Looking for advice from someone who actually owns sulcatas:
A 6 year old female sulcata was surrendered to my local reptile shop. Owners really didn’t do their research before getting her obviously. She’s super shy but started to relax with patience and some shell rubs. She has pyramiding and harsh ridges on her scutes but otherwise appears healthy from what I see. She was allowed to wander their house and I doubt she was getting any UV or proper warmth on top of likely diet issues…
My question is, how much attention will she need to get in a happy place? I am in zone 7b, own my house, and have half an acre, creek half wooded, veggie garden, yard is pesticide free with a variety of ‘weeds’ I myself harvest for food… I could have her indoor and outdoor seasonally, but I travel for work a lot and have a house sitter but if she needs daily attention I can’t take her. If a check or two during the week to fill hay bin and greens/water and full time attention weekends for times when I travel is ok then I can. I always wanted a sulcata and figured I would rescue one eventually, but I’m not sure now is that time if she requires daily care.
A tort of any kind will need attention everyday (fresh food, water, a soaking), especially one of that size and with her being a rescue. You never know what underlying issues she could have if you aren’t there to keep an eye on her. And you will also need a very large enclosure with proper UVB as she can’t be outside all the time, as large torts are able to destroy things pretty easily. You can’t just have her wonder around your house alone, as she could have a chance of breaking through a wall, same goes with her being outside.
If I did take her I’d winter her in my master bathroom which has tiles up the walls. I’d do a proper set up for heat, cool, humid and dry hides, and if. Summer she would be outside. It’s the everyday attention I cant currently fulfill and has me looking for opinions… I see a lot of ppl leaving them outside with little attention and I just dont know if that’s a fair representation of their care…
Keeping a sulcata indoors is a recipe for disaster. They are like a cross between the Kool-Aid Man and Tasmanian devil but in slo-mo. If you are on Facebook look up Macknight Reptiles for what his sulcata did to his bathroom (hint: a new toilet and vanity are going to be necessary)
If you have the ability to build a “barn” outside that you could heat and she could be closed in during cold periods, that might prove possible. I would suggest The Reptile Gumbo Podcast for some ideas on how to go about that, the host there has discussed it a few time (I cannot recall which shows off the top of my head). The podcast also has a Facebook group, you should be able to engage the host there
I definitely don’t suggest putting them inside. People greatly underestimate the destruction they can cause. I would recommend building a barn to keep them in during the colder days and nights. This is mine. It has a radiator style oil filled heater, radiant heat panel for chickens and a large pig heat mat for them to lay on.
she’s not that big yet it would just be the one winter… I think from the feed back here I might not be ready for the care she would require. The main reason she was surrendered was the last owners kept her indoors and he broke their drywall (as expected) but she obviously wasn’t getting the proper husbandry over all… I’m just a bit of a sucker lol
Even the small ones can create havoc. There is a meme going around a few of my herp groups of a completely toppled Xmas tree with a football-sized sulcata in the foreground and the owner raging about how much of a colossal little brat he is
What can I say… Sometimes I have a way with words LOL