New to tortoise by accident and searching for help~

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Lohan

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HI All, I am Lohan...have recently just inherited a small tiny tortoise from a distressed lady who needed someone to care for her animals for a few days. Needless to say the few days have passed and I still have the tortoise and no sign of the woman ! I have been doing a lot of research about tortoise's and getting a little confused by all of the info out there. I just want to make sure that I am doing my best to care for this tiny, cute little thing. After some research I am convinced it is an Egyptian Tortoise - after looking at many photos and reading descriptions of that species and very worried that they are near exctint and a protected species. I was very alarmed when I got home last night and looked at the markings on her tummy, which was how the Egyptian Tortoise is described...and of course this made me even more nervous that I should take even more care to make it happy and comfortable! Im in a bit of a difficult situation...why because we live in a small town in the South Sinai Peninsula of Egypt....and in terms of supplies easily accessible this is very very difficult...even things for human beings are hard to find sometimes, let alone a tiny little unique creature like this. Also the vet here Im not sure will have extensive enough knowledge of exotics! At this time of year it is very cold here so I am keen to keep her/him warm enough but need to know what temps she should be kept in and definatley must not fall below?- we are calling it a her for now and her name is between Tiny T or Lulu!!!!...after reading about how they need warmth, bathing, and a hiding place i went home last night and tried to sort things out but I think I have a lot of work to do! She is not eating AT ALL!!!!....but is walking around quite a bit and fairly fast for what I had expected, and then she tends to hide herself in the shaded areas of the room! Last night i bathed her in luke warm water as advised, but hen started to freak out as whilst it looked like she was drinking (good news) it also looked like her nostrils where also in the water so I was worried she was drowning so pulled her out (slowly of course)..then I thought oh its ok she was drinking, which is a realy good sign! Whilst in the water, she lifted up her back legs fully extended like a car jack and her front legs where completley down, as was her front body - her face was in the water and she was opening and closing her mouth...but like I said her nose was also in the water....her front legs where completly down and it looked like it was hard for her to move them....after I took her out I noticed she was opening and closing her mouth so I thought it is signs of RI...but no bubbles or anything around her nose! Then i got even more alarmed as she opened her mouth very wide for a moment so I think she was suffering and gasping for breath. She then after a while seemed to get herself together again and then walked off for abit, and then found herself into a shaded area close up against the wall and in the shell. As I dont have any grass or anything and dont have much hope to find coconut grass...I took advice from one of the sites that said even ripped up paper will do until I can get some ideal stuff. I piled the riped news paper close to where she likes to hide, then once she arrived there i put some around and above her slightly - careful not to scare her. I am really really worried about her and really need some advice. I will call to the vet but after a failed attempt of helping me to care for a tiny rescued kitten in the past (long story and this one about Tiny T is already long enough) Im not so confident in the vet! I have tried to feed her cucumber and placed the food in front of her and she keeps just turning around and walking away from it, i also tried carrot and put it to her mouth last night but still no eating! Please can you help and let me know what I am supposed to do. My lounge is large so she has plenty of places to move around and seems to enjoy doing that but no eating, no drinking, no weeing or pooing, Im worried. She also spends a lot of time in her shell huddled up to the wall in the shell....my floor is ceramic tiles although now I have lots of torn paper piles for her...and looking for a suitable box for her.....she is so beautiful and funny sometimes, and I just want to make sure she is ok, comfortable and not suffering....I am almost certain she is the Egyptian Tortoise after looking at photos adn reading descriptions. She is small - smaller than the full palm of my hand..her skin is very pale yellow, sandy colour, and her belly has the two dark brown almost triangular patterns either side, two twin patterns. Please can you help with any advice, but please do not get too technical as that makes it harder for me as I have no clue until now about Tortoise. Finally I have a normal desk spot light, that uses a normal bulb, with a clip on attahcment, it generates warmth. Is this ok to use until we can get our hands on a proper heating light?....surley its better than nothing as I think she must be very cold, so long as I am there monitoring and never leave it on above her unattended??.....the very shallow warm bath water soon gets very cold so not sure if that helped her much although it was the first time I have seen her open her mouth and I do want to try again tonight - it is 8pm here in Egypt now and I will be home in about 2 hours...if anyone picks this up tonight before 9pm (egypt time) please can you at least let me know if the behaviour of drinking water that I witnessed last night is correct - the back two legs fully extended high, so the front of her body was low and her face in the water just mouth and nose...also if her two little holes for her nose are in the water does this mean she is unable to breath and must be pulled out? I am so scared not to hurt her and that I am not making things worse....many thanks for your help. Lohan : )
 

