One way to keep your baby alive -discussion thread

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Maggie Cummings

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I joined the Tortoise Forum in 2009. Then it was a smallish group of experienced chelonian keepers and breeders. We became very friendly group and had some good talks, and learned a lot. Then we were discovered by a bunch of new keepers who were complaining about all the contradicting info on the 'net. So we started to grow and give advice. A very tricky thing, to give advice. And we don't all agree all the time. We all have our own way of keeping our animals. Mostly in excellent enclosures, and we DO agree on the important points. Some members have experimented with closed chambers for hatching Sulcata and low and behold, pyramiding stopped. We have learned an awful lot about the disservice we were doing to our tortoises. The 'old' way was not good. So we changed it. There are hundreds of years of experience among us if you added it all up. So here's the point of this discourse. When a newbie asks for advice, then argues about it, it's very frustrating. I'll tell you why. One of the most often asked questions is...Can't I let my tortoise walk on the floor? Or in a thread we find out someone else has his tortoise on the floor with no heat, light or substrate or limits to his area, he slept on a pile of blankets.

Recently I read a thread that affected some of us experienced keepers a lot. I want to tell you newcomers about it.
Baby tortoises do not belong on the floor. They are exotic animals, not cats or dogs and simply CAN'T be kept like them.You cannot allow your small tortoise to wander around the floor eating dust bunnies, paper clips, bobby pins, cat or dog hair and other stuff. Plus, an uncarpeted floor is cold. Tortoises need to have an interior temperature of 80 to 85 otherwise they can't digest their food. I mean 80 degrees inside then.
So we have had many newbies argue this premise. But you can't argue this, and the poster that this happened to was a new person, she had not posted before and this is her first post...

I have a 9 week old sulcata tortoise . he is very healthy and active but about 30 minutes ago, I accidentally squashed his head with the door. I feel terrible. He wouldn't come out of his shell for about 10 minutes. Now he's out but he won't move his legs, hands or head. His eyes are open though. PLEASE HELP ME!! IS he dying? Is he gonna be okay? I'm devastated!

As an experienced keeper I know exactly what's happening and it ain't good. My heart starts to hurt.


He had is head between the door and the door frame. I didn't know he was there, so I opened the door and I think his head got caught.

It sounds to me like he was at the back of the door, between the door and the frame and she opened the door, effectively crushing his head like your fingers in a car do. The pain is immense, his head not visably squashed had to have broken bones and brain trauma. He most likely died right away. She posts a picture,he's dead. Obviously

I really hope my baby is okay. Despite the fact that he isn't moving his limbs

If you move his legs does he try to resist or pull back?


He did at first but not anymore


Is he responding at all? Does he blink if you touch his eyeball?
You had him loose in your house? :(
If he's alive this won't hurt him, because he will blink. Its one way vets test for the level of anesthesia or to see if an animal is still alive. It doesn't work on snakes though...
Sorry this happened. We try really hard hear to warn people not to let tortoises run loose in the house. Sadly, I see this sort of thing too frequently.

He did not blink. My baby is gone


You just read the death of a small Sulcata.

I guess chopping the thread up like this kinda takes away the effect, but I cried when I read that thread. I cried for a totally unnecessary death, and I cried for the pain the poster felt when they realized THEY killed that baby.
It was an accident, no doubt. But if the baby had been set up properly and KEPT in it's safe enclosure, it would still be alive. Kept safe, less small tortoises will die. With the number of members now on TFO we read about a lot of deaths that happen simply because the new keeper didn't know. That's mostly why we're here, to help YOU keep your baby alive. Listen when we tell you something, we've all been there. We learned by trial and error and you don't have to do that, you just need to listen and read and take what applies to you and use it. Ask lots of questions.

Don't allow your tortoise/turtle on the floor,
it really stresses them out.

Keep them off rabbit pellets.
Don't feed canned turtle food
Don't mix tortoises and dogs

Remember, chelonia are exotic animals with specific needs for being kept alive. Research about your species and please keep him off the floor.
 

