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Sulcata hatchling care/sleeps a lot?

22 16:17:09

I use to own a Bell's Hingeback for a couple years, but was negligant and long story short, he "ran away".  When I came across a sulcata the other day, I made the decision to commit to such a creature and I am currently doing as much research online that I have time for (with 2 young children). I may be busy, but I want to ensure a long, healthy, prosperous life for this tortoise.

I would appreciate any opinions/knowledge that you have the time to share with me and if you can recommend reading material I would greatly appreciate that as well.

Lastly, if you could clear up a few questions I have that, on the internet, I find several different answers to some.

1. She's (for the time being, it's a "she") housed in a 75g aquarium for now. I realize a turtle table would be better, but is this set up OK? ..for how long?

2. How long should basking light be on? UV light? How warm should warm side be and how cool should cool side be?

3. How much food?

4. She's been eating about 1/2 food per day (romaine lettuce, carrots, misc. veggies and I give timothy hay daily) In the last two days she's been sleeping an awlful lot- do hatchlings sleep a lot? She weighs 57 grams and is 5.5 cm long (shell), so I'm assuming she's about 10 weeks old (got her from a reptile shop). As I said, she's been eating good up until today- ate hardly anything. Eyes and nostrils look clear. What do you think? Anything else should I be looking for, or do they actually sleep a lot?

Thank you in advance for your time.


Hello Patricia,

I totally agree that the information on the Internet is very confusing, it's hard to know what to trust and not.
As for your questions, I will try to answer them in a correct order:

1. For your question about housing, I highly recommend the site below:
It's very extensive and gives you a good picture of a proper housing.
Since you do have a Sulcata (This is mentioned in the text as well, but it's very important) you have to be aware that you will need a lot of space for the tortoise, not only for the vivarium/aquarium
but also when it is walking around outside the "tank" as well.

2. The "cold temperature-area" should be around 80-88 degrees F.
Basking areas should be provided at slightly higher temperatures.
As for the UV-light: I usually turn on the light on the morning and
turns it off at the evening (My tortoise believes that, when I turns of the UV-light - it's time to sleep!)

3. Every experts seems to have their own opinion about how much food
you should give the tortoise. But usually, since I think it's idiotic to complicate things, my advice is: Feed the tortoise once/day. Let the tortoise eat until it stops or show a lack of interest - then remove the rest of the food.
The diet should consist basically of  a mixture of grasses. For example buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, blue grass and rye grass.

4. Since your tortoise doesn't have any problems with her eyes, nose or appetite, it's probably not a RI (Respiratory infection).
Instead, I believe that her behavior is fairly normal since you haven't had her for so long and she's probably not fully used to her surroundings.

Finally: Make sure to keep your tortoise away from drafts and breezes (That's the only way to avoid respiratory infections) and
give her a bath a few times/week - that's very good for the skin.
Sulcata/Leopard-tortoises are usually very social, so make sure that you spend as much time with it as possible.

Best wishes