Laura

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wow.. first of all WELCOME!
Priorty for her right now is warmth.. You should get a container to keep her in and not allow her to roam the floors. Too cold. The drinking she was doing sounds perfectly normal. make sure the water is warm. very important she gets fluids. Can you post pictures of her? top and underside? People here can tell you exactly what you have.
What kind of grocery stores do you have access to? Do they sell different types of veggies and greens? Lettuce?
pet stores? She will need special lights.
her substrate can be dirt from outside, or orchid bark.. or?
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Lohan:

Welcome to the forum!!

Wow, what a lucky person you are to have been given an Egyptian tortoise! If you can post a picture it would really help us to give you the correct answers to your questions. Different tortoises require different care.

But, in the meantime, do what Laura says, and get a container for her. You can just buy a large plastic tub like what you store stuff in under the bed. Get some dirt from outside and put it in the tub. It would be nice to have about 3" in there. Then pat it down with your hand so that its not loose. Make her a hiding place and give her a waterer. Find a flat stone to feed her on. Then you can just put greens from the store in there for her to eat.

Since the tortoise will be living indoors, you will need a UVB light for her. You can buy these online. Here's a link to what I'm talking about, but I don't know if they ship to your area:

http://www.bigappleherp.com/REPTILE-SUPPLIES/Mercury-Vapor-Bulbs

I wish you all the best with your new tortoise, but please post a picture!
 

Lohan

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Hello Yvonne and Laura
Thank you both so much for your reply's..and especially thank you Laura letting me know it sounds normal the way she was drinking. I am pretty sure she is an Egyptian Tortoise - but that makes me even more nervous! Apolpgies about the long long post - it was meant to be an intro only but Im feeling very worried so it all came out. Yes if she is Egyptian I am lucky, but hope I can care for her properly and very worried about that...well I was worried for her anyway no matter what species, but a near extinct creature, what a big responsibility! I will do my best to get a plastic container as mentioned, but even that may be a bit of a challenge...will have a look around tomo - outdoor dirt not a problem, but it is more gravelly and sandy here in Egypt where I am is that ok- i guess again its better than the floor she is on now poor little thing- I did have her in a small cardboard box when they gave her to me just for the transportation home but i took her out as I thought it was too cruel to keep her in there.... I get access to most vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, some green lettuce and cabbage occassionaly, apples??.......what should I definatley avoid giving to her (apart from meat of course I realise they eat just vegetation and no meats)......How am I going to get her warm without a light - which I am almost certain is not going not be easy where I am and very very costly for me to get out of the area to other cities, let alone not having time due to working hours! I will place her in some warm water again when I get home - but what about the opening and closing of her mouth even when I took her away from the water last night.....is this usual? ......Hope to hear back from you again...and thanks a million really appreciate your help and care. x
 

Laura

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If she is too cold, she wont eat. She cant digest her food if cold.
If a lamp is all you have right now, that is fine, she needs to be warm.
If you cant find a large plastic stoarge box, can you get a old Bookcase?
Lay it on its back, remove the shelves, line it with a palsitc shower curtain
put the dirt in and use a flower pot turned on its side for a hide.

Be careful using pebbles for the substrate.. you dont want her to eat them.
She will need calcium too. If you cant buy it.. eggshells will work. Clean them well.. and grind them into a powder, sprinkle over her greens. not much fruit.
Can you get a Cuttle bone at a pet store? It may be inthe Bird section. This is great calcium. Some will just eat it, or you can grate it over thier food.
 

LindaF

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The opening of her mouth might be just yawning.
 

Lohan

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Thank you so much lovley guys, will be back on here tomorrow, have to go home now and tend to my little baby T!!! Thanks x
 

ChiKat

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Some tortoises don't like to be hand fed, especially if they're more timid. Since she's still adjusting you might just want to leave food down for her and let her eat in peace. Some torts also don't like to eat if they know they're being watched!
That's great that she was drinking water! I can't get my tortoise to drink when I soak him- grr!
It's very important for you to keep her warm. Like the others said, she definitely needs to be kept in some sort of enclosure.

