Stressed Horsefield Tortoise.

Hayes82

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Hi, this is my first post. I’m new to owning a tortoise. I bought a 7 month old Horsefield about 3 weeks ago and he is called Turbo. The first few days after bringing Turbo home they slept a lot and didn’t eat much. After about 4 days though Turbo was noticeably different. Awake and very active for much longer throughout the day and very keen on eating. Turbo is really friendly and climbs onto my hand when I am sorting out the habitat and takes food from my hands.
on Sunday morning Turbo suffered a prolapsed rectum and was treated by the vet within a few hours. As there were no signs of any issues with him defecating or urinating the vet thought that it could be due to worms/parasites and treated Turbo accordingly. Turbo has defecated normally since the prolapse was fixed so it appears to be holding.
however, since returning from the vets, Turbo has gone back to being very sleepy and yesterday ate very little at all and hid almost the whole day.
This morning Turbo woke up at about 8am (which is pretty normal) ventured out of the hide and did eat quite a bit (some from my hand) but by 9:30am was back asleep (albeit under the basking light rather than back in the hide) and is still asleep (it’s lunchtime).

my gut is telling me that he was just stressed over his vet visit and the prolapse and that he will relax over the next few days and go back to normal (that was the vets view) but is there anything I can do for Turbo to help?
 

wellington

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First you need to let us know the way you are housing him. Temps, humidity, what you are using for the heat and lighting and types of the sources. Substrate, diet, soaking, etc.
Babies sleep a lot. Wake, eat, roam a bit then sleep and repeat throughtout the day.
Show pics also of enclosure.
All he has been thru in his short life will stress him out. But answering the things I asked for will help us to figure out why he prolapsed.
 

Hayes82

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So this is his table. I don’t know what the humidity is but the temp under the basking light is 32 and the coolest part of his table is 20 (in the “bedroom” part. He is soaked every other day but does also venture occasionally into the water in his table. In terms of food he mainly eats the crispy florette salad leaves and some dandelions.
I wasn’t really looking for a reason why the prolapse happened as the vet has already explained this (although if you have any other ideas I’m happy to hear as I obviously don’t want it to happen again!). I was more looking for advice on whether there was anything I could do to help him with the stress of what happened Sunday. Quite aside from the prolapse, the travel to and from the vets as well as being at the vets and being treated must have been pretty traumatic for the poor little dude!
Prior to the prolapse his routine was very much wake around 7-8am, eat, wander, nap and repeat until about 5-6pm when he bedded down for the night either in the “bedroom”part of his table (although that’s not often), under his log hide or buried into a corner or next to his rock.
yesterday he hid almost the whole day and night in his log hide and barely ate anything whereas this morning he woke as normal, had a wander and ate quite a bit but has then slept (not hidden) all day. This is similar to how he behaved the first couple of days after we got him until he settled.
I’m hoping over the next few days he will improve and get back to how he was up to Saturday.
 

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Grace-Sophia

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So 1st, sand should never, ever be used with a tortoise, it can cause impaction, eye irritation, and a whole load of other things, your baby needs to have either organic garden soil, Reptile bark, or coco coir. 2nd, I see you only have one bulb, I would strongly recommend getting a uv bulb or strip, he needs to have the proper lighting UVB so he does not develop MBD ( Metabolic Bone Disease). Your baby also needs a hotter basking spot, some where between 90-95. Also what does diet look like? And are you keeping him at the appropriate humitity levels, it is extremely important for young ones like yours.

@Tom can provide you with the proper care sheet, he should be on shortly.
 

Hayes82

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The substrate isn’t sand. It was provided by the pet shop and I can’t remember what it is called. I don’t have an issue with changing it though.
the light is a uvb bulb as well as providing heat.
I can make it warmer but it’s at 90 (32 Celsius).
humidity - I thought Horsefield’s didn’t like humidity because they are dry? The advice I got from the pet shop and my own reading on the subject (various online sources and care sheets) was the same. What do you suggest the humidity level should be?
 

Grace-Sophia

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@Tom has mentioned in another thread on this subject that he prefers 50-70% humidity, he is one of the handful of Testudo experts here on the forum, I would trust him.
 

ZenHerper

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Way back when tortoises were evolving from fish/frog DNA, the world was entirely lush and humid. Deserts came much later on, and tortoises had to adapt.

Baby tortoises still need those originally humid conditions to thrive and develop into healthy adults.

This is a care sheet written with that in mind:

Can a baby grow in dry conditions? Yes. But they will have a very hard time and will confront many health problems on the way (dehydration, constipation, bowel prolapse are just a few).

Review the care sheet and post any follow up questions you have.

Welcome!
 

Hayes82

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I have ordered some orchid bark as suggested on the care sheet. In terms of a humid hide; would it work if I turn the cooler “bedroom” section of the table into the humid hide but damping the bark in there?
 

Grace-Sophia

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If you do that you might want to consider getting a non light admitting heat bulb (ceramic heat emitter). Humid and warm is fine, but humid and cold (70> degrees f) can cause respiratory issues, especially when baby has no way to get warm again (like at night).
 

Sarah2020

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I have ordered some orchid bark as suggested on the care sheet. In terms of a humid hide; would it work if I turn the cooler “bedroom” section of the table into the humid hide but damping the bark in there?
Sadly the heat will not reach that part so it wiill be cold and damp. Try adding some small rocks / stones near the heat lamp they like to burrow and hide which you will feind when you have orchid bark. Adding a plant in the corner could help even a plastic one from a fish aquarium shop. They like shelter hiding places to feel safe! To try and get the humidity try adding a plastic top avoiding heat lamp and any fire risk. Hope he gets better and enjoy .
 

Hayes82

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Sadly the heat will not reach that part so it wiill be cold and damp. Try adding some small rocks / stones near the heat lamp they like to burrow and hide which you will feind when you have orchid bark. Adding a plant in the corner could help even a plastic one from a fish aquarium shop. They like shelter hiding places to feel safe! To try and get the humidity try adding a plastic top avoiding heat lamp and any fire risk. Hope he gets better and enjoy .
There is a small heat source in that section already but it isn’t strong enough so I will change it.
 

Hayes82

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So my original concern was how stressed Turbo was and how to help him. I’m pleased to report that Turbo was up at 7:30am as is usual. Had a good wander, urinated and poo’d and eaten lots more than the previous 2 days. Generally much brighter and came straight over to me when I put my hand down to sort his table out.
fingers crossed he is feeling much less stressed and is happy 😊
 

Lyn W

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That's good to hear.
If you follow the caresheet - which is the most up to date you'll find anywhere - you won't go far wrong in keeping Turbo happy and healthy. If you've any questions please ask.

Also bear on mind that pet shops are profit driven and rarely know about current tort care so will happily sell unsafe and unsuitable equipment. Check here if you've any concerns with uvb, heat or lighting or any other issues.

It's great that members on TFO not only share their successes but also their failures with us so that we can learn from their mistakes.

Turbo would be better off on a large viv until he's a 2 -3 years old, which will make it easier for you to control heat and humidity but if that isn't possible look at ways you can cover the table with a portable greenhouse (you'll find examples n the Enclosures thread).

Russians (Horsefields) love to dig so make sure the substrate is deep enough for him; they also love to climb and are great escape artists so if you stick with the table you may need to cap the corners.
 

Hayes82

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Thanks for the advice I thought I had done lots of reading up but was naive enough to just assume the pet shop wouldn’t give me wrong information or equipment! Lesson learnt!
even though we’ve only had Turbo a few weeks I’ve just fallen in love with the little dude! He’s just awesome! So I want to make sure he’s as happy as he can be!
 
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