Lethargic, help!

Mateya.sarne

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Laramie
Hey all, I need some reassurance/advice for my 1 year old Sulcata, Timmy.
I have searched for answers/tips on the forum all day (so yes my temperature/humidity, substrate, enclosure, lighting & diet has followed the needs of a young tortoise). I am posting this on a Monday night, I first noticed that Tim was not acting himself Saturday night. He is usually very active & has a great appetite every feeding. Although, he was not interested in his food & I didn’t think much of it until Sunday when he would not come out of his hide. After seeing advice on here, I did soak him right away. I also let him out & tried to feed him; he walked around a bit but only took a few chomps of his food & then went straight to his cave once I put him back. Today, he only made one appearance sitting at the entrance of his hide. I was able to soak him, watched him drink a little & he ate only a bit more than yesterday. I have not seen any poops since Sunday. He doesn’t have any discharge around his eyes/nose & his skin & tail look healthy. I am worried because this is not like him at all, he may put himself to bed early on some days but he is never not active during the day.
Please, any advice or suggestions of things I could try out would be very appreciated!!
 

Oreo Mario

New Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
16
Location (City and/or State)
America
Hey all, I need some reassurance/advice for my 1 year old Sulcata, Timmy.
I have searched for answers/tips on the forum all day (so yes my temperature/humidity, substrate, enclosure, lighting & diet has followed the needs of a young tortoise). I am posting this on a Monday night, I first noticed that Tim was not acting himself Saturday night. He is usually very active & has a great appetite every feeding. Although, he was not interested in his food & I didn’t think much of it until Sunday when he would not come out of his hide. After seeing advice on here, I did soak him right away. I also let him out & tried to feed him; he walked around a bit but only took a few chomps of his food & then went straight to his cave once I put him back. Today, he only made one appearance sitting at the entrance of his hide. I was able to soak him, watched him drink a little & he ate only a bit more than yesterday. I have not seen any poops since Sunday. He doesn’t have any discharge around his eyes/nose & his skin & tail look healthy. I am worried because this is not like him at all, he may put himself to bed early on some days but he is never not active during the day.
Please, any advice or suggestions of things I could try out would be very appreciated!!
Ok
So even my star tortoise was not eating something
So i did put some hot water in a bowl
And did take carrot and did take out some carrot juice by pressing with my hands
And remember not much hot water you should take a little where he can go mean medium
Ok
And put for 10 min
Do this 2 times a day
And do see whats the result and try update us
I hope he get active and start eating food soon
I hope this works
Oreo Mario
 

Blackdog1714

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
4,108
Location (City and/or State)
Richmond, VA
Hey all, I need some reassurance/advice for my 1 year old Sulcata, Timmy.
I have searched for answers/tips on the forum all day (so yes my temperature/humidity, substrate, enclosure, lighting & diet has followed the needs of a young tortoise). I am posting this on a Monday night, I first noticed that Tim was not acting himself Saturday night. He is usually very active & has a great appetite every feeding. Although, he was not interested in his food & I didn’t think much of it until Sunday when he would not come out of his hide. After seeing advice on here, I did soak him right away. I also let him out & tried to feed him; he walked around a bit but only took a few chomps of his food & then went straight to his cave once I put him back. Today, he only made one appearance sitting at the entrance of his hide. I was able to soak him, watched him drink a little & he ate only a bit more than yesterday. I have not seen any poops since Sunday. He doesn’t have any discharge around his eyes/nose & his skin & tail look healthy. I am worried because this is not like him at all, he may put himself to bed early on some days but he is never not active during the day.
Please, any advice or suggestions of things I could try out would be very appreciated!!
What are
1. Lights- UVB, basking, general (wattage and type)
2. Heat Sources and corresponding temperatures (Overall cage, basking spot, cool side, overnight & humid hide)
3. Humidity levels (Overall, humid Hide)
4. Substrate- type and depth
5. Foods feed, how often and how much
6. Enclosure setup- pictures preferable
7. Soaks- how long, how often, temperature of water
8. Temperature measuring/controlling devices (laser temp gun, thermometers ...etc)
9. Weight and size of tortoise.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,489
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hey all, I need some reassurance/advice for my 1 year old Sulcata, Timmy.
I have searched for answers/tips on the forum all day (so yes my temperature/humidity, substrate, enclosure, lighting & diet has followed the needs of a young tortoise). I am posting this on a Monday night, I first noticed that Tim was not acting himself Saturday night. He is usually very active & has a great appetite every feeding. Although, he was not interested in his food & I didn’t think much of it until Sunday when he would not come out of his hide. After seeing advice on here, I did soak him right away. I also let him out & tried to feed him; he walked around a bit but only took a few chomps of his food & then went straight to his cave once I put him back. Today, he only made one appearance sitting at the entrance of his hide. I was able to soak him, watched him drink a little & he ate only a bit more than yesterday. I have not seen any poops since Sunday. He doesn’t have any discharge around his eyes/nose & his skin & tail look healthy. I am worried because this is not like him at all, he may put himself to bed early on some days but he is never not active during the day.
Please, any advice or suggestions of things I could try out would be very appreciated!!
If you can answer the questions that Balckdog listed, we'll probably be able to figure out your problem and help you out.
 

