Help with lethargic tortoise

Angela1000

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Apr 15, 2021
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8
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UK
Hi, we bought our baby tortoise aged 6 months in early December, he has been fine until recently, he lives in a large tortoise table, has the UV lamp etc, log to hide in. everything we thought was correct. lately though he is coming out of his log hide for less and less time, until it is now only just a couple of hours a day. Looking down the list of problems, I don't think the has any of them, everything seem OK, eyes, shell, etc. what could it be? he is eating, but less, and isn't climbing and walking about like he used to. We have move his 'furniture' around, and placed the table in the window to get some natural UV as well, was this the wrong thing to do?

any help gratefully received
 

Cherryshell

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Please provide the following information:

  1. Species:
  2. Temps of the enclosure:
  3. Humidity levels:
  4. Lighting setup:
  5. Diet:
  6. How often are you soaking:
Glass filters out a lot of the UV rays so while it will help warm the tort up, it won't get the UVB needed. Also having an open top tort table isn't ideal for baby torts as its extremely hard to maintain the correct humidity levels. Pictures of the tort and the enclosure would also be super helpful.
 

Angela1000

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He's a Russian tortoise, we have a tortoise table, as I read that they were preferable to glass, there is a UVA/B basking lamp one end, he has a hide nearby, and the other end of the table he has an enclosed part but he never goes there. the humidity level varies, as its open top. diet, dandelions are his favourite, and their leaves, lambs lettuce, pansy, nipplewort, carrot, kale, campanula. I soak him a couple of times a week. he is about 10 months now we think.

Thank you
 

ZEROPILOT

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I don't keep Russian tortoises but a few things jump out at me.
First off is the carrots. Russians can not process sugars. So carrots can be nothing but a very rare treat.
And the combination UVA-B and heat lamp is almost certainly a MERCURY VAPOR LAMP. Or MVB. These are very harsh and do not broadcast heat or UVB reliably.
They may have a place in reptile keeping. But not with tortoises.
You need a strip T5 linear florescent tube UVB. And then a CHE or a CERAMIC HEAT EMITTER on a thermostat for warmth. This can also provide night heat since it gives off no light.
My guess is that the temperature is not sufficient for complete digestion and/or that the CHE is bothersome to his eyes.
These are based upon the limited information provided so far.
 

ZenHerper

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Most care information at pet stores and general veterinary offices is out of date.

Compare your set up and care routine to the information found here:

We have a number of UKers on the forums, so let us know if you have follow up questions or need help locating supplies!
 

Tom

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He's a Russian tortoise, we have a tortoise table, as I read that they were preferable to glass, there is a UVA/B basking lamp one end, he has a hide nearby, and the other end of the table he has an enclosed part but he never goes there. the humidity level varies, as its open top. diet, dandelions are his favourite, and their leaves, lambs lettuce, pansy, nipplewort, carrot, kale, campanula. I soak him a couple of times a week. he is about 10 months now we think.

Thank you
What are your four temperatures? Warm side, cool side, basking area directly under the bulb, and over night low?

What substrate are you using?

A picture or two of the enclosure will help.
 

Angela1000

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Hi,
warm side, 27.7degrees C. cool side 19.9, under basking lamp, 32 and nighttime low 16.6

the substrate is tortoise life. I have attached a couple of pics. thank you..
 

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Cherryshell

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Hi,
warm side, 27.7degrees C. cool side 19.9, under basking lamp, 32 and nighttime low 16.6

the substrate is tortoise life. I have attached a couple of pics. thank you..
I strongly suggest reading over the care-sheet for temperate species such as yours:


If you follow the guide, I'm sure your lil guy will perk right back up
 

ZEROPILOT

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I don't keep Russian tortoises but a few things jump out at me.
First off is the carrots. Russians can not process sugars. So carrots can be nothing but a very rare treat.
And the combination UVA-B and heat lamp is almost certainly a MERCURY VAPOR LAMP. Or MVB. These are very harsh and do not broadcast heat or UVB reliably.
They may have a place in reptile keeping. But not with tortoises.
You need a strip T5 linear florescent tube UVB. And then a CHE or a CERAMIC HEAT EMITTER on a thermostat for warmth. This can also provide night heat since it gives off no light.
My guess is that the temperature is not sufficient for complete digestion and/or that the CHE is bothersome to his eyes.
These are based upon the limited information provided so far.
MVB is bothering his eyes.
Not CHE
 

KarenSoCal

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Your baby is too cold. Adult Russians can tolerate those cool temps, but they need to be increased for a baby.

