Odor makes me feel ill

Colorado Tortie Mom

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Hello everyone;

I'm wondering if the topic of odor has come up with Russian Tortoises. I got my RT a few days ago and was soon after pooped on by him. I was surprised by the smell. Since they eat mainly veg of some sort I was expecting more of a hay or earthy type of smell. It was more similar to snake feces in odor IMO. At the time I thought it was interesting but no big deal. Within a few minutes I felt sick to my stomach. It lasted for hours.
Now I get sick to my stomach when ever I'm near his enclosure. There is nothing to pick up or clean but I'm so sensitive to the smell that I can only be close to him for maybe a minute at the most.
It isn't normal for me to be sensitive to odors so I'm puzzled by it. Now, I'm wondering if some people just can't keep tortoises as pets. Is that a "thing" or am I alone is this?



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Colorado Tortie Mom

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A clean, freshly bathed tortoise is pretty odorless.

What kind of substrate do you use in his indoor enclosure? You could be allergic to. Fir/orchid bark and cypress mulch are especially common irritators for allergic people.
the substrate is Zoo Med coconut, and Zoo Med cypress mulch. I can put my face in both bags and breathe it in for any length of time with no ill effects
 

Colorado Tortie Mom

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It isn't so much the smell, maybe I used the wrong wording. I'm more concerned with the physical reaction my body has when I'm in close proximity to the tortoise feces. I wouldn't have a problem with it if the odor was the only issue. The smell really isn't that bad.
 

Yvonne G

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I don't understand it either, but Russian tortoises have pretty stinky poop compared to other plant-eating tortoises. I'm sorry this has happened to you, because I think its going to color the way you feel about the tortoise. It must be their metabolism. Just a note of comparison: I had to have my house cat euthanized a couple months ago, and in her absence I brought in my favorite outside kitty. I'm feeding this cat the same as the previous cat, but this cat's poop smells SO BAD! You almost have to evacuate the house when she uses the litter box.

I guess some tortoises just have smelly poop. I don't have any words of wisdom for you. It's a real shame that this is happening.
 

bouaboua

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Sorry to hear that but nothing you can do about it, or maybe the previous owner did feed him the "wrong" food.
 

ascott

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Animal allergies are not always due to the skin or fur, but to the proteins in the blood, urine (urates/feces) and saliva...this is true in regards to reptiles too.....also, sometimes the substrate can cause issue, the plants and such can cause an issue....all of which are attributed to the reptile....perhaps you can experiment some to narrow down what the sources may actually be....
 

ascott

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Yes, but what happens to you if the substrate comes in contact with your skin? The substrate also can irritate the skin by abrasion....
 

ZEROPILOT

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Do you have other tortoises? Tortoise poo is very unpleasant. Red footeds, such as my own are even less pleasant. They are omnivores. I think it's due to bacteria in the gut that helps them break down matter. There is likely NO ONE here that LIKES the smell. Sorry you got pooped on. Maybe your new guy is sick and he'll settle down after a few days of nice food. A large, well ventilated enclosure will help a lot. My large male who lives outside is virtually odorless and I rarely ever even see the poo, much less smell it.
 

Magilla504

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I work in the fire department for a living . When we have to go into situations with expected awful smells, we put a dab of Vicks vapor rub under our nose. Perhaps you could do this and then clean the cage to help with the odor. I see this same problem with newer employees.... It's mainly psychological and you will get use to it. Have you tried experimenting with the diet?

Good luck,
Jason
 
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