My horsfield isn't eating and sleeping all the time

Beth1993

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Joined
Nov 6, 2015
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2
Hi,

So I got my horsfield tortoise who I got told was around 2 years old in July this year. He used to be quite active, always enjoying his baths and active during the day and eating pretty much everyday.

However for just over the past month he has been sleeping a lot and barely eating, and I haven't seen him eat a single thing for the past few weeks. He also hasn't pooed at all in the past few weeks.

I also noticed that he had what I suspected to be runny nose syndrome, and was worried about him in general, so took him to the vets on Monday, she gave him some antibiotics and also some critical care food to force feed him, and told me to up his bathes to twice a day (I used to do it 2-3 times a week, as he has a bath in his table). I am managing to get him to take his antibiotics (taken 3 doses out of 7 so far), but have only managed to force feed him three times, and am considering not doing it any more as I have read conflicting things about it on forums. I have also tried bathing him in some baby food/water baths a couple of times as I read this can help introduce some vitamins to them again.

Although he seems abit more active now, going for walks after his evening baths, I'm still really worried about him not eating or pooing :( Should I continue with trying to force feed him? And although he is active after his baths when I put him back in his table he just stays in the same position and goes to sleep!

Could someone please advise me what best to do, or what you think may be wrong with him?

A friend who keeps alot of reptiles said it may just be because he wants to hibernate (which I don't plan to do this year), but I'm still worrying :(

Additional Information:

I keep him in a tortoise table.
I have a UV spot light and a heat bulb
The temperature at the warm end is around 32 degrees celsius and around 18 degrees celsius at the cooler end ( probably lower in the night time)
Substrate is mixture of soil and sand (but this is quite dry, not sure if I should be adding water to it)
Diet consists of: kale, watercress, carrot, butternut squash, lettuce, tomato,cucumber. And I sprinkle calcium powder on his food sometimes.

Thanks for reading! :)
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Beth, and welcome to the Forum!

The most common cause for a tortoise to slow down eating is because he's not warm enough. This time of year also plays a big part with Russian tortoises, as they want to hibernate. Buy a good point and shoot temperature gauge and read the temperature all over the floor of your tortoise's habitat. You may need to lower the light a bit to get it warm enough at floor level. You are looking for 100F or so directly under the light, fading to around 85F at one end and room temperature at the other end.

We have a couple of good care sheets for Russian tortoises pinned at the top of our Russian section.
 

Tom

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Your temperatures are much too cool. Your vet is medicating and force feeding an animal that is not sick and is responding normally to the environmental conditions you have provided and the time of year. This is bad.

Where are you?
What equipment are you using for heating lighting and UV?

Like Yvonne said, the basking spot needs to be about 37 directly under the bulb and 32 is fine for the cool side during the day. Normally 18 at night is fine for a Russian, but if you want to prevent hibernation, it needs to be much warmer. I would not let your night temp drop below 24-26 for a while. You can use a ceramic heating element set on a thermostat to maintain your ambient where you want it.
 

Beth1993

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Nov 6, 2015
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2
Hi Guys,

Thanks for replying.

I am based in Leeds, England so it is starting to get pretty cold here now! For heating I have a basking bulb which I got from the local pet store, its 60w. And have a swirl type UV spot light though I have been reading these can be bad? Do you think it would be better to get a tube UV light?

Thanks! :)
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Location (City and/or State)
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Hi Guys,

Thanks for replying.

I am based in Leeds, England so it is starting to get pretty cold here now! For heating I have a basking bulb which I got from the local pet store, its 60w. And have a swirl type UV spot light though I have been reading these can be bad? Do you think it would be better to get a tube UV light?

Thanks! :)

The coil type bulbs sometimes burn their eyes and can certainly cause the symptoms you are seeing. Yes, a long tube type, or a mercury vapor bulb, would be better.
 
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