Yvonne G

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Yes...this was a very sad post. I was all choked up when I read it too. I only hope new members will read this thread and understand the ramifications of allowing a tortoise to roam all over the house.

I would like to caution anyone who feels a compulsion to respond to this thread: The member who lost the tortoise feels terrible. Let's don't make her feel any worse by picking apart her actions.
 

Yellow Turtle01

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Wow.
I'm not sure what to say! I agree 100% with this, and I feel terrible for that tortoise, because he didn't have to die, and although is was an accident, it was completely avoidable :( I'm sorry for him, but that means nothing because it's done and it can't be reversed. This didn't have to and shouldn't have happened.
 

phebe121

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Im sorry for the tort and the girl you cant leave them out or unattended if your spending time with them cool but never alone if mine are out they are always in my site so they cant get hurt
 

Alaskamike

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I wish every new tortoise owner would read this post. Not only can tragic sad accidents be avoided but the more prolonged suffering induced by unknowingly poor husbandry.

We all love animals or would not be here on this forum. There is no doubt animals of all kinds suffer needlessly at the hands of us humans. Even the best intentioned of us have made mistakes.

Fortunately when folks investigate this forum they already probably care more about humane proper care than the vast majority. Or they wouldn't be here asking questions.

We will never know the real influence of those who promote great care for our shelled friends exert. How many now grow and thrive in good environments. Will live to a ripe old age.

Sometimes the corrections and advice can seem blunt and without feeling but I know the best interests of the owner and the tort are always the bottom line.

It would be great if this info could be placed as a sticky to new members of the forum. Maybe re titled " why we give advice"
Mike
 

smarch

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I did not read this thread, I have no idea who the poster was, but I feel the pain, that's just dreadful I cant even imagine the pain the poster feels. Its the forum that made me realize its not smart to let my guy wander the floor even if I follow and watch him every move he makes, now he's only out if he's on my chest for small periods of time, he'll stop around some and burrow right in to me and nap.
I see this as no different than the "another dog story" thread, I think this should be pinned, it should be known, people always say that it wont happen with them, they're careful, so I think its good for it to be seen by many. As sad as it was i'm glad to have read this.
 

Team Gomberg

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I hope the people reading this story who DO let their torts roam don't say, "That won't happen to me". As this owner had to learn the hard way, it very well CAN happen if you continue to allow free house roaming. :(
I hope these accidents stop happening.
 

dmmj

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Great thread maggie.
I hope people realize we do this to share our exp. so you don't have to learn the hard way, like I did.
 

the_newzie

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I'm replying to this post as a newbie. I wanted to thank all of you for taking the time and effort to share your experience and knowledge with those of us just starting in the tortoise world. I've asked a lot of questions on this forum since getting my tortoise and have received some advice that I'm convinced is the only reason I still have a living, breathing tortoise.
 

terryo

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What a great thread Maggie. I feel so bad for that person who lost her baby sulcata. I think we all know how she feels, because we've all done some wrong things at one time or another. Wow...I can't believe I joined a year before you.
 

AmRoKo

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I was upset when I had read about that baby tortoise to. :(
 

dmmj

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@terryo hard to believe I joined in 08, also a year before maggie.
 

terryo

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Maybe we should start a thread with all the mistakes that everyone made....or maybae we better not.
Where did everyone go David?
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Remember, Crazy1, Candy and Misty?
As I remember it was Candy who always either peed her pants from reading Bob stories or she shoots coke out her nose. I always liked her...
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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What a great thread Maggie. I feel so bad for that person who lost her baby sulcata. I think we all know how she feels, because we've all done some wrong things at one time or another. Wow...I can't believe I joined a year before you.

I lied! Look at my avatar...I joined Sept 2008, not 9....I am kinda blonde...
 

bouaboua

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Thank you for this reminder thread again. I read enough thread and articles in a very short period in the very early part of our chelonian keeping, One of the things is not to leave your tortoise on the floor and it make very much sense.

This is a great place to learn and share, Specially you are a newbie. Read and learn.
 

terryo

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Oh I just looked at that thingie...I joined Aug. 2007. Candy is still around. Sad that so many people left.
 
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