New tortoise owner

Peggynurse

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Apr 22, 2021
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San Diego, CA
I am a new tortoise owner and I hope I am doing everything right I am concerned that my baby red footed tortoise isn't eating she is about 1 1/2 years old I have her in a tank with power sun and ceramic heat bulb and spray down her tank twice a day to promote humidity temp is between 85/90 humidity is 80/90% she seemed fine when I picked her up. I have had her for 2 weeks this week she has had me a little worried ? She doesn't seem to be doing much. I would like to have her seen by a reptile vet but they are booked till September or not taking new patients ! What am I doing wrong how do I get her to eat ? Also doing dailey warm soaks as instructed by my reptile store
 

Peggynurse

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Apr 22, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
San Diego, CA
Nobody has any thoughts ? I am stressing out over this Tort ! She is not eating and the soonest I can get her seen is Monday !
 

MarginatedMooney

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Hi there, welcome to the forum!
I'm a newby myself and I don't have a Redfoot but I have been reading and learning a lot. A Redfoot expert like @ZEROPILOT may be able to help you better, but here are my thoughts:

From what I can tell, your temps and humidity sound good, so I don't think that's the problem.

The bad news is, mercury vapor bulbs like your powersun are no longer recommended because they are so intense and dry out tortoise's shells along with having unreliable UVB. Also, Redfoots don't need a bright basking spot and your Redfoot could be stressed by the intense, bright light that powersun is putting out. I would get rid of the powersun and use a T5 5.0 or T8 fluorescent tube for UVB, set on a timer for 3-5 hours around mid day. You may not need a light bulb for light since you have a window nearby. If you want a light bulb, it shouldn't be too bright. You'll also want to make sure the CHE is on a thermostat set to 80-85.
 
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Lyn W

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Hi and welcome,
Hopefully you'll get some help from redfoot keepers like @ZEROPILOT soon but most of our torts problems are down to things that we have, or haven't, done and making changes to space ,temps, humidity or diet etc may be all that is needed.
I don't keep RF but it seems to me that the viv is too small for your tort and he will need much more space.
I think he would be happier in a minimum of 4 x 8 feet enclosure and he will probably be more active. when he has somewhere to explore.
Your heat source should be towards one end rather than in the middle so that they have a cool area and you
If you look in the South American Torts section you should find a caresheet which will cover most things to help you, so find that then ask as many questions as you like.
Torts don't like change so he could also be sulking at having a new home.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Im sorry
I've been busy and away from the forum
First off. Your lighting is wrong.
And just by getting that correct, a few other issues will become easier.
You need a good T5 linear strip florescent UVB tube.
A 5.0 Reptisun or a 6% Arcadia
Do not use a screw in compact/coiled bulb.
Also. Do not use a heat lamp (bulb)
Instead use a CERAMIC HEAT EMITTER or CHE on a thermostat that turns on at 80• and off at 86•
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hi and welcome,
Hopefully you'll get some help from redfoot keepers like @ZEROPILOT soon but most of our torts problems are down to things that we have, or haven't, done and making changes to space ,temps, humidity or diet etc may be all that is needed.
I don't keep RF but it seems to me that the viv is too small for your tort and he will need much more space.
I think he would be happier in a minimum of 4 x 8 feet enclosure and he will probably be more active. when he has somewhere to explore.
Your heat source should be towards one end rather than in the middle so that they have a cool area and you
If you look in the South American Torts section you should find a caresheet which will cover most things to help you, so find that then ask as many questions as you like.
Torts don't like change so he could also be sulking at having a new home.
All great information
 

Peggynurse

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Apr 22, 2021
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San Diego, CA
So I have not run the power sun at all just ceramic on my way to my reptile store but she really doesn't look good today I am currently trying to find someone to see her today on emergency ! Any thoughts on force feeding ? I am a veterinary tech we do not do exotics I feel terrible and helpless ! Temp and humidity are at 80
 

ZenHerper

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For a reptile doing poorly, nudge the ambient closer to 85*F.

A sickly tort can be soaked in a warm mix of half carrot baby food with water. Set the soak pan inside the enclosure so it stays warm, but watch over the soaking animal. The carrot sugars can soak in through the vent even if the tort will not drink. An omnivorous tort can manage higher sugar levels, so any baby food fruit can be used.
 

Peggynurse

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I pureed the heck out of spring mix and was able to get some into her along with baby food kale and apple soaking her in carrot baby food and water and she actually looks better then she did this morning ! Fingers crossed ! I use to hand feed birds ! If she makes it she will probably hate me 😂 disappointed in the fact that I can't even get her seen on Emergency
 
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ZenHerper

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Parenting is thankless. =)) Repeat the food soak 3-4 times daily until appetite returns. The re-hydration alone is helpful.

Keep us posted.

Just a reminder: tortoises are NOT the same medically as turtles. Vitamin A should not be given by injection (and only rarely to turtles who are specifically undernourished). Overdosed Vitamin A damages the skin and liver (and can be deadly).
 

Peggynurse

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
25
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego, CA
For a reptile doing poorly, nudge the ambient closer to 85*F.

A sickly tort can be soaked in a warm mix of half carrot baby food with water. Set the soak pan inside the enclosure so it stays warm, but watch over the soaking animal. The carrot sugars can soak in through the vent even if the tort will not drink. An omnivorous tort can manage higher sugar levels, so any baby food fruit can be used.
After the carrots soak do I rinse her off
 

ZEROPILOT

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So I have not run the power sun at all just ceramic on my way to my reptile store but she really doesn't look good today I am currently trying to find someone to see her today on emergency ! Any thoughts on force feeding ? I am a veterinary tech we do not do exotics I feel terrible and helpless ! Temp and humidity are at 80
I wouldn't force feed.
But you can ad carrot or sweet potato baby food to the soak water.
When they drink the water. They also take in some nutrients. Sometimes it's enough to help them recover. Sometimes it actually seems to get them hungry again.
As long as the tortoise is drinking, he or she can go many weeks without eating.
Maybe you already mentioned it and I just didn't read it. But have you offered some banana or mango?
I've never had a RF so sick that it wouldn't eat mango. And I've had a few very sick ones.
Keep him hydrated and warm until you can get him to the vet.
 
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ZenHerper

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So sorry to hear this. The pet store recommended the wrong set up, which is common across all species of tortoises. If she was from the pet store, she arrived to your care in poor condition.

Take your time; be kind to you. Let us know how to help.
 
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