Russian not eating or opening eyes

Hp4Gordo

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Sep 26, 2020
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Charleston
Hi everyone, I “rescued” (at least am making efforts to rescue) a tortoise from Craigslist. I am the third owner - first person got him from big box pet store, second got him from craigslist, too, and now here I am. Second owner told me he hasn’t been eating/moving much and her dog wouldn’t leave him alone (don’t think any direct contact but constant barking, occasional pawing at enclosure, etc.). The basking light was also burnt out and he hadn’t had one for at least a week.

We got him home yesterday afternoon. I purchased a replacement heating lamp last night and increased the wattage from 100 to 150. The UVB is a Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0. The fixture is a Zoo Med Combo Deep Dome Dual Reptile Lamp. Tank is a 40 gallon horizontal and I keep the lights on the far right end, food/water on the front left side so that there is plenty of space in the back left corner for burrowing. Keep 3” of coconut fiber substrate on the basking side building up to 6” on the “cooler” food/water/burrowing side.

He tried to open his eyes a little last night but immediately closed back up. Gave him a bath this morning and he peed (urea and a quarter size amount of uric acid). He dipped his whole head in three times and seemingly tried to “wipe” his eyes with his arms a couple of times. Also took several gulps of water. In the meantime, I thought maybe the powdery consistency of the coconut fiber had irritated his eyes, so I sprayed it with spring water, added a small layer of timothy hay, sprayed that, too. After 15 mins he let us know he was ready to get out. Put him back in the tank and he seemed a bit more “perky” (eyes still closed) so I placed collard greens and squash, zucchini in front of him to no avail. He basked under the heat lamp for 20 mins or so. He did open his eyes for just a few minutes, then moved under the UVB. We left to go run errands and when we came back around 5pm, he had buried himself in the substrate and has been there ever since. I cut his lights off an hour ago. His reaction to the bath was encouraging but I am worried about his eyes and lack of appetite. Could the coconut fiber be irritating them? Is he not eating because his eyes are bothering him? Or is this all because he was wild caught and trying to prepare for hibernation? Just want to make sure we are keeping him healthy without stressing him. I don’t think he has been given any vitamin or calcium supplements, either, so maybe a baby food carrot bath is in order to get him to eat and take in some supplements. Thanks for any/all help!
 

Toddrickfl1

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You said your using a reptisun bulb with the deep combo fixture. If it's this one 2214141-center-1.jpeg get rid of it. These coil bulbs can cause eye problems. I've seen it personally

Get a tube style uvb light instead.
 

Hp4Gordo

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Charleston
You said your using a reptisun bulb with the deep combo fixture. If it's this one View attachment 307382 get rid of it. These coil bulbs can cause eye problems. I've seen it personally

Get a tube style uvb light instead.
Wow - if the fix is that simple, I will be elated! I did read about not using “coil” type UVBs and,
You said your using a reptisun bulb with the deep combo fixture. If it's this one View attachment 307382 get rid of it. These coil bulbs can cause eye problems. I've seen it personally

Get a tube style uvb light instead.
 

Toddrickfl1

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I would keep doing baby food soaks still too till the eyes open and the tort starts eating.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Do you recommend a specific tube UVB?
I can't no, I have Redfoots I don't use them. I'll let someone else chime in on that. Some good reading here though
 

zovick

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Do you recommend a specific tube UVB?
Reptisun 10.0 UVB fluorescent tubes are quite good. You can get them in both T8 and T5 configuations. There is also a 5.0 available. Not sure which is better for Russians, but I think the 10.0. I always used the 10.0 for my Radiated, Spider, Burmese Star, and Sri Lankan Star Tortoises.
 

Hp4Gordo

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Sep 26, 2020
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Charleston
Thanks for the recommendations. So much better to have starting points than to just blindly search and hope. I will look into those and see if there is any specific information on preferences for Russians. Really appreciate the feedback.
 

Chefdenoel10

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Thanks for the recommendations. So much better to have starting points than to just blindly search and hope. I will look into those and see if there is any specific information on preferences for Russians. Really appreciate the feedback.
Here is the one I bought on amazon. And it comes WITH the bulb. Just trying to help.
Good luck!! 🍀
 

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KarenSoCal

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In the meantime, until you get the new bulb, turn off the one you've been using.

