New red foot tortoise seems nervous+not eating?

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
So I just brought a juvenile redfoot home yesterday, got him all set up in his new enclosure, and he seems to be doing ok-ish. I was wondering how to know if he's doing well or if his behaviors are something I should be concerned about? So far he mostly just sits and bobs his head in and out, and has refused all food but loves water. He seems to have a problem with getting substrate stuck to his face due to being wet from soaking, and I'm having to wipe his face every so often which he doesn't like so I feel bad :( the only other issue besides the not eating and the substrate is that I can't seem to keep the humidity on one half of the vivarium up high enough? The other half is perfect but the half under the heat lamp tends to be way drier no matter how much I mist it. Any advice is welcome as this is my first tortoise and I want to give him as happy and comfortable a life as I can!!
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
I should've included this in my original post, sorry! Info abt his vivarium:
-36"X12"X12"
-glass but I have the bottom taped so he can see it's not clear (though he is still having some trouble with it if anyone has advice?)
-UVB light and Heat lamp are separate, I have one on each half of the tank so one end is a bit hotter, one is cooler, etc. (They're dome lamps if that helps?)
-2 water dishes, one for (hopefully) just drinking bc he keeps tracking dirt into the larger dish when he soaks
-using cocofiber for now as that's what was recommended to me but I think I need to change for smth else because of the aforementioned issues w it getting stuck to his face
-food dish in the center away from the walls (he tends to go in circles so I wanted to see if that would help him not drag dirt into his food)
-lots of basking areas on the warmer side and a hide that he enjoys on the cooler side
-some fake plants that he seems to enjoy bulldozing back and forth
If there's any advice you have abt ways I can improve his living conditions please let me know!! Thank you!!
 

Carlos-NL

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
47
Location (City and/or State)
Netherlands
Adding pictures of the enclosure would be good to be able to help you. Also what temperature is the hot side and the cool side? Its good to know the red foot tortoises do not really need a basking area under a hot spot. It's best to have an over all temp of 82-85.

Even though most of the tortoises will avoid eating fake plants, I personally would not risk keeping it in the enclosure for any chance that the tortoise might take a bite of plastic.

Keep in mind that even if the enclosure setup is perfect, the tortoise also need some time to adjust to the new environment. Give the tortoise sometime and sure (s)he will be just fine within 1-2 weeks.
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
I'm at work rn but I'll try to get some pictures when I get home! The hotter end is close to 90 and the cooler end is closer to 75-80. I've been keeping a super close eye on him because I was also worried he might try to eat them, but so far he just likes to push them back and forth. If I notice they're an issue I will definitely take them out though! I was wondering if I'm using the right kind of substrate, or if you would recommend something else for such a small guy? I'm concerned about him eating it since he tracks it into his water and food bowls so often? Or is that not such a problem since he wouldn't be drinking super clean water in the wild?
Sorry for asking so many questions!! I just want to make sure I'm taking the best care of him that I can!
 

Carlos-NL

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
47
Location (City and/or State)
Netherlands
I have had experience with many types of substrate, I have seen that the coco fiber is somewhat rough for the hatchlings and could also hurt their eyes. For hatchlings I use coco humus as it's soft and it keeps humidity, when the tortoise is about one year old cypress mulch or coco fiber is fine.

It's important to change the water bowl everyday, this way no worries about unclean water.
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
I have had experience with many types of substrate, I have seen that the coco fiber is somewhat rough for the hatchlings and could also hurt their eyes. For hatchlings I use coco humus as it's soft and it keeps humidity, when the tortoise is about one year old cypress mulch or coco fiber is fine.

