Leopard tortoise not gaining weight

Rabo

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Hello,
I bought a 7 month Leopard tortoise (age stated by seller, no documents to certify) on 1 June, 2020.
It’s been more than a month now and my tortoise doesn’t seem to be getting weight. I weighed it on 16.06 and it was 45 g. Today it’s still 44-45 g.
I’m completely new in this matter and I’m constantly trying to gather info and updates to make sure I’m taking proper care of this wonderful creature.
I keep it in a relatively open enclosure (pictures attached) with temperatures 31-32 C up to 33 C in the basking area and around 27 C in the far corners. I’m feeding always fresh grass and weeds (dandelions, rukola, timothy grass etc.) and since recently I starting offering a Tortoise diet (Komodo brand) in order to help gain all nutrients but the tortoise is not keen on eating the Tortoise diet. I was soking it every other day but a week ago started soaking it once or twice a day to make sure it doesn’t dehydrate because I’m not sure it drinks water from the water bowl. It’s sleeping most of the time. I’m most often waking it up to soak and to eat. Eating and activity continues for a while and then it returns to sleep in the corner.
Please advise accordingly.
Thank you very much.
BR
 

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Hutsie B

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find and read Tom's sheet on care for your type of tortoise. His care sheets are very infomative. I don't know how to cut and paste it to your mail, but if you look around you will find it or maybe Tom will read this and put it on for you. good luck with your babies.
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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Your baby looks so cute! A few tips that I have to offer to obtain the correct humidity levels is a closed chamber. You can put something over your enclosure like aluminum foil or a lid so that your hatchling doesn’t pyramid. Make sure to mist your enclosure regularly and soak your leopard tort.
 

KarenSoCal

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Just in case you didn't find it I'll link it for you.

You really need to get this baby into a closed chamber ASAP. It is the only way to properly regulate temps and humidity. I'll link a couple more threads for you.




 

Rabo

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Unfortunately in Tom’s “Closed Chamber” section pictures are no longer available. Can anyone send some good examples of closed chambers for a baby leopard tortoise?
 

jeannettep

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I am so sorry. I'm no expert but your baby may not have been started right & sounds like what happened to the first ones I tried. Maybe Tom can provide some info for you. But so many are not started right with proper humidity and all I could do was give them as best of a quality of life I could. Painfully I lost all 3 of my babies. I didn't really understand until I received my well started hatchling from a reputable breeder. 45 g is about the weight my original ones were & they never grew. I cover my habitat with foil over most of it & keep the humidity high, mist the substrate. I use coco coir because I want to make sure it will come out the other side if she does eat it. Soak your baby a lot. The vet I took my little ones too said to look at the back legs, if they are wrinkly, soak more. The vet said exactly what Tom explained later, humidity.
 

Tom

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If the baby was started too dry, and then kept too dry by you for the last 7 weeks, then all you can do is offer the best conditions possible and hope for the best.

The tortoise would be well over 100 grams by 3-4 months. 45 grams at 7 months, and still 44 grams at almost 9 months, is an indicator that you have a problem. No one can fix this. No vet will be able to fix this either. Most vets don't even understand basic care for tortoises.

Here is more info on what is likely happening:

The care sheet and info that Karen linked will explain what you need to do.
 

Rabo

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Thank you very much for answering and providing all that info, be it not very optimistic.
My mistake was obviously that I didn’t read everything necessary BEFORE taking the animal. Breeder’s mistakes I cannot comment or imagine because they just told me from the shop that they take those reptiles from a breeder was in Czech Republic. And I live in Bulgaria. So it’s all maybe related to breeders’, sellers’ and resellers’s tricks and schemes...I just have 4 children and spontaneously decided to buy a small animal for them...
Anyway, as a result of this morning’s hectic efforts I managed to relocate the tortoise in a new comparatively closed chamber which you will see in the attached photos. Tomorrow I will go and cut glass so that I can cover the chamber with a sliding glass lid, not nylon. I think I succeeded in raising humidity up to 92-94% but have to probably constantly measure in all corners and frequently spray.
I will cut half of the cover I’ve prepared for the tortoise because as you can see it’s too big for this enclosure. I also put some sphagnum moss beneath it, am I right to do so or I must remove it?
They didn’t have mulch in the shop today so it’s only this substrate on the floor: “Komodo“ tortoise eco terrain (I’ve attached a photo of the package). They advised me to put “Komodo” forest terrain (again amongst attached photos) on top of substrate if I wish, shall I do this? Please advise and comment on the substrate issue because in our country they seem to import brands that differ from those in the UK. For example I also didn’t succeed in finding Mazuri small tortoise diet LS which I intended to add to the daily menu I prepare for my tortoise, because it seems nobody ships Mazuri to our country. So I finally ended up in mixing some “Komodo” tortoise diet (in the photos) with the weeds and grass. The tortoise as I already mentioned is not keen on eating it however.
That’s all for now. I’ll appreciate comments and advises.
Let’s hope for the best.
 

