Would this cage work for a young Sulcata Tortoise??


Kiss My Grits...
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 19, 2008
Western MA
I recently got a young Sulcata tortoise. Shes about 7-8 inches long...
When we got her she was in a tiny tank..(20 gallon). With no bedding.. or light.. dirty food dishes..

The lady also just fed her iceberg lettuce and cucumbers, watermelon sometimes...

Also, i didnt realize it at the time(when i bought her), but she also had a resp infection.. so shes on meds from the vets now... (her second round of scripts, because she still has bubbles/runny nose.. )
She also has a soft shell and a pyramiding shell from no calcium, and not the right lighting/food..
I really do have all the luck..

Anyways, i'm trying to do the best i can for her..
Anyone have ANY experience on treating resp infections in tortoises?? Any info thats i'm missing? Its been a few weeks now ans she still has a runny nose! But she is still eating very good...
We bought her a bigger tank.. (40 gal breeder, which like doubled her floor space), and she has thick hay for bedding and eating whenever she wants..(plus she eats all sorts of other good things now)
I still dont think the tank is really big enough for her though... so i have been looking on CL for options.. and we saw this Vision reptile cage for a good price..
Its 6 ft long, 2 ft wide, and 18 inches high..
But i'm worried that its not the "right" type of cage for her... but i dont really know if it is...
Hubby could build her a "tortoise table"... but that takes time and frankly, i think it'd look ugly..
(shh, dont tell him
Plus this tank would keep her warmer than a tortoise table while shes sick..
Heres the Vision tank.. she'd have plenty of room to roam around and eat hay and have a warm light on her..
It looks really narrow, but by the measurments its actually a pretty decent size for now, until she gets bigger and can safely have a room all to herself..


Heres a typical tortoise table. Although any table we would make would HAVE to have a top built on it because of my cats..
Plus, with wood, when they pee it can soak into the wood..etc..
*sigh* i dont know


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I think the vision cage looks too laboratory for my taste, plus I'm cheap, so id do the tortoise table. It doesn't have to be wood though, they sell melamine covered wood, like you would use for a counter or cabinet. Then you could caulk the corners so it was waterproof. Or, use a big plastic thing. I have used large cement tubs and baby pools for box turtles.
I have had some experience rehabbing some really deplorable sulcatas...people should READ stuff before getting such unique animals with particular needs!

Im not going to jump on my soap box here! Anyway, thanks for saving her! What kind of antibioitics is she on? Baytril works beautifully in upper respiratory in tortoises in my experience. How long has she been on them? How much does she weigh? Do you have pictures of her (her shell in particular...I would like to see how bad her calcium issues are).

I will say unless you are getting that enclosure for a super price, I wouldn't go that direction...it is rather narrow, and won't stay big enough for her for long. While she is under treatment, I would provide her with a large rubbermaid, lots of heat, and good (deep) substrate. Sulcatas will burrow big time...If she were in my care, I would keep her in the small enclosure (or rubbermaid), and build her a turtle garden.

We have a sulcata at the ranch named B.A.T. (Big A$$ Turtle), and he lives outside in his specially made turtle garden during the summer months...he has a den dug five feet into the ground
He eats a TON! Soaked dog food, a head of romain lettuce, lots of leafy greens. Kale is good for calcium, no spinach though.
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Thanks! The med she is on is Ceftazidime 0.25(injection every third day). Shes been on this med since 12/14.. (so 6 injections now...) and i see no improvement..
But not getting any worse either.. and she still eats like a hog..
(thats another question... EXACTLY how much should they eat at her size a day?? I know over feeding isnt good, and under is bad also...and i cant find any EXACT amount to feed by my research... ) The vet said like a handful of greens a day plus her hay.... so thats what i'm doing... but other sites say feed like every other day... etc...

I am reading her vet report and it says she weighs 112.2 gm... (whatever that means in english..
I'm just worried about the no improvement this long of time...

Anyways, the vet said rep-cal every day and a vitamin every third day... plus soak her every day.

Here she is tonight..
In this video, if you listen good you can hear the "junky" sounding breathing... its kinda sounds like a pop... (in the beginning of the video..)

And here again, at the end of the video..

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I agree, thats what turns me off of it too... it does look too laboratory looking...
I'm going to look at it tomorrow... and see what it looks like in person...

ETA: And thats a great idea about the melamine stuff!!!
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if I remember correctly, the long acting antibiotic she is on is actually stronger than Baytril. She seems very alert and active, so I would not worry too much about the URI...sometimes it can take a while in cold blooded critters for these things to take affect...however, if it takes too much longer to clear up, a change in antibiotic may be in order...This is going to sound really strange, but if you hold her up to your ear (like a sea shell), can you hear any rhaspiness in her lungs? Sulcatas will make clicking noises with their beaks sometimes, but I can't really tell from the vid if it is clicking from a URI or simply her making clicking noises with her beak
She certainly isn't acting like a sick girl (which is great)!

Her shell doesn't actually look too bad, but I personally would consider a more bioavailable source of calcium like coral calcium (then again, the animals taht are brought to me are usually on death's door by the time their "owner" has decided they are over their heads)...it is more readily absorbable than reptical, but reptical is not a bad product either. I don't know about your temps right now, so this may not be viable at the moment, but outside time will also help her body produce vitamin D, and in turn help her absorb the calcium better. If that isn't possible, of course a good UV light will simulate outdoor light, and aid in production of vitamin D.

Avoid feeding spinach...it is high in calcium, but it does not like to "share" it's calcium.

With her weakened immune system, and general condition, I would continue feeding her small amounts daily....Did the vet say anything about protien in her diet? At such a young age, protien is kindof important, and Im not sure a "handful" of greens would provide really any protien at all....maybe a couple of mealies with reptical dusted on them, or a couple crickets with the same treatment? Do you have a small scale? I would start weighing her to see if she is gaining or loosing weight. Like chickens, they don't readily show when there is something wrong with them until they are in real trouble...

For now, I would continue to feed her small amounts daily. It will keep her system going consistantly without overloading her while her body heals its self. In my experience (with admittedly older tortoises), they are fairly self regulating when it comes to food...and adult sulcatas can eat TONS of food...just ask BAT when he hasn't been feed in a day (we occasionally fast him)
Anyway, in my limited experience, that is what I would do...maybe someone with more experience than myself will chime in too. She is super adorable! Does she have a name?
I agree, thats what turns me off of it too... it does look too laboratory looking...
I'm going to look at it tomorrow... and see what it looks like in person...

ETA: And thats a great idea about the melamine stuff!!!

Too bad you aren't closer, the last tenants left a metric sh*t-ton of the stuff in the shed!
x2 on the Rubbermaid.

One of the worst things for a respiratory infection is poor air circulation/ventilation/dust. If you do the rubbermaid, make sure her temperature is adequate...this is also key to her recovery.

While I like those vision cages, they are a fortune. I agree with Kari. She's not going to stay in that enclosure for very long. It would be great if your hubby would build you a tort table. This site is a great resource.

If you do end up purchasing the vision cage....LLL is really nice to work with and their prices are fair for what it is you're buying.
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