Welcome to the forum! I hope to have some Egyptian torts in the future :)
 

dmmj

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welcome congrats on the little fella
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I know supplies are hard for you to come by, but she won't eat if she's too cold so you need to get any type of light on her. I wouldn't put her on your dirt if it has pebbles in it as she might eat them. Can you line the plastic bin with newspapers? Not torn up but just laying flat, then put something for her to sleep in and pretend the light is the sun and have it on for 12 hours, that will warm her up. Keep her up off of your tiles, that's why I suggest you lay the newspaper flat. Try to feed her different lettuces and some tomatoes and cucumbers, she won't eat until she is warm...good luck with her...
 

Lohan

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Hello again guys. Ok I went home last night and tried my best.....

I got a large-ish cardboard box (best I could do late last night)...went out side and got some dirt mixed with some sand..although the sand here in Dahab is not fine sand...I hear you guys about tiny pebbles and the dirt is pebbly so as soon as I can I will change it but for last night it seemed to make her much much more comfortable. I lined the box first with news paper then added the dirt on top, there is not a lot though - my yard is full of pebbly sand but it is not deep so got as much as I could to cover the base of the box. I soaked her again in warm water and she drank again so that is great..and did a big yawn too (thanks for the tip Lind F, as I didnt freak out last night when she opened her mouth wide - and it was just the once too). I put the lamp on which does warm some of the area and I also cracked a pot to give her a den to hide out in, although so far she had a nose in there but walked out, I think it is not warm enough yet.....I also put a few pieces of wood an made like a tunnel which she likes to walk through! Anyway, she seemed happier as she went for a good little walk around her new home, checking it out for about 1 hour!!!! I was watching her forever...I put more fresh food, cucumber and carrot but no joy!
This morning, I elevated the platform for her bringing her closer to the light and she stayed there happily for a long time, warming up, I felt her shell a few times gently and could feel it was getting warm but not hot.......she was happy there. Again gave fresh foods but still not eating and also put some more water out which today she did not want to drink! How am I supposed to feed her water other than when she is bathing? If i leave water out it will get cold and surely she has got to step into the water to be able to drink from it? Finally guys, what foods should I avoid? Can she eat banana? Apple?

I have posted some pics for you experts to have a look at and let me know if she is an Egyptian (Princess) Tortoise...or maybe prince? Also have a look at the temporary home and let me know what you think. Thanks so much for all of your comments and help, its a great comfort.
 

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Cameron

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well it's not an egyptian. looks either to be a hermans or greek?
 

Lohan

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Hello Again

So here is my cute Tiny T......what do you think..Egyptian or not? If not what species do you think she is? Im quite certain she is Egyptian after some research but perhaps not. Many thanks. x
DSC01236 small back .JPG DSC01230 small .JPG DSC01261small.JPG DSC01243 light.JPG DSC01204 small.JPG


Thanks Cameron...tried to post the pics so they show in the thread without having to click on the link. Posted some more pics for feedback. Cheers
 
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Lohan

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No I dont. I just uploaded them from my laptop file.

Cheers
 

Tracy Gould

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Hi Lohan welcome to the forum. I am not an expert but i have been looking up Egyptian tortoise and it does look like one as they have the same markings on the Plastron. I also found a care sheet for you. You will defo need to sort out a heat lamp fairly quick as it will need the correct body temp to eat. I hope the sheet help you

http://www.chelonia.org/articles/tkleinmannicare.htm[hr]
He is another link with a good list of food on it

http://home.earthlink.net/~fridjian/id3.html[hr]
Me again i have found a good site that shows u how to ID a Egyptian Tortoise it shows u the marks on the Plastron that makes me think yours is an Egyptian

http://egyptian-tortoise.com/id9.html
 

Lohan

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Thanks so much Tracy! It is the markings n its belly that makes me also think it must be - is that not something found on all Tortoise then? Finally, what about drinking water - should it also only be warm water? Cheers.
Lyndsey
 

Tracy Gould

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Most Torts have markings but they differ from species to species mine is a Hermann and as long bands were yours as a short block. I put warm water out for her to drink but it will go cold i keep it near her heat lamp to keep it from going to cold and this seem to help with Humidity.
 
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