As the others have said, read the care sheet. The proper temps are in there.

The MVB that you are using may also be contributing to him not feeling well. In post # 4 ZEROPILOT has outlined what you need to replace it. You need a T5 HO 12% fluorescent tube type UVB light. The first time you buy one you need to also buy the fixture. After that first time, you only buy the bulbs.

You need a basking light. The best one you can buy is an incandescent flood bulb...flood, not spot. If you can get them in a hardware store, great. If you cannot buy them, you can order it from Swell Reptile.

This is the UVB kit...

This is the basking light...

Then for night heat, you need a CHE as ZEROPILOT said. And finally a thermostat to control the CHE. Also, CHE's burn very hot. They must be put into a ceramic socket. Anything else and it will melt it.

Here's a CHE...

And here's a thermostat...
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01E71VAG0/?tag=
 

Angela1000

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
UK
Your baby is too cold. Adult Russians can tolerate those cool temps, but they need to be increased for a baby.

As the others have said, read the care sheet. The proper temps are in there.

The MVB that you are using may also be contributing to him not feeling well. In post # 4 ZEROPILOT has outlined what you need to replace it. You need a T5 HO 12% fluorescent tube type UVB light. The first time you buy one you need to also buy the fixture. After that first time, you only buy the bulbs.

You need a basking light. The best one you can buy is an incandescent flood bulb...flood, not spot. If you can get them in a hardware store, great. If you cannot buy them, you can order it from Swell Reptile.

This is the UVB kit...

This is the basking light...

Then for night heat, you need a CHE as ZEROPILOT said. And finally a thermostat to control the CHE. Also, CHE's burn very hot. They must be put into a ceramic socket. Anything else and it will melt it.

Here's a CHE...

And here's a thermostat...
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01E71VAG0/?tag=
Your baby is too cold. Adult Russians can tolerate those cool temps, but they need to be increased for a baby.

As the others have said, read the care sheet. The proper temps are in there.

The MVB that you are using may also be contributing to him not feeling well. In post # 4 ZEROPILOT has outlined what you need to replace it. You need a T5 HO 12% fluorescent tube type UVB light. The first time you buy one you need to also buy the fixture. After that first time, you only buy the bulbs.

You need a basking light. The best one you can buy is an incandescent flood bulb...flood, not spot. If you can get them in a hardware store, great. If you cannot buy them, you can order it from Swell Reptile.

This is the UVB kit...

This is the basking light...

Then for night heat, you need a CHE as ZEROPILOT said. And finally a thermostat to control the CHE. Also, CHE's burn very hot. They must be put into a ceramic socket. Anything else and it will melt it.

Here's a CHE...

And here's a thermostat...
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01E71VAG0/?tag=
Hi, Thank you so much for everyones help,
which of the UV kits 24, 39 or 54 watt? also which basking light wattage?


thanks
 

KarenSoCal

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Hi, Thank you so much for everyones help,
which of the UV kits 24, 39 or 54 watt? also which basking light wattage?


thanks
Go by length. Probably the 24 watt is ~61cm? The fixture is longer than the bulb. A 55cm bulb fits into a 61cm fixture. That should be OK.

The basking light is hard to say because only a thermometer is going to tell you if the temp is correct. I think I'd try 100 watt first. When you check the temp under it, put a piece of flat rock, tile, or slate on the substrate. Then find something about the same height as the tort to put directly under the light. Let this stay put for an hour, then check its temp. That's your basking temp when it hits your tort.
Leave the rock, tile, or slate. It gets warm, and warms their bellies while they bask.
 
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