New here, worried about our baby horsfield :-(

Deeshine

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Jan 11, 2016
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Hi, we have two Horsfield tortoises. The first, Walter, we got last March and he was less than a year old then, so I'd say about a year old now. The second, Whitney, is much bigger aged about two, we got in September.

Whitney seems to be thriving, but Walter we are worried about and I'm wondering if it's the introduction of Whitney that has caused him to go downhill...

Walter used to eat well, lovely wide open eyes etc. over time his left eye has closed completely is a little swollen and he paws at it a lot, in fact he paws at them both. He sleeps constantly and had stopped feeding until the past few days when I've introduced a carrot baby food bath three times a day. He hasn't drank much but enough to have done a little poo!

They both live in a vivarium with half straw bedding that's like pellets and half blended Mediterranean substrate - both made by a company called Prorep.

There is a 100w red heat bulb, a heat mat and a uv light in the viv. There is also a thermostat which dims the heat lamp once the correct temp is reached. Temps run at between 80 - 90 degrees.

We are looking for some help and advice for our little Walter, the poor little guy needs help and I'm really not sure what to do!

Thanks in advance,,

Dee
 

Yelloweyed

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Poor Walter does not like the new competition. For Walter's safety and well-being, you'll need to separate the torts. Completely separate - torts view other torts as competition for food, land and mates.
 

wellington

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Tortoises do not do well in pairs. Seperate them ASAP. The bullying that is probably going on will make Walter very sick and possibly die. They will have to live apart. They really don't want companionship anyway.
 

Deeshine

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How do others keep more than one tortoise then? Do you all have separate vivs or tables for each one? I am even more worried now as I'm not sure how we would split them without losing one?

Thank you for your replies by the way!
 

wellington

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Three or more and a very large enclosure with lots of sight barriers. Pairs give the bullying only one victim. When there are more, then the bullying is spread out and not just given all to one. Sometimes they still have to be seperated then. Unfortunately you really don't have a choice if you can't house both sperately, as you may lose him anyway but to death instead of rehoming. Hopefully you can get it figured out to keep both. Good luck.
 

dmmj

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a very large outdoor enclosure you can have more than two. indoors I would keep them separate completely.
 

Tom

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We are looking for some help and advice for our little Walter, the poor little guy needs help and I'm really not sure what to do!

Thanks in advance,,

Dee

Tortoises should not be kept in pairs, especially russians. They are very territorial and scrappy. They can sometimes be kept in groups with one male and several females, but even that doesn't work sometimes.

Any new tortoise should be quarantined for at least a few months. Russians are known carriers of all sorts of pathogens and parasites, so its possible that you introduced something to Walter and the stress of living as a pair is hampering his immune system.

Now this next part will sound discouraging, but if no one tells you why is wrong, you won't know what to fix. The following is intended to help you, not hurt your feelings. I have 20 russians and none of them have your issue, so I've got some insight here that can help you.

You have gotten all sorts of bad advice and it is slowly killing your baby. Here is what I see wrong initially:
1. Wrong lighting. Red bulbs should not be used for tortoises. They make the world look red and this sometimes messes with their heads.
2. Wrong temps. Basking area should be around 100 directly under the light and cool to room temp away from that warm area. Room temp can be anywhere for 65ish up to 90ish. They should have a night time cool down to at least 70ish.
3. Wrong substrate. They need something that can be kept damp and that they can dig into.
4. Heat mats should not be used for tortoises. Their heat should come from overhead, unless we are talking about a large outdoor sulcata or something similar.

I think the pair situation is likely the biggest issue you have, but there are some other contributing factors that should be improved also.

Here is the russian tortoise care info:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

These will offer more insight:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/bad-day-for-baby.114328/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...together-a-lesson-learned-the-hard-way.94114/

I hope all this helps.
 
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