Please help. (hatchling is lethargic)

BrookeB

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So I have one sulcata hatchling that is and has been pretty lethargic. Im worried that she’s not going to survive. In fact I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but they all seem to be growing extremely slow and two are not doing well compared to the leopards.. the Leopards where 2-3 months old when I got them so they had a good head start. They are in the same exact enclosures in the same room with the same diet. They don’t live together. Just the same build. One sulcata has been doing great but even she hasn’t grown much. Two haven’t grown at all and one has been becoming less active. One of those two has almost stopped eating or moving and is softer than the others. Can I fix this or did this one just fail.. was it because of me? If it does end up not making it what should I do? because then I’ll have only two should I buy another baby?

my care
3ft x 9ft enclosure
basking bulb over rock platform hottest temperature in basking spot 101 surrounded by 100-95.
humidity 80-100 rh
Daytime ambient temperature ranges from 88-91
Nighttime ambient temperature ranges from 82-86
Uvb long tube new replacement because the old one was past the date at the distance on the instructions. It’s too cold for them to go outside and has been since the end of September or beginning of October.
Orchid bark substrate
Humid hide
Diet mulberry leaves, grasses, weeds, Mazuri, spring mix when other stuff isn’t available with hay pellets on top
Cuttlebone
calcium weekly
Water bowl with clean water daily
Soaking daily but it might not always be for 30 full minutes

FD4FCE1A-FA99-4D27-8F03-2A69B16BE1B3.jpeg D2BB243A-1C11-4402-A1DC-DEC7526AD3BE.jpeg 7D40E9AE-8417-4203-A6F4-EB73263E2133.jpeg CBDEAD72-4798-4EF3-8AC3-4027A98FB584.jpeg
I already fixed the uvb light so that it hangs above (not at an angle) and put it at the right distance.

The sulcatas are from Tom so I know that they don’t have hatchling failure syndrome.

I used the same soaking tub for the sulcatas and leopards on accident like one or two times (but it was different water and they where not together.. two leopards are from gijoux from the forum and the first leopard is from somewhere in Florida. She is the oldest and doing great but I have no idea where she is from. I got her from a friend who couldn’t care for her anymore. All the leopards are together and they are doing great.

The sulcatas
So I wanted to ask you if it was possible that the one hatchling that is doing really bad has some sort of hatch defect or internal issues. Because that one has always been less active (not like this) she has always slept more then the others but I thought that hatchlings slept a lot so I didn’t take it as a bad sign.. s this because of something I did? I have them in this new enclosure which I honestly can’t see any issues with but when I first got them I had them in a modified tote, and I didn’t have a hot spot. That’s when one of my sulcatas got a respiratory infection. Tom said the basking bulb was needed.. I fixed that but they where like that for a few weeks (2-3) in the beginning. I believe that may be why the sulcatas have been growing slow. The humidity and temperature in the old tote enclosure where perfect and after I modified the basking bulb the one with the ri seemed to start getting better. Then I moved them to the larger enclosure. I also just realized that the one that had a respiratory illness is not the one that is failing now. I checked my weight and health log which has pictures of the scute pattern and the one who had a respiratory illness is still a little inactive but he’s eating and walking around and his shell isn’t soft. He was the other one I said I thought wasn’t doing well.. Then the last hatchling is solid and he eats- drinks and walks all over the place.

Sulcatas

1) Little Chip - is the one that is soft, not eating eyes closed, no discharge or anything. Skin dry and flaky, no yellow spots. Completely inactive at this point. He has been the least active out of all of the sulcatas but I thought at first it was because the babies sleep a lot. I think I am going to lose this one.
C458ADF9-4E17-4ED0-8C49-630B5D4F218F.jpeg

2- Dozer - is the one who had a respiratory infection in the beginning before he moved to the large enclosure. (Due to not having a hot spot) His eyes are still a little puffy and he rubs them on occasion. But his eyes are open and he seems to be improving a lot.He’s slightly softer but not “mushy” eats and drinks, moves (slightly less active still) 19ECD1D6-DB98-4A67-B256-8AF6346FFDC2.jpeg

3- Little foot is active, eating drinking and very solid shell but his growth is slow (I think it’s slow but I’ve never even had hatchlings reach this age in my care so I may be wrong) she is also two days younger than the first two.
7437D252-30C0-4203-B254-663221D2759F.jpeg

