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Help...baby tort keeps odd hours!

mini_max

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My less than 1 year old baby Russian, Max has been with us for almost a week now. I was posting with concern that he's going to sleep for the day at noon. We turn his daytime lighting on at 6 am and I was thinking he was waking up sometime around then, but no. Last night we discovered him out (usually he burrows out of sight) at 2 am. He appeared to be sleeping under his night heat lamp, but had clearly been in his water dish. At 4 am he was dozing on top of his cuttle bone, and not long after that my husband got up and saw him returning from taking a dip and turned his daytime lighting on.

So this explains why he goes down at noon! But is it always going to be so? Should I be running his daytime lights starting at 2 am, or is night waking a baby thing? Lighting appears to have no impact on when he sleeps and wakes as he just goes underground whenever he decides to sleep, so that said, will his schedule ever actually adjust to real day and night time?
 

tortadise

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What are the temperatures in the enclosure compared from day to night? May be too warm and he is retreating from the heat. Only coming out at night when it's more comfortable for him? Also keep in mind that he is still rather new in his surroundings. So when he feels more secure he will test his territory and familiarize himself with his new home. Sometimes tortoises take a while to adjust and to feel secure.
 

mini_max

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During the day his basking spot is at 93-94 and mid 70s to low 80s at the outer edges. At night it goes down to around 70-73. For the time that he is up in the day, he's quite active and inquisitive.
 

mini_max

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Hi, I reduced the temps a bit, but it doesn't seem to be helping. He is up from midnight to between 9 and noon. He's just completely backwards (apparently I have a talent, both my kids were the same)!

Since I have his uva/uvb coming on during the day, he's not getting very many hours of exposure, and he's going for most of his waking hours with very little light and not much of a basking spot. So I just want to be sure, should I be changing my lighting to be on at night? I don't want to encourage this nocturnal-ness because we would like to see him once and a while, but at the same time, I want him to be comfortable and healthy.
?????????
 

Zeko

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Do you have any Red Lights on at night? What heating elements are you using?

Tortoises can see Red Light, and if you are using such it would keep him up.
 

mini_max

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at night it is an infrared spot bulb. It's kinda very pale purplish light. Day is a neodymium basking bulb plus a compact uvb. I'm starting to wonder if he burrows because it's too bright. Is there a one bulb solution for day heat, uva and uvb? Then that wouldn't be so bright?
 

Zeko

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at night it is an infrared spot bulb. It's kinda very pale purplish light. Day is a neodymium basking bulb plus a compact uvb. I'm starting to wonder if he burrows because it's too bright. Is there a one bulb solution for day heat, uva and uvb? Then that wouldn't be so bright?

No one knows exactly how they perceive light, so it's a much better idea to simply have none at all during the night. To him, night may be brighter than the day!

Ditch the light and use a CHE for heat during night.

And you said a compact uvb bulb? If the bulb is spiral in shape, it will/is damaging his eyes. This may be another reason he does not come out during the day.

Switch that to a Mercury Vapour Bulb, or Florescent tubes.


Hope this helps!,
Brad
 

Madkins007

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Tortoises have interesting eyes- they have one more kind of color receptors than human's have, and it seems to let them see into the infra-red spectrum. This would help them 'see' warm and cold to some extent. It also means that any night bulbs, even our beloved ceramic heat emitter (CHE), may be casting more light than we realize at night. CHE's are used a lot and do not seem to affect behaviors much as far as we can tell but other kinds of bulbs are harder to say.

Spiral compact fluorescent UV bulbs- several years ago, one large maker had a bad batch of these bulbs- the coating was flawed and allowed too much UV light to emit. That has been long fixed. They are widely used safely now- as long as the mounting and installation instructions are followed. Yes, there are some people who have had bad experiences with them since the changes, but it is difficult to tell if the problems were from a properly positioned bulb or some other cause.

The bigger issue is that small UV bulbs just do not really help that much. they create 'UV Hotspots' that are too small to help the animal most of the time. Some interesting thermal images from the Tortoise Trust site (I think it is) shows tortoises basking normally and under cage lighting. It is very scary how ineffective cage lighting is for basking purposes. Long UV bulbs create much larger and more even UV basking areas that are more effective, even at lower output levels. If you are 'stuck' with a spiral bulb, you can reduce the hotspot problem and get a larger basking area by mounting it sideways so the tip points at a wall.

Now, just because we humans have a pretty regulated day/night cycle, it does not mean that all animals do. Many tortoises sleep for up to 20 hours in the wild, and even when awake, they are not often found out in the sunny open areas just for fun. Combine that with the tendency to over-light most of our habitats, and the fact that they can see and feel us moving around, and it may make a lot of sense that captive torts may prefer to be active at night.
 

mini_max

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I removed the infrared bulb last night and just went with nothing as we keep the house warm, and I have been monitoring his night temps and have found without heat, he is not going below 67 at the coldest. It worked! He had come out of his burrow at 2:00 am but was sound asleep, and was still sleeping in said spot when we put on the lights in the morning.
He also stayed awake until well after 1 pm, and he only went to sleep because I frightened him when I accidentally slammed the door on his enclosure. Sorry Max! He darn near sprinted to the back and immediately dug a burrow. Ditching those coils seemed to have made him enjoy his waking hours more (which he might still be doing if not for my clumsiness).
Thank you all for all the feedback.
 

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