Horsefield not eating?

Mr_Leeman

New Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Donisthorpe
Hello all,

We recently got ourselves a horsefield, 9 weeks ago. I've been advised it was around 8 months old and to start all seemed well and Jack settled into the enclousure really well - eating lots.

Then, around 4 weeks he/she has started to go off food. I've tried everything and as of now we're at about a week since more than a nibble. I weigh him/her weekly and first weigh in was 43 grams, this went upto 52 grams, but has decreased by a few grams per week until the weekend which was at 45 grams, almost back to where we started. I've kept a hermann tortoise before and have had several reptiles in the past - never had any issues. I have seen other posts to this effect and have spoken to the person I bought it off, and the general thinking is trying to hibernate which we don't want to do.

I'll outline below the set-up and dailey routine:

Routine
Lamp auto turns on 7am, and Jack emerges around 30 mins later and basks below lamp.
8am he's given a soak for 10-15 mins, and offered food after in a shallow dish on a peice of slate (currently being ignored).
Will either stay there, or move a few inches away - but generally in the vacinity of the lamp.
1pm, offered food again (currently being ignored).
Depending on the day, he will generally go and burrow down in the soil mid afternoon (2-3pm).
4-6pm my son will sometimes get him out and let him have a roam around, offered food again.
7pm lights out and he's usually already dug down by this point.

I'd say he sleeps 95% of the day and doesn't venture far (never has).

Environment
We have him a tortoise table, purpose built 900mmx700mm.
We have steralised topsoil about 2 inches deep.
He has 1 water dish he never goes near.
3 hides, 1 in hottest corner, 1 in the oppoiste and 1 furthest away - he spends most time in the 2 warmer ones - always buried.
There are rocks beneath the lamp and some other bits of bark to climb on here and there.
I'm using a 100w combination bulb, supplied by pet supplier who sold me toirtoise.
Temperature under lamp is low 30's and the furthest corners (coldest) is 20, varying in between. The room he's in is the warmest in the house as it has our hot water cylinder next to it and all the pipes run under the floor, so it never gets below 20 in there.
At night it drops to about 16.

Diet
We're lucky and have lots of weeds! So he gets offered a bvaried mix and as mentioned started off really well. He particularly like bell flower and nipplewort. He gets offered the following:
Dandelion (both flower and leaves) - won't touch
Plantain - doesn't seem to like this at all.
Bell flower (both flower and leaves) - used to be a favourite.
Sedum - won't touch.
Nipplewort (both flower and leaves) - used to be a favourite.
Kale - seemed to like, but then stopped.
Lambs lettuce - probably the most of anything offered he eaten this, but not anymore.
Rose leaves - won't touch
Gernium (both flower and leaves) - won't touch
Goatsbeard - won't touch
Honey suckle - ate once, then never again.
Radicchio - seemd to really like, but turns away now.
Frisee - bit like kale, tried it for a bit and now won't give it a go.
Clover - wouldn't touch.
Forget me not (both flower and leaves) - wouldn't touch.

I saw a few tips to try and cover food in cucumber or strawberry to encourage, that didn't work either - I even tried a slice of strawberry, just stopped over it and left it.

He looks well, eyes seem fine, moves around ok and doesn't have a snotty nose or anything like that. He poo'd yesterday a small amount shortly after his bath, but I havn't witnessed any urination for about a week. The next step if he doesn't eat soon is a trip to the vets.

So, I'm really hoping someone can point out what we're doing wrong as it's upsetting my son and stressing me out. I feel like we've covered all the bases, but if you need to know anything else, let me know.

Thanks in advance!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
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10 Year Member!
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Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
You're allowing the enclosure to get too cold. Baby tortoises need to be kept much warmer than that. They don't eat when cold. Please read the care sheet for baby russians. You'll find it pinned towards the top of our russian section.
 

Mr_Leeman

New Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Donisthorpe
You're allowing the enclosure to get too cold. Baby tortoises need to be kept much warmer than that. They don't eat when cold. Please read the care sheet for baby russians. You'll find it pinned towards the top of our russian section.

Thanks Yvonne, I've taken a look. It only states the basking area - any suggestions for other areas? So 3 degrees will make that much difference? I've lowered the lamp a few inches, and will see what happens. How quickly will it taek effect?

He actually ate a small amount again tonight, maybe 10 mouthfulls. Sometimes he has a go, can't quite get it and gives up.
 
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