Tortoise behaviour (eye)

Andy&Otis

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Hey there!

So my girlfriend recently decided to buy us a hermann tortoise lol. I've owned a couple other reptiles in the past, bearded dragon etc.. but those are nothing compared to these awesome guys! We named him Otis and he seemed to be loving his new life

I've had him about 3/4 weeks now, but recently he's been acting off with his eye. The pet shop originally sold my girlfriend some repti bark for his substrate (I knew it wasn't the right choice for him) so I did a lot of googling and I switched him to just pure 100% topsoil as I didnt want to risk the sand hazards. he seems fine and happy with it, he walks a lot better too! he likes to get active and muddy :D he'll dive through his water bowl and sprint around his table, climbing up and down his logs etc. But recently hes gone less active and seems to spend most time with his eye closed. I'm not sure if he has somehow rubbed some dirt in there? Or maybe scratched his eye? I'm very worried. He does open then when he feels like it.. especially when I bath him and let some warm water drip over his head/eyes. But then 5 minutes later he'll be back to laying in the middle of the table and eyes shut anyone got any ideas?? I read to try some eye drops for him, so I've ordered some of those for him, hopefully they come tomorrow.

Appreciate all the help and advice!

Here's Otis for you all :)
 

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Andy&Otis

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Gave him another bathe as it seems to loosen his eye lids up so he can open again. Managed to grab some more photos of the eyes while open etc. Other info, I'm using a solar glo 125w, hotspot ranges from 32-38° depending how dry the substrate is. His other corners range from 21° and 24° inside his log hides etc. Can definitely see stress/irritation when he's trying to open the eyelid :(.

Again, thanks in advance
Andy
 

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Bee62

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Hi Andy and welcome to the forum.
Closed or swollen eyes are often a sign of a ( beginning ) respiration infect.
Could it be that there is or was a cold draft where the enclosure of your cute tort is ? How are the night temps in the enclosure ? With high humidity and low temps a baby tort can easily get sick.
Or was the baby outside too long and got cold ?
For first aid I would increase the temps. You will need a ceramic heat emitter for the night. A CHE produces warmth but no light. You must keep your baby tort warm and he needs long warm soaks.
 

Andy&Otis

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Thanks for the reply Bee! His enclosure is upstairs in my bedroom. my room can get quite warm sometimes, Even more since adding a tortoise to it. I keep my windows closed and door shut, so not sure how there could be a draft. I even turned my radiators off as I thought it was getting to warm at one point, haha. He hasn't got an outdoor enclosure as I live in the uk and the weather is constantly poor (maybe a summer project). He usually sleeps inside his hide right next to the heat lamp, see in the picture above. And if I've ever taken his temperature with my thermometer gun he's always been 25°+ which I believed to be enough for night time temperature? What is the bare minimum temperature they should experience? He seemed fine until he kinda went on a whacky day, running up and down logs and face planting the dirt. His eyes got quite dirty at times, especially when he rubs with mucky legs! so I was lead to believe he got something stuck under his eyelid :( so hard to tell.

Again, thankyou for the help!
 

Yvonne G

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It might be the light. I've never found a need for anything bigger than a 100 watt.
 

Andy&Otis

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I asked for 100w but the pet shop didn't have any in stock. thought if I raised the height of the fixture it would be ok, it doesn't seem to get too hot, not unless the substrate dries out. Or unless he's under the spot for quite some time! Like the picture above. But he has plenty of room to escape the heat lamp if it's too hot? he seems to enjoy a nice sun bathe.

He's gradually starting to open the eye again! I keep soaking his eye and letting warm water drop down to try flush any possible dirt out. Seems like it might be helping, hope it's just some dirt stuck under an eye lid and nothing serious. Fingers crossed the eye drops can help tomorrow.
 

