Baby Sulcata Tortoise Trio (Free Shipping!)

$300.00
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Description

Common Name: Sulcata or "Spur-Thigh" Tortoise
Scientific Name: Geochelone Sulcata
Current Size: 2-2.5"
Average Adult Size: 22-32" (males larger)
Area of Origin: North/Central Africa

We are offering a few "trios" of baby sulcatas at a discounted price to customers looking for unrelated and potentially breedable groups. The three sulcatas you get in this group are unrelated to each other, and will be different looking from one another, so you can easily tell them apart. We do not know the sexes of baby tortoises, and can't promise any particular sex ratio. 

Description: Sandy beige color almost throughout their body, head and legs. Some will develop a darker "honey" color. Aggressive spikes on their front legs help them to dig and prevent being pulled out of their burrows backwards (which is nearly impossible to do). The "spurs" on their rear thighs between the tail and legs give them their "spur-thigh tortoise" name.

Habitat: Hot, dry climates. They can handle variable amounts of humidity in captivity, but naturally are from lower humidity areas. They do not hibernate, but will go through a winter slow down period during cooler weather and shortened daylengths. As adults, they can safely handle body temperatures as low as 45 degrees at night as long as they are able to heat up into the 70's during the day. Summer highs up to 120 degrees can be tolerated as long as there is a cooler, shaded retreat the tortoise can get into. Dampness is not a problem in high temperatures (a cool mud hole on a hot day), but in cooler weather the tortoises should be kept dry. As babies, these tortoises spend almost all their time in washes and underground in burrows, giving them a much more humid and moist environment than you picture the Sahara desert to be. 

Diet: This tortoise is naturally a grazer, and will wander about nibbling on grass the majority of its natural life. In captivity, sulcata tortoises will graze on grasses as well as leafy weeds and clover (dandelions are a favorite). As babies, we focus more on feeding them a wide mix of leafy greens (spring mix), since they have a harder time eating the more tough grass. Vegetables can be added to the diet for variety, but a focus should be on leafy greens and grasses. Fruit should generally be avoided.

Adult Behavior: Adult sulcata tortoises are interactive and curious tortoises. They can be aggressive towards eachother, particularly when two similar-sized adult males are housed together. Over time (and with careful watching by the owner), they usually develop a hierarchy and smaller males will assume a submissive role. Sulcatas are not aggressive towards people. They can be damaging to their environment, digging deep burrows to stay warm or cool if no shelter is provided. Most sulcatas will eagerly come to their keepers looking for food once they are comfortable in their environments. They can get impatient in small areas, so this is not a tortoise for the keeper looking for something that doesn't need space. When an enclosure is properly built for the tortoise, they are very enjoyable animals to keep.

Our Current Care:  During cooler weather or indoors, these tortoises are kept indoors on a cypress and/or coco coir substrate with a humid hidebox that they can get into at night. We raise them in cheap, simple plastic tubs that can be purchased at WalMart or Target, generally 3 to 4 square feet in size for babies. Temperatures in the room fluctuate between 75 at night up to 85 during the day, but we keep the hidebox heated to around 80-85 at night with a heat pad beind it, or a red bulb placed overhead.

Diet consists of spring mix greens with many other leafy greens offered in rotation to that (mulberry, endive, grape leaves, hibiscus leaves, diced cactus pad and we use globe mallow leaves pretty regularly). We like to also add moistened Mazuri LS tortoise diet as well as ZooMed's Gourmet Tortoise Food a few times a week, usually mixed and mashed into the leafy greens. The addition of the commercial diets take care of most or all of the supplementation needs, or you can sprinkle the food lightly with a calcium supplement 2 or 3 times a week and a multivitamin supplement 1-2 times a week. We also throw a pinch of our herbal hay on top of whatever they are eating almost daily, which adds variety and flavor and scent to everything.

The tortoises are removed from their enclosure and soaked in a separate 1/4" deep pan of warm water daily or almost daily for 30 minutes each time. We don't generally use water dishes in the enclosures because of the risk of drowning (yes, we have lost babies to drowning when they flipped over in 1/4" of water).

Being a desert species, they should have intense lighting, and they need lights on during the day and off at night to maintain a normal day/night cycle. We use full spectrum UVB lights, which we suggest for the growth of pretty, healthy tortoises, and use a ZooMed Powersun bulb in a small part of the enclosure to give them a "hot spot" around 95-100 degrees that they can get into if they want to warm up.

We don't use the "closed chamber" method (keeping airflow very restricted to increase humidity to the point that clouds form in the enclosure). It is very risky if/when temperatures get below about 80, and mold, shell rot, and respiratory problems become a lot more common in those conditions. We keep them open top in the warm area, and enclosed, warm and humid within the hide (like they would be in the wild). They are free to choose the conditions, temperatures, and humidity levels they want within that setup. 

For more detailed information, Click Here to see the article we prepared for Reptiles Magazine Fauna Top Sites