Greenish Black ring around the mouth

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suzukipowered

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Hello everyone, just started here, second post. I have an african sulcata and from what I have read (just started on here and haven't got a chance to really look around yet) they are supposed to be eating dark, leafy greens. I normally go and get my tortoise collard greens. We went through all the greens (turnip, mustard, etc.) and he goes crazy for the collard greens so that is what I have pretty much stuck with. He has gotten a ring around his mouth that almost looks like a kool-aid mustache but all the way around. I am pretty sure that it is just like "grass stained" but just wanted to make sure cause I would hate for something bad to be going on with him and go untreated. I am still very new with this kind of pet cause I have never had anything in the tortoise family. Is that normal? I have seen a couple pictures off of google and didn't see that on any of the ones that I saw. I could post pictures on here of him if you like so you guys could see exactly how it looks if needed. Thanks for any help in advance!

-Boone
 

Missy

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Could be from the greens or he is eating poo. Do you feed other stuff along with the collard greens?
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Boone:

Just because your tortoise seems to prefer collard greens (and they ARE healthy for the tortoise) is no reason to use them exclusively. A tortoise needs a varied diet. If he won't eat anything else, then chop up the collard and mix it with other chopped greens.

Yes, the greens stain the mouth like what you've described, but my vote goes with the previous posters...poop eater! A common sulcata trait.
 

wrmitchell22

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I caught Boulder eating poop yesterday and took it out of his mouth, I am such a mean mom, lol!

Also Boulder does get this green mustache, but if it's black or really dark brown, probably a poop eater
 

Fernando

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wrmitchell22 said:
I caught Boulder eating poop yesterday and took it out of his mouth, I am such a mean mom, lol!

Also Boulder does get this green mustache, but if it's black or really dark brown, probably a poop eater



you joy killer
 

Laura

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tell us more about your sulcata.. how old, big, how long have you had it, where is he kept etc.. Does he have a yard to graze in?
He difinately needs a more varied diet. Also, does he get calcium? sunshine?
welcome to the family!!
 

Az tortoise compound

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Ha Ha! I saw the title of this thread and thought "POOP EATER ALERT!"...

We would love to see some pics of him.
 

nicolek

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Hey I figured I would jump on and ask also. I am having the same issue with my Egyptian. I can usually see the smashed greens on his face and claws. He usually poos during his bath or I clean it out of the cage uneaten. Anything I can do if it is just the food?
 

suzukipowered

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Wow, thanks for all the quick replies! I was thinking it was from eating the greens but I read something about some disease that makes them have that ring too but it kinda sounded like the guy didn't know what he was talking about so I just figured I would get on a forum for the subject and talk to people that really do know. Funny that you guys all say that he is a poop eater, I was gonna say no and that I clean his cage at least once a day when i put him in his bath. But then since I read these posts I figured I would give it a minute to post back and check on him more often, and I think I caught him eating some poop. Speaking of in which, do all of your sulcatas just poop in the bath or in the cage too? As far as the feeding goes, yes I mainly feed him collard greens. Sounds mean but I live a half-hour from civilization so I can't always justify going all the way to town just for some greens, I occasionally just pick him some dandelion flowers and let him have those and boy does he go after those. I do give him calcium, I feed him every other day and whichever weekend day that I feed him I rub calcium on the leaf. I read all over to give him timothy hay and I did go and get a bag of that but he won't touch it! I even tried putting it in the food processor along with some greens and cactus and he would just pick through it. As far as chopping up the food he seems like he likes full leaves way better, he definitely eats more that way. I also, get him cactus sometimes, but probably not often enough. Right now, he is about 10 months old from what the lady at the pet store told me, but she lied about everything just to get me to buy him, think it's a him, hopefully he is because I named him Samson LOL. I got him back at the end of April just because he was too darn cute to just let him sit there in that pet shop and I have never owned anything like this, used to catch turtles in my back yard like snappers, box, or painters, but i was real young, parents used to let them go and say they got away when I would wake up lol. Right now Samson's shell is about 3 in. long and 2 1/2 in. wide, i can't get that close with something unidentified and him stay outstretched. On to the cage, he lives in a drawer lol, he is so small right now and that was all I really had where I wouldn't have to get wood and I really don't have any other room or anything right now so he is posted up on the dog's cage in his drawer right now. I do plan on building an enclosure but not just yet, I'd really like to find a place with a basement so I can frame off a room for him where i can control temp and humidity a lot better. I do have him next to the window and I leave the blind open enough to where the sun hits his whole drawer when it comes up. He always has his 150w nocturnal infra-red heat lamp on unless it gets too hot back there, like over 100. Then for his Day/Night lighting I have a 100w basking lamp/5.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent (that one says it has some UVA TOO). And I use Aspen Snake Bedding for his floor which I am thinking about switching for something else cause I have caught him eating that a time or two. I will post some pictures of the drawer and of him himself here after I get done here. Please keep in mind I haven't had him that long, we did lots of research on this pet trying to make everything right but there is a lot of mixed info out there for these pets. I am a total pet lover, this tortoise gets to share the house with the cat and her 4 kittens that she just had (normally our outside pet, keeps the mice away, God bless her), and a 100 LB Pitbull (so far) named Goliath. That's why I chose the name, now I am gonna have 2 huge pets, Goliath and Samson, which I probably should have done the other way around since the dog has hair and the tortoise doesn't. Oh yeah, and as far as him going outside, I live in Illinois so all I have is grass and weeds in my yard lol. I was told not to let him graze on normal grass that much cause it isn't that good for him and no nutritional value. He has only been outside a handful of times cause I am scared of him getting sick or attacked by ants or chiggers or something. But I have let him outside, a couple of days when it was like 80-90 out. But anywho, thank you all for the replies and the hospitality, glad to talk to some people that can put me in the right direction!

