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Baby Tortoise just sleeps all day

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by macjust505, Nov 2, 2018.

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  1. macjust505

    macjust505 New Member

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    I have a baby hermanns tortoise. He has been living at my house for the last month or so and been very active and happy. Recently I brought him into my classroom (was always the plan). Nothing has changed. Same enclosure, same substrate (damp coco coir), uvb tube light, halogen lamp at one end at about 95%. Same food, leafy greens (usually organic spring mix). I dust it with calcium every other day and give him vitamins once a week.

    The only difference is the noise level and the heat lamp. Before I used a zoomed heat lamp above the cage. Now it is a halogen heat lamp in the cage.

    One week into the school and he has become very inactive. He doesn't eat, and almost never leaves his cave. I soak him once a day for about 20 minutes in warm water. But he then just slowly crawls back to his cave and stays there. His eye lids look a little white as well. He also hasn't really pooped in days.

    I am worries about the little guy, any suggestions are welcome. Thank you!
  2. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I'd check temp/humidity, increase soak times in warm water, and consider adding carrot babyfood to the soak.

    It may also simply be too stressful in your classroom ... maybe bring him home for a few more months of growing.

    Jamie
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hi, and welcome!

    Double check those temperatures. This is an excerpt from our care sheet on temperatures and humidity for baby Hermanni:

    The tortoises should be subjected to 12-14 hours of light each day regardless of age. Humidity is crucial in properly housing Hermann’s tortoises long term. Dehydration is a real threat especially in artificial conditions. A humidity level of around 70% is needed and this can be achieved by offering the tortoises a proper substrate, a constant supply of fresh water and regular, light mistings with a spray bottle. T. hermanni of all ages ages will appreciate a “fake rain” through means of misting or spraying them down. They will walk with their bodies held high, extend their heads and necks into the “rain” and drink from little puddles or from the beads of water that form on the walls of the enclosure. Ambient room temperature should hover around 80-85F during the day and can be allowed to drop into the low 70s at night. T. hermanni are capable of withstanding much cooler nighttime temperatures but if they are very young, it’s wise to not let it drop that low just yet.

    Living in a school situation, do you know about the lights and heat at the school after hours? I know they turn off the lights, but what about the heat. Maybe the classroom is getting too cold at night. And what about the plug receptacles that you have your lights and heat plugged into. Are they still live after hours and supplying electricity to your heat for the tortoise?
  4. Minority2

    Minority2 Well-Known Member

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    1. What are the dimensions of the enclosure?

    2. What type of UV(B) tube light are you using? Please be specific. A link, model, and description will be most helpful.

    3. What is the 4 temperature zone? Basking spot, warm side, cool side, overnight low cool side?

    4. What is the humidity level of the enclosure?

    5. How are you measuring the temperature and humidity level?

    6. What types of foods other than spring mix are you offering this tortoise?

    7. How deep is the substrate?

    Halogen bulbs project a very intense heat to tortoises. They can dry a tortoise's shell much faster than an incandescent flood bulb will.

    A classroom environment may also not be very good for a young vulnerable tortoise. If I remember correctly, tortoises hear only vibrations. Too much chatter and noises may scare the tortoise into thinking that there may be predators about. A small glass enclosure would also scare them easily if they're constantly being lurked upon.
  5. macjust505

    macjust505 New Member

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    Here is a picture of his enclosure. The temps run from 95 down to about 75 on the left side. The humidity runs at about 55-60% and I mist the substrate on a daily basis. The tube is a ZooMed uvb t5 HO. Then a halogen bulb on the right. The enclosure is 48 by 18. As for measuring the temp I have a laser temp thing and I scan the ground in each spot. He eats mostly spring mix but I have been trying to mix in a different type each week (adding in kale, parsley, etc.)

    The tortoise was purchased to be a class pet but I want him to be healthy. I have a similar set up at my house but slightly smaller and t uses a zoomed uvb basking bulb instead of a halogen. He was thriving there.

