All Boxes Checked Still not Thriving

Suzm

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Austin texas
I got Chompy March last year. She weighs 67 grams. I bought a Mark S. enclosure. Temperatures are 96 degrees under the basking light and 80 degrees on the cool side. She has a humid hut and a Timothy grass wigwam that she is currently sleeping under. Lights on a 12 hour cycle. She’s never been a good eater. In the summer, I would feed her ruellia flowers from the garden. Those were about the only thing she would eat consistently. I give opuntia daily. Gave mulberry leaves, different types of hibiscus. Now it’s mostly chard from garden, opuntia, and Mazori softened with water. She eats very little. I soak her daily. She has been pooping less and less over the last four days. Last two days nothing. Now this morning she is still burrowed and not basking. I’m afraid she is dying. She certainly isn’t thriving. Any insights welcome and heartily appreciated. Writing from Austin Texas.
 

Maro2Bear

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Greetings. Sorry to hear your news regarding Chompy. I’m guessing that your humidity levels are high & you have a good substrate too? All good lights?

Did you purchase from a known breeder here from the TFO or another seller? Do you know how it was started, etc?
 

Suzm

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Joined
Jun 11, 2020
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Austin texas
I got Chompy March last year. She weighs 67 grams. I bought a Mark S. enclosure. Temperatures are 96 degrees under the basking light and 80 degrees on the cool side. She has a humid hut and a Timothy grass wigwam that she is currently sleeping under. Lights on a 12 hour cycle. She’s never been a good eater. In the summer, I would feed her ruellia flowers from the garden. Those were about the only thing she would eat consistently. I give opuntia daily. Gave mulberry leaves, different types of hibiscus. Now it’s mostly chard from garden, opuntia, and Mazori softened with water. She eats very little. I soak her daily. She has been pooping less and less over the last four days. Last two days nothing. Now this morning she is still burrowed and not basking. I’m afraid she is dying. She certainly isn’t thriving. Any insights welcome and heartily appreciated. Writing from Austin Texas.
 

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Markw84

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What are you using to check humidity? It looks too dry in the enclosure from the picture. Is there condensation on the inside of the doors constantly?

The substrate should look darker and moist. The hay would mold...

Your tortoise looks absolutely great! How about the light cycle? It looks like there is light from a window shining on the enclosure in the picture. If so, the lighting is very much affected by the shorter days and lower UV levels of fall and could well be a trigger for slowing down. I like to set the light to a 14 - 15 hour photoperiod to ensure proper activity through the winter.

For example:

Basking light on at 6:45
Ambient light on at 7:15
UV on at 10:30
UV off at 2:30
Ambient off at 9:15
Basking off at 9:45
 

Markw84

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Also

try lots of live plants in there for the tortoise to hide in. That will greatly help humidity and also is the natural surroundings a tortoise would pick if given a choice. I personally believe most tortoises in captivity live under constant low-grade stress as they cannot find a suitable place they feel comfortable. A tortoise in the wild would never live in an open, barren area. I would seek out and stay in areas of plenty of plant cover. This is critically true for young tortoises.

IMG_1031.jpg IMG_1032.jpg
 

Suzm

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Austin texas
Also

try lots of live plants in there for the tortoise to hide in. That will greatly help humidity and also is the natural surroundings a tortoise would pick if given a choice. I personally believe most tortoises in captivity live under constant low-grade stress as they cannot find a suitable place they feel comfortable. A tortoise in the wild would never live in an open, barren area. I would seek out and stay in areas of plenty of plant cover. This is critically true for young tortoises.

View attachment 311151 View attachment 311152
Thanks for the feedback. There is condensate but it eventually dissipates. I will try soaking the cypress mulch more frequently. I tried plants but I didn’t have them in pots. I will add those as well. And increase light cycle time. It’s set for 12 hours currently. Thank you!!!
 

Suzm

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Austin texas
Greetings. Sorry to hear your news regarding Chompy. I’m guessing that your humidity levels are high & you have a good substrate too? All good lights?