Mateya.sarne

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Laramie
What are
1. Lights- I use a UVB150 26 watt bulb, it’s on 12 hours of the day & turns off at night giving him a dark room.
2. Heating- I use a 120 watt ceramic bulb for a heat source, it is on 24/7. His basking spot reaches at about 100F. The coolest each end of his enclosure gets is 72-75, it is regularly at 72.
3. Humidity- His humidity levels are honestly quite hard to keep high. I use a humidifier to help out & it is on majority of the day. I know the levels should be 80-90% & but living in a dry climate his levels are usually no lower than 70%.
4. Substrate- I use eco earth coco choir for the base of his substrate & mix it with cypress mulch to hold more moisture. Then I use repti bark for the top layer. It’s about 3-4 inches deep.
5. Feeding- I regularly feed him green leaf lettuce, romaine, turnip greens, dandelion greens. I feed hibiscus flowers 1-2 times ever 2 weeks. Other treats that are fed 1-3 times a month are strawberry, red pepper, yellow squash.
7. Soaks- I soak Timmy every day, as his humidity levels are as high as they should be. His soaks are on average 10 minutes long. I do not check the exact temperature of his water but I do use warm water every time, I make sure it is not too hot as if I were to use it for a baby.
8. Temp devices- I use a digital temperature gage that dual measures temp & humidity. I am looking to buy a new temperature gage to get more accurate measurements.
9. Weight- I checked Timmys weight last week & it measured at 0.8 lbs (362 g). I’ll post pictures on a separate response.
 

SoCalGreek

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2021
Messages
31
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I have no idea what is wrong with your little guy, but I want to give you a huge high five for doing research on this forum, checking on the standard problems (light, temp, etc...), and trying a few things before asking. 🙌 Every person who has a question should ask in order to keep their tort healthy and happy, but good for you for doing some of the problem solving from trusted sources first.

Good luck with your little guy!
I have discovered a few times this winter that my little guy’s tank was cooler than normal and that he was more lethargic that day as a result. He’s also in an open top enclosure so even though he can get to multiple appropriately warm areas, he responded like he was too cold because of mild changes in the ambient room temperature (so cal weather is so unpredictable! One day the heat is on in the house and the next, the kids are in shorts playing in the warm sunshine 🤦‍♀️.).

From what I’ve seen on this forum, typical causes of torts not being as active or not eating much are
1. They are too cold.
2. Their lights aren’t correct anymore.
3. They are dehydrated.
4. They have an uri.
5. They are unhappy because they don’t have a large enough enclosure.
6. They aren’t eating the correct foods.
While all of the above variables might have been correct, it seems that people here are able to help much more quickly when the person posts all of the specific info right away and in one post. Someone above asked lots of good questions for you that will likely help the experts give you advice.
Again, wishing you and your little guy lots of luck in a quick resolution.
 

Mateya.sarne

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Laramie
I have no idea what is wrong with your little guy, but I want to give you a huge high five for doing research on this forum, checking on the standard problems (light, temp, etc...), and trying a few things before asking. 🙌 Every person who has a question should ask in order to keep their tort healthy and happy, but good for you for doing some of the problem solving from trusted sources first.

