floating butt-high?

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
What all can it mean when a turtle floats with it's rear end higher than the front?
My baby 3TBT did this sometimes a couple months ago (during the period he was not eating). Other times he would float level. One time i saw him floating butt-up, then a few minutes later, one side up, then later, level, then maybe the other side up, etc. (I was doing real long soaks back then in a warm place, like 2 hours long maybe.)

Lately this hasn't been happening. But today was odd. As soon as i put him in the mildly warm water, he started swimming like mad (for several minutes in a small clear bowl, swimming against the glass mostly) and for the first 5 minutes showed no interest in the superworm i tossed in.
During this time, i saw him squeeze out a bit of white urate (for the first time that i've noticed) followed by a normal turd, then another.
But his rear end was somewhat elevated the whole time.
He seems strong, vigorous, and healthy.

Another oddity: a couple days ago i dug around his box to find him for his bath, and finally found him in a spot that registered 63 F on my temp gun. Usually he hangs out where it is 80-ish, but lately he seems to more often gravitate to the cool areas.
He is still eating, not so much lately though. Maybe it's just a winter thing. We are in a late cold snap, which maybe he can sense despite the artificial heat.

I do keep a reptisun 5.0 tube on about 14 hours a day.
 

dmmj

The member formerly known as captain awesome
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
19,752
Location (City and/or State)
CA
They have a swim bladder like fiish do. When they swim lopsided like that, there is usually an infection, in the bladder. It will sometimes correct itself, other times it won't
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,990
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Box turtle? I'm not familiar with the abbreviation "3tbt". If a box turtle, why do you have him in such deep water? I never have it deep enough for them to float.

I think David was referring to a water turtle with the swim bladder comment. Your little box turtle probably has some gas or air trapped inside.
 

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
Box turtle? I'm not familiar with the abbreviation "3tbt". If a box turtle, why do you have him in such deep water? I never have it deep enough for them to float.

I think David was referring to a water turtle with the swim bladder comment. Your little box turtle probably has some gas or air trapped inside.

Yeah, 3-toed boxie. I only soak him when i am sitting in front of him watching him anymore. He never goes into the shallow dish in his box.
He is also always very buoyant. Perhaps that is normal for boxies. If a worm sinks to the bottom, even though the water is only ~1.25" deep, he has to struggle to try to grab it with difficulty. If the water is deeper, he can't.
I figure a bit of swimming and struggling provides good exercise in his otherwise-sedentary lifestyle.
I wonder why he gets gas if he is eating pretty much what a baby should. Last year i was feeding him mainly bugs i caught. Even if i offer other stuff, he won't touch it.
But as long as he's not sick i won't worry.
 

terryo

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 24, 2007
Messages
8,972
Location (City and/or State)
Staten Island, New York
He should not be in water that he can float or swim in, especially a baby or hatchling. If he's in a large enough enclosure, he doesn't need any extra "swimming and struggling". He will become stressed and eventually get sick from all the stress. Usually when they put their butt in the air they are just pooping.
 

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
He doesn't usually swim like mad or seem at all stressed by it. Last summer i was keeping his setup (different from the present one) in an outbuilding that was probably in the low to mid 80s. He would sometimes just float in his deep bath for hours on end, staring calmly off into space. Once i think he spent the whole night in there, as he was (still?) in there the next morning, probably 14 hours later. Also back then he would sometimes go into the bath of his own accord. The container was set in a little gravel hill; he had to climb up to get to it.
He seemed perfectly happy and friendly, and was eating and pooping normally.

Also last Nov when he sometimes floated butt-high was after he had stopped eating or pooping.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,990
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I didn't understand until this last post that your baby's waterer in the habitat is deep water. I think you're running the risk of ending up with a drowned baby. His waterer needs to be big enough that he can get in it, yes, but it should be shallow so his feet touch the bottom, with sloping sides so he can climb in and out easy.
 

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
No, that was the setup i had last summer.
His present setup has a terra-cotta saucer that only holds about 1/2" of water.
 

bouaboua

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Dec 7, 2013
Messages
11,813
Location (City and/or State)
San Jose CA
Share a photo with us??? Thanks.
 

