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Help! Is This a Sulcata?

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by BlueLady, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. BlueLady

    BlueLady New Member

    Okay. So I've just signed up on here cause I'm looking for help.

    My uncle bought a tortoise for my cousin a while back. Cousin moves out and uncle says 'Hey! Want a tortoise?" And I'm like - "Okay, sure."
    He didn't tell me it's age, or what type of tortoise.
    Because I'm still a teen, he has been living at my grandparent's house under their care and none of us have had a clue as to what to do beyond what pet stores tell us. (My uncle obviously never looked into this either.)

    So I'm finally kind of freaking out cause I want this tortoise to be happy.
    I think it's supposed to be a Sulcata.
    I don't know it's age still.

    But here's the bad part. It's had the wrong diet this whole time, wrong type of housing, and wrong care.
    I was hoping to have it confirmed if he IS a SULCATA. Why? Because I need to know what to do to set things right.

    I realize now he does have "Pyramiding." His shell is NOT soft though (Oh thank god.)
    I plan on building him a new enclosure ASAP because it's very urgent.


    I'm very ashamed that he has not been given proper care until now. But I know I can do something to make a difference.


    Attached Files:

  2. tortoiseman

    tortoiseman Member

    sulcata it is. or as spur thigh as most people call it. this tortoise grows up to 280lbs and lives 80 years if cared for right. they are great pets. offer them all kinds of greens, no fruit like oranges, apples are good. thay like it about 90 in there cage. a place to hide and water should always be offered.
  3. skelly98

    skelly98 Elite Member

    ...What? They are not cage animals. they need massive outdoor enclosures sealed underground on all five walls with concrete to prevent an escape, in a climate with lots of heat, no winter, and plenty of fresh grazing space. A "cage" is not suitable. I am a teen too. And some advice? Give it up to a rescue that can re-home it. No offence, but you can't properly care for one in washington. At least not without building it a house.

    Sorry, but these are not children's pets, the exact reason i don't have one. It also does not look to be too healthy.

    I'm glad you came here. You obviously want to do what is best for the tort. A reptile rescue may be what is best.
  4. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Also offering garden produce can be one cause of pyramiding, also too much protein, not enough water...
    They need lots of grass. High fiber diet such as orchard grass, Bermuda grass, Etc. Grass hay can be offered if you don't want to grow a field to feed. Indoor enclosures are impractical as a full grown female can each 30in carapace length and weigh 150lbs a male can get even bigger. Though it takes many many years to get that size.
    Thing to keep in mind: a sulcata will reach 20in and 70-100 pounds within 20years. The older they are the slower their growth but they don't stop growing. They also don't hibernate. They will ram into obstacles and can push wood fences over. They also need large extensive burrows and can dig out of yards. You could theoretically have one in Washington but he would need a really large shed with heat lights deep burrows and a dog house with a heat would be costly to build and maintain. They also eat ALOT. It really isn't the best pet for you get people or for someone in the north.
    A good site for research is: Sulcata Station: Basic Care Information
    Look through the entire site and take copious notes. It you have any questions I will be glad to answer them. I have over 14years of experience with sulcatas and currently have 2 babies and 2 adults.
  5. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    On and he is probably about 6-9 based on his size...though with the improper diet and housing it wouldn't be far off to say he was 9. Also as sad as it is the pyramiding isn't that bad. It isn't reversible but with a proper diet from now on it won't get worse and shouldn't effect his health over much...though he will be more prone to renal failure and to mbd.
  6. NancyA

    NancyA Elite Member

    A possible alternative for him is if you contacted a zoo to see if they would take him in. You have two respected zoos in WA, Point Defiance Zoo and Woodland Park Zoo. They are equipped to house these animals long term and offer the best in care. They may require that you pay for initial vet testing for disease to prevent transmission into their collection.
  7. penguinsfury

    penguinsfury New Member

    Just noticed this post while poking around the forums. Its a bit late for a response, I know. I run Haven Aquatica reptile rescue in Washington state. If you are looking to provide it a better home or do not have the ability to give it everything it needs please let me know. We have someone on our list that has cleared a habitat inspection and is ready to adopt. The tortoise would be provided a converted 4 car garage for its winter home and would then be transported to the other side of the property where it has its summer home with a 1/4 acre properly fenced for roaming.

    Best of luck
    Haven Aquatica

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