Could they be ill from the cross contamination with their bath tub. Or is this because I had them without a hotspot when I first got them? Could the one that hasn’t been active from the beginning have a internal issue or a defect? Could it be because my uvb was old and I needed a new one? What do I do if I end up losing one and only have two? Why am I still failing?!? Maybe I should just stop getting tortoises.. 😥
 

Maro2Bear

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Interesting. Are you sure your temperature readings are accurate, especially overnight ambient temps? Are you only using those small wattage CHEs? I’m just thinking out loud here, but where & what are you using to measure temperature? Those greenhouses tents are nice, but heat still rises. I’m thinking your temps are much lower than you think at ground level & coupled with the high humidity, your torts not doing well.
 

Pastel Tortie

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I'll defer to @Tom and other experts to troubleshoot regarding tortoise husbandry and environmental conditions.

I want to hear more about your first leopard... The one you got from the friend who couldn't take care of it anymore. How long ago was that? Do you know when your friend first got it? (Was it this year?) See if you can get any additional information from your friend about the vendor, or even where in Florida it came from. (If it's from a particular vendor in South Florida and it was purchased earlier this year, that's going to raise some red flags.) Has your friend had any other tortoises?

The tote they were in before you built the new enclosure... Had it been used for anything else?
 

Relic

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I see an electronic thermometer lying on the top of the black hide box in the photographs of your enclosure (very nicely done, I might add). You might move it to different locations inside the enclosure and try to "map out" a temperature grid, looking for cool spots you might not know about. Perhaps the night-time temps are dipping lower than desired away from the CHE's....
 

Markw84

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Brooke

I see no way you can keep the entire enclosure up to proper temps they way it is set up and next to the window like that. There is no insulation and the corners, where the tortoises would want to stay, would get way too cold. If their body temp is not kept above 80° at all times, their metabolism cannot function and continue developing properly. The gut microbiome will partly die off, or not get established properly for digestion as many of those bacteria are very temperature sensitive.

Get an IR heat gun thermometer and check the corners where you tortoises stay at night. You'll be surprised how much colder it is there even with the CHE's going as all the heat rises and with no insulation will not be retained. For example, It I take my heat gun and check my own house this time of year, the main house is 71°. but the corner at floor level is 60°. And that a well insulated newer home!

It sounds like your tortoises are just too cold.

I would also recommend using a smaller space at first with hatchlings. They don't do as well in a large enclosure their first few months until they really start growing and have developed more.
 

BrookeB

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Interesting. Are you sure your temperature readings are accurate, especially overnight ambient temps? Are you only using those small wattage CHEs? I’m just thinking out loud here, but where & what are you using to measure temperature? Those greenhouses tents are nice, but heat still rises. I’m thinking your temps are much lower than you think at ground level & coupled with the high humidity, your torts not doing well.
I thought that but I stayed up all night two different days and checked with my temp gun. I also have 4 temp gauges and 2 humidity gauges in each enclosure. I’ve checked ground temperature by digging in the enclosure and using the temp gun in multiple places.
 

BrookeB

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I'll defer to @Tom and other experts to troubleshoot regarding tortoise husbandry and environmental conditions.

I want to hear more about your first leopard... The one you got from the friend who couldn't take care of it anymore. How long ago was that? Do you know when your friend first got it? (Was it this year?) See if you can get any additional information from your friend about the vendor, or even where in Florida it came from. (If it's from a particular vendor in South Florida and it was purchased earlier this year, that's going to raise some red flags.) Has your friend had any other tortoises?

The tote they were in before you built the new enclosure... Had it been used for anything else?
I got the older leopard in June the person I got it from lives in northern Florida, Florida- Georgia Line.. she got the tortoise in may it was hatched in April.. s/he’s doing great with the other leopards, the other leopards are doing great as well. The enclosure is a completely new build and no other animals had been in them.
 

BrookeB

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Brooke

I see no way you can keep the entire enclosure up to proper temps they way it is set up and next to the window like that. There is no insulation and the corners, where the tortoises would want to stay, would get way too cold. If their body temp is not kept above 80° at all times, their metabolism cannot function and continue developing properly. The gut microbiome will partly die off, or not get established properly for digestion as many of those bacteria are very temperature sensitive.

