Desert Tortoise Problem...Maybe

Mr. Green Shell

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I have a new baby Desert tortoise he/she is less than one year old and has been in good health BUT,.... I may be overthinking this I took him/her to see a vet as a new Tortoise parent I wanted to make sure he was for one looking good and 2 get basic care methods and hear it from a Doc.

This was a week ago and all was normal he was eating just fine and did his business 3 times in the 3-4 weeks that I have had this little guy. Now in the last 2 days, he hasn't eaten hardly anything and he looks like he has hiccups. It's like just a little head bob no leg motion or body motion, just like it sounds his little head pops up and down every few seconds like a hiccup.

I read the other responses in this site about his legs moving up and down as if doing push-ups (Little push-ups) but its not that.

he lives in a 37 X 24 Zoomed enclosure which he moved into about a week ago and has a heating light (125W) on him at night and has sun-times during the day on most days if it is warm.

Does anyone have any knowledge of this happening?

Concerned new tortoise dad.
 

nicoleann2214

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I have a new baby Desert tortoise he/she is less than one year old and has been in good health BUT,.... I may be overthinking this I took him/her to see a vet as a new Tortoise parent I wanted to make sure he was for one looking good and 2 get basic care methods and hear it from a Doc.

This was a week ago and all was normal he was eating just fine and did his business 3 times in the 3-4 weeks that I have had this little guy. Now in the last 2 days, he hasn't eaten hardly anything and he looks like he has hiccups. It's like just a little head bob no leg motion or body motion, just like it sounds his little head pops up and down every few seconds like a hiccup.

I read the other responses in this site about his legs moving up and down as if doing push-ups (Little push-ups) but its not that.

he lives in a 37 X 24 Zoomed enclosure which he moved into about a week ago and has a heating light (125W) on him at night and has sun-times during the day on most days if it is warm.

Does anyone have any knowledge of this happening?

Concerned new tortoise dad.
Mine does it too, does he do it when he’s relaxed? If so it’s them breathing.
@Tom ??
 

Tom

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When appetite drops in a baby, something is wrong. Most of the care advice offered for this species, even from vets, is wrong. Its most likely cool temps. Sunning session for an hour a day are great when the weather permits, but they need the "sun" on all day when indoors and off at night. All reptiles need the correct temperatures. Warm and lit during the night messes them up. Warm and lit os for daytime. Night time should be cool and dark.

Here is the correct care info. Care for DTs is the same as it is for Russians and other temperate species. Just add more grass and opuntia to the diet for a DT.
 

Tom

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Another thing that is seldom mentioned for DT care, but will benefit the baby tremendously and help it to survive, is daily soaks. Warm water about halfway up the shell for around 30 minutes. Do this every day until the tortoise grows a bit larger, and keep the water warm for the entire soak.
 

KarenSoCal

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Did the vet give any injections to the tortoise? Sometimes vets give vitamins or antibiotics that are hard on the tortoise.

It doesn't sound like this is the case here, but thought I'd ask.
 

Mr. Green Shell

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When appetite drops in a baby, something is wrong. Most of the care advice offered for this species, even from vets, is wrong. Its most likely cool temps. Sunning session for an hour a day are great when the weather permits, but they need the "sun" on all day when indoors and off at night. All reptiles need the correct temperatures. Warm and lit during the night messes them up. Warm and lit os for daytime. Night time should be cool and dark.

Here is the correct care info. Care for DTs is the same as it is for Russians and other temperate species. Just add more grass and opuntia to the diet for a DT.
I interesting, I will look into this. Appreciate your info, I also think it may be the cooler weather as it has been colder than the last couple weeks for some reason. I will do what I can and cross my fingers. would this also be the reason he has been so lazy the last couple days? he hasn't even barely opened his eyes in the last 2 days. how often/long are they supposed to sleep?
 

Yvonne G

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He's not sleeping, he's telling you there is something wrong with the way you're caring for him. I agree with Tom's assessment that the tortoise isn't warm enough. It's pretty hard to keep a Zoo Med Tortoise House warm enough for a baby tortoise. If you have it sitting on the floor, move it up onto a table. Then try to figure out a way to cover it. You can build a PVC pipe or wood framework and drape plastic over it, or you can just build a closed enclosure. Even a large aquarium would work better than the Zoo Med thing. The aquarium would be easier to cover.

Here's an example of what I mean about a covered enclosure:

Covered enclosure 1.jpg covered enclosure b.jpg

This worked well enough, but then I upgraded to this:

Vision Cage a.jpg

The cover keeps the cooler air of your house out of the enclosure, and the warm, moist air in.
 