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Suranai

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Robo,

I saw something you might want to check out on youtube. Most likely related to Tom's mention of failure syndrome. I'm not saying your tortoise has it but it's a possibility.

Goodbye Valentine: Tale of a Leopard Tortoise that never grew..

Hopefully it just lacks D3 to process calcium. I don't trust UVB so I also get D3 supplement for mine. And when the weather is nice, I always bring the little one outside.

N.
 

Tom

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Thank you very much for answering and providing all that info, be it not very optimistic.
My mistake was obviously that I didn’t read everything necessary BEFORE taking the animal. Breeder’s mistakes I cannot comment or imagine because they just told me from the shop that they take those reptiles from a breeder was in Czech Republic. And I live in Bulgaria. So it’s all maybe related to breeders’, sellers’ and resellers’s tricks and schemes...I just have 4 children and spontaneously decided to buy a small animal for them...
Anyway, as a result of this morning’s hectic efforts I managed to relocate the tortoise in a new comparatively closed chamber which you will see in the attached photos. Tomorrow I will go and cut glass so that I can cover the chamber with a sliding glass lid, not nylon. I think I succeeded in raising humidity up to 92-94% but have to probably constantly measure in all corners and frequently spray.
I will cut half of the cover I’ve prepared for the tortoise because as you can see it’s too big for this enclosure. I also put some sphagnum moss beneath it, am I right to do so or I must remove it?
They didn’t have mulch in the shop today so it’s only this substrate on the floor: “Komodo“ tortoise eco terrain (I’ve attached a photo of the package). They advised me to put “Komodo” forest terrain (again amongst attached photos) on top of substrate if I wish, shall I do this? Please advise and comment on the substrate issue because in our country they seem to import brands that differ from those in the UK. For example I also didn’t succeed in finding Mazuri small tortoise diet LS which I intended to add to the daily menu I prepare for my tortoise, because it seems nobody ships Mazuri to our country. So I finally ended up in mixing some “Komodo” tortoise diet (in the photos) with the weeds and grass. The tortoise as I already mentioned is not keen on eating it however.
That’s all for now. I’ll appreciate comments and advises.
Let’s hope for the best.
The "Tortoise Eco Terrain" looks like an imitation of the Pets At Home stuff from the UK. Its dangerous, a bad idea, and should not be used. Encouraging a tortoise to eat sandy substrate to satisfy its calcium cravings makes no sense.

The "Forest Terrain" looks like it might be fine, but I can't read the package to see what it is.

Remove the moss. It does nothing and they usually eat it and can get impacted.

I don't know that the breeders and sellers are scheming. There is mass ignorance the world over about how to raise baby tortoises. For decades we've all been taught that tortoises are all desert animals and that they need to be dry all the time. This is the opposite of the truth, and you are seeing the evidence first hand.

I only see one fixture in your pics. The tortoise MUST have night heat. The temperature should not drop below 80F at any time in any part of the enclosure.

About the bulb: That is a mercury vapor bulb. Those should not be used over tortoises. They cause pyramiding. They are also fragile, expensive, and unreliable. Some of them stop producing UV prematurely.

All of this and more is explained in the care sheet:
 

Rabo

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Just want to share with you some pics of the the new enclosure I’ve fixed up for my tortoise. But I definitely need some advise of what type of heating bulb and what type of UVB to fix in there...They keep trying to convince me from the zoo shop that the mercury vapour bulb I’m currently using is the best solution...
 

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Tom

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Just want to share with you some pics of the the new enclosure I’ve fixed up for my tortoise. But I definitely need some advise of what type of heating bulb and what type of UVB to fix in there...They keep trying to convince me from the zoo shop that the mercury vapour bulb I’m currently using is the best solution...
Don't even talk to the pet store people. They will steer you the wrong way.

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
 

Rabo

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Thank you very much indeed! Will come back with solutions for you to check.
 
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