6 month old tort motionless

Lady321

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Orlando, FL
I have a five month old sulcata tortoise. His diet consist of green leaf, tortoise pebbles and a sprinkle of calcium 3 times a week. For five days straight, I noticed that my tortoise was not eating and drinking on the regular and seemed to be slowing down with everything, but still was moving around a bit. I took the initiative to keep his water at lukewarm, throughout the days, during these 5 days. This past Monday, after I changed his water and food, he was moving around, like normal, inside his water pan. I noticed that he had made a bowel movement and I immediately changed his water. Afterwards, I removed him from his tank, to bring him outside, to his enclosure and please note it was about 78 degrees outside. While carrying him outside, he was moving in my hand, just a little bit and once I placed him into his enclosure, after 20 minutes, I noticed there wasn’t any movement from him. He had tucked his head inside the shell; yet his other limbs remained out; I thought nothing of it other than he may be resting.

A little over an half hour later, I checked him again and he seems motionless, as I picked him up to look at him. His two front limbs felt just a tad bit stiff. But within minutes, they felt normal and flexible again; while his head is still tucked in like he’s sleeping. His eyes seemed normal, there are no signs of mucus excreting no where and he feels to be room temperature. It’s been 3 days today and still no response. His color is the same, he’s limbs are still flexing as normal, his head is still tucked, but the area around his eyes seems very very slightly dark and on his left eye, it seems to be a tiny opening, where you can see a gleam from the light. There’s no abnormal smells etc from him or the tank. Ive been changing his water, periodically, to keep his temperature normal. But nothing’s seems to work. Not sure if he’s hibernating, in a state like coma, or the worst, dead. Please help.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
What do you mean you have been changing the water too keep his temperature normal?
He needs to be kept at 80 day and night and a basking spot of 95-100. With humidity of 80%
Fresh water given every day to drink and soaked daily in warm water for about 30 minutes
Changing water often and using warm or hot water is not going to keep the enclosure warm and he should not be living in water.
Please explain and give us all the temps you have and what you are using for light, uvb and heat.
For now put him in warm water for a soak and keep that water warm.
 

Lady321

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Orlando, FL
What do you mean you have been changing the water too keep his temperature normal?
He needs to be kept at 80 day and night and a basking spot of 95-100. With humidity of 80%
Fresh water given every day to drink and soaked daily in warm water for about 30 minutes
Changing water often and using warm or hot water is not going to keep the enclosure warm and he should not be living in water.
Please explain and give us all the temps you have and what you are using for light, uvb and heat.
For now put him in warm water for a soak and keep that water warm.
Ok, I was typing so fast and mistakingly left that part out. During the day, we put the UV white light on, has clean water and fresh food. At night I use the black light for heat and he usually sleeps in or outside his log. As far as me changing his water, since he has been slowing down during those five days I’ve mentioned, the water would get a little cold and I was just trying to keep it luke warm or at room temperature. At night the temperature in our house is usually around 75 to 78° so this is why we put the heat lamp on at night to him. As far as soaking him in the water, he was doing that and then walking around the tank as usual. But since he has slow down, I took the initiative to soak him in and out the warm water for periods of time. Was just trying to keep up with his routine.
 
Last edited:

Lady321

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Orlando, FL
His enclosure inside the house is in a fish tank, but set up with grassy areas, his log, water pan etc. temperature normally is between 78-81.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
His enclosure inside the house is in a fish tank, but set up with grassy areas, his log, water pan etc. temperature normally is between 78-81.

That is far too low for this species. They are from Africa - the absolute lowest overnight temp would be 80*F.

Please carefully read this excellent care sheet:


Post any follow-up questions you have her so we can follow along and assist you with getting your nursery into more healthful shape!
 

AgataP

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Seattle, WA
To help us visualize the enclosure etc. can you please post pictures of the enclosure and the tortoise?
I have 6 months old sulcata and he doesn’t not spend much time in one spot in his enclosure. He is busy moving things around, snacking, going over his water and sitting in it. The water never gets cold and if anything it gets mixed into a muddy pile which is still warm. So from your description seems like it might be a bit cool inside of the enclosure.
Please post images of the set up and hopefully we can help you out.

Is the enclosure humid?
Does he have a basking spot?
What substrate do you use ?
Any hiding spots?
Is he able to dig and cover himself in wet substrate?

UV light during the day is not a sufficient way to keep your tortoise warm.
I know this can be overwhelming and I know you want the best for your tortoise. Hope we can help.
 

Lady321

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Orlando, FL
That is far too low for this species. They are from Africa - the absolute lowest overnight temp would be 80*F.

Please carefully read this excellent care sheet:


Post any follow-up questions you have her so we can follow along and assist you with getting your nursery into more healthful shape!
I read over the care sheet and thankyou. I have to say that a lot of things on that sheet seem more accurate than what was explained to us, by the people in the pet store. He was giving to me, as a birthday present, in October and immediately I started doing extensive research on how to care for him. I only wish I would have seen this first. I'm taking him to the vet in a few and I'll come back to let you know what they say.

I'm really feeling the worst at this point and so heart broken. I really tried my hardest to take care of him. Though he is still motionless, he still has his color and flexibility and is warm. But today I notice his eyes look more darker than usual and his head is still tucked in.
 
