2019 Hatchlings thread

Kipley

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Sunday morning Olivia didn't come out of her hide. I found her still buried and dead. She had been fine. Very active, eating well, etc. Newt soon started acting odd. He'd open his mouth like he was trying to expel something, would attempt to bite at this neck/shoulder area, and kept flipping himself on his back as though he was suffering from something neurological. No nasal discharge, no gasping or "guppy breathing" - I'm a respiratory therapist so I was able to auscultate his/her breath sounds with a tiny neonatal stethoscope - air movement was not impeded and it didn't sound like a respiratory issue. No visible wound where he was trying to bite, and I could not visualize a blockage in his throat. I called our only emergency vet (I've had lots of experience with them with the Greyhounds I rehome and adopt) and they basically told me they would not be much help - no reptile vet on staff. I was hoping Newt would make it overnight so I could get him into my reptile vet the next morning. I separated him into a smaller "hospital" enclosure while I started to tear down the tortoise house. I found lots of tiny centipede looking creatures in the soil, and had noticed a lot of fungus gnats the day before. There was no visible mold or fungus. Newt passed early Sunday afternoon. The third hatchling is doing ok. Vet couldn't find anything wrong with him and his fecal was clean. Neither of the two that passed had acted as though they were ill (until Newt that morning). All eating well and gaining weight.
I'm stumped, heart broken and feeling really guilty. My husbandry was just as suggested on the care sheets here with temps, humidity and lighting all where they should be.
I've raised baby Chameleons and thought these guys would be so much less challenging. Really upset that this is happened.

Edit: Not sure if the insects in the soil was an indicator of something wrong, but I've switched all the soils out. The organic "nothing added" soil I originally used was mostly compost - not sure if it is to blame or not.
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Sunday morning Olivia didn't come out of her hide. I found her still buried and dead. She had been fine. Very active, eating well, etc. Newt soon started acting odd. He'd open his mouth like he was trying to expel something, would attempt to bite at this neck/shoulder area, and kept flipping himself on his back as though he was suffering from something neurological. No nasal discharge, no gasping or "guppy breathing" - I'm a respiratory therapist so I was able to auscultate his/her breath sounds with a tiny neonatal stethoscope - air movement was not impeded and it didn't sound like a respiratory issue. No visible wound where he was trying to bite, and I could not visualize a blockage in his throat. I called our only emergency vet (I've had lots of experience with them with the Greyhounds I rehome and adopt) and they basically told me they would not be much help - no reptile vet on staff. I was hoping Newt would make it overnight so I could get him into my reptile vet the next morning. I separated him into a smaller "hospital" enclosure while I started to tear down the tortoise house. I found lots of tiny centipede looking creatures in the soil, and had noticed a lot of fungus gnats the day before. There was no visible mold or fungus. Newt passed early Sunday afternoon. The third hatchling is doing ok. Vet couldn't find anything wrong with him and his fecal was clean. Neither of the two that passed had acted as though they were ill (until Newt that morning). All eating well and gaining weight.
I'm stumped, heart broken and feeling really guilty. My husbandry was just as suggested on the care sheets here with temps, humidity and lighting all where they should be.
I've raised baby Chameleons and thought these guys would be so much less challenging. Really upset that this is happened.

Edit: Not sure if the insects in the soil was an indicator of something wrong, but I've switched all the soils out. The organic "nothing added" soil I originally used was mostly compost - not sure if it is to blame or not.
Very sorry about your loss. It's never easy, especially with hatchlings.

There are a number of things that could have gone wrong...

I noticed in a prior reply that you only quarantined for 10 days. That's definitely not long enough when introducing new tortoises. New tortoises being added could have an illness or disease that gets passed to other tortoises. Babies are so small and more vulnerable that it's easier for them to get sick.

You also mentioned in your last post that your substrate contained compost. It's my understanding that compost contains fertilizers and chemicals that are harmful to tortoises. If your third hatchling is still doing okay, I would definitely change the habitat and provide substrate that is safer.

Here is a very detailed Hermann's Care Sheet. Definitely worth reading, and Chris (the author) has a ton of experience with this species, so I recommend this over other information on the internet.

https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/
 

Kipley

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Very sorry about your loss. It's never easy, especially with hatchlings.

There are a number of things that could have gone wrong...

I noticed in a prior reply that you only quarantined for 10 days. That's definitely not long enough when introducing new tortoises. New tortoises being added could have an illness or disease that gets passed to other tortoises. Babies are so small and more vulnerable that it's easier for them to get sick.

You also mentioned in your last post that your substrate contained compost. It's my understanding that compost contains fertilizers and chemicals that are harmful to tortoises. If your third hatchling is still doing okay, I would definitely change the habitat and provide substrate that is safer.

Here is a very detailed Hermann's Care Sheet. Definitely worth reading, and Chris (the author) has a ton of experience with this species, so I recommend this over other information on the internet.

https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/
Thanks. Yes, it is Chris's care sheet that I based this set up and my care on. As I said, it is the care sheets here that I used. I try to avoid the numerous opinions posing as fact that we all encounter in FB groups.
I guess I didn't explain it well: As soon as the second tortoise started acting weird, I stripped their tortoise house and replaced the "organic - fertilizer free" soil with new soil. I called a friend who is a legal grower here in WA and got some quality soil from him - fully cured compost he sources himself, no ferts no additives and replaced the old soil that day.
It is a challenge to find potting or gardening soil that doesn't contain compost. Compost is not added fertilizer. It is simply composted organic matter - the ingredient in all soil.
I never did get an answer on how long I should keep them separated and in quarantine when I posed the question here. So I called the breeder, he said they had all been housed together at his facility and that there was no need to quarantine. I still feel I should have followed my gut there and kept them separate for at least 30 days.

