Help Help Help how to raise Burmese Tortoise

Tortokura

New Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
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4
Location (City and/or State)
Jakarta
Hi

I need advice on how to raise a Burmese Tortoises. I had a couple of Burmese tortoises...one about 12cm and the other 6cm. Sadly the smaller one (6cm) died today. He has been sick for the last couple of weeks due to the rainy season that we are experiencing.

FYI I keep them indoor at around of 30c and moisture at approx 60%. Regularly soaked them in water and feed them hibiscus flower, vegetables and some tortoise pellets GT Free. On a sunny day I would bring them outside for a couple of hours to get natural UV.

The bigger ones seem to be okay for now. I have him since October last year. I am pretty distress about the younger one. He was not eating for the first week and didn’t want to move at all. I thought he might have had Respiratory Infection since there is no puffy eyes or liquid coming out of his nostrils.

I was spoon feeling him the last few days until last nite he was actually eating papaya and pellets. Then today he died suddenly. I am wondering what did I do wrong here...?

Unfortunately where I am there is no vet that I can bring him. The last time I brought my Cherry head to a vet I got rejected because the vet was too busy.
 

Markw84

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Jan 17, 2012
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Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Hi

I need advice on how to raise a Burmese Tortoises. I had a couple of Burmese tortoises...one about 12cm and the other 6cm. Sadly the smaller one (6cm) died today. He has been sick for the last couple of weeks due to the rainy season that we are experiencing.

FYI I keep them indoor at around of 30c and moisture at approx 60%. Regularly soaked them in water and feed them hibiscus flower, vegetables and some tortoise pellets GT Free. On a sunny day I would bring them outside for a couple of hours to get natural UV.

The bigger ones seem to be okay for now. I have him since October last year. I am pretty distress about the younger one. He was not eating for the first week and didn’t want to move at all. I thought he might have had Respiratory Infection since there is no puffy eyes or liquid coming out of his nostrils.

I was spoon feeling him the last few days until last nite he was actually eating papaya and pellets. Then today he died suddenly. I am wondering what did I do wrong here...?

Unfortunately where I am there is no vet that I can bring him. The last time I brought my Cherry head to a vet I got rejected because the vet was too busy.
Have you read the post above in the star tortoise section: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-star-tortoise.159167/

Please read that. I spend a good deal of time outlining all the conditions I feel are necessary to have the best success raising a Burmese Star.

There is also the consideration of how your tortoises were incubated and started before you got them. If conditions are not right, they can hatch and spend their first month or two in conditions that do not allow their body to develop properly. Even in the wild, a nest will have too dry a season close to hatching time, or too wet, and the tortoises do not develop - their organs and metabolic functions will be deficient. They can hatch, but most will die soon.

Their first few months they need to find moist, warm conditions or they will also suffer and not continue to develop properly. They have to not only from predators, but most importantly, from the sun and dry conditions. They need to spend most of their time under cover in moist, warm locations. Most breeders do not seem to understand this and put them in barren, dry enclosures. Even in their native country, where we assume there is the "right climate" this will cause them to become too dry as the conditions in an enclosure we make for them is very different than buried under leaf litter, or dug in under a lush growth of plants.

So if your tortoise was not started right, they simply can fail to gain weight and simply do not do well. The damage was already done and is often not possible to reverse. Once you get your tortoise all you can do is follow the guides I outline in the post on raising a healthy star. Give them places to stay protected and at virtual 100% humidity. Limit their exposure to drying lights and that includes outdoor time.

If you would like to post pictures of your setup you are using now for your star, we would be happy to offer suggestion on possible improvements. I would limit their outdoor time and ideally, make it time in a soaking tub. Are you soaking your tortoises regularly? Very young tortoises do not do well in the outdoors to "get sunshine" in an open enclosure, even with shade. They would naturally want to hide from that situation and seek out a way to burrow under cover to protect themselves from drying.

Be sure to include as much dark green leafy weeds, and grasses in the diet. Do not feed fruits.

I look forward to pictures of your tortoise and its enclosure, and any additional questions you may have.
 

Tortokura

New Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Jakarta
Thanks Markw84.

It’s very informative. I will try to soak my tortoises daily basis with warm water. I tend to worry that they get pneumonia hence I only soaked them three times a week. I must admit I don’t use any substrate in their “house” . I use a rubber mat coz that’s what I saw many Breeder use here in Jakarta. But I do spray them twice a day to keep the moisture up..currently reading at 60%.

Here are some photo of their house.
IMG_0052.jpg IMG_0054.jpg IMG_0057.jpg
 

Markw84

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Platinum Tortoise Club
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Messages
3,842
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
@Tortokura That is certainly a beautiful and well built enclosure. If you are looking for advice and input - I certainly wouldn't keep my tortoises that way. You have already experienced one dying, and seeing the enclosure, I would see how the tortoise would be under constant stress and very probably not thrive kept like that.

Young tortoises in particular live buried in leaf litter and often covered in mud as they hide, and use the ground temperatures to moderate their own body temperatures while staying safe from predators. In the open, and exposed they are under stress. I believe low grade, constant stress is a major problem that must be considered in keeping tortoises. A more natural feeling substrate and plants to hide in are a great way to allow the tortoise to feel more natural.

Heat is the other biggest issue. Looking at a thermometer and seeing 85°f (30°C) is not the whole picture. We see and understand temperature differently than a tortoise uses temperature. I feel it is greatly misunderstood. Tortoise are designed to use the earth for controlling their body temperatures. They have a flat bottom (plastron) that maximized ground contact, and partially buried, or under thick bush cover, or in a burrow, it is the earth and ground temperatures that mitigate what the weather gives them. So the places they seek out to "hide" and feel secure, also provides this much more stable temperature (and virtual 100% humidity) that they require to do well. Sitting on a mat, exposed, they are subject to way too much moisture loss and variable temperatures throughout the day. Exposed like this, even in a room in a house in their home range, they would not do well.

You have seen in my post I linked, how I set up my tortoises, and I know they all do well that way. My suggestion would be to give them substrate. Give them natural hides that will also stabilize temps and create spots of 100% humidity for them. They will feel more secure, natural, and will do much better.
 

g4mobile

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Sep 5, 2018
Messages
119
Location (City and/or State)
Fort Lauderdale, FL
The ramp is very steep and if your tortoise can climb it, a good way for them to fall and get hurt badly. Please look at getting an enclosed chamber for your young tortoise with proper heat and humidity levels. Please read the article @Markw84 posted above, as it contains great information for raising a healthy and happy tortoise.
 

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