Andy&Otis

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20190613_093432.jpg
Hi Andy and welcome to the forum.
Closed or swollen eyes are often a sign of a ( beginning ) respiration infect.
Could it be that there is or was a cold draft where the enclosure of your cute tort is ? How are the night temps in the enclosure ? With high humidity and low temps a baby tort can easily get sick.
Or was the baby outside too long and got cold ?
For first aid I would increase the temps. You will need a ceramic heat emitter for the night. A CHE produces warmth but no light. You must keep your baby tort warm and he needs long warm soaks.
Checked temps last night and they were around 22/23°. What temperature would you suggest for night time? Really hope it's not an RI. Will get a CHE for tonight to hopefully help out if he was too cold. I read mixed opinions on night time temps.. I've seen people say 15° is ok, 20°, all sorts! My brains doing circles at the moment. He keeps rubbing the eye and that makes me believe he has a irritation? Just want him to be ok :(. Here is the eye this morning. Looks a bit dirty from all rubbing.. still think it could be RI?
 
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Bee62

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Night temps of 22/23 C are okay. Sorry for worrying you with suspecting a RI. But since we don`t know what causes the eye problem it is not false to increase the night temps too. I would suggest 25/27 C. Only for the time when he is sick. Not forever.
Long warm soaks are always helpful too. With higher temps your baby needs more humidity and soaks.
Signs for a RI are be bubbles coming from the nostrils or / and squeeking noise while breathing.

What bulb do you use for the day ? I like to use the Arcadia D3 bulb that produces heat, visible light and UVB. I use it for all my torts.
https://www.amazon.de/Arcadia-Basking-Lampe-100W-E27/dp/B006CY41G2/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=ÅMÅŽÕÑ&keywords=arcadia+d3+100&qid=1560424741&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Can you get garden soil ( earth ) that is not treated with any chemicals or fertilizer ? That is what I am using with my Hermann`s tortoises. They love to be dirty and muddy.:)
 

Andy&Otis

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Night temps of 22/23 C are okay. Sorry for worrying you with suspecting a RI. But since we don`t know what causes the eye problem it is not false to increase the night temps too. I would suggest 25/27 C. Only for the time when he is sick. Not forever.
Long warm soaks are always helpful too. With higher temps your baby needs more humidity and soaks.
Signs for a RI are be bubbles coming from the nostrils or / and squeeking noise while breathing.

What bulb do you use for the day ? I like to use the Arcadia D3 bulb that produces heat, visible light and UVB. I use it for all my torts.
https://www.amazon.de/Arcadia-Basking-Lampe-100W-E27/dp/B006CY41G2/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=ÅMÅŽÕÑ&keywords=arcadia+d3+100&qid=1560424741&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Can you get garden soil ( earth ) that is not treated with any chemicals or fertilizer ? That is what I am using with my Hermann`s tortoises. They love to be dirty and muddy.:)
So i got my CHE today, went for 40W as I didn't want to over power him on night time. I re arranged his table (hope he isn't mad lol) he now has a hide under his new CHE in the corner for night time. hopefully he uses it!

I also got my eye drops for him today (Beaphar eye and skin ointment) I was expecting a more watery solution to drip in the eyes, but the texture kinda remind me of vaseline. So I got a small amount on a cotton bud and gently applied to his eyelid, followed by a little drop of water to help wash it in. His eye seemed to open and he is currently using it :) hopefully he keeps it this way!

I use a Exo Terra UVA/UVB solar glo 125w, elevated high enough for his basking spot to be around 32-36, depends on substrate conditions.

The substrate is from Wickes, Graded top soil, sterilised and lime free. I even sivved it all before placing in the table. Seems really nice, no bad bits.

Here is the new table with the CHE - 20190613_164349.jpg
 

Andy&Otis

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Morning update.

He slept all night under his new CHE. I removed the hide as the CHE wasn't heating up underneath like I planned for him. So the right corner of his table is just plane and the substrate heats up to around 25-27° at night time once the che is on. Hopefully he enjoyed it! Slept all night with his head inside his shell bless him. This morning he's up and about wondering around his cage. I took some more snaps of the eye for you guys, what's your opinions?

My brain is doing circles thinking of all the things what could be wrong. Could it be a sleepy eye? Or could it be some substrate stuck under the eyelid? Could it be stress from the enclosure and substrate change? Or could it be RI like stated above? :(

Might be causing myself more stress than him the poor guy! Appreciate the comments and feedback.

