Sulcata Tortoise Care!

The Sulcata Tortoise is a favorite among many of our customers because they are absolutely adorable as hatchlings. They’re only an inch or so across (sometimes not much bigger than a pingpong ball!) and love to eat!

The biggest issue with those people who find them irresistible is the lack of research. A Sulcata becomes a lifetime investment and commitment. They’ll be a living heirloom for your children and even grandchildren to pass down. They’ve been known to live up to 150 years (or more!) and grow almost 200lbs! These are NOT a beginner pet.

This guy was a rescue

This guy was a rescue.

Down to care and handling!

Habitat: As hatchlings, you can keep them in a 10 gallon tank. They must have heat and a water source always available. We use rabbit pellets for substrate because it’s digestible and absorbs their liquid waste. It’s also very affordable if you buy it in bulk.
Temperatures range from 60-80 degrees fahrenheit. You don’t want anything lower than 60 during the winter months. A UTH (Under Tank Heater) can be used while they’re small enough for enclosures, however, heat lamps can also be used to gain the proper amount of heat needed. Allow room for them to escape from the heat and remember that lamps can drain the humidity from the air in your enclosure.

Despite these guys originating from the Sahara Desert and areas like the Sahel, the Sulcata still needs a good amount of humidity. In the wild they’ll burrow as deep as 10′ to hide from the hot days and find the needed humidity. You can supply this with a water bowl sufficient for soaking, soaking them daily or semi daily or even misting lightly every day. The water bowl is the best suggestion because it allows them to gain moisture as they feel needed.

The enclosure should grow with the Sulcata. These guys get HUGE and will eventually take up residence in your back yard. They burrow so you’ll need to prepare your yard for the potential escapee…

Diet: All you Vegetarians will love these guys because they can eat the same as you do! They’re Herbivores. These guys are on a grass based diet. Line their enclosure with Hay and grass based foods (remember the rabbit pellets as bedding? That’s hay!) Too much wet food like melon, or very moist vegetables can cause issues with their digestion. A reptile with the runs can make for a very expensive vet visit.
Hay, and other dry grasses should be the MAIN part of their diet. Treats like dried fruit can be tasty, but again, too much of a good thing can and will be a bad thing.

Be aware of the items in your yard. Some plants can be deadly for your Sulcata. Azalea, Buttercup, Daffodils and Elephant Ears are common garden plants that can pose a deadly risk to your pet. Research your plants before planting if you know you’re Sulcata will be outside.
While doing my own research on these plants, I found a nifty site that had a very good list of deadly plants for most tortoises.
African Tortoise Deadly Plants

Research is key to owning a healthy Tortoise… or any animal for that matter! If only children came with a manual like some of our pets!

Feel free to contact our store for further questions, comments or concerns. If you have a sulcata you fear may be ill, or may have ingested some of the above listed plants, seek an exotic vet immediately.

Exotic Vets in Houston area:
Bay Glen Veterinary Clinic
Sunset Blvd Animal Clinic (open 24/7/365)
Banfield Veterinary Clinic

There are quite a few other clinics in the area. These are just a few that say “Reptile” care.

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The Tortoise and the Hare

Animal Ark is know to have its wide variety of choices when it comes to pets and how to care for them. Today, I’ll be talking about Tortoises and the difference between a Turtle and a Tortoise.

Currently, we have Red-Foot Tortoises, Sulcatas and Russian Tortoises.

They all require specific care, lighting and diets.

Our first critter is the Red-Foot Tortoise.