It's important to change the water bowl everyday, this way no worries about unclean water.
Good to know! The stores up here really only have sand and cocofiber and I know they aren't supposed to have sand. I'll keep an eye out for something better. I made sure that it's all packed down but it seems like he's digging it up regardless when he walks. I'm changing his water about twice daily bc he loves to drag dirt into it while walking his laps! I'm trying out giving him more frequent soaks to see if that does anything to help with getting him acclimated better, just trying to make sure he's as comfy as he can be until I can make some improvements to his set up.
ive noticed he tends to sneeze and something I would describe as "sigh", but when I looked it up they said it might just be the new substrate material. Do you know anything about that? I appreciate the help!
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
Can you take a few photos of your enclosure, lights, heating, etc?
It will help with a better theory as to what is going on.
Also, what are you feeding?
Will get some pictures when I get home from work today! I made a reply to my original post w some details but I know visuals will be the most helpful 👍🏽 For feeding I've tried the tortoise food that pet stores sell, fresh greens, and then tried offering him some more colorful veggies to see if those would interest him. I'm going to check when I get home and see if he's eaten anything yet, as I left him w some greens and bell pepper. I've tried leaving him w food as well as hand feeding him, and he just seems completely disinterested in food in general?
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
Will get some pictures when I get home from work today! I made a reply to my original post w some details but I know visuals will be the most helpful 👍🏽 For feeding I've tried the tortoise food that pet stores sell, fresh greens, and then tried offering him some more colorful veggies to see if those would interest him. I'm going to check when I get home and see if he's eaten anything yet, as I left him w some greens and bell pepper. I've tried leaving him w food as well as hand feeding him, and he just seems completely disinterested in food in general?
For an additional piece of context, when I got him, the pet shop employee told me he usually eats really well and will go to his bowl when hungry to wait for food, so I know he doesn't have a history of food issues. Do you think maybe he's just not eating because he's nervous being in a new space? And also how long should I wait before I need to be concerned about him not taking food?
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
23,840
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Will get some pictures when I get home from work today! I made a reply to my original post w some details but I know visuals will be the most helpful 👍🏽 For feeding I've tried the tortoise food that pet stores sell, fresh greens, and then tried offering him some more colorful veggies to see if those would interest him. I'm going to check when I get home and see if he's eaten anything yet, as I left him w some greens and bell pepper. I've tried leaving him w food as well as hand feeding him, and he just seems completely disinterested in food in general?
If he's drinking that's a great sign.
Redfoot are a rare species that can eat fruit. In fact up to 60% fruit. And it is something that they usually eat vigorously.
However, there are several reasons why a tortoise will not eat. Temperature is #1 on the list. Too high or too low.
Get those photos up when you can. Ditch those colored pet store pellets and feed resh greens, flowers, fruit, mushrooms and boiled egg.
We'll figure it out.
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
If he's drinking that's a great sign.
Redfoot are a rare species that can eat fruit. In fact up to 60% fruit. And it is something that they usually eat vigorously.
However, there are several reasons why a tortoise will not eat. Temperature is #1 on the list. Too high or too low.
Get those photos up when you can. Ditch those colored pet store pellets and feed resh greens, flowers, fruit, mushrooms and boiled egg.
We'll figure it out.
I really appreciate the help. I'm super new to caring for him so I just want to make sure I'm not making any avoidable mistakes! When I get home I need to make some tweaks to his enclosure because I was told that redfoot dont really need a designated basking area, but rather an overall hotter environment? I'm going to see what I can do to make sure he gets enough heat because I think it's tied between that and nervousness that's making him not eat. He loves loves loves being in water which I think is a good sign, at least he's staying hydrated and was using the bathroom normally last night, so I know he's doing good On that front at least. as far as helping to get the humidity up, what do you recommend? Would running a humidifier in the room itself have any benefit?
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
Can you take a few photos of your enclosure, lights, heating, etc?
It will help with a better theory as to what is going on.
Also, what are you feeding?
Sorry for iPhone quality photos,, his enclosure isn't super giant, as I'm in the process of having a larger one shipped up here that has clamps for the lights so they can be a little higher elevated. I just switched his smaller two bowls out for a large one with steps since he likes to soak so much? my only concern is the small gap beside the bowl is exactly where he wants to go and he can't turn around to get out of there. I have an extra rock I'm going to put there to see if it kind of dissuades him. (Note that the temp/humidity gauges are way off bc I had to turn the lamps off to clean/rearrange while he was having a soak!!) any advice is welcome, keep in mind that I'm super new to caring for him, so any mistakes are just me not knowing, nothing malicious or negligent!! I want to improve any way I can so I appreciate any advice or feedback!
 

Attachments

  • ECF56325-1DAA-4F6E-90CF-E8C163CB3C97.jpeg
    ECF56325-1DAA-4F6E-90CF-E8C163CB3C97.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 20
  • 100F68C3-4848-4AD8-9990-897EC380ED14.jpeg
    100F68C3-4848-4AD8-9990-897EC380ED14.jpeg
    1.7 MB · Views: 21
  • 460BAF0C-43A9-4ED2-9DEA-EF53CE06A393.jpeg
    460BAF0C-43A9-4ED2-9DEA-EF53CE06A393.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 21
  • 42187FDC-E409-4D46-9A03-043290A7A3E7.jpeg
    42187FDC-E409-4D46-9A03-043290A7A3E7.jpeg
    1.8 MB · Views: 21

Carlos-NL

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
47
Location (City and/or State)
Netherlands
The enclosure is too small and defiantly within 2-3 years you need to replace it. Also about half of the terrarium is occupied by the water bowl. I would replace that one by a smaller water bowl, so that your tortoise have some space to walk an wonder around. Also the substrate looks a little dry. I would also change it for a coco peat, coco humus or mulch. Once last thing you need to cover the glass up to about 10-15 cm high so that your tortoise in not stressed by seeing through the glass without being able to walk away.
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
Thank u for the advice! I'm in the process of having a larger enclosure shipped up here so I'm replacing it in the next month or so with one much much bigger. I am going to switch back to the two smaller water bowls since he doesn't seem to care for the bigger one, I had switched them originally because he loves to soak but he doesn't care for this bowl at all so there's no point in it taking up so much room. Question about the substrate- which one is the best for humidity? That's my biggest struggle right now as no matter how much I mist it, it dries out pretty quickly due to the need for higher heat, but of course I don't want to sacrifice heat for slightly higher humidity. I was thinking about getting a humidifier and setting it up outside his enclosure, to make the room in general a little less dry to see if that helps him out a bit, is that something you recommend?
 