Good luck with your little guy!
I have discovered a few times this winter that my little guy’s tank was cooler than normal and that he was more lethargic that day as a result. He’s also in an open top enclosure so even though he can get to multiple appropriately warm areas, he responded like he was too cold because of mild changes in the ambient room temperature (so cal weather is so unpredictable! One day the heat is on in the house and the next, the kids are in shorts playing in the warm sunshine 🤦‍♀️.).

From what I’ve seen on this forum, typical causes of torts not being as active or not eating much are
1. They are too cold.
2. Their lights aren’t correct anymore.
3. They are dehydrated.
4. They have an uri.
5. They are unhappy because they don’t have a large enough enclosure.
6. They aren’t eating the correct foods.
While all of the above variables might have been correct, it seems that people here are able to help much more quickly when the person posts all of the specific info right away and in one post. Someone above asked lots of good questions for you that will likely help the experts give you advice.
Again, wishing you and your little guy lots of luck in a quick resolution.
Thank you!!! I appreciate the support! I agree, it is better to try a few things out & look for those essential & basic needs first. I have a bit of an update for today, he is eating more & was a bit more active as well. My only true worry now is he has not pooped since Saturday (from what I have been able to recognize). I did make an appointment for the vet tomorrow.
 

SoCalGreek

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2021
Messages
31
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you!!! I appreciate the support! I agree, it is better to try a few things out & look for those essential & basic needs first. I have a bit of an update for today, he is eating more & was a bit more active as well. My only true worry now is he has not pooped since Saturday (from what I have been able to recognize). I did make an appointment for the vet tomorrow.
Great news! Chances are: either he’s a bit dehydrated or he did poop and you just didn’t find it yet. I would try a 20-30 minute warm water soak tonight and in the morning. It definitely won’t hurt him as long as he is kept warm enough in the water and the water is clear of poop/pee.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,489
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
1. Lights- I use a UVB150 26 watt bulb, it’s on 12 hours of the day & turns off at night giving him a dark room.
2. Heating- I use a 120 watt ceramic bulb for a heat source, it is on 24/7. His basking spot reaches at about 100F. The coolest each end of his enclosure gets is 72-75, it is regularly at 72.
3. Humidity- His humidity levels are honestly quite hard to keep high. I use a humidifier to help out & it is on majority of the day. I know the levels should be 80-90% & but living in a dry climate his levels are usually no lower than 70%.
4. Substrate- I use eco earth coco choir for the base of his substrate & mix it with cypress mulch to hold more moisture. Then I use repti bark for the top layer. It’s about 3-4 inches deep.
5. Feeding- I regularly feed him green leaf lettuce, romaine, turnip greens, dandelion greens. I feed hibiscus flowers 1-2 times ever 2 weeks. Other treats that are fed 1-3 times a month are strawberry, red pepper, yellow squash.
7. Soaks- I soak Timmy every day, as his humidity levels are as high as they should be. His soaks are on average 10 minutes long. I do not check the exact temperature of his water but I do use warm water every time, I make sure it is not too hot as if I were to use it for a baby.
8. Temp devices- I use a digital temperature gage that dual measures temp & humidity. I am looking to buy a new temperature gage to get more accurate measurements.
9. Weight- I checked Timmys weight last week & it measured at 0.8 lbs (362 g). I’ll post pictures on a separate response.
1. No coil bulbs. These can sometimes burn their eyes and should never be used over tortoises.
2. Your CHE should be on a thermostat. On 24/7 is not good. 72-75 is much too cool for this species. No part of the enclosure should ever drop below 80.
2a. I see no basking bulb. Your tortoise needs an incandescent basking bulb that is set on a timer for around 12 hours a day.
3. Humidifiers should not be used in tortoise enclosures. Breathing in water droplets is not good. To keep humidity where it Neds to be, you need a closed chamber. Its very easy to maintain the correct temp and humidity in a closed chamber. Your tortoise is ready to bump up to a bigger enclosure now anyway, so its a good time to make the switch.
4. There is no reason to use three types of substrate. The there you are using are all safe, but 3-4 inches of fine grade orchid bark will work best.
5. Your diet needs much improvement. Grocery store greens are not a good diet. You need to be adding fiber and variety in several ways if you must use grocery store greens for part of every year.
7. Better to soak for 30-40 minutes, but keep the water warm the whole time. At his size, you can skip days now and then, but no harm in doing it daily.
8. Sounds good.
9. 362 is a little small for 12 months, but not too bad. Its what I'd expect with cooler temps and a drier environment. If your tortoise had been in a warm humid closed chamber, he'd probably be around 800 grams right now.