Red Foot Tortoise Red Foot Tortoise
Food: They are opportunistic grazers. The diet consists mainly of plant material like leafy greens (Collard greens, kale, red and green leafy lettuce, escarole), over-ripe fruits (melons, mango, papaya, cactus leaf) and on occasion have been known to eat carrion and small insects in the wild. As a captive Red-Foot… this is only suggested to be done once or twice a month for a basic protein source. You can use super worms, crickets (though they’ll be a bit fast) or small pinky mice.
Heat/Climate: You should give your tortoise a hot side and a cold side. The hot side should be in or around the mid 90s. The cold side shouldn’t be below 70F. They need humidity. Keep a large water bowl. Something they can wade into and soak if needed. Also, if your home is a dryer area, misting daily is helpful to keep them comfy. (when misting, watch for mold in any of the bedding used. Moisture and heat becomes a prime breeding ground for fungus and mold. Keeping a clean habitat will prevent these issues)
Size and Habitat: The Red-Foot will grow to be about 12″ across. Some have been known to reach about 14″, but it’s rare. A habitat to meet the size requirements is a must for a happy and healthy tortoise. There are a lot of options for enclosures for both indoor and outdoor. Indoor, they have 75gal tanks specifically made for small tortoises, wooden table top enclosures for young tortoises or smaller adults as well as DIY projects for your home.

Differences between a turtle and a tortoise?

There are a few tell-tale differences between the turtle and the tortoise.
Turtles are usually aquatic or semi aquatic, webbed feet and carnivorous/omnivorous. Red-eared sliders, Yellow Belly Cooters, Soft shell turtles and many others fit in this category.
Tortoise are primarily land based animals. Their diets usually stick primarily to plants and fruits. Rarely do they eat meat besides the occasional insect that happens across their path.
Even their ages differ drastically! The oldest known Turtle was about 86 where the oldest known Tortoise was 326!!

Red-Eared Slider
Red Ear Slider

This guy was a rescue

Sulcata Tortoise This guy was a rescue

Keep up with the website and our Facebook for more information on our other Tortoises and the rest of our Animal Ark family!

https://www.facebook.com/AnimalArkKingwood

Also… here’s a cute bunny (because I did say hare)

Lop

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Animal Ark has Returned!!

Sorry for the absence on our website! We’ve been SUPER busy trying to bring you the best at our store! Here are some of our updates, new and old news!

We’ve got some new faces to our Animal Ark family! If you’ve kept up with our Facebook page, you’ve seen these newbies. Give them a warm welcome!

Some of our associates, new and old!

Some of our associates, new and old!

We’ve also added some new critters to our line-up! Some of these guys we’ve had before, others are new to our store!

Meet Big Red! This here is our Red Iguana. It’s a bit feisty and was brought to us to find a new home for. Once Red is outta the cage, it calms a bit. It needs some TLC from someone who has had Iguanas before.
They’re HERBIVORES. This means they eat plants… only plants. Their digestive systems aren’t made for protein and thus can cause issues if you’re feeding them insects. Your iggy won’t die if it eats something that happened to get into the cage, but some people will insist theirs loves crickets and roaches. It is NOT recommended.

Give them heat and UV. Temps no lower than 80 degrees and as high as the mid 90’s is required. Give them a basking spot they can climb to with a good UVB bulb near their heat. This allows them to cool down if they need to and gather light as they please.

Iguanas like to climb! Give them a good sized cage and some branches. It’ll make them feel right at home!
Handling your iggy is important too. They can be aggressive by nature and, like most animals, take some time to warm up to your handling. 2-3 times a day is the best. Gentle, slow and steady. Stroke their back and neck. Give them enough time to settle in your hands before putting them back.

They do show defensive postures if they’re scared. Be aware of these postures so you know when you just need to leave them alone. Like us, they’ll have their bad days. I know I’m pretty grumpy if I haven’t had enough to eat.
-Mouth open when approaching. This is an “imma bite chu” stance. Give him a second to calm and try approaching again.
-Neck flap spread and puffing up. This is the iggy’s way of saying “I’m trying to appear bigger. This is my space!
-Whipping. They’ll whip with their tails. While they’re small, it’s just a bit annoying. Once they hit their full adult size of 4-5 feet, It can become painful.
All of these can be avoided with proper handling and a good setup!

