Suggestions? (Hatchling failure syndrome??)

Crotalis

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I recently purchased 2 P. Babcocki hatchlings. Upon arrival, they were COLD. VERY COLD. However, they seemed to be "ok" after I got them warmed-up. (These are the first torts I've ever had; I didn't have any experience with which I could compare. They moved a little, ate a little, etc... Seemed ok.) One has been an absolute champ! The other, not so much. Not much of an appetite. Lethargic. Eyes look very "tired". Carapace and Plastron feel like the firmness of a soft orange. (The other baby tort is like a little combat helmet! Lol) He's been to the vet. He stayed there for 48 hours, for treatment. I was sent home with a supply of meds for the eyes, and some type of powdered food (mix with water) and a syringe. I've done everything possible to make sure I'm offering the best, most suitable habitat. (Thanks @Tom ) I have asked questions, done research, etc. I've found so much help on this forum! You guys are great!

From what the Dr said, and from what I've read, it seems to be something called "hatchling fatality syndrome". I've read about it, and believe this could be something poor keepers use as an excuse to discount their poor husbandry, and lack of care. As mentioned, these are my first torts. I don't have the 'expertise' in these as I do in snakes and lizards. However, these babies have had IDENTICAL care since I received them a few weeks ago. As of now, I'm basically providing Hospice Care until he just can't take anymore. It's very saddening, and my kids are crushed.

I've contacted the seller/breeder. He seems like a reputable breeder. That's why I chose him. I'm not one to buy from pet stores, or even Reptile Events (unless I know the breeder/seller). After explaining the situation, I asked if something could be done in terms of getting another baby. I was offered a $5 discount off the price of a new baby tortoise, and free shipping.


I'm not really sure what to think. Thoughts?
 

Yvonne G

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You probably waited too long to let the seller know the one was failing. It's always best to contact them right away - that way they know that the failing isn't due to poor care. When you wait a while, they have no way of being able to tell if he's failing because of how he's living or what. But a $5 discount and free shipping doesn't seem like much to me.

Most of us encourage baby tortoise buyers to only buy one. Most tortoises don't do well in pairs. A group is ok, but with pairs you generally have a dominant and a subordinant. I don't know if that's what's wrong with your baby or not. Have you set him up separately in a small hospital tank?

I'm real sorry this is happening. All I know to tell you is to keep him warm (80-85F) and soak him daily. I would even soak in strained carrot baby food mixed 50/50 with warm water. Don't syringe feed daily because little baby tortoises don't empty their stomachs very fast and you might put in too much food.

Good luck. I hope you're able to turn him around.
 

Markw84

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If you're following Tom's care sheet and enclosure suggestions, you are doing everything you can now for the tortoises. Just to fortify those ideas and give a different way of saying it, read this one that certainly applies to leopards particularly well:

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-star-tortoise.159167/

Leopards seem to like it hot. Babies really need humidity. For a "failing to thrive" leopard hatchling, I keep a minimum of 85° as the coldest they are ever exposed to. Humidity always above 80%. I also feel a natural type, plant hide is best for them. I am totally trying to reduce any possible stress. They love to hide under the fronds of plants. I try to get them eating Mazuri as soon as possible. Sometimes I have better luck with babies with Rep Cal Tortoise pellets. Although some discount them because of the colored pellets, I find tortoises do not! They love them and they have a great vitamin and mineral content to encourage early growth. I will feed mashed pellets with equal parts broad leafed weeds daily to see if I can get the growing. Be sure to soak them daily. I use 95°-100° water that comes up to where the marginal meet the costals. I soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. I want to encourage them pooping in the water and lots of movement. The more activity the better with the warm water heating their core body temp up to 90°. (They do best developing in the egg at 87°- 88° so why not be sure we keep them in that ideal temp range in getting them started?). I have a fresh plate of food read for them in the enclosure when done with the bath. I really limit outside time to "perfect" weather conditions as I try not to expose them to any temps outside the ideal range. Outside in sunlight can be quite desiccating as well, so although natural sunlight is great, I really limit it with hatchlings. If you can get them to 50-60 grams and growing, you should be out of the woods.
 

wellington

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Here's when I can tell if it's a good breeder. They are an active member of this forum.
If someone really wants to do the best for their tortoises, they will join this forum so they have all the best info at their finger tips.
I bet your breeder isn't a member am I correct?
For now I would keep the sick one by itself. Keep temps at 85 day and night with the 95-100 basking spot and 80% humidity. Soak in warm water daily and add baby food puréed carrots and flavorless piedialyte. Good luck, keep us updated.
If you want to make a drive to Chicago, I have 3 leopard babies for sale.
However, a pair of tortoises is never recommended. Keep single or in a group of 1 male to 2 or more females.
 

