dh1998

New Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Miami, Florida
HEALTH ISSUES:
I recently got a beautiful leopard tortoise hatchling on August 26, 2018. She seemed pretty active at the pet store and quite healthy. I knew that when I brought her home she would take a few days to adjust to her new life and new enclosure. However, I didn't see her exploring as much I had hoped.
Im very paranoid about her having respiratory infections, so I don't know if Im looking for things wrong with her or if they are actually wrong with her. To begin my most concerning observation is of her right eye. She doesn't open it very often, sometimes the left eye is wide open when the right eye is closed. Ive seen her open the eye and its usually when I put her in the bath, it opens pretty big but not as big as the left. Could it be possible that her eye is puffy which could indicate respiratory infection?
Also, I feel like her breathing is a bit heavy. Her head bobs and her arms move in a pretty big motion when she is breathing. It isn't often but it does happen.
BATHING:
I bathe her every morning about half an hour after the day light comes on for about 25 minutes in lukewarm water under her basking light. She does poop in the bath but it looks like she does struggle a bit, and her some of her poop stays stuck to her but. Im wondering if that might be because eats her food when it is already on the drier side.
DIET:
On the subject of food, I feed her the Mazuri Desert Tortoise Diet mixed with chopped dark spring mix. I shave some of her cuttle bone on the food and then break apart about two petals of flowerfood topper. I also have clover sprouts but I heard that they are too high in protein to be fed every day. I am growing grazing grass for her but it grown enough for me to be able to feed her. This is the grass I bought: https://www.naturesseed.com/pasture-seed/tortoise-pastures/tortoise-forage-blend I put the bowl of food on the cool side, and she usually doesn't touch the food until I take her outside in the afternoon (I bring the food with me) and she wakes up and starts to explore.
ENCLOSURE:
I put her in a 30"x15" enclosure with the forrest floor bark. I have her water bowl and food on the cool end. I large den towards the warm side. And a little plastic tapeware with sphagnum moss on the warm side as a little humid box. I did see her in the humid hide so I think she enjoys it. I have a 50 w ceramic heat emitter on the warm side that is on at all times. For the basking light I use the 100 w ZOO MED REPTI BASKING SPOT LAMP. And then I have the ZILLA SLIMLINE DESERT FIXTURE with a 50 UVB 18" T8 Fluorescent bulb. The fixture and the basking light are about 12-13" from the ground. The temperatures on the warm side range from 105-110, with the highest of 115 under the basking light. The coldest it gets on the cold side is about 75. At night the ceramic heat emitter keeps the warm area at about 88.

Im posting pictures so you guys can get a better idea of everything.
I just want to know if everything Im doing is right for her and if the conditions are right or raising a healthy tortoise. I am taking her to the vet on Friday just to make sure everything is ok.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2385.JPG
    IMG_2385.JPG
    3.8 MB · Views: 43
  • IMG_2384.JPG
    IMG_2384.JPG
    2.3 MB · Views: 40
  • IMG_2381.JPG
    IMG_2381.JPG
    1.3 MB · Views: 37

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello and welcome.

It always bums me out to do this, but if no one tells you what is wrong you can't fix it. You've obviously tried so hard to make everything perfect, so it pains me to have to sound so discouraging. Here is where I see problems:
  1. The tub is too small and way too open. The minimum size I would use for a baby is 36x18, and bigger is better. You are not that far off, but it does have an effect.
  2. No spot bulbs. They concentrate too much heat into too small of an area and they cause pyramiding. Use a lower wattage flood bulb instead. I buy mine at the hard ware store.
  3. Basking temp directly under the bulb needs to be around 95-100 and I like to have a flat rock or pice of slate under the bulb.
  4. Cool side should never drop below 80, day or night. Running a higher wattage CHE through a thermostat is one way to accomplish this.
  5. You need much more variety in the diet. I would only use Mazuri once or twice a week, and I would only use spring mix once or twice a week. Here is what to feed them: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/ It will take time to get your tortoise used to eating all those different things if the breeder didn't do it, and less emphasis on grass since you have a leopard and not a sulcata.
  6. Soak water should be 90-95 degrees. I'm not sure what temperature "lukewarm" is for you.
  7. No sphagnum moss. They will eat it. It can block them up which would cause them to not want to eat.
  8. You'd need a UV meter to be certain, but at 12-13 inches, your tortoise is not getting much UV benefit from the tube. Your outside time should be taking care of the UV needs right now though. A little lower would be better. 10-12 inches.
  9. There is no way to maintain the correct temperatures and humidity with an open topped shallow tub like what you are using. You need a closed chamber.
  10. That water bowl isn't suitable for tortoises. Use a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate.
  11. There is nothing a vet can do for your tortoise and they are likely to do harm.
All of this and more is explained right here:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/

Last thing is this: Most breeders and sellers don't start them correctly. They don't soak often enough, keep them way too dry, and don't introduce the right foods. Here is how they should be started: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/ When they are not started correctly, here is what can happen: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/ This will tell you what to look for.

