3 Month Old Seems Lethargic, Soft Plastron

Chloebark

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Please help!!!
My sweet baby Rhae does not seem to be doing as well as when I first got it. I purchased Rhae in the beginning of May at 1 month old from a reptile expo, and it seemed in very good health like the others there. I have other turtles and a tortoise so I was very excited to raise a baby. I did a lot of research and learned that it is so much work, with needing so much extra care than my other turtles needed. Here is Rhae’s current set up:

40 gallon fish tank with closed top to keep in heat and moisture. 1 100 watt mercury vapor bulb on for 12-14 hours a day, and 2 ceramic heat emitters on 24/7. Heat throughout tank is a minimum of 80 degrees, with the basking spot around 95. Humidity stays around 85%. The substrate is coco choir that I keep moistened to help with humidity. There is a small terra cotta tray for water and one humid hide, 1 half log cover, and a few fake plants for extra hiding spots. Rhae is given food daily which includes spring mix, weeds and grasses from outside, cactus pad, hibiscus leaves, and rarely mazuri or Timothy hay (doesn’t seem to eat either no matter how I try to give it to it). I sprinkle calcium powder on the food 1-2x per week.

I was away for two weeks on a trip in June and had someone taking care of Rhae (they stayed at my house and cared for all of my pets). They seemed to have done a wonderful job! One week after being home however I noticed Rhae’s plastron feeling softer and Rhae has also seemed lethargic. I soak him everyday for 20 minutes and he seems fine, he poops in the water and moves around a lot, he eats right afterwards, then he just wants to sleep. I have scheduled an appointment for the vet on Thursday but can anyone help me before then?! Any ideas what on earth I’m missing here? I have weighed him when I first got him with a digital food scale and he was 19 grams, and his weight hasn’t changed either. I’m so afraid I will wake up tomorrow and he may not be alive.

IMG_1531183860.548016.jpg IMG_1531183880.312542.jpg IMG_1531184005.725733.jpg
 

TechnoCheese

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Melis

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Hello! Is he still currently eating? Are you solely basing the temp and humidity on those stick on gauges? Because they aren’t very accurate. Did the breeder describe how he starts his babies?
 

Chloebark

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It looks like your care his perfect. Sadly, it appears to be because of the breeder. Breeders rarely start their babies right, especially at expos. Please give this a read-
"Hatchling Failure Syndrome"

https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php...p?threads/"Hatchling-Failure-Syndrome".23493/
You may want to contact the breeder and see how it was started.

Thank you for this...this sounds exactly like what’s going on with Rhae. It seems like there isn’t anything I can do either. I’m heartbroken [emoji17]
 

TechnoCheese

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Thank you for this...this sounds exactly like what’s going on with Rhae. It seems like there isn’t anything I can do either. I’m heartbroken [emoji17]

It really is terrible. I would just continue with your current care. Who knows, maybe Rhea’ll pull through?
 

Chloebark

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Hello! Is he still currently eating? Are you solely basing the temp and humidity on those stick on gauges? Because they aren’t very accurate. Did the breeder describe how he starts his babies?

Yes, he just ate a lot today even AND pooped. Also I have an electronic indoor/outdoor temp/humidity gauge since I read that the stick on ones are inaccurate, I do not read those. I also have a temp gun to check all the areas of the tank. He just isn’t moving at all except for right after soaks and his plastron is very soft-softer than I remember it being which is why I decided to make his post.
 

Chloebark

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Hello! Is he still currently eating? Are you solely basing the temp and humidity on those stick on gauges? Because they aren’t very accurate. Did the breeder describe how he starts his babies?

Also I am unsure how the breeder started then but I do have his contact info so I plan on contacting him tomorrow....I feel like I recall the babies he was selling were in a container with rabbit pellets but there were so many different breeds there I could be mistaken.
 

Melis

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Also I am unsure how the breeder started then but I do have his contact info so I plan on contacting him tomorrow....I feel like I recall the babies he was selling were in a container with rabbit pellets but there were so many different breeds there I could be mistaken.
@Tom can provide you with some specific questions you can ask in reference to incubation and humidity.
 

Chloebark

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So I soaked Rhae this morning for 20 minutes. No poop today but it’s eating now. The underside feels soft, almost...squishy? I wouldn’t compare it to a sponge but I don’t think it feels like a Tupperware lid it just feels squishy towards the center. I took a video of it eating but I have no clue how to upload a video here. I noticed it has a hard time eating the lettuce, I chop it so it’s not giant leaves but it takes it a while to chew off a piece of it.
 

Maro2Bear

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So I soaked Rhae this morning for 20 minutes. No poop today but it’s eating now. The underside feels soft, almost...squishy? I wouldn’t compare it to a sponge but I don’t think it feels like a Tupperware lid it just feels squishy towards the center. I took a video of it eating but I have no clue how to upload a video here. I noticed it has a hard time eating the lettuce, I chop it so it’s not giant leaves but it takes it a while to chew off a piece of it.

On the video. First upload to YouTube then insert the YT link here. Thats probably the easiest.

Good luck with your tort.
 

Tom

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It saddens me every time I see this, but it looks like you are learning the lesson of: It doesn't matter how well you care for your new tortoise and how much you love it, if the breeder did too much damage through chronic dehydration.

Keep trying. Some of them pull through.
 

Bee62

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Sorry for bringing you bad news but you have read the problems of the hatchling failure syndrom.
I think Rhaes kidneys are damaged from a to dry start by the breeder. Kidneys that don`t work properly can`t get all the waste out of the body. The body can get rid of the acid in the blood of the sick tortoise. The body tries to compensate this with calcium that is taken out of bones and shell.
That`s why the plastron is getting softer. I am sorry but it seems to me that your baby is very sick and maybe will die.
I would try to put your baby for 6 hours every day in a plastik tub with warm shallow water and place it near a uvb producing heat lamp. Be sure that the water stays warm but the tortoise is not getting to hot. You can feed your baby in the water. That is no problem.
Only water can now help the damaged kidneys. There is only a little hope but I would try this. The hours in the water won`t hurt your baby when the water is warm, believe me.
 

Chloebark

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Is he actually tearing any off? Looks like he’s going through the motions of eating but not getting any? Mine tears a chunk off, chews, swallows, and repeats. He’s just kinda mouthing the greens almost? Try chopping his food up very fine and see if that helps.

Yes you’re correct. Rhae seens to have a hard time eating, sometimes it will bite at the lettuce and just completely miss a few times before it will scoot a little closer and try again. And it does seem tough for it to eat but I have been watching to make sure it eats it just seems hard for it to break the lettuce and takes a while. I will try cutting it up much smaller for it!!!
 
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