Desert Tortoise HELP

Denali

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Hi, I have a adult desert tortoise in its 20s and it's been hibernating for about 2 weeks. Unfortunately, financial restrictions have prevented me from giving my tortoise the best care :( My tortoise has recently awoken and has a case of the sniffles. Before his hibernation, he had minor signs of sniffling, but was active and eating. Now, I don't know what to do. He has gone back to sleep, but I fear the worst. The temperature he is at is around 69 F, and he is in a dry area inside my house. He hasn't eaten or drunk any water since his hibernation. I know it's not optimal conditions, but I now seek advice on the next steps to ensure my tortoise's survival. Taking him to the vet is just something I simply can't afford. At this stage, what should I do?
 

dmmj

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you're going to have to keep him up. A sick tortoise should never go into hibernation because they often die he runs a very good risk of dying during hibernation if he's sick vet or keeping him up are your only options that I can see.
 

Denali

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Ok, but how do I wake him up? I'm scared of hurting him since he's asleep now... How would you go about waking him up and keeping him that way?
 

dmmj

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he needs to be kept warm and have a long life cycle so he still thinks it's summertime or at least not winter you have to set up something in the garage with a heat source and a UV light
 

Denali

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Ok, I have a light source, but no UV light. It should be warm enough, I hope so. Do you suggest putting him in a tub with towels and the light overlooking it? Also, as he wakes up, should I bathe him or give him any food?
 

dmmj

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Yes to food and water I would not keep him in a Tub with towels he needs to be able to regulate his body heat
 

Lyn W

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If you buy a mercury vapour bulb (MVB) you will have heat, light and essential uvb rays in one bulb.
I have a leopard tort that doesn't hibernate and because it is too cold for him to go out he needs the artificial uvb rays to help him digest and absorb his food and nutrients etc
Keep him warm and I hope he is OK.
 

Denali

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Well, as of now, I have one bulb. The main problem is that it is being used for my other year-old sulcata tortoise who is in great health. If I were to borrow that bulb for a short time until I can go buy one for my desert tortoise, would my sulcata be alright?
 

Yvonne G

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It doesn't "hurt" a tortoise to bother it during hibernation. The only thing is they can't really move well because they're cold.

You'll need a fairly large enclosure for an adult desert tortoise. I would consider getting a used bookcase, take out the shelves and lay it on its back. Line it with plastic sheeting, like a shower curtain liner. Because the bookcase has to be on the floor, be sure to set it up out of the draft in a warm part of the house. You'll probably need more than one light/heat fixture, but you'll only need one UVB bulb. I suggest two CHE:

ceramic heat emitter.jpg

one at either end of the bookcase, and one MVB (Mercury Vapor Bulb) positioned in the center of the bookcase:

mercury vapor bulb.jpg

Keep the CHE on 24/7, but turn off the MVB at night.

Because the tortoise has a runny nose, you'll need to keep his habitat warmed up to about 85F all the time, day and night.

Go to a feed store - a place where they sell horse and cattle food, and buy a packet of Terramycin powder:

Terramycin-soluble-powder-10GM-oxytet-img.jpg


Mix a quarter teaspoon in a quart of warm water (you may need to double it depending upon how much water you use. You want the water to come up to the middle of the tortoise's sides, so use a smaller container with tall sides). Leave the tortoise soaking in the water for at least a half hour and longer is better, but after an hour the med isn't good anymore. You can position a light over a portion of the water tub to keep him warm, but don't overheat him. Do this daily for about a week.

Even after the runny nose has cleared up, don't put him back into hibernation. Keep him up the rest of the winter and put him back outside when the weather warms up.
 

Yvonne G

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Well, as of now, I have one bulb. The main problem is that it is being used for my other year-old sulcata tortoise who is in great health. If I were to borrow that bulb for a short time until I can go buy one for my desert tortoise, would my sulcata be alright?

It's not a short time, it will be for all winter. You need to buy a bulb and two CHEs
 

Lyn W

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Well, as of now, I have one bulb. The main problem is that it is being used for my other year-old sulcata tortoise who is in great health. If I were to borrow that bulb for a short time until I can go buy one for my desert tortoise, would my sulcata be alright?
Your sully is going to need heat and uvb too so you'll have to double up everything to keep them both healthy.
 

Lyn W

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It's not a short time, it will be for all winter. You need to buy a bulb and two CHEs
Will she need thermostats for the CHEs as well, Yvonne, or will they be OK without?
 

Denali

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Lyn W

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I've not seen that make of MVB mentioned here - a lot of people use Arcadia ( I've got the Mini D3) or Powersun, but it may be fine - wait and see if anyone does use it and can give an opinion on that and the CHE too.
I use a thermostat with my CHE so that it switches on and off to keep the temps even but Yvonne didn't mention that so maybe you won't need that.

If you can stretch to wide dome hoods for them they will direct the heat down. I think I've read that you can buy those quite cheaply ($10ish) in stores where they sell brooder lamps, but you have to remove the metal guards below the lamp. I'll see if I can find a picture or the thread where they were recently recommended
 

Denali

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So for these bulbs, can I just put them in a regular fixture or does it have to be a certain one?
 

Lyn W

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So for these bulbs, can I just put them in a regular fixture or does it have to be a certain one?
I believe you need a ceramic holder for heat. Have a look at the brooder lamps and see what they use I think they are much cheaper.
 

Denali

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Ok, I'll definitely check it out. Besides the lamp fixture, does the item links I posted check out? If so, I'll get them ASAP.
 

Lyn W

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Ok, I'll definitely check it out. Besides the lamp fixture, does the item links I posted check out? If so, I'll get them ASAP.
I would wait and see if any US members use them and see what they say about them first .
I've not heard of that make.

I'll tag @yvonne for you, she'll be able to help better than me.
 

Yvonne G

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Ok, so I currently have a budget of $100 until I can scrape up some more money to improve. I decided to look for the items Yvonne suggested and got these:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U6OFHKI/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 (I plan to order 2, as suggested)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002AQCPK/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

http://www.revivalanimal.com/Terramycin-343-Soluble-Powder-Generic.html

I found a old bookcase and some spare shower curtains to set it up for my turtle. Is this OK to order?

I think 160 watts might be a bit too hot, and 60 watts isn't hot enough. If you can get them both in 100 watts that would be better. 2 100 watt CHEs and 1 100 watt MVB. The Terramycin is fine.
 

Yvonne G

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Will she need thermostats for the CHEs as well, Yvonne, or will they be OK without?

Some people use thermostats. I never have. I believe Tom encourages their use.
 
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