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I AM HEARTBROKEN OVER THE DEATH OF ONE OF MY BABY DESERT TORTOISES

Carol S

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10 Year Member!
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
2,499
Location (City and/or State)
Alta Loma, CA
I was given four baby Desert Tortoises the first week of January. They have been eating like little pigs and growing. I have been raising them basically like I do my Russian hatchlings. They were all fine when I left for work on Friday at 2:00 p.m. When I got home at around midnight I went in to check on them like I always do. One of them was outside the hide (he likes to sleep outside the hide under the heat emitter). It looked liked he was awake, standing up, looking up at me. He did not move as I continued to talk to him. I got a funny feeling and I unzipped the plastic and reached in and picked him up. I could tell that he was dead. He was not stiff at all, he just looked liked he was awake and in a pose like he was walking around.

I am heartbroken. I have no idea why he would die, as he showed no signs of being sick at all since I got him. He ate good today and was active.

I gave them some Hibiscus leaves for the first time before I left for work today. I am wondering if he could have possibly choked on them, as they are tougher and thicker than the weeds and other food that I have been giving them.

If he had been showing signs of being ill I could understand what happened, but for him to die while I was at work for no apparent reason makes it so much worse.
 

maggie18fan

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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
557
Location (City and/or State)
Corvallis Oregon
You won't know exactly why he died, and I don't think it was this, but I kept Gopherus agassizii almost the same way that I keep Sulcata...humidity etc...kinda warmer...then Russians...at least that's me anyway...and I'm real sorry you lost one...
 

Carol S

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
2,499
Location (City and/or State)
Alta Loma, CA
You won't know exactly why he died, and I don't think it was this, but I kept Gopherus agassizii almost the same way that I keep Sulcata...humidity etc...kinda warmer...then Russians...at least that's me anyway...and I'm real sorry you lost one...
I keep the baby desert tortoises in an Iris big Christmas tree storage bin. I have a plastic green house top over the bin. I have been keeping the humidity high (average 81-82%). What humidity do you keep your desert tortoise babies in? The temperature never drops below 80-81 degrees. They are all growing so smooth.

My biggest fear for my tortoises is that they will flip over when no one is home. My daughter is home Monday through Friday, so she keeps a close eye on them. When she is not home and I am at work I worry about them flipping over. If the baby desert tortoise had been flipped over when I got home from work then I would understand why the baby died.
 

maggie18fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
557
Location (City and/or State)
Corvallis Oregon
I keep the baby desert tortoises in an Iris big Christmas tree storage bin. I have a plastic green house top over the bin. I have been keeping the humidity high (average 81-82%). What humidity do you keep your desert tortoise babies in? The temperature never drops below 80-81 degrees. They are all growing so smooth.

My biggest fear for my tortoises is that they will flip over when no one is home. My daughter is home Monday through Friday, so she keeps a close eye on them. When she is not home and I am at work I worry about them flipping over. If the baby desert tortoise had been flipped over when I got home from work then I would understand why the baby died.
That would be possible. I don't keep desert tortoises anymore since I moved to Oregon. But it does sound like you are doing right. You know by now, if you weren't you'd be hearing about it form my sister...LOL
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Jan 9, 2010
Messages
47,096
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I was given four baby Desert Tortoises the first week of January. They have been eating like little pigs and growing. I have been raising them basically like I do my Russian hatchlings. They were all fine when I left for work on Friday at 2:00 p.m. When I got home at around midnight I went in to check on them like I always do. One of them was outside the hide (he likes to sleep outside the hide under the heat emitter). It looked liked he was awake, standing up, looking up at me. He did not move as I continued to talk to him. I got a funny feeling and I unzipped the plastic and reached in and picked him up. I could tell that he was dead. He was not stiff at all, he just looked liked he was awake and in a pose like he was walking around.

I am heartbroken. I have no idea why he would die, as he showed no signs of being sick at all since I got him. He ate good today and was active.

I gave them some Hibiscus leaves for the first time before I left for work today. I am wondering if he could have possibly choked on them, as they are tougher and thicker than the weeds and other food that I have been giving them.

If he had been showing signs of being ill I could understand what happened, but for him to die while I was at work for no apparent reason makes it so much worse.
How old were they when you got them? I find that people keep them much too dry early on. If too much damage is done by this dry routine, you can't save them. I've only ever had one baby die, and it ws the same scenario as yours. I had 7 of them, but they were soooooo dry by the time I got them. The person giving them to me thought they wouldn't make it and didn't know why. She had followed the online care sheets and kept them the way it said. All seemed fine after I got them warmed up and hydrated, but one died for no apparent reason a couple of weeks in. The rest all survived and were fine. I don't keep them that humid or damp, and I let them cool a bit at night too. I do soak daily, use a damp substrate, a humid hide, and an open top.
 

AnnV

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Jul 10, 2013
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909
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SWFL
I'm sorry for your loss, Carol. What a shock for you. Losing babies of any species is especially hard. Hugs...
 

Viola B

Active Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
171
Location (City and/or State)
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Oh, Carol, so sorry for your loss of the little one. It is heart breaking. I know how much your love your tortoises. Sending hugs your way.
 

bouaboua

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Dec 7, 2013
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11,785
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San Jose CA
Oh! I'm so sorry. It is very sad to see a little one departed. I'm can feel your heartache.
 

Sa Ga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
360
Location (City and/or State)
MN
I'm so sorry! The moment they come into your lives, they just open up and swallow your heart whole! ❤🐢

Unfortunately they are delicate little critters that can be taken from us without warning, control, or reason. Try to find peace in knowing he had wonderful care with you while he was there and now you have your own little guardian tortie.
🌠
 
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