Yvonne G

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Please note the foot on my light in the second picture. For safety sake always make sure that foot is UNDER the enclosure!
 
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Tom

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I interesting, I will look into this. Appreciate your info, I also think it may be the cooler weather as it has been colder than the last couple weeks for some reason. I will do what I can and cross my fingers. would this also be the reason he has been so lazy the last couple days? he hasn't even barely opened his eyes in the last 2 days. how often/long are they supposed to sleep?
Don't look into it for too long. They can't function at room temp. They need a warm basking area all day every day.

Its normal for small ones to sleep and hide a lot. After they've warmed up and eaten, there is no reason to walk around exposing yourself to predation. But not opening the eyes and not coming out or eating for two days is a different story.
 

Mr. Green Shell

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When appetite drops in a baby, something is wrong. Most of the care advice offered for this species, even from vets, is wrong. Its most likely cool temps. Sunning session for an hour a day are great when the weather permits, but they need the "sun" on all day when indoors and off at night. All reptiles need the correct temperatures. Warm and lit during the night messes them up. Warm and lit os for daytime. Night time should be cool and dark.

Here is the correct care info. Care for DTs is the same as it is for Russians and other temperate species. Just add more grass and opuntia to the diet for a DT.
Ok, I think I have another issue...my tortoise hasn’t really opened his eyes more that a couple times in the last couple days. And still not eating. I took a photo a little bit ago, it looks like his eyes are swollen to me.
Any thought and/or advice??
 

Mr. Green Shell

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Ok, I think I have another issue...my tortoise hasn’t really opened his eyes more that a couple times in the last couple days. And still not eating. I took a photo a little bit ago, it looks like his eyes are swollen to me.
Any thought and/or advice??
I am super worried now... 😞
 

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Mr. Green Shell

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Another thing that is seldom mentioned for DT care, but will benefit the baby tremendously and help it to survive, is daily soaks. Warm water about halfway up the shell for around 30 minutes. Do this every day until the tortoise grows a bit larger, and keep the water warm for the entire soak.
Ok, thanks let me know once you have a chance to look at those photos. I think I might take him in to see the doc.
 

Sa Ga

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Go!!! And make sure the one you're seeing truly works with your tort breed!
 

Sa Ga

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And make sure his light isn't too hot/bright. You're not using a Mercury Vapor Bulb (MVB) or coiled/compact UVB bulb, are you? The coiled/compact hurts their eyes, and the MVB can be too harsh.

I made that mistake w/ Morla (my Russian) and once I removed it, got a normal 100w basking bulb and tube UVB bulb, her eyes stayed open, and her eyelids stopped swelling.
 

Mr. Green Shell

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And make sure his light isn't too hot/bright. You're not using a Mercury Vapor Bulb (MVB) or coiled/compact UVB bulb, are you? The coiled/compact hurts their eyes, and the MVB can be too harsh.

I made that mistake w/ Morla (my Russian) and once I removed it, got a normal 100w basking bulb and tube UVB bulb, her eyes stayed open, and her eyelids stopped swelling.
I am using a get bulb and it is 125W but he is a good 4 feet away from it.
He's not sleeping, he's telling you there is something wrong with the way you're caring for him. I agree with Tom's assessment that the tortoise isn't warm enough. It's pretty hard to keep a Zoo Med Tortoise House warm enough for a baby tortoise. If you have it sitting on the floor, move it up onto a table. Then try to figure out a way to cover it. You can build a PVC pipe or wood framework and drape plastic over it, or you can just build a closed enclosure. Even a large aquarium would work better than the Zoo Med thing. The aquarium would be easier to cover.

Here's an example of what I mean about a covered enclosure:

View attachment 292975 View attachment 292976

This worked well enough, but then I upgraded to this:

View attachment 292977

The cover keeps the cooler air of your house out of the enclosure, and the warm, moist air in.
That big gnarly enclosure is for a desert torty?
 

Yvonne G

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Are you referring to my Vision enclosure? It's only about 2' x 3'
 

Mr. Green Shell

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I wanted to update everyone that my little guy is doing much better now! His eyes are open and he is now eating again like a normal little tortoise.

went to the doc and got some antibiotic drops for his eyes and nose and some soaking stuff for warm baths. Also got vitamin A/D shots, so far it has worked very well. I wanted to thank all of you that commented and helped out even in a little way, it was huge!!
I’ll post some before and after’s to show the progress and if anyone has anymore advice I welcome it.
After photos taken a few minutes ago.
 

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