Carlos-NL

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
47
Location (City and/or State)
Netherlands
I would not worry much if the humidity on the hot side is 50-60% as long as the cooler side is 70-80%. Anyways the majority of the hours for your tortoise is without the hot day hours. When evening time you probably will lower the temperature to 72-75, this way most of the hours the enclosure will be humid. I mist my hatchelings twice; once in the morning when the thermostat regulates the temprature to 82 and once more in the evening when the thermostat regulates the temperature to 72. This way I can maintain an ambient humid of 70-85% most of the times.

All the substrates I mentioned before are very good in keeping humidity high.
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
As an update, while he was soaking this morning I switched back to two smaller water dishes so he has more room, and he seems to like that setup much better. He's been a little more outgoing in even just the last day, as he seems to really enjoy having free roam time and has even been letting me wipe his face with less hassle; but still hasn't eaten anything as of right now. I've been putting a small amount of his calcium dust in his water and he's been drinking it just fine, I figure that's an ok way to make sure he's at least getting some nutrition if he's not ready to eat yet?
 

milesm916

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Anchorage
So I just brought a juvenile redfoot home yesterday, got him all set up in his new enclosure, and he seems to be doing ok-ish. I was wondering how to know if he's doing well or if his behaviors are something I should be concerned about? So far he mostly just sits and bobs his head in and out, and has refused all food but loves water. He seems to have a problem with getting substrate stuck to his face due to being wet from soaking, and I'm having to wipe his face every so often which he doesn't like so I feel bad :( the only other issue besides the not eating and the substrate is that I can't seem to keep the humidity on one half of the vivarium up high enough? The other half is perfect but the half under the heat lamp tends to be way drier no matter how much I mist it. Any advice is welcome as this is my first tortoise and I want to give him as happy and comfortable a life as I can!!
Update: he still isn't eating. I fixed his setup so his temp and humidity are spot on, and he seems at least a little more comfortable around me/my house as he loves free roaming time. I've been soaking him twice every day, and then offering food, and he still just completely ignores it (both hand feeding and left in his enclosure/play area). It's almost like he doesn't even register anything as food at all. He's taken to spending a majority of the day in his hide, which I think is probably normal, but I'm concerned that he isn't spending enough time where the UVB light can actually reach him. I know I'm probably just being overly nervous because he's my new baby, but is this something I should keep brushing off as him being nervous? I don't know how long I should wait before I should really worry.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
6,237
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Update: he still isn't eating. I fixed his setup so his temp and humidity are spot on, and he seems at least a little more comfortable around me/my house as he loves free roaming time. I've been soaking him twice every day, and then offering food, and he still just completely ignores it (both hand feeding and left in his enclosure/play area). It's almost like he doesn't even register anything as food at all. He's taken to spending a majority of the day in his hide, which I think is probably normal, but I'm concerned that he isn't spending enough time where the UVB light can actually reach him. I know I'm probably just being overly nervous because he's my new baby, but is this something I should keep brushing off as him being nervous? I don't know how long I should wait before I should really worry.
Torts don't like change at all and they will sulk. Try feeding some banana to get him going. Or something really stinky like tuna or sardines.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
6,237
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Update: he still isn't eating. I fixed his setup so his temp and humidity are spot on, and he seems at least a little more comfortable around me/my house as he loves free roaming time. I've been soaking him twice every day, and then offering food, and he still just completely ignores it (both hand feeding and left in his enclosure/play area). It's almost like he doesn't even register anything as food at all. He's taken to spending a majority of the day in his hide, which I think is probably normal, but I'm concerned that he isn't spending enough time where the UVB light can actually reach him. I know I'm probably just being overly nervous because he's my new baby, but is this something I should keep brushing off as him being nervous? I don't know how long I should wait before I should really worry.
Also don't worry about him not getting UVB. They can get by with very little. My Redfoots go all winter without UVB.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,019
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
This species must never be put on the floor to free-roam. In addition to the dangers of getting stepped on, closed in doors, knocked downstairs, etc., this species will cool to dangerous levels on the ground. (Take your socks off and spend the day walking on the floor in bare feet only.) Reptiles cannot generate any body heat, and lose heat by contacting cold surfaces.

Once a proper and large enough habitat has been established, a tortoise should remain there until it has acclimated. Redfoots require ambient temps no lower than 80*F, so - in your climate - an enclosed habitat is the only suitable roaming locale.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top