Sounds to me like your main issue is temperatures. Get a larger closed chamber going with the right bulbs and hopefully things will improve.

Please feel free to ask lots of questions. :)
 

dh1998

New Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Miami, Florida
Hello and welcome.

It always bums me out to do this, but if no one tells you what is wrong you can't fix it. You've obviously tried so hard to make everything perfect, so it pains me to have to sound so discouraging. Here is where I see problems:
  1. The tub is too small and way too open. The minimum size I would use for a baby is 36x18, and bigger is better. You are not that far off, but it does have an effect.
  2. No spot bulbs. They concentrate too much heat into too small of an area and they cause pyramiding. Use a lower wattage flood bulb instead. I buy mine at the hard ware store.
  3. Basking temp directly under the bulb needs to be around 95-100 and I like to have a flat rock or pice of slate under the bulb.
  4. Cool side should never drop below 80, day or night. Running a higher wattage CHE through a thermostat is one way to accomplish this.
  5. You need much more variety in the diet. I would only use Mazuri once or twice a week, and I would only use spring mix once or twice a week. Here is what to feed them: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/ It will take time to get your tortoise used to eating all those different things if the breeder didn't do it, and less emphasis on grass since you have a leopard and not a sulcata.
  6. Soak water should be 90-95 degrees. I'm not sure what temperature "lukewarm" is for you.
  7. No sphagnum moss. They will eat it. It can block them up which would cause them to not want to eat.
  8. You'd need a UV meter to be certain, but at 12-13 inches, your tortoise is not getting much UV benefit from the tube. Your outside time should be taking care of the UV needs right now though. A little lower would be better. 10-12 inches.
  9. There is no way to maintain the correct temperatures and humidity with an open topped shallow tub like what you are using. You need a closed chamber.
  10. That water bowl isn't suitable for tortoises. Use a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate.
  11. There is nothing a vet can do for your tortoise and they are likely to do harm.
All of this and more is explained right here:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/

Last thing is this: Most breeders and sellers don't start them correctly. They don't soak often enough, keep them way too dry, and don't introduce the right foods. Here is how they should be started: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/ When they are not started correctly, here is what can happen: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/ This will tell you what to look for.

Sounds to me like your main issue is temperatures. Get a larger closed chamber going with the right bulbs and hopefully things will improve.

Please feel free to ask lots of questions. :)

Thank you for the quick response.
I do have many more questions with everything you explained. Mostly I just want a little more details on each point.
1. Do you recommend any tub in particular because I did some searching and couldn't find anything suitable.
2. The flood bulb you buy at the hardware store gives of the UVB/UVA that the torts need?
7. What would be a better substitute for sphagnum moss?
Also an update on today I took her out for about 40 minutes when she usually eats and she didn't show much interest in the food. I am starting to get a little stressed out.
 

Minority2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,059
Location (City and/or State)
Tortoise Hell
Thank you for the quick response.
I do have many more questions with everything you explained. Mostly I just want a little more details on each point.
1. Do you recommend any tub in particular because I did some searching and couldn't find anything suitable.
2. The flood bulb you buy at the hardware store gives of the UVB/UVA that the torts need?
7. What would be a better substitute for sphagnum moss?
Also an update on today I took her out for about 40 minutes when she usually eats and she didn't show much interest in the food. I am starting to get a little stressed out.

1. A minimum of 4 (L) x 2 (W) x 1.5-2 (H) ft is a good starting sized enclosure for most hatchlings. Buy/build something with those specifications in mind. A yearling (1 year old) to juvenile (2 year old) leopard tortoise is going to need at least 8 (L) x 4 (W) enclosure. Adult leopards (3-4+ year old) at over 8-10+ inches will need a permanent outdoor enclosure. A minimum of at least 20 (L) x 20 (W) feet, more is certainly better.
2. Regular flood bulbs do not provide uvb. These bulbs are used to provide a basking area for your tortoise. You'll need to use a reptile florescent tube light for UVB. While a couple hours a week of outdoor sunshine is enough for a young hatchling's needs, a strip UVB fixture is a good that stretches out to the majority of your enclosure is a useful fixture to cheaply light your entire enclosure without providing any extra unnecessary heat.
7. fine orchid bark and coco coir are both highly recommended substrate options.

Use this site to learn about what specific foods are allowed to be feed and why some foods should be fed on a consistent week to week basis:
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/

Get a larger enclosure, fix your temperatures and pay more attention (read up on the harmful properties section found in the site of the link provided) to their dietary needs.

