Should I first aid trim a bent nail of my russian?

Camade

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Mar 24, 2021
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Hi, a new member and a new tortoise owner, but a tortoise lover for many many years!

My dreams came true two days ago as I picked up an around 8-year-old male russian tortoise. He was found from a forest couple years back, and the original owner was never found. His founder decided to give him up as they didn't originally want a tortoise and they couldn't provide an enclousure for him. So, he has been living on the floor for a couple years now.

I tried to schedule a vet for the day of getting him, but since there is about one reptile specialized vet in the whole country (Finland), I wasn't able to get an appointment until two weeks from now. I've been monitoring him for two days, and during the first night he was eating and exploring quite actively. Yesterday and today he has been a bit "quieter" and less active/not eating much, but I'm not too concearned since he has gone through a big change in his life and is understandably stressed. He has pooped well (though the poop wasn't quite ideal), nibbled a bit of the food I offered, basked, slept and whenever I or my boyfriend walk past his enclosure, he peeks up and seems curious.

However, I'm a bit worried of his right back foot. As he was walking around on Monday, he seemed to avoid using that foot while climbing. Similarily, he doesn't really seem to be putting weight on it (especially on the slate I feed him on), and often stops moving when it would be the time to use that foot. I took a closer look at it, and one of the nails on the foot is very bent and looks to go under his foot scale. Should I try to trim it myself or should I wait for the vet appointment? Can I do something else e.g. feed him on the softer coco coir to allow him to eat more easily if he wishes to (I'm not sure whether it restricts his movement while eating)?

Here are some pictures of the foot:

DSC_0870.JPG DSC_0871.JPG

I built him an enclosure around 30 square feet, the humidity is atm aroung 50% as I didn't manage to fully dry the substrate, cool side is around 19-20 C (65-70 F), warm side is 24-25 C (75-80 F) and basking spot in shell height is 36 C (97 F). He has a humid hide, a dryer warm hide and a cool hide, and a plant plate as a water dish. I feed him weeds, romaine, basil, a bit of kale, hibiscus and a hay/weed mix pellets to add a bit of fiber. As he doesn't seem to like to soak by himself, I've also offered cucumber for hydration. He has nibbled everything a little bit, and seems to love the cuttle bone I offered him (munching it atm). He has an overgrown beak, a bit of stuck shed, and maybe some extra weight (his shell's leght is 15,3 cm and he weighs 849 grams), I'll be discussing those with a vet.

Thank you all in advance and sorry for such a lenghty post!
 

ZenHerper

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If you can get a nail clipper that is made for cats...they are very sharp, strong, and curved to nip out nails like this.

They look like this:

Tortoises have specialized care needs. They stop eating for a variety of reasons: too cold, too dry, moved home (territory), illness, pain, etc.. This is a reliable care sheet for your new pet:

Welcome - let us know if you need more support!
 

Camade

New Member
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Mar 24, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
Finland
If you can get a nail clipper that is made for cats...they are very sharp, strong, and curved to nip out nails like this.

They look like this:

Tortoises have specialized care needs. They stop eating for a variety of reasons: too cold, too dry, moved home (territory), illness, pain, etc.. This is a reliable care sheet for your new pet:

Welcome - let us know if you need more support!
Thank you, I bought small diagonal pliers, but I think they are still too big for this job, so I'll grab one of those cat nail clippers from the store today!
 

Camade

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I tought that I'd make a little update on my little guy :) I trimmed his nail as the first thing Thursday morning, and while Tatti didn't appriciate it, he seems to have been walking a lot more during the past two days! He's also lifting his shell completely off the ground pretty much all of the time he moves, which I'm super stoked about.

I bought the smallest cat nail clippers I could find and cut off as little from the tip of his nail as I could. Turns out, the bit of nail inside his foot was pretty much like a spike!

Thank you for the help and advice!

DSC_0885.JPG
Here's the part that was almost fully between his scales

DSC_0883.JPG
Here is his foot after the operation
 

Ink

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Great job!
 

Camade

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Oh, well done! That has to be a relief for you both.

You will have to maintain this nail going forward, but the hard part is done!
It is! I've been trying to read all the information on RTs for the past 10 years, and now that I have one, I just want him to thrive :D

I hope for the best with the nail, but if it continues to grow so that it doesn't wear down by just walking, I'll keep on trimming it.
 

Sarah2020

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Good job! Nice you are able to give him a good quality of life. Must of been sore and uncomfortable for him.
 
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