welcome...I agree with Nicole about the vets....perhaps a fecal test to rule out parasites....that could impede his wishes and keep us posted!
  4. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    welcome. I agree with lyn about the fecal. Dirt cheap to have done and can answer a lot of questions.
  5. SurvivorSteph

    SurvivorSteph Subscribed User Premium Member

    Definitely check for parasites, and you may want to check for the herpes virus while you're at it.

    Remember that they originate in an arid environment. Add some dry hay to his diet, preferably Timothy Hay, which can be purchased at any pet store (check the rabbit area). Grate some winter squash and add collard greens, too.

    Natural sunlight is essential... consider getting a wire cage (bird cage for now?) that you can put outside.

    Are you measuring him correctly? I believe that the proper way to measure is across the top of the shell from the back of the neck to the rear and across the widest point. Use a flexible tape (like a tailor's tape).

    Oh, and WELCOME!
  6. Brotherhood

    Brotherhood New Member

    As far as UVB goes, I have a "Repti Glo 8.0 Desert Terrarium Lamp" which is a 15W 18" bulb with 33% UVA and 8% UVB output. It lays across his cage and is about 12" off the grond at the highest point and about 7" at the lowest which is above his hiding tunnel where he often climbs.

    The temp ranges from 80-90 on average through the year but has gotten to be 65 at night or 95 in the day on occaision.

    My humidity meter broke, but I'd guess the humiidty in my house is about 50% on average? Probably lower in the cage itself.

    His appetite is okay, there's always a little left and I feed about 1/2 cup of loosely packed food every other day. I've noticed recently that his defecation isn't as good as it used to be. There was a point where I was gone for a week and my family took care of him and a few days after I returned he stopped eating and moving. I gave him a bath 2 days in a row and after that he seemed fine. My mother said they took care of him, but I know she's lying because his food hadn't been touched by anyone and his water dish was dry. This was in the middle of summer. Naturally, I was furious. I assumed his lack of hunger and movement was from dehydration.

    Is it possible parasites could come from the grass? I grow it outside, and with the cats around they might chew on it or something. Could he have contacted something from that?

    How much excacly do these tests cost by the way?

    I measure him a little differently, but I measured him the same way all the time and my charts say there is no change.
  7. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    My sulcata ended up getting flukes. Here is the weird thing,, that is not common in sulcatas, lol. We traced it to when i had an issue with my pond flooding the grass area, and a few of the snails not being found and he ate one. THey are carriers of flukes. Strange huh, lol .

    There are all kinds of things that he could get from the grass,, however I think most of them are not hurtful.

    As far as the fecal goes, it is usually 20 to 35 dollars.

    Can I ask why you are feeding him every other day? Sulcatas are known grazers, kind of like a cow.
  8. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Hello and welcome to HC. I too am curious as to why you feed every other day. Don't take this the wrong way,,,but, a few years ago a neighbor of mine had the opposite problem. Her "russian" tortoise was growing way to fast, turned out she had in fact a Sulcata. Is there a chance you might (or where you purchased him) have mis-identified ??......just a thought.
  9. Brotherhood

    Brotherhood New Member

    Well, he looks like any other sulcata hatchling I'd seen pictures of but I've thought about mistaken identity too. I'd to post a picture but can't.

    I feed him every other day because I know turtles tend to have a slow digestive process and figured I didn't want to overfeed him. Most places I've researched it at tip to feed them every other day too.

    Sorry, I don't actually have a computer or internet so my responses won't have a regular pattern.

    Thanks for your input, everyone!
  10. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    I have never heard of feeding every other day or so. My vets even tell me to feed every day,,, in the wild they are grazers, so they eat small amounts all the time, unless they find the mother load, lol. I would like to know where you got the info from about feeding every other day, I think it would be interesting to read. ;)
    Have you considered taking him to a herp vet?
  11. RES/AnoleLover89

    RES/AnoleLover89 Elite Member

    maybe he has a genetic problem, like some kind of turtle dwarfism?
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