So you've got a few problems that could explain the behavior: Wrong lighting, no basking area, too dry, too cold, 24/7 on the CHE, small open topped enclosure, and wrong foods. Over time, any or all of these could be causing a variety of problems for you.

Read this for all the correct housing, lighting, heating and feeding info:
 

Mateya.sarne

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Laramie
1. No coil bulbs. These can sometimes burn their eyes and should never be used over tortoises.
2. Your CHE should be on a thermostat. On 24/7 is not good. 72-75 is much too cool for this species. No part of the enclosure should ever drop below 80.
2a. I see no basking bulb. Your tortoise needs an incandescent basking bulb that is set on a timer for around 12 hours a day.
3. Humidifiers should not be used in tortoise enclosures. Breathing in water droplets is not good. To keep humidity where it Neds to be, you need a closed chamber. Its very easy to maintain the correct temp and humidity in a closed chamber. Your tortoise is ready to bump up to a bigger enclosure now anyway, so its a good time to make the switch.
4. There is no reason to use three types of substrate. The there you are using are all safe, but 3-4 inches of fine grade orchid bark will work best.
5. Your diet needs much improvement. Grocery store greens are not a good diet. You need to be adding fiber and variety in several ways if you must use grocery store greens for part of every year.
7. Better to soak for 30-40 minutes, but keep the water warm the whole time. At his size, you can skip days now and then, but no harm in doing it daily.
8. Sounds good.
9. 362 is a little small for 12 months, but not too bad. Its what I'd expect with cooler temps and a drier environment. If your tortoise had been in a warm humid closed chamber, he'd probably be around 800 grams right now.

So you've got a few problems that could explain the behavior: Wrong lighting, no basking area, too dry, too cold, 24/7 on the CHE, small open topped enclosure, and wrong foods. Over time, any or all of these could be causing a variety of problems for you.

Read this for all the correct housing, lighting, heating and feeding info:
Thank you Tom!! This was very very helpful & I will be improving everything noted ASAP.
I do have a few questions:
Lighting- will the lights mentioned give adequate amounts of UVB as well? I read your attached link but didn’t see anything about UVB. I wanted to make sure if I use just the fluorescent tube & the flood light that he will get enough uva/uvb. I know I will have to gage the temperature of the enclosure by using a thermostat & timer for my CHE, is the best placement of a CHE on one end of the enclosure & the other two lighting/basking elements on the other end?

& just to get things straight- So far, I will need to replace my coil bulb with the fluorescent tube. Add a flood light for basking area. Set timers & thermostat up to get corrected temperatures & lighting. All of this along with change in his diet.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,489
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you Tom!! This was very very helpful & I will be improving everything noted ASAP.
I do have a few questions:
Lighting- will the lights mentioned give adequate amounts of UVB as well? I read your attached link but didn’t see anything about UVB. I wanted to make sure if I use just the fluorescent tube & the flood light that he will get enough uva/uvb. I know I will have to gage the temperature of the enclosure by using a thermostat & timer for my CHE, is the best placement of a CHE on one end of the enclosure & the other two lighting/basking elements on the other end?

& just to get things straight- So far, I will need to replace my coil bulb with the fluorescent tube. Add a flood light for basking area. Set timers & thermostat up to get corrected temperatures & lighting. All of this along with change in his diet.
HO tubes make the best UV of any type of bulb. That will have you covered, but it needs to be mounted at the correct height depending on which bulb you buy. Its best to use a UV meter to set the correct height and also to monitor bulb performance over the years.

CHE should be in the middle to maintain ambient heat. Sometimes you need two to spread the heat out more.

Basking bulb should be over to one side.
 
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