Your Russian will be fine without UVB for a few days.

In fact, if you can take him outside for an hour, two or three x/week, you don't need indoor UVB at all.

You say you're in Charleston...which one? South Carolina or West Virginia? Or Tennessee or Illinois, or Oregon? 🤣
 

TortoiseWarrior

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Hi, welcome....there are no pictures but you can get a good gist of what and what not to do.
 

KarenSoCal

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Here's an updated version of the care sheet.

 

Hutsie B

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once you get your lighting right maybe your Russian will get adjusted to his new home. He has had a lot of change lately, my new RT took about 4 days to get used to his new habitat before he would eat. Good luck with your guy and keep us posted.
 

Biscuit97

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Sep 27, 2020
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Hi everyone, I “rescued” (at least am making efforts to rescue) a tortoise from Craigslist. I am the third owner - first person got him from big box pet store, second got him from craigslist, too, and now here I am. Second owner told me he hasn’t been eating/moving much and her dog wouldn’t leave him alone (don’t think any direct contact but constant barking, occasional pawing at enclosure, etc.). The basking light was also burnt out and he hadn’t had one for at least a week.

We got him home yesterday afternoon. I purchased a replacement heating lamp last night and increased the wattage from 100 to 150. The UVB is a Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0. The fixture is a Zoo Med Combo Deep Dome Dual Reptile Lamp. Tank is a 40 gallon horizontal and I keep the lights on the far right end, food/water on the front left side so that there is plenty of space in the back left corner for burrowing. Keep 3” of coconut fiber substrate on the basking side building up to 6” on the “cooler” food/water/burrowing side.

He tried to open his eyes a little last night but immediately closed back up. Gave him a bath this morning and he peed (urea and a quarter size amount of uric acid). He dipped his whole head in three times and seemingly tried to “wipe” his eyes with his arms a couple of times. Also took several gulps of water. In the meantime, I thought maybe the powdery consistency of the coconut fiber had irritated his eyes, so I sprayed it with spring water, added a small layer of timothy hay, sprayed that, too. After 15 mins he let us know he was ready to get out. Put him back in the tank and he seemed a bit more “perky” (eyes still closed) so I placed collard greens and squash, zucchini in front of him to no avail. He basked under the heat lamp for 20 mins or so. He did open his eyes for just a few minutes, then moved under the UVB. We left to go run errands and when we came back around 5pm, he had buried himself in the substrate and has been there ever since. I cut his lights off an hour ago. His reaction to the bath was encouraging but I am worried about his eyes and lack of appetite. Could the coconut fiber be irritating them? Is he not eating because his eyes are bothering him? Or is this all because he was wild caught and trying to prepare for hibernation? Just want to make sure we are keeping him healthy without stressing him. I don’t think he has been given any vitamin or calcium supplements, either, so maybe a baby food carrot bath is in order to get him to eat and take in some supplements. Thanks for any/all help!
Hey, does your tortoise have any discharge from the eyes or nose? Are the eyes puffy? If yes to either of those, it is likely a respiratory infection and you tort will need to be seen by a vet. Are you keeping your tort in a tortoise table, vivarium or fish tank? Tanks and vivariams can create too much humidity and trap too much heat - this will make you're pet ill. If possible, build or buy an open top wooden tortoise table and make it large enough to have a temperature gradient between 30 and 20 degree C.

If it's an infection a tortoise will usually lose appetite. A vet can supply antibiotics. There is some great information on www.thetortoisetable.org that may help. Your tort may also not be eating due to the change of environment.
Hopefully this should help and I hope that the little one settles in soon!
 
Last edited:

Biscuit97

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P.s. I have a Russian who has had this and he too used his arms to wipe the irritated eyes. Substrates can also contain pathogens that can cause infections. Sterilised topsoil is a suitable substrate for Russians.
Make sure it is misted with water daily to prevent it from becoming too dusty and causing infections - but don't make it sodden
 

Maggiemay

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Aug 9, 2020
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Dromore
Hi everyone, I “rescued” (at least am making efforts to rescue) a tortoise from Craigslist. I am the third owner - first person got him from big box pet store, second got him from craigslist, too, and now here I am. Second owner told me he hasn’t been eating/moving much and her dog wouldn’t leave him alone (don’t think any direct contact but constant barking, occasional pawing at enclosure, etc.). The basking light was also burnt out and he hadn’t had one for at least a week.

