my tortoise won't eat, move, or open his eyes?

avamagnanti

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hey all. super new here, this is my first post ever and i literally just joined tortoise forum so please bear with me. i've had my tort, franklin, for four years now. i got him from another family who had him for a long time. we've never changed any of the ways to take care of him, just doing exactly what his previous family told us to do. i sort of just trusted what they said, which was to feed him only the crunchy part of romaine lettuce and the occasional strawberry and not to give him water or baths because he just "makes a mess" and i havent strayed from that for fear of distressing him with sudden change but i dont think that was a good way for my franklin to live...he has been totally fine the entire time ive had him though, taking huge bites of food and being friendly to people and digging/basking/climbing all around his enclosure. until recently when he stopped eating? he hasnt eaten anything in weeks, he wont come out from under his little log hut in his enclosure, and he hasnt even opened his eyes. he is alive for sure!! my friend picked him up last week and he was moving around while she held him and today i decided to stray from his regular routine and bathe him. i soaked him for probably about 20 minutes in warm water. his eyes finally opened again and he walked around in his bath !! i dried him off thoroughly with paper towels like i read online to do and then gave him fresh lettuce and a water dish. he is back in his enclosure but has gone back to just laying down with his eyes shut and refusing to eat. what do i do?
 

Maro2Bear

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Greetings & Welcome. Wow, you really weren’t given good information at all on feeding or water.

There’s tons of info here in the Russian Tort section on how best to take care, food, soaking, substrate, temps, etc.

See if you can upload some pix of your enclosure & describe your heating & lighting situation.

Good luck..... start soaking every day for awhile. Check your temperatures.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome!

He may be suffering from lack of the proper nutrition for all those years. Think about it. . . when people diet they eat lettuce, right?

To get your little guy back on track start soaking him in Gerber baby food strained carrots and warm water. You can find the formula in our Frequently asked questions sections on the home page.

Then read our care sheet for russian tortoises and learn what you should be feeding him.

I'd link these two articles for you, but at the moment I'm on a device where I don't know how to copy/paste.
 

avamagnanti

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image.jpg image.jpg these are of him in his enclosure. it’s glass with a mesh top and a heat lamp that goes out at 8:30 pm every night and comes back on at 7:30 every morning, it’s on a timer. i honestly have no idea HOW to check his temperatures :( my poor boy. i feel awful because i truly had no idea how much misinformation i was given!!!! i know how irresponsible i look and i truly only did as i was told when he came into my care :/ image.jpg image.jpg
 

Chubbs the tegu

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heres the thread Yvonne was talking about. Give it a read.
 

Krista S

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this is the tank he has been in all his life :/ his previous family obviously didnt take great care of him or give us the proper instructions
Welcome to the forum. It’s good that you’re seeking out help and want to make his life better. His beak is severely over grown. He needs a vet who is experienced with tortoises to work on it. It looks quite deformed so it may be something that has to be done in stages. I imagine having such an over grown beak is very uncomfortable and it for sure makes it hard for him to eat. I would do those carrot baby food and water soaks that Yvonne mentioned, but I think you need to get that beak dealt with ASAP. Does he get any UV? I only see 1 bulb in the pictures. What kind is it? He definitely needs a massive enclosure upgrade. Tortoises walk for miles in a day in the wild. All of this walking helps them digest their food. He really should have an enclosure that is 4ft x 8ft at minimum. I know this is a lot to take in. Please take a good read of the care sheet above that was linked for you. Take a deep breath...you’ve come to the right place. We will help guide you and get things back on track for Franklin.

Here’s the link that @Yvonne G was referring to for the carrot baby food soaks.

 

avamagnanti

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Welcome to the forum. It’s good that you’re seeking out help and want to make his life better. His beak is severely over grown. He needs a vet who is experienced with tortoises to work on it. It looks quite deformed so it may be something that has to be done in stages. I imagine having such an over grown beak is very uncomfortable and it for sure makes it hard for him to eat. I would do those carrot baby food and water soaks that Yvonne mentioned, but I think you need to get that beak dealt with ASAP. Does he get any UV? I only see 1 bulb in the pictures. What kind is it? He definitely needs a massive enclosure upgrade. Tortoises walk for miles in a day in the wild. All of this walking helps them digest their food. He really should have an enclosure that is 4ft x 8ft at minimum. I know this is a lot to take in. Please take a good read of the care sheet above that was linked for you. Take a deep breath...you’ve come to the right place. We will help guide you and get things back on track for Franklin.

Here’s the link that @Yvonne G was referring to for the carrot baby food soaks.

thank you so much for linking that article. i was honestly told by these previous owners that his beak was meant to be like that and if he were in the wild it would naturally be shaved down by rocks. yes i realize how stupid that sounds now LOL. im not sure if his bulb is UV, it for sure has heat and we've never switched brands. i'll have to take a look at the boxes the bulbs come in when i get a chance and i'll totally update.
 

Jan A

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thank you so much for linking that article. i was honestly told by these previous owners that his beak was meant to be like that and if he were in the wild it would naturally be shaved down by rocks. yes i realize how stupid that sounds now LOL. im not sure if his bulb is UV, it for sure has heat and we've never switched brands. i'll have to take a look at the boxes the bulbs come in when i get a chance and i'll totally update.
Welcome to the forum. This is a lot to take in all at once. Hang in there.
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome to the forum.
You're in the right place to help give your tort a better and healthier life. Just follow all the advice you've already been given and from the caresheet and ask as many questions as you need.
Hopefully your tort will soon be much happier and healthier.
 

