"Inherited" a 5yr old Red-footed tortoise


New Member
Jan 6, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Guelph, Ontario
Hello everyone & thank you for the add to this group. My name is Dan & I live in southern Ontario, Canada. My wife & I inherited this 5yr old tortoise, Patrick, from our daughter (won't go into details) & we have some concerns. Patrick has not eaten for several days & when he does eat, it is very little - dark leafy greens, mushrooms, strawberries + ZooMed natural Forst Tortoise Food pellets that soaked in water to soften them. Also, he is not opening his eyes - not sure if he won't or can't. If I soak his eyes in warm water, he will open one eye. He is very lethargic (will usually find a place under something & would stay there for days if we let him. We are very concerned about him & really want to see him healthy. We are near a veterinary university that takes unique patients at a reduced cost to train students & we would like to take him there when this covid quarantine is over. Any suggestions for us in the meantime would be greatly appreciated.

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Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jul 16, 2014
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Redfoot require warmth. But not high heat. And UVB lighting. But nothing harsh.
They also require high humidity and it makes them a less than ideal first tortoise unless you live in the tropics.
Lethargy and eye issues can be many things. But incorrect lighting, incorrect temperature and dehydration would be my first guesses.
He DOES NOT look well.
Make sure that any vet you bring him to actually understands tortoises.
MANY of them use ancient, outdated information.


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Dec 28, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
Hello and welcome! thanks for taking this buddy in.

Does he have a proper enclosure with heat and UV light? Can you show us what lights you are using (if you use them)?

Humidity and heat are super important for this species to thrive. Ontario is very much like my area, where if I let my tortoise wander our house she would not be happy or healthy. It's too cold and there is no humidity. They need heat to digest food properly as well. Before I took my tortoise, for example, the previous owner turned the heat and lights off during weekends to save energy and prevent a fire at our workplace. This led to a severe respiratory infection and nearly a year of treatment and medication.

Care sheets are here:

you can find temp and humidity requirements in there
Last edited:

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

Judging from the dry skin on his legs, this tortoise has been kept in less than ideal conditions. To get his eyes open, you'll need to soak him in warm water for about a half hour-45 minutes. I like to put him in his soaking pan of water back under the light (right at the edge of where it hits the ground) to keep it warm. Then make sure his whole enclosure is 80-85F degrees, day and night. It helps to cover the enclosure to keep the cooler air from the house out.

Tortoises don't appreciate change, so it may take him a week or so to get used to his new home before he starts eating, but read the care sheet and set him up properly, and he'll come around.


Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
Is he on the floor? NO NO NO. Does he have his own habitat? Can you post photos of it so we can see your lighting heating etc.? He is a forest floor animal so no bright lights, he needs high humidity (abt 85%) please read the provided care sheets and hang around so we can help you. That tort needs to get and stay warm. He looks bad, so please stay here and help us help the tort

Canadian Mojo

Active Member
Jun 23, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
Greetings to a fellow Ontarian and RF owner.

It certainly sounds like he is too cold and dry. The timing is also right for it; when we inherited our RF he did fine (or so we thought) up until a little after Christmas before the dryness and cooler temps got to him and he ended up with a respiratory infection. Antibiotics and fixing his habitat fixed it.

Don't worry about making the perfect home for him, he won't be interested in roaming much so a smallish area with the right conditions will work for now. They also seem to be suckers for watermelon which might help with both getting food into him and hydrating him.

Get him into the college as soon as you can.

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