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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18639
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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How can I tell the age of a sulcata tortoise

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How can I tell the age of a sulcata tortoise?
My brother just gave me one as a gift, I am pretty sure it is a boy, he is 32 grams and 3 inches long.


You have asked one of the toughest questions. Many people say to use the rings around the scutes that grow with the years. It would be similiar to the rings of a tree. This cannot be used to judge age, as the tortoises grow at different paces depending on diet, husbandry, and genetics. Unless you have an approximate hatch date, it may be impossible to get an exact age. Your Herp Vet may be able to give an educated guess when doing a hands on exam, but there is no exact measurement. Joan

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: I appreciate the answer, I know it is a difficult question but I would like an approximate age based on the information provided..
I appreciate the answer, I know it is a difficult question but I would like an approximate age based on the information provided.


The growth rate if well fed is approximately 2-6 grams every 2-3 weeks as hatchlings. We are problably looking at less than 6 months old. They are ravenous eaters and gow vert quicky when well taken care of. As I said it is hard to give you a positive answer. This is a guess on the information supplied. Joan

Edited by Joan on 6/8/2010 at 3:09 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks alot! Also, this is a very random question, but my husband has a bearded dragon, I was wondering if it was safe to put the tortoise in the same tank as the dragon? Not as his permanent home, but to get them friendly with each other since he does take the lizard out to "hang out" and I most certainly plan on having the tortoise out as well.


No to putting them together. We quarantine any animals of the same species for at least 30 days before allowing them together. In this case they can cross contaminate each other, beside having an injury occur to one animal or the other. They need to be kept separated. Also make sure to use hand santizer between handling one to the other. Joan

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Alright, that is very helpful. Thanx alot Joan.


You are welcome. Please come back again if you have any reptile issues. I will be happy to assist you. Joan

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