Did you purchase from a known breeder here from the TFO or another seller? Do you know how it was started, etc?
Unfortunately it was a rando breeder from Craigslist and don’t have any detailed info on how she was started. I’m going to doing some things to up humidity. (Add plants. Soak the mulch again.) I have taken her to reptile vet here but I think I could have just as well flushed $150 down the toilet.
 

Suzm

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Austin texas
Thanks for the feedback. There is condensate but it eventually dissipates. I will try soaking the cypress mulch more frequently. I tried plants but I didn’t have them in pots. I will add those as well. And increase light cycle time. It’s set for 12 hours currently. Thank you!!!
Improved set up with plants and more humidity (can’t tell because I just changed out for soaked cypress). Thanks again for the advice!

E4BC9278-F666-4EBE-889A-7A0E6BB306E2.jpeg
 
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Yvonne G

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This is going to go against what most of us tell you to do, but desperate times call for desperate measures:

Buy a head of butter lettuce and a head of romaine. Chop up enough to last for three days. Chop into tiny pieces and mix it up. Use this for a week.

Next week buy a head of escarole and a bunch of turnip greens., etc. etc.

If your baby will eat these grocery store items, then all you have to do to make them more healthful is add some dried stuff to it. You can buy dried things from either Tortoise Supply or Kapidolo Farms. Put a little bit in a bowl of warm water and rehydrate it then mix it up into the chopped grocery store stuff.

Make sure your temperature all over the enclosure never gets cooler than 80F degrees, day and night.

(Your one light looks awfully close to the substrate. Most of them advise no closer than 12")
 

Tom

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I got Chompy March last year. She weighs 67 grams. I bought a Mark S. enclosure. Temperatures are 96 degrees under the basking light and 80 degrees on the cool side. She has a humid hut and a Timothy grass wigwam that she is currently sleeping under. Lights on a 12 hour cycle. She’s never been a good eater. In the summer, I would feed her ruellia flowers from the garden. Those were about the only thing she would eat consistently. I give opuntia daily. Gave mulberry leaves, different types of hibiscus. Now it’s mostly chard from garden, opuntia, and Mazori softened with water. She eats very little. I soak her daily. She has been pooping less and less over the last four days. Last two days nothing. Now this morning she is still burrowed and not basking. I’m afraid she is dying. She certainly isn’t thriving. Any insights welcome and heartily appreciated. Writing from Austin Texas.
Sounds like you've done he right stuff. All good advice from the other posters here too.

I wouldn't have hay in the substrate, or use a hay based hide in a damp environment. I don't know ruellia, but I'm going to guess you looked it up and its safe. Chard isn't a great staple food. Once in a while is okay, but not daily or several times a week. Looks like you have the Mazuri LS. Most of them won't eat that one without a lengthy introduction process and mixing it with other things. Try some original Mazuri instead.

Most breeders don't start babies correctly. It doesn't matter how perfectly you do everything if the breeder didn't do the right things. At 67 grams, your tortoise should survive, but the slow growth and lack of thriving is typical of a dry start.
 

Suzm

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Austin texas
This is going to go against what most of us tell you to do, but desperate times call for desperate measures:

Buy a head of butter lettuce and a head of romaine. Chop up enough to last for three days. Chop into tiny pieces and mix it up. Use this for a week.

Next week buy a head of escarole and a bunch of turnip greens., etc. etc.

If your baby will eat these grocery store items, then all you have to do to make them more healthful is add some dried stuff to it. You can buy dried things from either Tortoise Supply or Kapidolo Farms. Put a little bit in a bowl of warm water and rehydrate it then mix it up into the chopped grocery store stuff.

Make sure your temperature all over the enclosure never gets cooler than 80F degrees, day and night.

(Your one light looks awfully close to the substrate. Most of them advise no closer than 12")
It is about 4 inches. I will move up. The temps are correct and I have adjusted the light schedule per advice from Mark. I will get the grocery goods. I have the tortoise hay but she has not taken to it. I will do the mixing as you suggest. Thanks for replying. I appreciate it.
 

Suzm

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Austin texas
Sounds like you've done he right stuff. All good advice from the other posters here too.

