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New caregiver to Desert Tortoise need advice.

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by BILL IV, Jul 29, 2019.

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  1. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    Hello ALL!
    So update on my new friend MORTY! I came on here a couple of weeks ago asking about tortoise proofing my backyard before Morty’s arrival. So I created a burrow and area on the side of my house until I finish the rest. Here are pics of his new bare but temporary area for now. I had to hastily complete it because the previous owner couldn’t keep him any longer. So a little back story. Previous keeper had him for 20years since a baby. Got a new puppy and when Morty awoke from this years hibernation he obsessed on the new puppy and would not stop. So she needs to re home him. A friend of hers that has three Tortoises took him in. Morty then promptly began humping the female and fighting the males!! And didn’t eat for a couple of days after being there. So back he went to the previous owner. She put him in a cement dog run on the side of her house to separate him from the new dog. Well it was triple digit temps in The high desert 105! The whole time he was on cement with no shade and wasn’t doing well. So I take him to my house and he seems a little slow and kinda still adjusting to his new surroundings. I sent her a video thinking he was getting better. She says he seems to still be slow and maybe I’m not feeding him enough. She said he usually eats 20-30 green beans a day and like 10 or so show peas or snap peas and some romaine. I was giving him 10 or so green beans and like 6 of the other. So okay I’ll give him more. The concerning part is I haven’t seen any poops like she described. I think I found one and threw another one out not knowing what it was. Could this be poop see pic? He pees regularly and even in his soaking tub. I raked his burrow no poops. I’ve seen mentioned on here that they sometimes eat they’re poop. Could that be the result of maybe not eating enough and turning to poop for sustenance? I don’t know what his normal is so it’s a challenge figuring out what that is. Sorry for the long post just trying to give as much information to better give an idea of the situation. Let me know any questions clarifications that will help! Me and Morty thank you in advance!

    -BILL

    burrow_view.JPG munching.JPG Poop?.JPG
  2. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Seems like this poor creature could use some proper care and a more varied diet! Thank you for caring about him enough to take him in.
    I hope some of the experts on these tortoises will chime in here and offer their good advice.
    Long, warm soaks to start with will help as dehydration can kill very quickly.
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  3. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hello. well, ten green beans and peas, concrete run, ugh? So, here is what I think. I think you have a great start in the space from what I can see. I personally would go and dig up more dirt and make a larger mound over the hide you have there....you also have a great corner next to the gate that you have use to stretch some shade cloth over to offer additional shade as the sun moves during the day and of course a soaking wallow and some plants/shrubs and all will grow in well. Now, the tortoise would likely love a variety of wet filling food for now. I would buy some romaine, green and red leaf lettuce, endive, radicchio, red and yellow bell peppers, spring mix. I also would offer up the food on a large paver or piece of slate to aid in that newly dug up dirt not covering all the food and being ingested in large amounts....I would also find a good spot that the food can regularly be offered up at and compress the dirt down and wet that spot to really pack the dirt down solid...this will eventually dry solid and be a good routine feeding spot....I would place an entire head of the lettuce out each day at the start of day when it is coolest or around 4 or 5 as it begins to wind down...but be sure that the tort is seeing you place it down and that the tort can sit in the shade eating it all up.... :)
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  4. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    Thanks! I hope so to! Yeah I'm trying to offer him some other things until I can grow stuff. He really like escarole and snap peas! I know I'm trying to do the best I can for him. He's got a chill personality and is very friendly. It's just hard like I said I don't know what his normal is.
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  5. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    Thanks I'll have to get a better shot of the space. For sure I need to mound it up more! I have his water dish a big tera cotta plant dish in the opposite corner from the gate. The Mulberry Tree in the front gives great shade most of the day except first thing in the morning. I was thinking the shade cloth over his food and water like you said cause it can heat up quick. I already got my tortoise seed pack from native seeds going to plant them this weekend. You can't see it but there is a big paver that I put his food on that sits flush with the ground. I read that is good because it also helps their beaks right? My morning routine so far with I'm sure my neighbors think I'm crazy if they can hear me. I go out there and replenish his water dish and then start by waving a piece of food at the front of his burrow while saying good morning Morty time for breakfast! Then when he comes out I go to the paver and wait till he comes over then place his food on there and watch him go to town. When he eats a bit I take off to go to work I then repeat this process when I get home! I think you're right about the shade while eating because that morning sun can be brutal! Do you think I should be concerned about the not pooping part or like I said could that be because of the small amount of food? Thanks for replying and the helpful advice!
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  6. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    Good news! When I was feeding Morty last night afterwork I noticed by the entrance of his burrow........A POOPS!!!!!! YAY!!!!! I haven't been this excited about poop since I was three!! So glad let's hope there is more! So maybe increasing his food intake worked.
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  7. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Great. Keep us informed and stick around!
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  8. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    For sure! I found another one! YAY! he does seem a bit more energetic so hopefully he continues to improve. Now I have to work on getting his area all cozy! Thanks!
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  9. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    My desert torts are from AZ and they can’t pick peppers . But they like grass clippings in their food . [emoji217]
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  10. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    I have yet to give him peppers it's on the list though. I'm going to be planting some Bermuda grass soon so hopefully he can munch on that.
  11. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Don’t wait just buy some Timothy hay cut it up fine and mix it in his food . A little more each week .
  12. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    I'm actually going to the pet store today and going to get some of that and the grassland tortoise pellets to throw in the mix. The people who had him before me never gave him any hay or the like before so I hope he takes to it.
  13. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Don’t rule out Mazuri so fast . I run it through a food grinder with Timothy hay and sprinkle it over the leafy vegys! They don’t know they are eating it .
  14. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    I haven't tried either yet. I just took over care for Morty 2 and half weeks ago and am still trying to get him back to normal. He got overheated at the previous person's house right before I took over care. They have never given him anything really besides like green beans, peas, lettuce and strawberries. So a little trial and error for the moment. What kind of grinder do you use? I was thinking of checking out a goodwill for one or Salvation Army Thanks for the suggestions like I said I'm still learning about caring for this guy. All I had was a box turtle and a red ear slider so he's a learning experience for sure.
  15. Anilasor