    Thank you all for your help. I am new to this and want the little guy to thrive. Thank you!!

    20181102_115653.jpg
    Gillian M likes this.
  6. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    A lovely enclosure. God bless.
    Sorry cannot give you advice: am no expert.
  7. Minority2

    Minority2 Well-Known Member

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    The cheap analog gauge you have in your enclosure are known to be inaccurate. For example the room I house one of my indoor tortoises in is reading 47% humidity using an ambient weather branded thermometer hygrometer reader with probe. I also have a leftover pet branded analog gauge that is currently reading 60-65%. Too large of a gap. These cheap things are awful and are just some of the useless junk the pet trade industry churns out as an alternative options to the more expensive essential items tortoise care requires.

    Night time temperatures should be checked and kept above 65-60F during the night.

    Misting only allows water to seep directly down the substrate where it stays at the bottom. You need to pour a large jug of water and hand mix the substrate so the water is given a chance to become absorbed by the dry substrate.

    An open enclosure will also allow too much heat and humidity to easily escape through. A closed chamber style enclosure is currently the most ideal setup for most indoor tortoises.

    Your diet sounds very heavy in store bought greens. Hermanns require broadleaf weeds, flowers, and succulents. Overfeeding Brassicaceae plants, commonly sold in supermarkets cause kidney and liver issues in tortoises. Think liver lesions and kidney stones. Very painful, and can possibly be fatal.

    I would get rid of the halogen bulb. Purchase a 10.5 brooder lamp fixture and 40-65 watt incandescent flood bulb. Adjust height to obtain proper basking temperatures.

    The hide openings are small and should be widened and smoothed out to allow a growing tortoise to enter without damaging their shells in the process.

    Purchase 2x heavy clay or plastic plant saucers and use them as a water and feeding dish.

    Substrate level should also be raised to at least 4 inches for a Hermann. They don't often burrow but they'll still snuggle into the substrate to regulate their body heat.

    Consider installing a camera for night time/night vision monitoring in case your tortoise flips over when you're not around.

    The noise issue would probably take time to get used to. I don't know if there is anything that can damper the effects of constant noise chatter.
  8. macjust505

    macjust505 New Member

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    Thank you for the advice. I will change out the monitors asap. I originally mixed all the substrate by hand to add lots of water. Do you repeat this daily or weekly? I have just been misting to add more water but I can easily mix as needed.

    I have different hides for as he grows. I was told to keep them small and change the size as needed.

    I will change out the bulb this weekend. That is the type I have on my enclosure at home so I will replace it with that one. When you take the temp do you just use a prob or a laser reader on the substrate?

    As for diet, my school/nonexistent yard is not safe for consumption. Is there a store bought plant/weed that is suitable for him?

    I am new to this, but am willing to do whatever is in the best interest of the little guy. Its only been a couple months but I find myself already very attached.
  9. Minority2

    Minority2 Well-Known Member

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    An open enclosure will require more routine maintenance than a closed chamber enclosure. Purchase a decent thermometer hygrometer reader with probe and keep track of the humidity levels. I suggest keeping it around 70-80% for young Mediterranean tortoises. Pour and mix when the humidity level drops under 70% during the day.

    The infrared temperature gun will be fine to test temperature levels. I usually leave the probe near the cool side because low cool side temperatures can cause respiratory infections if owners do not keep a close eye on them.

    This thread has a list of foods that are safe for Hermanns. They can be planted at home or found in pesticide free areas in the city depending on the variety. Broadleaf weed and flower mixes can be found in tortoise supply sites. Succulents can be bought from ethnic supermarkets, your local farmer's markets, and be planted as well:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

    Your tortoise will require a minimum of at least an 8' x 4' ft enclosure in about 2-3 years.
  10. macjust505

    macjust505 New Member

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    Thank you all for your advice. Just an update for everyone. He is doing much better. He ate a lot over the weekend and has been more active. Still not 100% but much better over last week. Thank you all again for the advice.
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