I wouldn't have hay in the substrate, or use a hay based hide in a damp environment. I don't know ruellia, but I'm going to guess you looked it up and its safe. Chard isn't a great staple food. Once in a while is okay, but not daily or several times a week. Looks like you have the Mazuri LS. Most of them won't eat that one without a lengthy introduction process and mixing it with other things. Try some original Mazuri instead.

Most breeders don't start babies correctly. It doesn't matter how perfectly you do everything if the breeder didn't do the right things. At 67 grams, your tortoise should survive, but the slow growth and lack of thriving is typical of a dry start.
I’ve removed the hay shelter. I will see if I can find some of the original Mazuri. (Chompy totally ignores the LS kind I currently have.) good to know about the chard. I planted some testudo seed mix today. We’re having a really warm dry winter here so I’m hoping it sprouts. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it and so does Chompy.
 

Suzm

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Messages
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Austin texas
This is going to go against what most of us tell you to do, but desperate times call for desperate measures:

Buy a head of butter lettuce and a head of romaine. Chop up enough to last for three days. Chop into tiny pieces and mix it up. Use this for a week.

Next week buy a head of escarole and a bunch of turnip greens., etc. etc.

If your baby will eat these grocery store items, then all you have to do to make them more healthful is add some dried stuff to it. You can buy dried things from either Tortoise Supply or Kapidolo Farms. Put a little bit in a bowl of warm water and rehydrate it then mix it up into the chopped grocery store stuff.

Make sure your temperature all over the enclosure never gets cooler than 80F degrees, day and night.

(Your one light looks awfully close to the substrate. Most of them advise no closer than 12")
The butter lettuce was a big hit. Chompy is now a member of the clean plate club.
 

Suzm

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Joined
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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Austin texas
This is going to go against what most of us tell you to do, but desperate times call for desperate measures:

Buy a head of butter lettuce and a head of romaine. Chop up enough to last for three days. Chop into tiny pieces and mix it up. Use this for a week.

Next week buy a head of escarole and a bunch of turnip greens., etc. etc.

If your baby will eat these grocery store items, then all you have to do to make them more healthful is add some dried stuff to it. You can buy dried things from either Tortoise Supply or Kapidolo Farms. Put a little bit in a bowl of warm water and rehydrate it then mix it up into the chopped grocery store stuff.

Make sure your temperature all over the enclosure never gets cooler than 80F degrees, day and night.

(Your one light looks awfully close to the substrate. Most of them advise no closer than 12")
Thanks again for the advice. Chompy has gained 4 grams! Whoop. Also readjusted basking light to move it higher. She is getting directly underneath now.
 

Tom

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Thanks again for the advice. Chompy has gained 4 grams! Whoop. Also readjusted basking light to move it higher. She is getting directly underneath now.
There should be a flat rock of some sort directly under the basking lamp. This will absorb the heat and disperse it better. Also gives them safe belly heat when they lay on the warm spot.

Set a digital thermometer directly under the bulb and let it cook for an hour or so. Use that reading to adjust the height of the basking lamp. It should get up to 95-100 after sitting under the lamp for a long time.
 

maggie3fan

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It looks like things are looking up for Chompy. My suggestion is to cut up the food, flowers, and leaves into bite sized pieces, most keepers don't do that, but I have discovered that babies need smaller pieces. Just try it for a bit, maybe smaller bites won't be so intimidating...
 

Suzm

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Austin texas
Also

try lots of live plants in there for the tortoise to hide in. That will greatly help humidity and also is the natural surroundings a tortoise would pick if given a choice. I personally believe most tortoises in captivity live under constant low-grade stress as they cannot find a suitable place they feel comfortable. A tortoise in the wild would never live in an open, barren area. I would seek out and stay in areas of plenty of plant cover. This is critically true for young tortoises.

View attachment 311151 View attachment 311152
Thanks again for the advice. Chompy has gained 4 grams
There should be a flat rock of some sort directly under the basking lamp. This will absorb the heat and disperse it better. Also gives them safe belly heat when they lay on the warm spot.

Set a digital thermometer directly under the bulb and let it cook for an hour or so. Use that reading to adjust the height of the basking lamp. It should get up to 95-100 after sitting under the lamp for a long time.
Will do. Slowly but surely I’m getting things right. :)
 
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