    Anilasor New Member

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    This year after my tortoise (Phillip) came out of hibernation he was very slow. I took him to the vet and he told me he was dehydrated and to soak him for 10-15 minutes a day for a couple a days, that really helped! Among all the vegetables some of the comments on your post have I buy fresh Dandelion from Fry's and he loves it! Also, Phillip has a ceramic bowl about 2" deep that I keep full for him to drink and also soak, he loves to lay in the water during this time of year. I'm sure Morty will come around and continue to live a good life with you. Tortoises are very interesting!
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  16. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    What kind of calcium do you give your tort ? I dry out my eggshells for 24 hours and then grind them into a powder and sprinkle the powder over the torts greens . Egg shells are free ![emoji217]
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  17. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    I was going to soak him last night when I gave him his dinner but he wouldn't come out of his burrow he was sleeping. He ate all his breakfast so I figured he's okay. I do have a large tera cotta plant dish that I fill with fresh water everyday. Still can't tell if he uses it but it's there for him if he wants. I'm going to try and soak him today after work. I've been to several different grocery stores and none have the dandelion greens. I have seen them there before they just don't have them.It's funny the FRY's out here is an electronic store! I just got him some mustard greens long green beans and snap peas. I moistened some tortoise pellets and stuff a few snap peas with the mushed up pellets! He munched them without hesitation so that's good. I just have to figure out how much to give him? Overall I think it just a combination of things that's making the adjustment a little slower. I'm doing what I can for the big guy! Thanks for the support! Tortoises are very interesting critters!!!
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  18. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    None yet. I think I'll try that. That's probably just as good as whatever calcium stuff they have at the pet store right? Have you tried both and that's what you prefer or your tort prefers? Thanks for the suggestion!
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  19. Anilasor

    Anilasor New Member

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    Sounds like he'll come around. Also, you can find dandelion at the oriental market. I also have planted Hibiscus bushes in Phillip's enclosure. They love hibiscus. I am going to take Bill IV's advise and use egg shells as calcium supplements, also turning timothy hay into powder and putting it over the vegetables is a great idea! We learn something every day.
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  20. BILL IV

    BILL IV New Member

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    Like I tried this morning you could make a hay paste and stuff it in a snap pea if Phillip is a picky one! Seriously learn something new everyday and forget half a thing every other! HA!
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