Medical mystery: penis issues

jockma

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Bean’s been having an issue with his penis for months now.

I recently made a thread about how he doesn’t eat because he’s busy masturbating, and then I got into the “penis issue”. I thought I’d make a thread about it specifically because I’m desperate for help.

Bean is very active, healthy, and generally just doing great. The only issue he has is with substrate. When he’s on substrate, it somehow ends up sticking to his penis, which causes intense irritation. He ends up with his butt in the air like he’s pushing out a hard poop, straining for dear life, but all he’s trying to do is get the substrate off his penis. I keep him off substrate for now.

The vet can’t find anything wrong with him. Eating, pooping, peeing, moving, everything is fine. The vet checked the muscles in his cloacal region to see if there was some weakness but everything down there is extremely strong. In other words, Bean is doing this on purpose, and he’s making himself miserable. He refuses to soak himself to get the substrate off, he ends up sticking his penis out and dipping it in MORE substrate. I have to soak him myself to get it off.

I have no idea what to do from here on.

Please, if anyone has any experience with an issue like this, I’d really appreciate it...
 

wellington

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Only think I can think of is to switch to a substrate that is a bark. I don't think that could stick when he retracts his penis.
 

jockma

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Coconut coir. Been using it a long time though, and he started masturbating a few years ago, so the coir wasn’t an issue until recently.

I had springtails with cypress and it lost its ability to retain moisture very quickly. Any bark substrate recommendations?
 

Bambam1989

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Coconut coir. Been using it a long time though, and he started masturbating a few years ago, so the coir wasn’t an issue until recently.

I had springtails with cypress and it lost its ability to retain moisture very quickly. Any bark substrate recommendations?
Try orchid bark (called reptibark at pet stores). If you get it from a gardening supply just make sure it doesn't have any additives/ chemicals.
 

jockma

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It seems like a lot of people love orchid bark. I’ll try to get it wholesale somehow...I have a 5x7 ft enclosure to cover and he likes his substrate fairly deep.

Hopefully this puts an end to all this misery. In the future when his hormones hopefully settle down a little I’ll try coco again.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Coconut coir. Been using it a long time though, and he started masturbating a few years ago, so the coir wasn’t an issue until recently.

I had springtails with cypress and it lost its ability to retain moisture very quickly. Any bark substrate recommendations?

I would just switch back to Cypress mulch. Springtails aren't bad, they're good actually.
 

jockma

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I would just switch back to Cypress mulch. Springtails aren't bad, they're good actually.

Oh I know they’re good for cleaning up decaying matter, I’m just deathly afraid of insects. I know it’s illogical but I can’t help it. The mulch itself also breaks down quickly and I end up with low humidity and tons of springtails.

I live in California so cypress can be quite expensive as well, usually $20-ish for a small bag. I actually think the only time I’ve ever seen cypress for sale was at pet stores, the ridiculously overpriced 24 qt bags. I have to really push the cypress to its limit since it’s so dry in CA, maybe that’s why it has such a short lifespan.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Oh I know they’re good for cleaning up decaying matter, I’m just deathly afraid of insects. I know it’s illogical but I can’t help it. The mulch itself also breaks down quickly and I end up with low humidity and tons of springtails.

I live in California so cypress can be quite expensive as well, usually $20-ish for a small bag. I actually think the only time I’ve ever seen cypress for sale was at pet stores, the ridiculously overpriced 24 qt bags. I have to really push the cypress to its limit since it’s so dry in CA, maybe that’s why it has such a short lifespan.
Dang I get a bag of Cypress mulch at home Depot or Lowe's for $3 38421d46-46f0-4a12-9945-4a486fbf8530.jpg If your Redfoot is an adult you can get by without the super high humidity hatchlings need.
 
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jockma

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I just googled that brand and it’s not available for pickup or delivery at any retailer, I remember there were some legal issues around the sale of cypress on the west coast and apparently it’s still going strong.

Believe me, I’m happy with just 65% humidity in California. :) The cypress is good for a few weeks then struggles to hit 60%. He is an adopted pyramided sub-adult. I try to keep his humidity higher to try and counteract the increased risk of kidney issues.
 

nightoff

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Wholly crap! My 4yo redfoot just scared the crap out of me! I think he was trying to get his penis out and it seemed like it curled around IN his tail, making his tail look like a thick disk or paddle. Then I think his penis came out.....all the way out. Not a pretty sight. I stuck him in a bucket and ran inside to research. I'll give him a good soak and accept that my baby boy is becoming an adult tort. < sigh >
 

Toddrickfl1

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Wholly crap! My 4yo redfoot just scared the crap out of me! I think he was trying to get his penis out and it seemed like it curled around IN his tail, making his tail look like a thick disk or paddle. Then I think his penis came out.....all the way out. Not a pretty sight. I stuck him in a bucket and ran inside to research. I'll give him a good soak and accept that my baby boy is becoming an adult tort. < sigh >
It's pretty horrifying the first time you see it lol
 

nightoff

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Apparently, he has discovered he's all boy. I was letting my 9yo female and 4yo boy graze around the back yard together (he's aggressive with her and likes to flip her over so they live apart). I just went out to check on them and found them mating. Now I have to worry about fertilized eggs and little ones. Now I wonder if they mated the other day as well when I fist saw the "thing". : P
 

Michael231

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I just googled that brand and it’s not available for pickup or delivery at any retailer, I remember there were some legal issues around the sale of cypress on the west coast and apparently it’s still going strong.

Believe me, I’m happy with just 65% humidity in California. :) The cypress is good for a few weeks then struggles to hit 60%. He is an adopted pyramided sub-adult. I try to keep his humidity higher to try and counteract the increased risk of kidney issues.

Hello!

So it seems like you’re doing fine with keeping your humidity up for your tortoise (redfoots are adaptable), but I’d say don’t worry about kidney issues due to a previously pyramided tortoise. Kidney issues com when you have some form of a deficiency (I.e. osteodystrophy due to lack of calcium), an overload of nutrients (I.e. calcium, phosphorous, potassium, etc.), or an electrolyte imbalance (although actual kidney disease is unlikely unless oedema is allowed to persist).

While we still can’t say exactly what pyramiding is, an adult redfoot tortoise would do fine in a lower humidity environment, as where they come from in central, northeastern, and southwestern South America they inhabit both open-air savanna and humid forests.

With that said, good luck on getting to the bottom of this problem! And I have high hopes that the orchid bark will work!
 

MPappagallo

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It seems like a lot of people love orchid bark. I’ll try to get it wholesale somehow...I have a 5x7 ft enclosure to cover and he likes his substrate fairly deep.

Hopefully this puts an end to all this misery. In the future when his hormones hopefully settle down a little I’ll try coco again.
Our local Lowes store carries Orchid Bark, so you might want to check if you have one nearby. Be careful though, because they carry TWO types....one is called Orchid Bark Media....That's the one you want. The other is called Orchid Bark Potting Mix....that one has potting soil and additives in it. In my area, it costs about $5.75 for an 8qt bag.
 
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