Is my baby tortoise ok?

Maze

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I have had him since Monday, he always sleeps under the pier in his table. He has never ventured out.

I bathe him for 15 mins every day, and today I have put him in his food bowl because he hasn't eaten really.

He hasn't popped that I can see since I got him and he only ate a little leaf I gave him a few days ago and a bit of strawberry yesterday. I put fresh in their everyday of things. I have pellets, dried flowers packs and I got in the garden grab stuff and I have Pak choi for him I break up.

Is it best to put him in his bowl of food after a bathe or is it best to leave him to find the bowl?

This is his set up and he just sleeps. He isn't active at all really, even fell asleep in the water!

20200711_132935.jpg

I've had him in his food bowl 5 mins now and he does struggle to eat stuff. He bites air a lot of the time. But I've just seen him eat a bit of a leaf, but that was just on his way out and he's now back to his hot spot.
So is it ok to move him to his bowl everyday? And should I be worried he isn't eating much?
 

Maze

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He started eating a stone by his water bowl so I caved and put one of the yellow flowers by it and he is eating that now.

Just a bit worried I know he's a baby and doesn't do much and sleep a lot. But I just don't see him eating or going to the toilet.
I'm sure the temperature is ok based on all the reading I've done.
 

Maze

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I've put it all back in his food bowl and popped him back in again and sat here with him and he is eating now.
I don't want to stress him by moving him too much but I guess a bathe and move into his food bowl for now will help get him accustomed to where food is?
I'll try some softer foods as well in small bits for him as he has eaten ok but does struggle to rip the leaf
 

Tom

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I have had him since Monday, he always sleeps under the pier in his table. He has never ventured out.

I bathe him for 15 mins every day, and today I have put him in his food bowl because he hasn't eaten really.

He hasn't popped that I can see since I got him and he only ate a little leaf I gave him a few days ago and a bit of strawberry yesterday. I put fresh in their everyday of things. I have pellets, dried flowers packs and I got in the garden grab stuff and I have Pak choi for him I break up.

Is it best to put him in his bowl of food after a bathe or is it best to leave him to find the bowl?

This is his set up and he just sleeps. He isn't active at all really, even fell asleep in the water!

View attachment 299736

I've had him in his food bowl 5 mins now and he does struggle to eat stuff. He bites air a lot of the time. But I've just seen him eat a bit of a leaf, but that was just on his way out and he's now back to his hot spot.
So is it ok to move him to his bowl everyday? And should I be worried he isn't eating much?
I see a few issues.

What are your four temps? Warm side, cool side, overnight low, and basking area directly under the heat lamp?

What type of lighting are you using? UV bulb? What type?

Your enclosure is much too small. You've got a dangerous type of substrate that should not be used, and the food and water bowls are not good for tortoises.

Christchurch? As in New Zealand? So its winter there?

While eliminating some of these possibilities, give this a read for the correct care info:
 

Maze

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Christchurch
I see a few issues.

What are your four temps? Warm side, cool side, overnight low, and basking area directly under the heat lamp?

What type of lighting are you using? UV bulb? What type?

Your enclosure is much too small. You've got a dangerous type of substrate that should not be used, and the food and water bowls are not good for tortoises.

Christchurch? As in New Zealand? So its winter there?

While eliminating some of these possibilities, give this a read for the correct care info:
It's 34-36 under the bulb.

24~ on the cool side during the day.

Around 22~ at night with the light off.

Can you recommend some better bowls and substrate?

I was under the impression these tables were great for the tortoise for the first couple of years? He doesn't explore anyway and he is palm sized.

Christchurch UK so it's summer at the moment.
 

Tom

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It's 34-36 under the bulb.

24~ on the cool side during the day.

Around 22~ at night with the light off.

Can you recommend some better bowls and substrate?

I was under the impression these tables were great for the tortoise for the first couple of years? He doesn't explore anyway and he is palm sized.

Christchurch UK so it's summer at the moment.
Bowls, substrate, lighting and much more is covered in the linked care sheet.

What type of lighting are you using?
 

zovick

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I've put it all back in his food bowl and popped him back in again and sat here with him and he is eating now.
I don't want to stress him by moving him too much but I guess a bathe and move into his food bowl for now will help get him accustomed to where food is?
I'll try some softer foods as well in small bits for him as he has eaten ok but does struggle to rip the leaf
It takes young tortoises a week or more to get used to new surroundings. That is the first thing you should know. Tortoises do not like moving to new places and it often takes them a while to get used to it. I had one baby tortoise that did not move for a full 30 days after I got it except for the time when it was being soaked. Do keep soaking the tortoise for 15-20 minutes daily to keep it well hydrated as you have been doing.

The next thing you should know is that an open top enclosure is not the accepted way to raise young tortoises nowadays. I am sure others will chime in to tell you what you need to do to correct the problems evident in your photo. @Tom @Toddrickfl1 @Maro2Bear @KarenSoCal
 

Tom

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I haven't. Like I say I've only had him since Monday and was a birthday present.
Here comes the frustration: The world is full of contradictory and bad tortoise info. Some people mean well, but they are ignorant. That is not meant as an insult. Its meant as a factual description. I too was ignorant before I learned the things I typed up for you in that care sheet. Other people are deliberately deceitful in order to make a sale. We aren't selling anything here.