Get an IR heat gun thermometer and check the corners where you tortoises stay at night. You'll be surprised how much colder it is there even with the CHE's going as all the heat rises and with no insulation will not be retained. For example, It I take my heat gun and check my own house this time of year, the main house is 71°. but the corner at floor level is 60°. And that a well insulated newer home!

It sounds like your tortoises are just too cold.

I would also recommend using a smaller space at first with hatchlings. They don't do as well in a large enclosure their first few months until they really start growing and have developed more.
I have a temperature gun.. and I’ve checked the temperature throughout the entire enclosure multiple times, corners and even in ground. At night and during the day.. there is a small space heater underneath the entire enclosure.. and our house temperature is 75-80 right now because it’s winter and the pellet stove (in our living room) is the only heat source so it’s 80 in our living room.
 

BrookeB

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I see an electronic thermometer lying on the top of the black hide box in the photographs of your enclosure (very nicely done, I might add). You might move it to different locations inside the enclosure and try to "map out" a temperature grid, looking for cool spots you might not know about. Perhaps the night-time temps are dipping lower than desired away from the CHE's....
that’s not it’s permanent spot, it’s also not the only temperature gage I have. In fact it’s one of 4.. I also have a temperature gun which I’ve used a lot.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Didn't you have like 5 or 6 baby tortoises die previously? Do you burn any essential oils, air fresheners or anything like that in your house? Do you use any different kind of cleaning supplies? Fertilizer or pesticides in your yard? Something has to be going on if your having trouble with the new tortoises too.
 

BrookeB

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I’ll move them to a different enclosure I guess..
 

BrookeB

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Didn't you have like 5 or 6 baby tortoises die previously? Do you burn any essential oils, air fresheners or anything like that in your house? Do you use any different kind of cleaning supplies? Fertilizer or pesticides in your yard? Something has to be going on if your having trouble with the new tortoises too.
no I have a cockatoo so most cleaning products and anything that smells or burns is a no go in my house. With a huge list of other things we can’t use.. I have dogs, chickens and pigs outside so no pesticides or fertilizer anywhere on the property. I’m not having any issues with the 3 leopards and one of the two Sulcata’s had a RI and I figured out the reason fixed it and that one is back on track... and one of the Sulcata’s is doing good..
 

BrookeB

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Didn't you have like 5 or 6 baby tortoises die previously? Do you burn any essential oils, air fresheners or anything like that in your house? Do you use any different kind of cleaning supplies? Fertilizer or pesticides in your yard? Something has to be going on if your having trouble with the new tortoises too.
I don’t think you meant to be rude but that’s what this comment is. Just in case you didn’t know.
 

Toddrickfl1

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I don’t think you meant to be rude but that’s what this comment is. Just in case you didn’t know.
Wasn't trying to be rude, was trying to rule out anything else because it's just odd you'd be having this much trouble. I won't offer you any more advice, good luck with your tortoises.
 

Gijoux

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Didn't you have like 5 or 6 baby tortoises die previously? Do you burn any essential oils, air fresheners or anything like that in your house? Do you use any different kind of cleaning supplies? Fertilizer or pesticides in your yard? Something has to be going on if your having trouble with the new tortoises too.
As I recall we narrowed down the problem Brooke was having before, to the use of soils in her enclosures. It is my understanding that she is no longer using soils because, as Tom pointed out all soils, including those that say natural, come from composting sources that include poisonous plants, pesticides, herbacides, plastics, as well as countless other dangerous products for baby tortoises.
 

BrookeB

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As I recall we narrowed down the problem Brooke was having before, to the use of soils in her enclosures. It is my understanding that she is no longer using soils because, as Tom pointed out all soils, including those that say natural, come from composting sources that include poisonous plants, pesticides, herbacides, plastics, as well as countless other dangerous products for baby tortoises.
I think that may have been someone else.. the last 4 hatchlings I bought last year I bought from LLL reptile and I had them on coco coir. They where very dry and when I checked LLL out I found out that they do not keep their hatchlings right. At all... I did change the substrate with them because the coir seemed to get into their eyes.. but they passed within the first month of me buying them. the two hatchlings I had 7-8 years ago where completely my fault as I followed the care that the breeders had given me and they where kept extremely dry with me and with the original breeder. Like desert dry... so yeah I have lost 6 hatchlings, but the last group of 4 was from hatchling failure.
 

