Tortoise ate human hair/ hair balls?

aliceG

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Hi, I have a 3 (nearly 4) year old horsefeild tortoise and since I've had him I've always had a problem with him accidentally eating my hair! I know this sounds crazy but when he is eating his food, sometimes my hair can fall in his bowl and he eats it without noticing.
My hair is pretty long (about 60+cm in length) and is light blonde so when my hairs are in his cage, it's hard to notice. I check his bowl every time I'm giving him food for hair but somehow every now and again he manages to eat some.
I can at times find hair inside his poop and even up his bum and I sometimes have to pull it out gently. Although I'm worried that this will seriously effect his digestive system and will make him sick and I'm really unsure of what to do??
One of the things that made me make this post is that only a couple of minutes ago he was pushing out a 'poop' and there was a long string of hair on it and the poops were attached almost like beads on a necklace (idk how to explain haha) and I tried to soak the area and gently pull out the hair as I normally do but today it is just not coming out. I don't want to pull too hard In case I rip his skin or tear his bowel and I really don't know what to do. Should I take him to see his vet and is there any suggestions on how I can prevent him from eating my hair? I swear, this is no joke- as crazy as it sounds. Thank you ;) x
 

DPtortiose

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Simply cut the hair off (carefully) and wait for the rest to pass. Should pass without any trouble by itself. Tortoise tend to eat loads of things they don't suppose to. I've read sources that report some wild animals snack on human excrement’s when given the chance, so be glad it's just a hair or two. ;)
 

dmmj

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The main problem is hair is not digestible. So he either passes it or collects &forms obstructions. if he is now having problems going to the bathroom I would consider a vet visit.
 

aliceG

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Simply cut the hair off (carefully) and wait for the rest to pass. Should pass without any trouble by itself. Tortoise tend to eat loads of things they don't suppose to. I've read sources that report some wild animals snack on human excrement’s when given the chance, so be glad it's just a hair or two. ;)

Yes, this is what I did (forgot to mention) but I'm glad you suggested the same thing. Yeah, he's usually quite good, this is my only 'food'- related problem. Haha that's crazy! Thank you for replying x
 

aliceG

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The main problem is hair is not digestible. So he either passes it or collects &forms obstructions. if he is now having problems going to the bathroom I would consider a vet visit.

Yeah, this was my concern. Although, he seems to be passing waste normally and regularly but I will keep a close eye and If I spot any problems I'll be sure to post about it/take him to the vets asap! Thank you xx
 

dmmj

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if he's passing normally then a vet visit is not needed. do you have any idea at what time your hair gets into the enclosure? prep time? Meal Time? Soakntime? perhaps a hairnet will help?
 

wellington

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I would cover your hair with something when you are with him so it doesn't keep happening.
Not saying you do this, but this is a good example of why people shouldn't let tortoises roam the house freely. Can you imagine the dust bunnies they are eating? Yours is getting hair without roaming the floor.
 

aliceG

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I would cover your hair with something when you are with him so it doesn't keep happening.
Not saying you do this, but this is a good example of why people shouldn't let tortoises roam the house freely. Can you imagine the dust bunnies they are eating? Yours is getting hair without roaming the floor.

Yeah, I always watch him when he's out of the cage and he never eats anything he shouldn't be! But I definitely agree as tortoises always manage to find something in the house that is harmful for them.
I don't even know if covering my hair would do anything as I think a lot of the hair comes from falling off other furniture or by floating in the air, as his cage is quite high up and I'm not tall enough for all my hair to dangle over the cage. Thanks for the suggestion anyway xx
 

aliceG

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if he's passing normally then a vet visit is not needed. do you have any idea at what time your hair gets into the enclosure? prep time? Meal Time? Soakntime? perhaps a hairnet will help?
Okay, that's good. I really don't know, like I said on the post above, I think the hair gets in the cage from falling off other furniture or by traveling through the air. I think it might also get there when I'm cleaning out his cage and my hair might fall out into the soil and he picks it up during meal time. Although I really am still puzzled by how he eats it as he eats out of a bowl that's on top on a piece of slate that's on his soil and I brush down the bowl and slate before meal time so the chances of him eating hair is low but he always manages ;/// I thought about tying my hair back but honestly I don't know if it'll do much. xx
 

Yvonne G

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Long hair might be a problem when it comes to wrapping around the coils of intestine and cutting off the blood supply. You should make every effort to keep your hair out of the tortoise's enclosure. After you comb your hair, grab it with your hand and gently pull away from your scalp, tossing whatever hair that comes off in your hand into the garbage. Do this several times until no more hair comes out.

Wearing a hairnet is also a good idea.
 

DPtortiose

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I would cover your hair with something when you are with him so it doesn't keep happening.
Not saying you do this, but this is a good example of why people shouldn't let tortoises roam the house freely. Can you imagine the dust bunnies they are eating? Yours is getting hair without roaming the floor.

I've once heard a story that entire (red) keycord was consumed when freeroaming. It passed without much issue, but it shows that you never should allow animal to roam free in the house.
 

aliceG

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Long hair might be a problem when it comes to wrapping around the coils of intestine and cutting off the blood supply. You should make every effort to keep your hair out of the tortoise's enclosure. After you comb your hair, grab it with your hand and gently pull away from your scalp, tossing whatever hair that comes off in your hand into the garbage. Do this several times until no more hair comes out.

Wearing a hairnet is also a good idea.

Yeah that's a real worry, would he die quickly if this were to happen or would it be more a a gradual thing? (Like do you know if there are any serious symptoms I should look out for in case?)
I tend to comb my hair often any ways but I'll be sure to take extra care from now on.
Like I said on other posts his cage is quite high up and there is almost no chance of hair getting in hair cage through me leaning over (as I can't really lean over) but I'll maybe use a hair net when cleaning his cage as I have to 'make' his soil as I use the coconut fibre blocks.
Thank you so much for your help!! :)x
 

Team Gomberg

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Yeah, I always watch him when he's out of the cage and he never eats anything he shouldn't be!

Just to clarify... So he does get out of his cage and he does roam the floor of your house?

I have really long hair, too.I joke that I shed worse than a golden retriever. With curly hair I don't even brush my hair unless it's with my fingers in the shower....But my hair is everywhere. I tie it in a knot when I cook to keep us from eating it! With that said, if my tortoise roamed my house I'd have the same problem. So, he's never roamed my house....ever. He has always had his own enclosures and I've never had issues keeping my hair out of them.
You say your hair isn't getting into his enclosure, that's good. Keep him there and problem solved :)
 
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