Red Iguana with an attitude.

Red Iguana with an attitude.

Big Red 3

New posts to come soon so stay tuned!!

Posted in Albino, Amphibian, Animal Ark, Aquarium Supplies, Assassin Snail, Ball Morph, Bearded Dragon, Blood, Boa, Cat Food, Cat Supplies, Cats, Chinchilla, Corn Snake, Crested Gecko, Decor, Discus, Dog Food, Dog Supplies, Feeders, Ferret, Fire-belly Toad, Fish, Gecko, Gerbil, Golden Gecko, Green Iguana, Guinea Pig, Hamster, Hedge Hog, Kingsnake, Kingwood, Kitten, Lizards, Marine Fish, Peacock Spider, Pixie Frog, Polyps, Prairie Dog, Prarie Dog, Rabbit, Red Iguana, Red-eyed Tree Frog, Reptiworms, Salt Water/Marine, Snake, Spider, Spiney Crevice Lizard, Sugar Glider, Sugar Gliders, Toys, Tropical Fish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rabbits! You want ‘em!? We have ‘em!

blackandwhiterabbit

This little guy (who’s not so little) is a rescue. He came in today(5/14/14) and is in need of a forever home.

He’s very sweet and holdable. He’ll make a great addition to the family with or without children!

 

We’ve also got babies and juvenile rabbits!

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Prairie Dog Pups!

prairiepup5

Prairie Dogs make fantastic pets. They bond with their owner and become a fantastic addition to your family. They’re very social critters, making your family into their new colony.

Their diet consists of hay and hay based pellets. dried fruit can be added as a treat and fresh veggies. Too much of either though can give your pup the runs.

 

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Kittens!!

kitten5 kitten4 kitten3 kitten2

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Store-front Sale!

It’s yard sale day every day at Animal Ark! We have new and gently used items out front of our store, from hutches to kennels. We even get large tanks with stands from time to time.

We carry the used items to help those that really want the pets they’ve always wanted without the outrageous costs of their habitats.

Check out these large kennels we’ve received!

kennel3 kennel2 kennel1(the young lady here is about 5’2″)

Posted in Amphibian, Animal Ark, Aquarium Supplies, Cat Supplies, Cats, Chinchilla, Dog Supplies, Feeders, Ferret, Fish, Gecko, Gerbil, Guinea Pig, Hamster, Hedge Hog, Kingsnake, Kingwood, Kitten, Lizards, Prairie Dog, Prarie Dog, Rabbit, Salt Water/Marine, Snake, Spider, Sugar Glider, Sugar Gliders | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s An Assassin Amongst Us!

The Assassin Snail (Clea helena), also known as the Snail Eating Snail, is a breath of fresh air in our freshwater aquariums. These guys occur naturally in Southeast Asia. They eat decaying protein, acting as a small cleaner as well as ‘assassinating’ the annoying Trumpet snails that often over run your tanks from seemingly nowhere.

These guys don’t over breed like the Trumpets. 4-5 of the Assassins in your tank will have a 20-30 gallon tank clear of an infestation in about 2 months!

assassin snails

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Toys!

toys

We have new, fun and inexpensive toys for your favorite pet!

Mention this post and get $1 off one of these three toys*!

 

*While supplies last

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Marshall Ferrets!

Baby Marshall Ferrets! 7 weeks old and ready for their forever home!

Some info on ferrets before you buy.
They’re carnivores. This means they like meat. Marshall recommends you feed them the Marshall Premium Ferret Diet.

They are VERY playful and need lots of love and attention. Cat toys are a great buy but there are also specifically designed toys just for ferrets.

We carry ball pits, tubes, toys, treats, harnesses, cages and a plethora of other fun and fancy things for your new ferret.

Every Marshall ferret comes with a guarantee that must be filed within 30 days of the purchase.

Come in and check them out!

 

Ferret2 Ferret1

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