BrookeB

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So I had a long conversation with @Tom yesterday and I guess that the babies I lost both this time and last where not my fault. Apparently I may have given the Sulcata’s I received from Tom, the yellow spot disease, which I would have had (unknowingly) from LLL reptiles from my first batch of hatchlings. It would make sense seeing as my leopards are doing wonderful and I still have found no reason for the Sulcata hatchlings deaths. If/when I ever get more Sulcata I will be doing a full decontamination of all equipment and setting them up in a new enclosure. We will see if my last Sulcata hatchling survives. If he does I’m unsure how to proceed because there is no way he wasn’t exposed which concerns me as it may be possible he could spread the illness in the future.
 

zovick

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So I had a long conversation with @Tom yesterday and I guess that the babies I lost both this time and last where not my fault. Apparently I may have given the Sulcata’s I received from Tom, the yellow spot disease, which I would have had (unknowingly) from LLL reptiles from my first batch of hatchlings. It would make sense seeing as my leopards are doing wonderful and I still have found no reason for the Sulcata hatchlings deaths. If/when I ever get more Sulcata I will be doing a full decontamination of all equipment and setting them up in a new enclosure. We will see if my last Sulcata hatchling survives. If he does I’m unsure how to proceed because there is no way he wasn’t exposed which concerns me as it may be possible he could spread the illness in the future.
If you are concerned that the remaining sulcata is possibly carrying the yellow spot disease, it might be best to get rid of it before your other tortoises become accidentally exposed. Using sterile technique between two different enclosures and multiple animals is a very difficult thing to maintain over a long period of time.

I hate to say it, but if I believed several of my babies had died from the yellow spot problem, I would give the last one away to someone who has no other tortoises which could also end up dead from exposure to the potential carrier animal. Or another alternative in my opinion would be euthanasia as a last resort if I thought the animal was a carrier or would itself ultimately die from disease as this would prevent it from suffering.
 

BrookeB

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If you are concerned that the remaining sulcata is possibly carrying the yellow spot disease, it might be best to get rid of it before your other tortoises become accidentally exposed. Using sterile technique between two different enclosures and multiple animals is a very difficult thing to maintain over a long period of time.

I hate to say it, but if I believed several of my babies had died from the yellow spot problem, I would give the last one away to someone who has no other tortoises which could also end up dead from exposure to the potential carrier animal. Or another alternative in my opinion would be euthanasia as a last resort if I thought the animal was a carrier or would itself ultimately die from disease as this would prevent it from suffering.
Well, I was told that it’s not contagious to other species of tortoises and at this point I have no Sulcata hatchlings that could become infected. As for what to do with the remaining hatchling, I’m going to wait on this, see if survives, then address what I do with it. It would be highly irresponsible of me to give it to anyone as that would most likely lead to the further spread of this disease. At this point we don’t know if it stays in them their whole life, how long it says infectious or even if a hatchling can survive without medical intervention. If it stays with the tortoise forever then I may have him euthanized because in my opinion that it like owning a ticking-time-bomb. Like I said rehoming isn’t an option at this point. We need more information on this illness and until then he will be quarantined, I will buy gloves to handle him and will take serous precautions with him at all times. I own a ranch and have done rescue work my entire life so animal quarantine-husbandry is second hand to me.
 

zovick

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Well, I was told that it’s not contagious to other species of tortoises and at this point I have no Sulcata hatchlings that could become infected. As for what to do with the remaining hatchling, I’m going to wait on this, see if survives, then address what I do with it. It would be highly irresponsible of me to give it to anyone as that would most likely lead to the further spread of this disease. At this point we don’t know if it stays in them their whole life, how long it says infectious or even if a hatchling can survive without medical intervention. If it stays with the tortoise forever then I may have him euthanized because in my opinion that it like owning a ticking-time-bomb. Like I said rehoming isn’t an option at this point. We need more information on this illness and until then he will be quarantined, I will buy gloves to handle him and will take serous precautions with him at all times. I own a ranch and have done rescue work my entire life so animal quarantine-husbandry is second hand to me.
Well, as long as you know what you need to do, good luck. Hopefully this organism which causes the yellow spot disease in sulcata will not mutate and begin to affect other species as well.
 
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