Cathie G

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thank you so much for linking that article. i was honestly told by these previous owners that his beak was meant to be like that and if he were in the wild it would naturally be shaved down by rocks. yes i realize how stupid that sounds now LOL. im not sure if his bulb is UV, it for sure has heat and we've never switched brands. i'll have to take a look at the boxes the bulbs come in when i get a chance and i'll totally update.
Hello and welcome. Truely if you had went elsewhere you probably would have found more bad advice. It's available everywhere. I had that problem too. I'm really glad I found this site. They'll help you.🤗
 

Yossarian

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So sad seeing a tort like this, that beak is likely to be a life threatening issue at this point. Happy to see you have taken it in and the fact your here shows you care, please give this tort more space asap. The beak is honestly a job for someone experienced with handling torts, either a vet or another owner, it will need a lot of material removed and then a lot of shaping of whats left. Otherwise the tort doesnt look too bad, give it time and with the right conditions this one will hopefully thrive.
 

Tom

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Your friends got all the wrong info from a pet store. I wouldn't blame them. They should have looked into it more, but its understandable that people listen to the pet store where they bought the animal. No matter now. You've found the correct care info now, and we are happy to help you.

Here are the key elements to deal with ASAP:
1. MUCH larger enclosure is needed right now. They need room to walk and exercise.
2. Soak daily in warm water for a good month. Once or twice a week should be plenty after that. Use a tall sided opaque container and use warm water that comes about 1/3 of the way up the shell. Its fine of the tortoise struggles to get out. Its good exercise.
3. Correct foods. You'll probably have to start introducing the correct foods by mixing small amounts in with the romaine. NO fruit. Its bad for them.
4. Outside time in a large safe enclosure. Be sure there is always shade and hiding areas available and make sure to ID all plants and weeds that the tortoise will have access to. Sunshine, grazing, and exercise will help this tortoise tremendously.

You can begin chipping away at that beak with toe nail clippers of you want. No harm in getting vet help if you are not comfortable with it, but its just like clipping toenails. Just do a little at a time and wait a week to two in between clippings. Also be aware that vets know very little about tortoise care. You are likely to get the same bad advice that pet stores give, and don't let the vet do any "vitamin injections". This is a mark of ignorance, and almost all of them will suggest it. Don't let them do it.

All this and more is in the care sheet linked by Chubbs in post number 5. Ask as many questions as you want. We see this sort of thing frequently, and we are eager to help anyone who is trying to help a tortoise have a better life.
 

PatriciaM

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Jan 11, 2020
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hey all. super new here, this is my first post ever and i literally just joined tortoise forum so please bear with me. i've had my tort, franklin, for four years now. i got him from another family who had him for a long time. we've never changed any of the ways to take care of him, just doing exactly what his previous family told us to do. i sort of just trusted what they said, which was to feed him only the crunchy part of romaine lettuce and the occasional strawberry and not to give him water or baths because he just "makes a mess" and i havent strayed from that for fear of distressing him with sudden change but i dont think that was a good way for my franklin to live...he has been totally fine the entire time ive had him though, taking huge bites of food and being friendly to people and digging/basking/climbing all around his enclosure. until recently when he stopped eating? he hasnt eaten anything in weeks, he wont come out from under his little log hut in his enclosure, and he hasnt even opened his eyes. he is alive for sure!! my friend picked him up last week and he was moving around while she held him and today i decided to stray from his regular routine and bathe him. i soaked him for probably about 20 minutes in warm water. his eyes finally opened again and he walked around in his bath !! i dried him off thoroughly with paper towels like i read online to do and then gave him fresh lettuce and a water dish. he is back in his enclosure but has gone back to just laying down with his eyes shut and refusing to eat. what do i do?
Hi! I live in South Wales in UK and our winters are very cold and wet and my lovely Hermanns Tortoise called Sammy hibernates during the winter. I do not know what the temperatures is like there right now and whether Franklin is out in the garden - but could he be trying to hibernate? Has he hibernated in the past? I do give my tortoise some little strawberries sometimes but he only likes English ones in June and romaine lettuce but I also give him masses of dandelions and weeds from the garden Hope this helps and I shall be interested to see what other tortoise owners say Patricia
 

avamagnanti

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hello to everyone who's been interacting with this thread and/or following it. i'm still not too sure how it works so i dont know if anyone will get a notification from this...it took me a few weeks to post because i have been literally heartbroken, but my little franklin sadly passed away on april 9. i wish i'd have found this thread earlier, i wish i knew how terribly i'd been taking care of him sooner, i dont know. im so sad. i cried my eyes out, i couldnt even touch him, i just. i dont know. it is so sad. but he is in a better place i guess, maybe he's been reincarnated as a healthier tortoise. either way he is for sure not sick the way he was before and i am happy for that. i did give him a funeral and bury him in the yard, in a box and deep enough so nothing will disturb him. rest in piece franklin :(
 

Cathie G

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hello to everyone who's been interacting with this thread and/or following it. i'm still not too sure how it works so i dont know if anyone will get a notification from this...it took me a few weeks to post because i have been literally heartbroken, but my little franklin sadly passed away on april 9. i wish i'd have found this thread earlier, i wish i knew how terribly i'd been taking care of him sooner, i dont know. im so sad. i cried my eyes out, i couldnt even touch him, i just. i dont know. it is so sad. but he is in a better place i guess, maybe he's been reincarnated as a healthier tortoise. either way he is for sure not sick the way he was before and i am happy for that. i did give him a funeral and bury him in the yard, in a box and deep enough so nothing will disturb him. rest in piece franklin :(
I did get a notification. Mine go through my email. I'm so sorry you lost your little Franklin 😞 You can't blame yourself though or even others because the correct info isn't readily available. If you want to try again you've found the TFO and this time would have more correct info. They really are a great pet.🤗
 
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