Horsefield - lethargic and


New Member
Sep 10, 2020
Location (City and/or State)

I have a two year old horsefield tortoise who is recently very lethargic and has a soft springy under shell (this may have always been soft and springy, I didn't check previously).

Over lock down I moved him to my Mum's (I relocated too) to make sure that there would always be someone there to look after him. I normally keep him in a viv but as it was summer I moved him to an open tortoise table type set up. He seemed fine for months, but did become quite lethargic and wasn't eating properly, starting perhaps three weeks ago, I wouldn't see him for days on end. I felt this could be due to the cold (I'm in the UK and the weather became worse at about that time!) and perhaps he was trying to hibernate as his normal viv would retain heat but the open set up he was in wouldn't. I've moved him back home and into his viv about a week ago, he initially seemed to shake off the lethargy and briefly got his appetite back and essentially seemed normal but is now showing signs of lethargy again. He isn't really seeming to wake up or eat. I've just got him out to bath him (as it has helped to liven him up) and felt his under shell which was soft and springy (it had 'give' in it) - is this normal or could it be related? His carapace is normal, looks healthy and feels healthy so I didn't think to feel his under shell in the past

His diet is romaine lettuce with other leafy reds and greens including spinach and rocket as well as dandelions when available. He doesn't eat a lot else... tortoise pellets, peppers, green beans, carrots, etc have all been provided and he's shown little to no interest, I also occasionally sprinkle his food with nutrients. He has access to a water dish so I don't think dehydration would be an issue either (particularly given the colder temperatures in the tortoise table). He has a UV strip light which is c. 12" from where he would be if he was at the front of the tank (although much further (max 20") from where he would be if he was at the back of the tank, but this hasn't proven a problem in the past and was advised and fitted by the reptile shop)

Has anyone got any thoughts? Is this all totally normal in a tortoise that was potentially planning to hibernate and is now getting used to a normal environment (e.g. temp c.30c, up substantially from the tortoise table)? Is the soft spring under carriage normal in a tortoise or should this be a concern?