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Tortoise soaking and drinking...

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by XxDarkEuphoriaxX, Sep 4, 2009.

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  1. XxDarkEuphoriaxX

    XxDarkEuphoriaxX New Member

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    Is there such a thing as "over soaking" for ex. soaking every other day instead of 2 or 3 times a week. Is "the more soaking the better" as long as it doesn't exceed 5 min/a day for non-desert species?

    If you put a tortoise in water and it immediately puts its head under completely and starts drinking, does that mean it was/is deficient in water, or just that it is getting a drink?
    Can a tortoise drink too much?

    THX :)
  2. Shelli

    Shelli New Member

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    I am interested in the answer to this question the soaking isn't an issue for me as 'I' don't 'soak' Olive she self soaks everyday...
    The drinking however, when I got her I noticed her drinking bowl where I got her looked too high and uninviting so I put her right inside the bowl and she just started drinking like she was dying of thrist.. she did not stop I could even watch her swallowing gulps of water...
    Since that day after I got her home I have made sure I see her drink daily and she does, she sticks her head right in everytime I place her in her water dish and takes a drink.. nothing like that first time but she has a drink all the same...
  3. bettinge

    bettinge Member

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    I would think the argument to not soak everyday would be overstressing the tort. I have also read that oversoaking may relate to over pooping, and not getting all the required nutrients from the food!

    Is your tort immediately drinking everyday! That seems like a lot to me as I only notice my torts drinking lots on very hot days! Can they drink too much? I say your tort knows best!
  4. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member

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    I soak several of my 'desert' types daily. If they drink I take them out sooner, if they don't drink I make them stay in the water for about 15 minutes. Here's a story of interest...

    I raised a Gopherus agassizii from the day she hatched. I soaked her daily...1 yr...2 yrs...3 years and now I am soaking every other day. She stopped eating and because I am a neurotic obsessive type after she didn't eat for 3 days I took her to the Vet and the very first thing the Vet says is..."she's dehydrated". Now this is a tortoise that was soaked daily for 2 years then every other day and is now almost 4 years old....how in the hell could she be dehydrated after all that soaking?
    I have noticed thru my tort years that a tortoise gets used to being soaked often and then they stopped pooping during a soak. So I personally don't think you can soak one too much and while the theory of them pooping too often looks great on paper, in actuality the tort stops pooping once they get used to being soaked often.
    BTW...Calie died 2 weeks after she stopped eating and we don't know why.

    I also don't think tortoises get as stressed as some keepers think they do, at least that's MY opinion and I have kept numerous species. I kinda refuse to allow my tortoises to get stressed. I hold them and mess with them and I think they get used to that and become well socialized...just my opinion and experience...there's really no way to tell if I am right or wrong...
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    The "con" side of the coin is that the tortoise defecates more than he would normally. Some people think that that means he's not gaining all the nutrients from his food as its passing through to fast.

    I usually take the page from my outside tortoises' books. They come out every morning and after they're warmed up, they get into their water and either toss it up on their back or just sit there. \

    The only time I've ever noticed too much poop in the water was one time when I put a bunch of Russians in a large tub (in the shade) of water and forgot about them. They were in the water all day long. By the time I found them, the water was more poop than water. Pretty disgusting! But the tortoises were ok.

    Yvonne
  6. dmmj

    dmmj Thhe member formerly known as captain awesome Staff Member

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    Everytime I soak my russian torts the water always turns brown very quickly from poop. I personally only soak them once a week but they always have access to a water bowl.
  7. tortoisenerd

    tortoisenerd New Member

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    What works best for me is to put clean warm water in my tort's bowl in his enclosure, and then place him in. Sometimes he'll stay and soak 5-10 minutes on his own accord (and drink), sometimes he gets immediately out. It's a nice way for him to be encouraged to drink as we keep them hotter and drier in captivity than in the wild. This works for me, but I know some torts hate water and try to escape a soaking in a separate container, so would always immediately jump out when in their enclosure. I think a short soak daily at a young age is fine, but likely too much for an adult tort. Yes, you could soak too much, especially if the tort cannot get out and you make them stay in there. I guess that more people don't soak enough than soak too much though, but something to be aware of. When tortoises have access to water, most will drink (and then urinate out their old supply). Doesn't necessarily mean they were deficient, nor will they do it every time either. When drinking, I don't think they on their own could overdo it. It's more the actual soaking that could be overdone. My tort is a rare one and he's only pooped a handful of times in the water.
  8. Madortoise