Crotalis

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You probably waited too long to let the seller know the one was failing. It's always best to contact them right away - that way they know that the failing isn't due to poor care. When you wait a while, they have no way of being able to tell if he's failing because of how he's living or what. But a $5 discount and free shipping doesn't seem like much to me.

Most of us encourage baby tortoise buyers to only buy one. Most tortoises don't do well in pairs. A group is ok, but with pairs you generally have a dominant and a subordinant. I don't know if that's what's wrong with your baby or not. Have you set him up separately in a small hospital tank?

I'm real sorry this is happening. All I know to tell you is to keep him warm (80-85F) and soak him daily. I would even soak in strained carrot baby food mixed 50/50 with warm water. Don't syringe feed daily because little baby tortoises don't empty their stomachs very fast and you might put in too much food.

Good luck. I hope you're able to turn him around.

Actually, I did in fact contact the breeder immediately. And, I opted to raise a "pair" after doing research. I'm not one to normally suggest more than one critter unless there is documented proof of communal cohabitation. Territorial aggression/dominance is not something easily avoided in tight quarters. If i had chosen to go with just "one", it would've garnered the same results... I chose them from pics of available babies, and "he" was my first choice. He seems to be holding on, though! One day at a time!
 

Crotalis

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Mishawaka, IN
Here's when I can tell if it's a good breeder. They are an active member of this forum.
If someone really wants to do the best for their tortoises, they will join this forum so they have all the best info at their finger tips.
I bet your breeder isn't a member am I correct?
For now I would keep the sick one by itself. Keep temps at 85 day and night with the 95-100 basking spot and 80% humidity. Soak in warm water daily and add baby food puréed carrots and flavorless piedialyte. Good luck, keep us updated.
If you want to make a drive to Chicago, I have 3 leopard babies for sale.
However, a pair of tortoises is never recommended. Keep single or in a group of 1 male to 2 or more females.
I couldn't agree more with you. I chose a breeder who is not only a member here, but also a well-reviewed breeder...

It would be easy to be "that guy", and mention his name, and possibly harm his reputation, but I'm an adult. His reviews are great. His responses have always been within 24 hours. I don't believe he knew he was selling a sick turtle. I hope not. But, the two I received are night and day. The healthy one is hard like a giant walnut, while the other's shell feels like the density of an orange. (Kinda grosses me out, if I'm being candid.) They were both hatched in January. I received them the end of March. Shouldn't they have the same "hardness"? Or at least SIMILAR? (emphasis. Not yelling. Lol) It's clearly been sick for some time. Don't you think? My setup is to Tom's standards. Maybe not his liking. Lol. But, I've read enough posts to believe that his husbandry standards and practices are solid, and backed-up with the evidence of others' experiences as well.

I need to stop thinking about this. But, the more I realize how obvious it should have been, to realize that the baby was " soft", concerns me. Granted, I didn't notice a density difference, until the vet showed me in the office.

Creeped. Me. Out.

Until that point, I had basically held them with porcelain gloves. (I know they're rugged, but they're still babies.)
 

wellington

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They should be at least very close in firmness being hatched the same time.
If the breeder is a "good" breeder, there's a good chsnve s/he didn't know. Some hatchlings just don't thrive for reasons unknown. It's possible the tort was fine when shipped or not noticeably sick and the stress of shipping made it worse.
If you haven't contacted the breeder you should. Even if it's just to let them know about the condition it's in and arrived in.
Good luck.
 

Bambam1989

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We've been in contact since I received them.
I respect your decision to keep the breeder anonymous. Do you think you can ask him what incubation medium he uses and if he changes them to a different substrate once they start hatching?
 

Kasia

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I couldn't agree more with you. I chose a breeder who is not only a member here, but also a well-reviewed breeder...

It would be easy to be "that guy", and mention his name, and possibly harm his reputation, but I'm an adult. His reviews are great. His responses have always been within 24 hours. I don't believe he knew he was selling a sick turtle. I hope not. But, the two I received are night and day. The healthy one is hard like a giant walnut, while the other's shell feels like the density of an orange. (Kinda grosses me out, if I'm being candid.) They were both hatched in January. I received them the end of March. Shouldn't they have the same "hardness"? Or at least SIMILAR? (emphasis. Not yelling. Lol) It's clearly been sick for some time. Don't you think? My setup is to Tom's standards. Maybe not his liking. Lol. But, I've read enough posts to believe that his husbandry standards and practices are solid, and backed-up with the evidence of others' experiences as well.

I need to stop thinking about this. But, the more I realize how obvious it should have been, to realize that the baby was " soft", concerns me. Granted, I didn't notice a density difference, until the vet showed me in the office.

Creeped. Me. Out.

Until that point, I had basically held them with porcelain gloves. (I know they're rugged, but they're still babies.)
Do you keep the sick one separate? I think he could benefit from being apart. Did you check for parasites? I keep my fingers crossed for him!!!
 
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