burrowing

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Shellbabymama

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We have adopted a Desert Tortoise, and will be taking him back after 3 weeks for a check up. He has had a runny clear/light green and bubbly nose for the 3 weeks we have had him, but it comes and goes. My main question is he is still getting used to his new home with us, and seems to love and has found his burrow we made for him. He has yet to begin to dig. I live in AZ. So assuming it might not happen until it gets colder. Wondering when he should begin to dig his burrow, or if he already should have been attempting. Thinking maybe it's because he is not feeling like he should. I called the guy at the herpatological center where we got him, and he said the nose could be due to stress, and the move. Getting used to his new home. He does eat normal, most days..if he comes out. And his stools are grassy normal. Anyone have any insight, please let me know. His name is Prince Charming, and they guesstimated that he is anywhere from 25-35 years old. Thanks!
 

Yvonne G

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I wouldn't worry about the burrow thing. Some tortoises dig them, others try to find burrows made by other animals and take them over.

You probably shouldn't allow the tortoise to hibernate his first winter with you. Keep him up and let him get used to his new home.
 

Shellbabymama

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emysemys said:
I wouldn't worry about the burrow thing. Some tortoises dig them, others try to find burrows made by other animals and take them over.

You probably shouldn't allow the tortoise to hibernate his first winter with you. Keep him up and let him get used to his new home.

Really yvonne? The gentleman we spoke with (at the adoption place, through AZgame and fish) for a couple good hours told us the winters here are too cold for him to survive above ground. He needs to dig his burrow down. We have made him a nice burrow, that had to be approved before we could even adopt him. He seems to enjoy it for now, but they asked if he has begun to dig elsewhere, since they have two homes in the wild. I told them not yet, but I am thinking it may be because he is not feeling 100 percent (taking him in this weekend to be checked out) Also, they said we could bring him inside the garage, and have a makeshift burrow in there, if he does not dig. I would just hope that he would dig, so I wouldn't be so worried. We are in the garage a lot where there is noise and disturbances. So he would get proper rest outside, in a natural habitat. They told us once he does dig, and hibernates that we can help insulate it with straw/hay to help it stay the right temperature. :tort: Thanks for the response!
 

Yvonne G

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Of course, my experience is with California weather, which is much too wet in the winter for in-the-ground hibernation. What we do is box the tortoises up in cardboard boxes full of shredded newspaper. We than store the boxes safely in back closets, sheds or garages.

When you have a new-to-you tortoise it is always a good idea to keep him up the first winter and don't allow him to hibernate. This way you can be sure the tortoise is healthy. You make an indoor habitat with heat and lights, hiding place, etc.
 

ascott

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I totally second what Yvonne is suggesting. It is a tort new to you...it is a tort now adjusting to his new world (likely has his world abruptly changed and chosen for him a few times prior to you) and likely very stressed. When these guys get stressed it can show up as a runny/bubbly nose....I personally would not allow this tort to brumate this winter....I also find it odd that someone would tell you they have two burrows in the wild--actually they have several and within those they have a variety of winter burrows and summer burrows that all have directional preference based on the time of year as well as the season...sooooo....as Yvonne mentioned, California is a great place for these guys and some parts of California are native habitat...but simply being California does not mean all of it is a desirable brumating place ....I use to in the past allow the CDTs here to brumate outdoors...but for three winters in a row prior to the last one...it became unsafe during each of those winters and I had to rescue each and have them to resume their brumation indoors in a brumation box in a cool dry spot...

I would also not elect to brumate this tort due to not only new to you and you don't have enough of a personal norm established with him yet...but you also say he has snot nose...both good reasons together to not promote brumation yet.

I would overwinter him....then when your weather begins to warm back up for spring start putting him out every day as the days warm and then get him ready and prepared for next years brumation...after all preparing a tort to brumate should start a whole year before it....this way you know he has eaten, exercised and soaked in all the uva/uvb rays to take him safely through and lastly that time will give you ample time to make sure he well hydrated for his long rest....
 

Tom

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What we are saying is bring him indoors over the winter and give him warm temps and a basking bulb to prevent him from thinking its time to sleep for the winter. If you let him go to ground in this condition, he will likely not come back up. If he does survive the winter, will likely die in the spring. Keep him up and keep him warm. No harm will come to him from NOT being cold and hibernating all winter. He can hibernate as usual the next winter if you get him all cleared up and healthy.
 

Arnold_rules

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Not sure about the hibernating aspect, I have to keep my California Desert Tortoise(CDT) inside this winter due to recent surgery for bladder stone, but as far as digging, most AZ desert tortoises aren't big diggers and will use burrows they find. CDT's are more diggers and my male will renovate his pre-dug burrow every chance he gets.

How big is your new tortoise? I just built an indoor habitat for mine and may be can give you some pointers.
 
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