Lesson learned!

Moozillion

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5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
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Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,535
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
My Hermann's tortoise, Elsa, is about 12 years old. She's healthy, active and beautiful, and I got a little complacent. When she's in her outdoor enclosure (about 9 months of the year) I don't often soak her because here in south Louisiana it's humid and rains a LOT. But I do not allow her to brumate in the winter. She has an indoor enclosure and when I'm on my game, I soak her every other day when she's inside. I also add cucumber to her diet in the winter solely for their water content.
But I got slack about soaking her- I skipped a day or so, then skipped some more etc. Her urine was always clear, so I figured she was fine.
For Thanksgiving, she got a big feast of Mazuri and opuntia, and had a MASSIVE poop WHICH INCLUDED A LARGE LUMP OF URATES!!!:eek:
I was shocked! It wasn't super hard yet, but definitely very gritty and holding together well enough to maintain a pyramid sort of shape as she passed it. That couldn't have felt good.

One of the things I was taught very early on is to LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES with the intention of them never happening again.
SO, the lessons I learned from this are:
1) Soak Elsa regularly, and MORE often when she's indoors for the winter (just like I used to!)
2) Just because urine is CLEAR does NOT guarantee that there's not a urate stone forming: water and urine will flow AROUND solid stones!!! :eek::eek::eek:
3) There have been a lot of distractions in this crazy year, but when I stop and think about it, a lot of things in my immediate life and space have stayed the same.
4) Pay attention to the things I care most about.
5) Forgive myself...again. 🤷‍♀️
 
Last edited:

JKR11

New Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2020
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Merced, Ca
My Hermann's tortoise, Elsa, is about 12 years old. She's healthy, active and beautiful, and I got a little complacent. When she's in her outdoor enclosure (about 9 months of the year) I don't often soak her because here in south Louisiana it's humid and rains a LOT. But I do not allow her to brumate in the winter. She has an indoor enclosure and when I'm on my game, I soak her every other day when she's inside. I also add cucumber to her diet in the winter solely for their water content.
But I got slack about soaking her- I skipped a day or so, then skipped some more etc. Her urine was always clear, so I figured she was fine.
For Thanksgiving, she got a big feast of Mazuri and opuntia, and had a MASSIVE poop WHICH INCLUDED A LARGE LUMP OF URATES!!!:eek:
I was shocked! It wasn't super hard yet, but definitely very gritty and holding together well enough to maintain a pyramid sort of shape as she passed it. That couldn't have felt good.

One of the things I was taught very early on is to LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES with the intention of them never happening again.
SO, the lessons I learned from this are:
1) Soak Elsa regularly, and MORE often when she's indoors for the winter (just like I used to!)
2) Just because urine is CLEAR does NOT guarantee that there's not a urate stone forming: water and urine will flow AROUND solid stones!!! :eek::eek::eek:
3) There have been a lot of distractions in this crazy year, but when I stop and think about it, a lot of things in my immediate life and space have stayed the same.
4) Pay attention to the things I care most about.
5) Forgive myself...again. 🤷‍♀️
Thank you for the gentle reminder that I also need to soak my Russians more 💚
 

KarenSoCal

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Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,202
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Thanks for posting this, Bea. When I get a new pet, especially a different kind of creature like a tortoise, I, and I suspect many others, spend a period of time in panic mode, checking it every 10 minutes, fussing over each piece of substrate, counting and inspecting every pee and poop, etc. But when that phase goes on by, it is surprisingly easy to let complacency slip in, with possibly disastrous results. I've been that way with some tropical aquarium occupants.

Your post is a good reminder to me to stay alert to any changes in my critters, and to any slacking in my care of them.
 
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