Last edited:

Lady321

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Orlando, FL
You can't hold yourself responsible for what you did not know. Though we are remote and therefore limited, let us know how we can help!
Will do and thankyou for sharing the info. Alot of things listed on the sheet was not included, as to what the pet store people told us. But if I had only knew I'd be surprised with getting one for my bday, I surely would've done my homework. I'm very good with animal care. This is a first for me, having a reptile. I know for a fact that his diet, daily exercise and more was on point. The only thing I can think of is maybe it was a temperature drop or too much heating at night. I'll never know, I guest.
 

Lady321

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Orlando, FL
That is far too low for this species. They are from Africa - the absolute lowest overnight temp would be 80*F.

Please carefully read this excellent care sheet:


Post any follow-up questions you have her so we can follow along and assist you with getting your nursery into more healthful shape!
Took the little guy to the vet and they confirmed that he passed on. We buried him this morning by one of our palm trees, facing east, towards the sun rise. I'm so heart broken. Just feel a lot of quilt. But I'll be ok I guest.
 

ReiGuy

Active Member
Location (City and/or State)
NJ
Took the little guy to the vet and they confirmed that he passed on. We buried him this morning by one of our palm trees, facing east, towards the sun rise. I'm so heart broken. Just feel a lot of quilt. But I'll be ok I guest.

My deepest sympathies are with you and I'm so sorry you had to experience this <3 I know this will be a hard time for you but myself and others here, are there for you.

If you decide to get another Sulcata in the future, I highly recommend buying from one of the responsible breeders on this forum and following the caresheet that was linked to you, as that caresheet made my first time setting up a sulcata closed chamber a smooth one and also helped make sure I didn't buy any unnecessary or wrong equipment.

Buying from a breeder here will also help make sure you get a healthy baby that has been raised properly from the beginning and will be thriving and growing. Buying a healthy, well-started baby, coupled with following that caresheet to the T - will give you a successful second experience if you decide to get another.

I cannot stress how important it is to choose the correct breeder, as babies that are not started properly, will have a great chance of not thriving and/or meeting an early grave, even if you have the enclosure and husbandry 100% spot on.

@Tom and @mastershake are two users here I would consult if you decide to get another sulcata.
 

Quadro

Active Member
Location (City and/or State)
SC
Will do and thankyou for sharing the info. Alot of things listed on the sheet was not included, as to what the pet store people told us. But if I had only knew I'd be surprised with getting one for my bday, I surely would've done my homework. I'm very good with animal care. This is a first for me, having a reptile. I know for a fact that his diet, daily exercise and more was on point. The only thing I can think of is maybe it was a temperature drop or too much heating at night. I'll never know, I guest.
Don’t give up hang in there I am truly sorry that the pet store did not explain stuff to you as a pet store employee myself soon as I found this site I literally print all out care sheets from here for the animals on here that we sell . We all make mistakes and as sad as it is at the animals we love so much at their expense wether dog cat parrots etc. we just need to learn and grow and there is no better place than here !
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I have a five month old sulcata tortoise. His diet consist of green leaf, tortoise pebbles and a sprinkle of calcium 3 times a week. For five days straight, I noticed that my tortoise was not eating and drinking on the regular and seemed to be slowing down with everything, but still was moving around a bit. I took the initiative to keep his water at lukewarm, throughout the days, during these 5 days. This past Monday, after I changed his water and food, he was moving around, like normal, inside his water pan. I noticed that he had made a bowel movement and I immediately changed his water. Afterwards, I removed him from his tank, to bring him outside, to his enclosure and please note it was about 78 degrees outside. While carrying him outside, he was moving in my hand, just a little bit and once I placed him into his enclosure, after 20 minutes, I noticed there wasn’t any movement from him. He had tucked his head inside the shell; yet his other limbs remained out; I thought nothing of it other than he may be resting.

A little over an half hour later, I checked him again and he seems motionless, as I picked him up to look at him. His two front limbs felt just a tad bit stiff. But within minutes, they felt normal and flexible again; while his head is still tucked in like he’s sleeping. His eyes seemed normal, there are no signs of mucus excreting no where and he feels to be room temperature. It’s been 3 days today and still no response. His color is the same, he’s limbs are still flexing as normal, his head is still tucked, but the area around his eyes seems very very slightly dark and on his left eye, it seems to be a tiny opening, where you can see a gleam from the light. There’s no abnormal smells etc from him or the tank. Ive been changing his water, periodically, to keep his temperature normal. But nothing’s seems to work. Not sure if he’s hibernating, in a state like coma, or the worst, dead. Please help.
There are many many possibilities of what went wrong. It sounds like you got the typical bad advice from a pet store, and that didn't help.

Did the outside enclosure have plenty of shade? How much time did he typically spend outside?

The most likely explanation of what happened has nothing to do with what you did or didn't do. The vast majority of people breeding sulcatas do not start them even remotely correctly. They keep them too dry, don't soak often enough, and frequently keep them outside all day. All of these things are bad for babies. Many use the wrong incubation media, and many skip the entire brooder box period. Here is what most likely happened with your baby, and if this was the case, there was nothin you could do about it: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/

By contrast, here is how they SHOULD be started:

Sorry your baby didn't make it. Your questions are welcome.
 
Top