Those bulbs are good for heat loving basking reptiles with high UV needs. Bearded dragons, green iguanas, ctenosaurs, etc... They are not good for tortoises. Some of them simply produce too much UV, and without branches to move up or down on, the tortoise is stuck with whatever UV level is hitting the dirt near it. Without a meter, you have no idea what that bulb is or isn't producing. The other problem with those bulbs is that they are extremely desiccating to developing tortoise shells and they cause pyramiding. MVBs shouldn't be used over growing tortoises. Additionally, those bulbs are expensive, fragile, temperamental, and they run too hot to use in a closed chamber, aka viv.

I'm always sorry when this happens to people, but we all have to live and learn. We will help you to understand all of this, and in time it will all make more sense.
 

KarenSoCal

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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

If you've read the care sheet that Tom linked for you, you have an understanding of a closed chamber, or viv. It's very difficult to make an open topped enclosure into a closed chamber, but for right now, there are ways to get by so you can make some changes to help your tortoise.

You can either cover it with something solid, like plywood, or build a framework over it. The framework would be like this:
20200524_162330.jpg
You see that it has a bar supporting the plastic...you hang your lights from this bar. You can adjust them up or down to fine tune the temps. This is actually a portable greenhouse, easily available from Amazon. You can build one yourself with PVC pipe and fittings, and use a clear shower curtain to cover.

Another method some members use is to get a grow tent from Amazon. Turn it on its side, and it makes a closed chamber. Here's a picture...read this thread and @Srmcclure describes how she does it.
20200601_124955.jpg
Just be sure to get one at least 122cm x 60cm x 60 cm.

I think your tortoise is a bit too cold. If not warm enough, tortoises cannot digest food, so they don't eat.

Basking should be 36-37C.
Cool side by day should be 27-28C.
Nighttime should be 27C. The entire enclosure should never be less than 27C.

For the nighttime, you need to buy a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) which gives off heat but no light. It will keep him warm yet have darkness at night. To control the CHE, you need to put it on a thermostat so it goes on and off as necessary.
This is what I use:


You asked about food and water dishes. The best ones to use are ordinary clay flower pot saucers.
Like this:
20200626_140447.jpg
You want 2. One for food, and 1 for water. The one for water should be big enough for him to get in. Push it down into the substrate so the edge is even with the substrate.

For substrate, you want coco coir, orchid bark, or cypress mulch. You can also use a combination of them. Coco coir can get kind of messy, so if you use it, consider adding a layer of cypress mulch on top. Or just use orchid (fir) bark. You will dampen the substrate to make humidity in your closed chamber.

Keep coming back with questions. We'll help you get it all done.
 

KarenSoCal

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Yes, both of your links are correct.

The heat emitter goes on a thermostat set at 27°C. The probe sensor goes in the coolest place in the enclosure, and turns on the heat when the temp drops to 27°. Hopefully your basking light will warm the enclosure enough during the day that the CHE doesn't have to come on. If this is the case, you can get an additional light bulb to help with heat. You may or may not want some additional light just for brightness. Put your basking bulb, light for brightness if needed, and additional bulb for heat all on a timer for a 12 hour cycle. Maybe on at 9am/off 9 pm, or whatever you choose.

Your basking bulb should be an ordinary incandescent flood light bulb. Not spot...you want flood. Try a 65 watt to start, and raise or lower it for the correct temp. If necessary, get a higher or lower wattage.
 

Maze

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Yeah I have a timer from yesterday, we have changed the substrate, it's much deeper now and new bowls that suit nice in the soil. The pier no longer looks like a death trap and it will looks alot better

It's summer here so night time temps are good but I will look into it for his first winter and get prepared as we can't hibernate him
 

JTH

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East Lansing, MI
I have had him since Monday, he always sleeps under the pier in his table. He has never ventured out.

I bathe him for 15 mins every day, and today I have put him in his food bowl because he hasn't eaten really.

He hasn't popped that I can see since I got him and he only ate a little leaf I gave him a few days ago and a bit of strawberry yesterday. I put fresh in their everyday of things. I have pellets, dried flowers packs and I got in the garden grab stuff and I have Pak choi for him I break up.

Is it best to put him in his bowl of food after a bathe or is it best to leave him to find the bowl?

This is his set up and he just sleeps. He isn't active at all really, even fell asleep in the water!

View attachment 299736

I've had him in his food bowl 5 mins now and he does struggle to eat stuff. He bites air a lot of the time. But I've just seen him eat a bit of a leaf, but that was just on his way out and he's now back to his hot spot.
So is it ok to move him to his bowl everyday? And should I be worried he isn't eating much?
Agree with others that your substrate looks too dry and of a type that is easy to ingest, which can cause problems. I've used coco coir with these tortoises, which holds humidity and has not presented any impaction problems. Also agree that you need to cover the enclosure to increase humidity. But keep in mind that a baby tortoise instinctively wants to stay hidden and not be overly active, as activity increases the danger from predators in the wild.
 

Maze

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Location (City and/or State)
Christchurch
Agree with others that your substrate looks too dry and of a type that is easy to ingest, which can cause problems. I've used coco coir with these tortoises, which holds humidity and has not presented any impaction problems. Also agree that you need to cover the enclosure to increase humidity. But keep in mind that a baby tortoise instinctively wants to stay hidden and not be overly active, as activity increases the danger from predators in the wild.
Yeah I have changed it already.

Currently mist spraying it until we get a more permanent humidity solution.
 

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