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Russian Tortoise Not Eating

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Jessabelli, Jun 22, 2012.

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  1. Jessabelli

    Jessabelli New Member

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    Hi! I'm new =) To everything. Really. I've only had Teddy the Russian Tortoise for a few weeks. I'll post a picture with this so you can see our happy family =)
    I'll go ahead and give you the whole big long story, and maybe you can help me out, because I really don't think I can afford another vet bill. I'm only 18... My fiance and I recently moved into our own place. You know how it is.
    So. On June 5th, my fiance and I went and bought a Russian Tortoise from Petsmart. We've never owned a tortoise before. He seemed quite happy to be coming home with us. He gleefully climbed up and down me on the way home, which was a half hour drive. He pooped and peed on me. I figured this was a good thing, so I didn't mind too much. Petsmart had told me he had been eating all day.
    He happily ran around the apartment while we set up his house. He has a reptile bark on the floor of his giant green tote. Not an aquarium. It's technically a watering trough, but it is plastic. I liked it because it was bigger then a 50 gallon rubbermaid. He has two lights, one for day, and one for night. Both specifically for reptiles. He has a little half log so he can hide in that. He also has some trees and stuff. The bark is pretty thick, so he can dig all he wants. He also has a food and water dish. The water dish is big enough that he could hang out in it if he wanted.
    The first couple days were lovely. He didn't eat though! He had tortoise pellets, spinach, bell peppers, and strawberries. Pretty much around the clock and fresh! Then he started getting sluggish and wheezing. We called a vet. This didn't seem good.
    June 11th, exactly a week after we got him, we went to a reptile certified vet. Another 45 minute drive, by the way. (GRRRR. No reptile vets in town!!!) I was told he had an upper respiratory infection. He was prescribed Baytril. He gets injections every other day for three weeks, given by yours truly.
    He has been moving around a lot!! He has plenty of energy and everything. But he still hasn't eaten!!!! The diet is the same as before.
    I've given him a soaking bath a couple times this week, because I read that that will sometimes make them want to eat. It's always lukewarm, like for a baby, and only up to his chin. Today, we tried playing outside for a little bit. Still nothing. Although! He did have a really great time, happily exploring =)
    I love my itty bitty little Teddy, but I just wish he would eat!
    What's wrong? =( Can anybody help??

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  2. dmmj

    dmmj Thhe member formerly known as captain awesome Staff Member

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    Antibiotics tend to upset a tortoise's stomach, so it will probably be awhile before he eats. Continue offering food everyday sooneror later when he feels better and is off the meds he should stat eating.
  3. jwhite

    jwhite Member

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    Try offering some other foods like spring mix, collard greens, or turnip greens. They seem to like the leafy greens better than the foods you have been offering.
  4. Tyrtle

    Tyrtle New Member

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    I have two Russians and one eats like crazy, practically dives into the food dish every time I put it out. The other one is more reserved and I almost never catch him eating. But he does poo when I soak him, so I know he is sneaking in some food some time. Yours may just be adjusting to his new surroundings.

    From what I've read here and on other sites such as russiantortoise.org, spinach, bell peppers, and strawberries are pretty much on the list of what *not* to feed.

    We offer organic spring mix and some other leafy greens such as: escarole, curly endive, arugula, kale, chard (the latter two they pretty much do not enjoy). I know ours love the spineless cactus pads you can purchase from a number of online stores (I got ours from Carolina Pet). They also eat leaves and flowers outside. I check with the tortoisetable.org site before feeding anything outside to see if the plant is on the "ok to feed" list.

    I also recommend the soak 3x per week for 20 minutes in warm (baby temp) bath water. Water comes to a level between the bottom and top shell. He may not love it, but it's really good for them. They get a chance to drink, absorb water, and also void there.

    I'd also recommend some outdoor time. A little sunshine!
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    Hi Jessabelli:

    Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

    While on antibiotics, your tortoise needs to be kept quiet and warm. Stop holding him and leave him alone in his habitat. Get a thermometer and make sure the air inside the tub it at least 80F degrees...warmer is better. You might even cover the tub to keep the warm air inside. You also need to soak in warm water every day while he's on antibiotics.

    The diet you're offering isn't really a good Russian (steppe) tortoise diet. Buy some Spring Mix from the produce section where they keep the packaged lettuces. To that, add some weeds that you pick from outside: dandelion, fillaree, clover, etc. The Steppe tortoise eats mainly broad-leaffed greens and weeds, and no fruit.

    And remember, a tortoise isn't an inter-active pet. They like you to leave them alone, inside their habitat, where they can get into a regular routine of sleeping, basking, eating and more sleeping.


    What would you like us to call you?

    ...and may we know appx. where in the world you are?
  6. Jessabelli

    Jessabelli New Member

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    Thank you all for your answers! I'll go to store and pick up some Kale and a few other things.
    The whole diet thing is really frustrating, because the answer is different depending on who you ask! I was told fruit is okay as long as they don't eat a bunch, and that bell peppers are a favorite >.< ACH.
    He is being kept very warm, and I haven't been playing with him as much as I would like to. He does however, seem to like the attention that I do give him. We have a really super friendly tortoise home with no other pets, so when he isn't sick and needing to be kept crazy warm all the time, he gets to wonder around for awhile =)
    I do have a question about spring mix.... Doesn't that have iceberg lettuce in it???
    We live in Oregon, and Jessie or Jess is okay.
  7. muelldog

    muelldog New Member

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    Hi, my Russian was treated for potential parasites because it hasnt eaten in 20+ days..so sad, as he was a hearty eater prior. Still has not eaten, so vet told me to feed it baby food green beans from a syringe. Just started that today with daily soaks for hydration. Hope he perks up. How is your Russian doing?
  8. smarch

    smarch Well-Known Member

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    My Russian, Franklin really likes tomatoes, like I'll feed him a whole plate full of tomatoes cucumbers pea shoots and romain lettuce, he'll go and eat all the tomatoes first and eat some of the other stuff. (in just as new of a tortoise mommy) hope everything gets well soon
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