    Madortoise New Member

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    I soak my DT Penelope for up to 15 min 1x to 2x/wk depending on how dry she appears. She drinks on her own when she's thirsty from a drinking bowl but she does not appear to drink from the warm soak. She does seem to enjoy the soak as she closes her eyes and submerge herself into water. Sometimes I see bubbles come up but I'm not sure if that's exhaling or drinking. She has not pooped in the bath ever. She is regular outside of the soak. One other interest thing is that when I try to give her a soak outdoor, she is too distracted and tries to get out right away but when I have her in the same bowl inside the quietness of a bathtub, she just relax and take it all in. sooo cute to watch.
  9. DoctorCosmonaut

    DoctorCosmonaut New Member

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    I rarely soak my Red. She has a dish that is large enough for her to crawl in... and she does regularly (which means I have to change it annoyingly often). I only really "soak" her when she is super dirty or somehow "rolled" in her poop.
  10. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Active Member Staff Member

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    Uh, guys... if you as a human are dehydrated, how long does the doctor tell you to soak in a bathtub for? Answer- they don't because soaking is not a solution for dehydration.

    Reptile skin is waterproof- more so than human skin. The only thing the soak does is it irrigate the cloaca and tissues inside it. While this is a good thing, it is not the same thing as hydrating your tortoise.

    The BENEFITS of soaks are:
    - they hydrate the cloaca, which is certainly something.
    - it can trigger defecation (which is also triggered by stress and overhandling)
    - many torts store urine until they know they have access to water, and a soak can trigger this urination
    - when they are soaking, they usually have easy access to drinking water
    - they give the keeper a chance to look over the tortoise carefully, get it clean, etc.

    The CONCERNS include:
    - artificially inducing defecation too often can be stressful and steal away nutrients
    - over-handling the tortoise can be stressful, as is moving it from place to place
    - trying to claw out and defecation can be signs of stress
    - the stress and efforts of trying to escape can outweigh the benefits of soaking

    Your OPTIONS include:
    - 'free will soaks'- a water dish the tortoise can enter and leave easily on its own
    - humidity, either overall or in a hide depending on the species
    - food with good levels of water in them, again depending on the species
    - freely available water, in a deep enough dish to drink from, that can be easily accessed without having to reach over a big lip or edge, and kept clean and taste free (things like plastic plant saucers can leach flavors into the water.)
    - frequent checks for hydration (weepy eyes, dry skin, etc.) and get more aggressive if the tort is dehydrated (wetter food, more humidity, etc.), and can certainly include adding soaks.

    Just my experience- my guys rarely us the indoor pen bowls for anything but crawling through or as a toilet, but when I put them outside, they often walk through the big sunken birdbath in the first half-hour or so, often taking a big sip as they do.

    Since my guys are Red-foots, they can tolerate high humidity and wet foods, so that is my main tool indoors.
  11. katesgoey

    katesgoey New Member

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    This is why I love this forum! I'm learning to think about tortoise care in various ways. I only soak Tank and Bump occasionally now, like if they seem to be out of sorts. They are outdoors 24/7 with free access to soaking. Moose is a yearling and I've been soaking him/her every other day - but I had kind of forgotten why I should, now I have a variety of perspectives to consider - so thanks for the question DarkEuphoria!
  12. Italianlnm

    Italianlnm Guest

    Tank has never pooped in his water before. In fact, I have really only ever seen his poop twice. Is there something I can feed to make sure he is pooping? Something that will make him go, so I can see?
  13. tortoisenerd

    tortoisenerd New Member

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    Italianlnm-Do you think it's lost in the substrate, he eats it, or the tort truly isn't pooping? I don't know of any particular food to feed. I think more likely either its hiding in the substrate or Tank eats his poop (normal for Sulcatas at least; what breed is Tank?).
  14. K9KidsLove

    K9KidsLove New Member

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    What species is tank? How big is he? I would try feeding some pumpkin... not pie mix but 100% pumpkin.
    You might want to put him on paper towels for a while til you know for sure if he is pooping.
    Good luck
    Patsy
  15. Italianlnm

    Italianlnm Guest

    He is a Slucata.. and he is a hatchling.. I don't think it can hide in his substrate because at the moment I have him on hay. (I know I know --> Gotta get that changed.) I am not sure if he eats it either.. But it worried me..
  16. tortoisenerd

    tortoisenerd New Member

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    With the paper towels you could tell if he poops even if he eats it as there will be a discolored spot. If you truly are not sure if he is pooping, between the substrate changes, try paper towels for a few days. If he does eat his poop, that's completely normal for a Sulcata so no worries. Is he eating food normally/regularly? How much? What kinds of food?
  17. Italianlnm

    Italianlnm Guest

    He is eating normally, and he is a bit of a pig..

    And he eats a grass diet. Occasionally he will eat a few greens. Right now I am just feeding greens, because that is what I am having to give Bullet to get him to eat.. I am going to start weaning once I know for sure he is eating good.
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