We got him home yesterday afternoon. I purchased a replacement heating lamp last night and increased the wattage from 100 to 150. The UVB is a Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0. The fixture is a Zoo Med Combo Deep Dome Dual Reptile Lamp. Tank is a 40 gallon horizontal and I keep the lights on the far right end, food/water on the front left side so that there is plenty of space in the back left corner for burrowing. Keep 3” of coconut fiber substrate on the basking side building up to 6” on the “cooler” food/water/burrowing side.

He tried to open his eyes a little last night but immediately closed back up. Gave him a bath this morning and he peed (urea and a quarter size amount of uric acid). He dipped his whole head in three times and seemingly tried to “wipe” his eyes with his arms a couple of times. Also took several gulps of water. In the meantime, I thought maybe the powdery consistency of the coconut fiber had irritated his eyes, so I sprayed it with spring water, added a small layer of timothy hay, sprayed that, too. After 15 mins he let us know he was ready to get out. Put him back in the tank and he seemed a bit more “perky” (eyes still closed) so I placed collard greens and squash, zucchini in front of him to no avail. He basked under the heat lamp for 20 mins or so. He did open his eyes for just a few minutes, then moved under the UVB. We left to go run errands and when we came back around 5pm, he had buried himself in the substrate and has been there ever since. I cut his lights off an hour ago. His reaction to the bath was encouraging but I am worried about his eyes and lack of appetite. Could the coconut fiber be irritating them? Is he not eating because his eyes are bothering him? Or is this all because he was wild caught and trying to prepare for hibernation? Just want to make sure we are keeping him healthy without stressing him. I don’t think he has been given any vitamin or calcium supplements, either, so maybe a baby food carrot bath is in order to get him to eat and take in some supplements. Thanks for any/all help!
Wee tort is so lucky to have you.Hope it improves.Mine was like that and I bathed it every morning in critical care formula but also had to get an injection of antibiotics twice .That formula available at vet who give me it when he give her the antibiotics and also available on amazon.Took a while but now doing well.It was a respiratory problem. Good luck
 

wellington

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Hey, does your tortoise have any discharge from the eyes or nose? Are the eyes puffy? If yes to either of those, it is likely a respiratory infection and you tort will need to be seen by a vet. Are you keeping your tort in a tortoise table, vivarium or fish tank? Tanks and vivariams can create too much humidity and trap too much heat - this will make you're pet ill. If possible, build or buy an open top wooden tortoise table and make it large enough to have a temperature gradient between 30 and 20 degree C.

If it's an infection a tortoise will usually lose appetite. A vet can supply antibiotics. There is some great information on www.thetortoisetable.org that may help. Your tort may also not be eating due to the change of environment.
Hopefully this should help and I hope that the little one settles in soon!
You are giving wrong advice about humidity. Tortoise tables are not good and humidity is good. All tortoises do better with humidity and proper temps. Please read the different care sheets to learn the proper info.
 

Biscuit97

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You are giving wrong advice about humidity. Tortoise tables are not good and humidity is good. All tortoises do better with humidity and proper temps. Please read the different care sheets to learn the proper info.
Have double checked the Tortoise Protection Group and the Tortoise Table official care sheets and sites. For Horsfields (Russian) they do not do well at all in tanks or vivariums. They do best in tortoise tables and need less humidity than other species. Have also spoken to vets who agree. Here is an extract from the tortoise table care sheet.

1601298374606.png
 

wellington

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Have double checked the Tortoise Protection Group and the Tortoise Table official care sheets and sites. For Horsfields (Russian) they do not do well at all in tanks or vivariums. They do best in tortoise tables and need less humidity than other species. Have also spoken to vets who agree. Here is an extract from the tortoise table care sheet.

View attachment 307482
You need to read our/forums caresheets. We have the updated correct care. Others do not in most if not all cases.
 
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