Since your tortoise was originally from a pet shop, I would strongly suggest taking your tortoise to get a checkup from a reputable exotics vet. Pet shops are notorious known for not giving proper care to their specimens nor giving accurate information pertaining to a specific tortoise's needs.
 

dh1998

New Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Miami, Florida
Hello and welcome.

It always bums me out to do this, but if no one tells you what is wrong you can't fix it. You've obviously tried so hard to make everything perfect, so it pains me to have to sound so discouraging. Here is where I see problems:
  1. The tub is too small and way too open. The minimum size I would use for a baby is 36x18, and bigger is better. You are not that far off, but it does have an effect.
  2. No spot bulbs. They concentrate too much heat into too small of an area and they cause pyramiding. Use a lower wattage flood bulb instead. I buy mine at the hard ware store.
  3. Basking temp directly under the bulb needs to be around 95-100 and I like to have a flat rock or pice of slate under the bulb.
  4. Cool side should never drop below 80, day or night. Running a higher wattage CHE through a thermostat is one way to accomplish this.
  5. You need much more variety in the diet. I would only use Mazuri once or twice a week, and I would only use spring mix once or twice a week. Here is what to feed them: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/ It will take time to get your tortoise used to eating all those different things if the breeder didn't do it, and less emphasis on grass since you have a leopard and not a sulcata.
  6. Soak water should be 90-95 degrees. I'm not sure what temperature "lukewarm" is for you.
  7. No sphagnum moss. They will eat it. It can block them up which would cause them to not want to eat.
  8. You'd need a UV meter to be certain, but at 12-13 inches, your tortoise is not getting much UV benefit from the tube. Your outside time should be taking care of the UV needs right now though. A little lower would be better. 10-12 inches.
  9. There is no way to maintain the correct temperatures and humidity with an open topped shallow tub like what you are using. You need a closed chamber.
  10. That water bowl isn't suitable for tortoises. Use a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate.
  11. There is nothing a vet can do for your tortoise and they are likely to do harm.
All of this and more is explained right here:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/

Last thing is this: Most breeders and sellers don't start them correctly. They don't soak often enough, keep them way too dry, and don't introduce the right foods. Here is how they should be started: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/ When they are not started correctly, here is what can happen: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/ This will tell you what to look for.

Sounds to me like your main issue is temperatures. Get a larger closed chamber going with the right bulbs and hopefully things will improve.

Please feel free to ask lots of questions. :)

So I got a new enclosure and I went for advice and got a 36x18 glass terrarium. I put a wooden panel on the cool side to try to trap the heat and humidity a bit. I still have the basking light and CHE on and the UVB fixture which is closer to the ground. Im hoping the humidity and temperature will increase and spread throughout the terrarium. I was wondering that since there is more space now, should I get another CHE to put on the cool side? Im getting a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the terrarium during the day so it doesn't get so hot. Im posting pictures to give you guys a better idea. I put the water on the warm side and the food bowl towards the middle. Im waiting to see what the temperatures are going to be.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2388.JPG
    IMG_2388.JPG
    2.5 MB · Views: 19
  • IMG_2387.JPG
    IMG_2387.JPG
    1.9 MB · Views: 16
  • IMG_2390.JPG
    IMG_2390.JPG
    2.6 MB · Views: 16
  • IMG_2391.JPG
    IMG_2391.JPG
    1.5 MB · Views: 16
  • IMG_2389.JPG
    IMG_2389.JPG
    1.6 MB · Views: 17
  • IMG_2392.JPG
    IMG_2392.JPG
    1.5 MB · Views: 16

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you for the quick response.
I do have many more questions with everything you explained. Mostly I just want a little more details on each point.
1. Do you recommend any tub in particular because I did some searching and couldn't find anything suitable.
2. The flood bulb you buy at the hardware store gives of the UVB/UVA that the torts need?
7. What would be a better substitute for sphagnum moss?
Also an update on today I took her out for about 40 minutes when she usually eats and she didn't show much interest in the food. I am starting to get a little stressed out.

Good questions.

1. I wouldn't get any type of tub. Low sided shallow tubs are the most difficult to maintain correct conditions in. I would recommend a large closed chamber. They can be bought or built.
2. There are four elements to heating and lighting. The hardware store bulbs satisfies one of the four.
Here are the four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can use smaller or larger wattage bulbs to help you get the desired temperature under them too.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for this tropical species. If your room temp is 80 or higher 24/7/365, then you don't need this.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. If the room where the enclosure sits is well lit, and the tortoise's behavior is normal, you don't "need" this, but it doesn't hurt.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height.
7. You don't need a substitute for the moss. Just don't use anything. Damp substrate under a plastic tub makes and excellent humid hide, and there is no need for a damp sponge, moss, or anything else.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top