Lethargic horsfield

Stevebrown

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Hello all, for some reason my baby horsfield has very suddenly lost his mojo, just like his clockwork has stopped? He was fine 5 days ago then seems to have given up? It has got cold & wet here in England this week as we head towards winter & the central heating is now on!!? I keep him indoors in a tortoise enclosure with a mercury vapour lamp. He has stopped eating, soaking himself,wandering etc & I have not seen any poo or any urine. He just wants to sleep under his den & not come out. Health wise he seems ok, no sign of respiratory problems or stress? Has his hibernation body clock started? Even tho he is too young/ small for this? I'm worried about the lack of food tho? Should I soak him everyday to keep him hydrated?? I am a 4 month newbie for tortoises so I apologise if this question has been raised before? Thanks
 

Yvonne G

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It's hard for us to give GOOD information on this subject this time of year, because we don't know if he's sick or trying to brumate. You say he's too young/small to brumate. It's perfectly normal for baby tortoises to brumate. That's what they do in the wild. Sometimes they don't even come out of the nest, staying in there until warmer weather in the spring. So, hopefully he's not ill and only trying to brumate. Don't worry about his not eating. They stop eating a couple weeks before brumation in order to clean out their digestive tract. So they still need it to be warm enough to keep the digestive tract moving and clear out all that food and feces. I'm going to copy/paste what I just told a member about their desert tortoise:

"Hi Cathy, and welcome to the Forum! I'm assuming by "DETO" you mean a desert tortoise? No, definitely DO NOT feed her. Desert tortoises go into a brumation, which is not a true hibernation. They can still move however slowly. BUT - About two weeks prior to them going into brumation mode they stop eating in order to clear out their digestive tract. Since you went on vacation, and probably fed her before you left, I can only assume she has not cleared out her digestive tract. Moving her into a colder area now means her body temperature won't be high enough to digest any food left inside, and it will sit there and rot. Here's what I would do, just to make sure she's ok after having someone else care for her while you were gone (we've heard horror stories of tortoises left in the care of others): Soak her in warm water daily for about a half hour. Keep the lights/heat on, but only for about 8 hours a day. Do not offer food. Do this for about a week, then if she seems ok to you, bright eyes, alert, go ahead and move the light up higher and only have it on for about 6 hours a day. Once she goes into her shelter and stops coming out, you can move the enclosure to a colder building"
 

Stevebrown

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Thanks for the information, I have just soaked him in mild warm water, he opened his eyes & wiped his face with both front legs. I put some fresh kale in his food bowl & placed him near it, of which he is now back asleep again laying on his kale??!? I will give him a daily soak for hydration & keep his temperatures as usual. Basking area is 95f cool area is 75f & night time drops to 60f so I think I may have the temps ok? Basking lamp is 12 inch away from his flat stone. Ps, the saline drops for his eye seems to have worked, his eye is clear, not weeping & no longer gummy, so many thanks for the help
 

Yvonne G

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Don't feed him. You're trying to allow the digestive tract to clear out. Well, I mean - are you going to allow him to brumate? If no, then offering food is ok. Also, your night time temps might be a bit low.
 

Cathie G

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Thanks for the information, I have just soaked him in mild warm water, he opened his eyes & wiped his face with both front legs. I put some fresh kale in his food bowl & placed him near it, of which he is now back asleep again laying on his kale??!? I will give him a daily soak for hydration & keep his temperatures as usual. Basking area is 95f cool area is 75f & night time drops to 60f so I think I may have the temps ok? Basking lamp is 12 inch away from his flat stone. Ps, the saline drops for his eye seems to have worked, his eye is clear, not weeping & no longer gummy, so many thanks for the help
Hello and welcome. My little Russian won't eat kale either. I like Fluckers repta rinse for an eye rinse if needed.
 

Stevebrown

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Thanks for the advice. I don't want him to brumate if posible? So will keep him to his usual daily routine while he was active. I will offer food & see what happens? I have a thermal blanket that I can put over his cage at night that will keep the night time temps up a bit. Should I still handle him, as he seems to enjoy interaction with a human? Or just leave alone until he starts eating/ pooing again?
 

Cathie G

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Thanks for the advice. I don't want him to brumate if posible? So will keep him to his usual daily routine while he was active. I will offer food & see what happens? I have a thermal blanket that I can put over his cage at night that will keep the night time temps up a bit. Should I still handle him, as he seems to enjoy interaction with a human? Or just leave alone until he starts eating/ pooing again?
My little Russian likes me too. I've never hibernated him because he was an adult when I got him. He wasn't really healthy and other reasons too. He's not quite as active in the fall and winter so I offer him fresh food every day anyway. If he tries to sleep to long I wake him up. I've had him for 12 years so he's at least give or take 17 years old. I don't know what's best for baby horsefields though. I have read that you don't have to but I'm not sure about the babies. I wouldn't though until you completely understand how to. Best wishes.
 