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
It is pathetically barren. The UV demolished my mint plant. I have some starts on the small pot that hopefully will do OK. I moved the plants to the other side away from the light.
I am also trying to root some pothos in a glass of water, but it is so cold out that if i put the glass in the windowsill where it gets some light, it also gets cold.

tote.jpg

The light is a 22" reptisun 5.0 in a 30" lamp. The tote is a 27-gallon "Tough Box" from Home Depot. It is exactly the same length as the lamp. The distance from the tube to the surface of the substrate is 13". It was 12" but i had to remove a bunch of mulch because it was so hard to find my Little Precious at bath-time.
Maybe i should put a board or something on the surface below the lamp to raise the grade, and replace the hide with a shorter one to make room.

The mulch is a mix of coir and rotted wood. I pour water in there often because the heat dries it up.
Heat is supplied by a 60W CHE as well as a tiny 10W mini-mat below the tote (in the same area as the CHE is focused). This usually keeps an area around 80 F but if the wood stove cools off overnight it might go down to 75 there.
It is OK to keep a CHE at an angle, right?

Rorg is hiding in there somewhere, snoozing. I almost never see him on the surface. Back when there were some mint vines trailing on the surface, he sometimes would "hide" among them. I think he digs the foliage. I wish i could come up with more right now.
A couple times i actually caught him openly basking under the lamp, but not in the last week or so.
The "food dish" has a piece of cuttlebone but he never partakes. If i put greens in there he ignores them too. He does not act hungry. Instead of prowling around for food, he just vegetates in a moist spot. I have taken to only bathing him every other day. I have to find him, gently wake him up. He comes alive when i rinse him in warm water. He always eats a few superworms in his bath, and squeezes out a turd or 2.
When the water cools a bit, i take him out and hold and pet him a while. He usually seems quite content to sit on my hand and look around the room. I presume boxies must be fairly nearsighted but he always looks around with apparent interest.
After some minutes he gets more antsy and seems to want to find a hiding place, so i put him back in his box.


The hide is just an empty bark shell from some hickory firewood. He has used it on occasion but usually just digs himself in elsewhere.
 

terryo

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 24, 2007
Messages
8,972
Location (City and/or State)
Staten Island, New York
That's a nice little enclosure and I LOVE the natural hide. I'm not nuts about the under tank heating, but that's just me. The baby will dig toward the heat and stay down there most of the time, but usually babies will dig down and stay there until you dig them up to feed or soak them. As the weather gets warmer, mine will usually start coming up looking for food.
 

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
I'm not wild about the heat mat either, but the CHE is inadequate in this cold weather. And if i got a stronger CHE i worry it might blast too hotly.
The tote is made of plastic and must contain pthalates and other toxins that mobilize slightly from the warmth below. (At least the box does not have an obvious chemical smell though.) And then the critter spends all his time with his nose right on the plastic.
However, lately he has been avoiding the warmth anyway. I haven't dug him out since Sat. I'll do his routine later today...
 

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
Yeah, today he was in a cool damp place in the mulch. 62 F. Today he was much more sleepy-headed, took much longer to become active. Eventually condescended to have 4 more superworms, but i don't know if he can digest at such cool temperatures.
After i put him back in the box, he leisurely walked thru the water bowl, dunking his head a couple times. Walked into the hide opening there, and took an exploratory bite of a piece of mulch.
Now he is sitting under the overhang in a ready position as though he was waiting for a hapless moth to fly by or something.
 

Loohan

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
810
Location (City and/or State)
North-Central Arkansas
That didn't last long.
Later when i went to turn off his light, though, i was surprised to see he was on the surface near the large pot, head out. As soon as he realized he had been spotted, though, he turned around and tried to dig his way sideways behind the pot, for an hour or so; a futile endeavor he sometimes indulges in.
Behind that pot would be the coldest spot in the box.

Also i forgot to mention yesterday in his bath, he floated level. He passed a speck of white stuff and 1 small dry turd. This is the 1st dry turd i've seen out of him. Normally they are spongey and expand in the water. This one stayed the same size.
Also BTW he has been more flinchy and nervous lately. No longer does he like to rub noses with me. If i make any movements that are not ultra-slow, he flinches. If i am ultra slow, he lets me sandwich his head and neck between my hands, though.

I am a bit worried about his habit of wanting a cold, damp place. Just now i checked, and again he is buried in a moist 62-degree spot. I have read that the combination of cold and damp can lead to RI.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top