Boone
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Boone:

It sounds like the drawer is working out just fine! That's a good use of what you have on hand.

One thing to watch out for, though, is the light you're using. If you start to notice that the tortoise is having eye problems or acting lethargic, your first thing to do is get rid of the light. When those compact fluorescent bulbs first came out they concentrated the UV rays out the end of the bulb and caused blindness in small tortoises and lizards. They have since been fixed, and you may not have one of the newer ones.

I'm not one to ever allow my tortoises to walk around the house on the floor. I'm not sure if you said that you let the tortoise roam around on the floor, but I just wanted to caution you about that too. They pick up things you don't want them to pick up...dust bunnies, small bits of plastic, rubber bands, etc. besides, its too cold on the floor for a baby.

Baby tortoises don't eat hay. When you read about feeding them hay, its usually adult tortoises that are being written about. There's nothing wrong with feeding your baby grass and weeds from outside. As long as its clean and free of pesticides, etc. I take the scissors out and cut grass and clover for my babies, along with squash leaves, mulberry leaves, grape leaves, rose of sharon leaves and flowers. Try to get him used to the taste and smell of things that grow in your yard, and it will be easier to get him to graze when he's big enough to go outside.

Well, how about some pictures? We've yet to see Sampson in all his glory!
 

suzukipowered

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I got that bulb in April when I got the tortoise, who knows when it was actually manufactured but he definitely acts like he can see cause if you stick anything near him he goes in his shell for at least a couple seconds till he figures out what it is. And not really lethargic, does sunbathe like 2-3 times a day but I have a video from a couple weeks ago of him running from end to end of his tank chasing his food, I know I'm a creep for making him chase his food, but it was too funny to see him running LOL. No, I do not let him on the floor whatsoever, where he is at is just concrete with thin carpet so that would definitely be too cold. And the rest of the house is claimed by my newborn, she is only a month old but will be crawling all over in a couple months. Those are definitely some good listing for foods cause I have a mulberry tree right outside and plenty of grass and clovers. When I let him outside he has no problem eating the grass and clovers and the leaves from under the dandelions. And thanks for letting me know about the hay, me and my girlfriends were both totally confused I tried making it so small for him and it just wasn't working, that explains alot lol

Fernando said:
picture # 4 ....ha! guilty

yep, caught him this morning I think. I'm gonna have to keep a better eye on him and keep it out of the cage at all times.
 

chairman

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A couple notes... it has 'recently' been suggested that baby sulcata need quite a bit of humidity to grow up healthy. My sulcata had a little pyramiding when I got her but after I upped the humidity I am getting wonderfully smooth growth.

IMO, 100* is too hot for an ambient temp. If I misread and the 100* is actually a surface temp for the basking spot then ignore me, because then the temp would be appropriate.

Since your tortoise is eating the aspen, and its not great at holding humidity anyway, I'd recommend new substrate. I prefer cypress mulch and plain ole dirt.

Regardless, you've got a good looking poop-eating tortoise. :)
 

suzukipowered

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nope, i kinda start worrying when it hits anywhere near 100, I really try to keep it in between 75-90 between night and day. you think just the plain ol' Illinois dirt is fine for him? And I will have to look up that cypress mulch but that might have been what the lady at the pet shop conned me into buying and with him being so small it was like he was venturing through the rockies. When i switched from whatever it was to the aspen bedding he like started really running around like he was totally happy not to have that stuff so that is the only reason I still have it. I am not really having alot of money at this time so if I could just put dirt in there that sounds cheap enough for me! And for the humidity, I have been trying to keep it in between 40-50 but sometimes it drops down lower.
 

chairman

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If you know that your dirt is pesticide and fertilizer free then yes, just grab a shovel and scoop up some of your back yard. Eventually your sulcata will need to be living in your yard anyway. If you think your dirt might have some contaminants, quit applying them now so you will have safe dirt for your outside pen next year. And then head over to your local home improvement store and buy the cheapest dirt they have that doesn't contain manure or other fertilizers. It sells in IN for about $1.30 per 40lb bag. If you can, make the dirt at least as deep as your tortoise is tall. And while you're at the store, go to the tile aisle and grab a single natural slate floor tile for a couple bucks to use as a feeding station. It'll help maintain the beak and keep your tortoise from accidentally eating dirt. For humidity, my lowest target value was 60% when my tort lived indoors. I misted the enclosure each morning and night to give two good spikes in humidity.
 

suzukipowered

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good info! Also I wanna throw in this little tidbit, we are out in the sticks and right at the edge of this tiny tiny town. I have fields right across the street and they do spray over there. Is the dirt safe this far over? is it safe for him to still eat the grass and stuff from out there? I am just not sure with it being that close. Whenever I have been taking him out, I have been putting him on the south side of the house cause it is the best sun and because it is opposite of the field. Let me know what you guys think. I'll go and get some dirt from out by my mom's house because she doesn't have any fields by her house, and I'll get a spray bottle for him to start raising that humidity. The floor tile I already have as I laid floors for 3 years and still do it on the side, but how does that help his beak?
 

chairman

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If my memory serves me correctly we have a mod on here with a large number of healthy tortoises living outdoors within a reasonable proximity to a grove of nut trees that receive decent quantities of pesticides/etc. So I would think that your yard dirt is probably safe.

Tile eating stations help keep the beak trim because tortoises have a habit of over-extending when they eat. If you feed them on dirt this causes them to grab a little substrate; if you feed them on tile it causes them to rub their beak on the tile, helping keep it worn down.
 
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