One mistake was not saving any of the centipedes that were present in the soil to see if they could have been venomous and bit the hatchlings. They had to be present in the soil I originally used. I think the soil could have been the culprit - either something toxic to a tiny hatchling that was present in the compost that was in the soil, or the centipedes? It really is disheartening. A house full of reptiles and I haven't lost any in decades.
 

Kipley

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No updates here on any of your hatchlings?
I hope you are each having better results than I did.
The remaining hatchling that survived was back at the Vets yesterday. She has been very active but eating very little and losing weight. So back to the vet. The vet thinks she may a respiratory infection after all, though no labored breathing. So I will be giving her injections of Fortaz every 72 hours for the next 6 weeks. This is going to be an experience - injecting into those tiny front legs!

In the meantime a one year old Sulcata ended up in my care a few days ago. He appears healthy and is eating well, but at one year of age he is only 87 grams. I'm being told that this is not abnormal for some Sulcatas. "They all grow at different rates" is what I'm told. We are scheduled to see the vet next week for a general exam and a fecal. In the meantime the Hermann's is quarantined on an entirely different floor of my home until we get both sorted out.

Hope all of you and your hatchlings are doing well!
 

method89

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Sorry to hear about your experience with hatchlings so far. Good luck with the sulcatas. I'm still waiting to receive my guy(girl).
 

JLMDVM

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Yes, still patiently waiting. So sorry for your losses Kipley. Hope things turn around for the remaining one and the sulfate.
 

method89

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Got the email today! Sergio is coming on Tuesday! Can't wait.
 

cdumitru78

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So sorry for your loss Kipley, that stinks! I re housed my 5 hatchlings in a Kages 4x2x2 enclosure, love it so far, so much better than the makeshift Zoomed turtle table. I will post some pics this weekend, babies are pretty active, they are starting to eat more and more each day, some more than others! Still trying to dial in my lights, using a 36 inch h5ho 10UVB Zoomed lamp, a Zoo Med 80 watt PowerSun UV Mercury Vapor Reptile Lamp for basking and 2 regular light bulbs for additional light. Temps in the basking area are around 95 degrees give or take, rest of the enclosure stays around 80 plus degrees.

Any of you weighs the hatchlings to monitor growth? Most of mine gained a few grams since we got them, about a month.
 

Kipley

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Sorry about the huge photo, I'm at work and can't upload a file, so have to copy and paste.
This is my little survivor last night. She looked like she was hollow, her eyes sunken in - like she was at death's door. In desperation I soaked her in a Repti-boost slurry. Too high in protein for a tortoise, but she needs calories. I have Critical Care Herbivore arriving today from Amazon. I'll start soaking her in that.
She spent 20 minutes in the Repti-boost, and then 10 minutes in fresh water. Then I gave her the first injection (from me) of Fortaz. It went smoothly. She didn't flinch. Neither did I.
A few minutes later I offered her a soaked Mazuri - not interested. She hasn't eaten in 5 days at least. Perhaps longer. I offered her some Romaine and within a few minutes she was eating, and doing so with gusto! I'm hoping we are turning a corner. Perhaps the Repti-boost stimulated her appetite? This morning before I left for work we did our usual 30 minute soak in water and when I left she was again eating her greens with great enthusiasm.
Keep your fingers crossed for us.

 

Kipley

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More good news. She is looking so much better. The Critical Herbivore arrived yesterday so I made a slurry and soaked her in it, and she drank a decent amount. This morning her weight is up from 12 grams to 15 grams! Keeping my fingers crossed. She is really active again and grazing today. I've set up about 5 mini feeding stations in her 4' x 2' enclosure to tempt her to eat where ever she is at in the enclosure.
 

method89

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Soooo... Don't be shocked if they disappear! My guy burrowed in somewhere last night and didn't reemerge till around noon today... Scary stuff but apparently totally normal. I couldn't find where he went in and was in panic mode all night and day
 

JLMDVM

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Yes, there’s been a lot of burrowing around here. Also quite a bit of basking. Soaks are going pretty well. I have seen them eat some Mazuri in their soaks, and caught them in their food bowls a couple times. Pooing well during soaks. IMG_1569191502.283232.jpg IMG_1569191531.099958.jpg IMG_1569191542.122518.jpg
 

method89

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El_Gumpo

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Thanks. Yes, it is Chris's care sheet that I based this set up and my care on. As I said, it is the care sheets here that I used. I try to avoid the numerous opinions posing as fact that we all encounter in FB groups.
I guess I didn't explain it well: As soon as the second tortoise started acting weird, I stripped their tortoise house and replaced the "organic - fertilizer free" soil with new soil. I called a friend who is a legal grower here in WA and got some quality soil from him - fully cured compost he sources himself, no ferts no additives and replaced the old soil that day.
It is a challenge to find potting or gardening soil that doesn't contain compost. Compost is not added fertilizer. It is simply composted organic matter - the ingredient in all soil.
I never did get an answer on how long I should keep them separated and in quarantine when I posed the question here. So I called the breeder, he said they had all been housed together at his facility and that there was no need to quarantine. I still feel I should have followed my gut there and kept them separate for at least 30 days.

One mistake was not saving any of the centipedes that were present in the soil to see if they could have been venomous and bit the hatchlings. They had to be present in the soil I originally used. I think the soil could have been the culprit - either something toxic to a tiny hatchling that was present in the compost that was in the soil, or the centipedes? It really is disheartening. A house full of reptiles and I haven't lost any in decades.

I'm so sorry for your loss :(
 

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