Andy 20190614_091335.jpg 20190614_091537.jpg
 

Andy&Otis

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One last question I could do with clearing up, as I'm finding multiple answers on the internet... how humid should it be for a hermann? I'm spraying down his soil every day to try stop not from going dry and dusty. The top layer will always dry out though, right? Whenever that happens I just give it another spray down.. is this ok? His hygrometer is showing around 60-70%.

Appreciate the help more than ever
Andy
 

Bee62

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Morning update.

He slept all night under his new CHE. I removed the hide as the CHE wasn't heating up underneath like I planned for him. So the right corner of his table is just plane and the substrate heats up to around 25-27° at night time once the che is on. Hopefully he enjoyed it! Slept all night with his head inside his shell bless him. This morning he's up and about wondering around his cage. I took some more snaps of the eye for you guys, what's your opinions?

My brain is doing circles thinking of all the things what could be wrong. Could it be a sleepy eye? Or could it be some substrate stuck under the eyelid? Could it be stress from the enclosure and substrate change? Or could it be RI like stated above? :(

Might be causing myself more stress than him the poor guy! Appreciate the comments and feedback.

Andy View attachment 274670 View attachment 274671
Hey Any, his eyes are open and looking good. Congrats ! Sometimes increasing the temps is the best you can do for a tortoise. I am not sure what causes his eye problem but it seems to be gone and that is the most important thing.
 

Bee62

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One last question I could do with clearing up, as I'm finding multiple answers on the internet... how humid should it be for a hermann? I'm spraying down his soil every day to try stop not from going dry and dusty. The top layer will always dry out though, right? Whenever that happens I just give it another spray down.. is this ok? His hygrometer is showing around 60-70%.

Appreciate the help more than ever
Andy
The problem is your open tortoise table. The humidity you create stays not long. Though Hermann`s need less humidity they need it or they can develop a pyramided shell. It would be a good solution when you cover your tortoise table with a little plastik greenhouse to keep humidity around 60% - 70 %.
Btw: Dusty soil can cause eye problems or respiration problems.

example for a green house:
 

Andy&Otis

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Hey Any, his eyes are open and looking good. Congrats ! Sometimes increasing the temps is the best you can do for a tortoise. I am not sure what causes his eye problem but it seems to be gone and that is the most important thing.
Thanks. he's still slightly lethargic and mostly keeps the eye shut. But when he wants to open it, he seems to be able to slowly. then once he's done some eating or walking etc, he'll go back to basking with eyes closed. I'm hoping he is ok and I'm just over worrying. Maybe he just wasn't happy from switching from a vivarium to a tortoise table? And for the dusty substrate, I'm currently in the process of adding some coco choir to the mix, hopefully it will help hold moisture! As the top soil seems to dry so fast

Andy
 

Andy&Otis

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Booked him in at the vets for monday. He isn't very active at all. not been moving much, only from his log hide to his basking spot and back. He hasn't ate anything today. And he still seems to be struggling to open those eyes, his eyelid almost flickers with movement when trying to open fully. I wish there was a way to upload a video clip for you guys. I Can't wait for Monday to come, i had to find a exotic vet outside of my town as none of my local vets treat reptiles. Hopefully the one i found will do the trick and help my little dude out! 20190615_134510.jpg

Andy
 

Yvonne G

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I'm still thinking it's the light. Raising it might adjust the temperature, but when I said 125 watts is too big, I actually meant it's too bright.
 

Andy&Otis

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I'm still thinking it's the light. Raising it might adjust the temperature, but when I said 125 watts is too big, I actually meant it's too bright.
Would he be itching his eyes if it was too bright? And I thought if it was too bright he wouldn't bask under there? but he seems to enjoy a nice bask, just really struggles with those eyes. You think maybe rasising the lamp a little higher might help? I could try replace with a 80w bulb but I don't want to be wasting more money, not too cheap those bulbs over here :(. Also a vet bill to pay for if he doesn't liven up by the time monday comes...

Appreciate the replies and advice,
Andy
 

volcom6981

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I always find with babies a tube uvb with a regular incandescent light bulb works really good. Good natural sunshine does great things as well if you can take him out for a few hours.
 

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