Stevebrown

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Yesterday I spoke to a company here in the uk that specialises in reptiles & come well recommended. They said that I will have to fight nature!! & break the cycle of him trying to hibernate. So when he legs it to the cooler area & burrows down & starts sleeping a lot, to move him back to the basking area. Also to soak him every second day & to offer food but not be concerned if he doesn't eat at the moment. I had him out for a soak so he woke up, had a wander & then went for the dog. So some things don't change??? I'm going to get a selection of food now to tempt him. I have some weed seeds growing at the moment to cover over our winter. Thanks to all for advice
 

Lyn W

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You could get a ceramic heating element and run it through a thermostat for night temps. It just heats and doesn't give light.
Be careful about putting him under the basking light too long as he may be moving away to cool down - you don't want him to overheat.

I can't remember what sort of mvb you are using but as long as it's not a coiled or cfl type bulb it should be OK. Can you find one on the web and copy and paste it here? That still works.
Is it hanging or clamped onto the side of his enclosure? If it is clamped and at an angle then he won't be getting the full benefit of it so it is better to hang them so that they can be raised or lowered to adjust temps. The clamps have also been known to fail and cause fires.

What sort of thermometer are you using and is it recording temps at the torts level? Some people make the mistake of placing the thermometer too high so they are getting higher temps than where the tort is.
A digital temp gun is ideal for spot checking temps at tort level (about £10 on Amazon)and a digital thermometer and hygrometer for humidity with a probe is much better than the dial type most pet shops sell.
Sorry to ask so many questions - it really is a pain not being able to post pics at the moment as we can't see if your set up needs tweaking to help.
 

Stevebrown

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I do allow him to wander away for a cool down but I keep an eye on him as he goes to the cool area for a while then starts to burrow down for a snooze. I allow a certain time of a few hours then move him back to the basking area. It's up to him if he wishes to go directly under the bulb, which he usually does. My bulb is an adjustable type on a stand, & I have a digital thermometer so I know temps are fine. All seems to be going well so far apart from he hasn't eaten in 6 days, but was told not to worry about this?
 

Stevebrown

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Sadly my little tortoise died last wednesday, im so upset i could not post until now. What i mistook for him trying to hibernate, was obviously the fact that he was ill ?? He did not show any signs of illness or distress at all? He just did not eat & wanted to sleep all the time. On his last day he passed a large stool while having a lukewarm soak & went onto his basking stone, 2 hours later i could get no response. I went through the motions for 24 hours in case it was a deep sleep?? But after that it was obvious he had gone. His eyes had sunk & his plastron had gone soft. His setup, diet & vitamins were all by the book. Now i feel guilty
 

Yvonne G

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Aw, I'm so sorry. It's the not knowing 'why' that hurts so badly. Please take comfort in knowing you really tried. Sometimes we just can't fix it.
 

vladimir

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope one day you can bring another tortoise into your life when you're ready.
 

Cathie G

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Sadly my little tortoise died last wednesday, im so upset i could not post until now. What i mistook for him trying to hibernate, was obviously the fact that he was ill ?? He did not show any signs of illness or distress at all? He just did not eat & wanted to sleep all the time. On his last day he passed a large stool while having a lukewarm soak & went onto his basking stone, 2 hours later i could get no response. I went through the motions for 24 hours in case it was a deep sleep?? But after that it was obvious he had gone. His eyes had sunk & his plastron had gone soft. His setup, diet & vitamins were all by the book. Now i feel guilty
I'm so sorry you've lost your little tortoise. You just never know what will happen even if you've tried your best with babies...of all kinds.
 

Stevebrown

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Thank you for all your kind words, this weekend I'm off to look at some hermann,s tortoise at a recommended reptile store as I have been informed that the hermann,s is a good breed for our British climate. I have spent too much money on setting up for a tortoise just to give up? Also while I only had tich for 4 months I just fell in love with tortoises in general, so I would like to give a home to one again. This time I think I will get an older tortoise rather than a baby under 1 years old?
 

Cathie G

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Thank you for all your kind words, this weekend I'm off to look at some hermann,s tortoise at a recommended reptile store as I have been informed that the hermann,s is a good breed for our British climate. I have spent too much money on setting up for a tortoise just to give up? Also while I only had tich for 4 months I just fell in love with tortoises in general, so I would like to give a home to one again. This time I think I will get an older tortoise rather than a baby under 1 years old?
I've had a wonderful 12 years with my little Russian and he was probably an adult. Maybe 5 give or take. I'm glad you don't want to give up. There's lots of tortoises out there that need a good home.
 

Stevebrown

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Just to finish this thread, I've just brought home an 18 month old hermann,s which I got from a specialised reptile store. They think he could be male? But I'm not too bothered. Got his paperwork as well which says he is captive bred & originated from serbia, which makes him an eastern hermann. He is now exploring his new pen, so if you all excuse me I'm off to do some bonding ha ha
 

Cathie G

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Just to finish this thread, I've just brought home an 18 month old hermann,s which I got from a specialised reptile store. They think he could be male? But I'm not too bothered. Got his paperwork as well which says he is captive bred & originated from serbia, which makes him an eastern hermann. He is now exploring his new pen, so if you all excuse me I'm off to do some bonding ha ha
Sweet...
 
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