Tortoise burrowing and sleeping all day

Herman_WA

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Hello fellow tortoise owners,
My adult Hermanns tortoise burrows and sleeps all day. This started in December of 2020, shortly after we moved his enclosure to a different room and changed the brand of bedding. He has always been very active, but startled at the slightest little thing. (He breaths really heavy when he is startled.) I am really worried about him. When I take him outside for some fresh air he hardly ever eats anything. (He didn't used to not eat outside, this is new-ish) He eats fine inside though. Is he sick? I am worried about him!
If there is any info needed that I am leaving out, please feel free to ask me any questions.
 

Tom

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Hello fellow tortoise owners,
My adult Hermanns tortoise burrows and sleeps all day. This started in December of 2020, shortly after we moved his enclosure to a different room and changed the brand of bedding. He has always been very active, but startled at the slightest little thing. (He breaths really heavy when he is startled.) I am really worried about him. When I take him outside for some fresh air he hardly ever eats anything. (He didn't used to not eat outside, this is new-ish) He eats fine inside though. Is he sick? I am worried about him!
If there is any info needed that I am leaving out, please feel free to ask me any questions.
They don't like moving to a new area and can take some time to settle in.

The first thing to check is your temps. Warm side, cool side, basking area and overnight low? If its an open table, what is the room temp?

Next, what type of lighting? What type of UV bulb?

What substrate? Is it damp?
 

Herman_WA

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Warm side: 76°F
Cool side: 66°F
Basking area: 90°F-100°F
Overnight low: around 75°F
Room temp: 66°F
I don't have the box the heat bulbs came in, but it is just a ceramic heat bulb. Not sure the brand.
UV light is a ZOOMED UV bulb.
Substrate is coco husk by EXO TERRA and mildly damp.
Hope this helps.
 

Tom

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Warm side: 76°F
Cool side: 66°F
Basking area: 90°F-100°F
Overnight low: around 75°F
Room temp: 66°F
I don't have the box the heat bulbs came in, but it is just a ceramic heat bulb. Not sure the brand.
UV light is a ZOOMED UV bulb.
Substrate is coco husk by EXO TERRA and mildly damp.
Hope this helps.
Temps sound okay, but I don't understand how the over night low is 75 while the cool side and room temp is 66. Seems like overnight low should also be 66. Either way, those temps are fine.

What type of UV bulb. I don't need the brand name. I need to know what kind of bulb it is. Long tube, cfl, MVB? If its a screw in type cfl, that might be your problem. Those sometimes burn tortoise eyes and should not be used. Even worse if its in a double hood with a CHE.

Ceramic heat emitters should be run on a thermostat to maintain ambient temps. I don't think you need that for a Testudo in a 66 degree room.

What type of basking bulb are you using? If you are using the CHE for basking, that may be your problem. You need a light emitting flood bulb for basking.

Here's the heating and lighting info:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In the UK, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12%. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
And here is more explanation:
 

Herman_WA

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Location (City and/or State)
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Temps sound okay, but I don't understand how the over night low is 75 while the cool side and room temp is 66. Seems like overnight low should also be 66. Either way, those temps are fine.

What type of UV bulb. I don't need the brand name. I need to know what kind of bulb it is. Long tube, cfl, MVB? If its a screw in type cfl, that might be your problem. Those sometimes burn tortoise eyes and should not be used. Even worse if its in a double hood with a CHE.

Ceramic heat emitters should be run on a thermostat to maintain ambient temps. I don't think you need that for a Testudo in a 66 degree room.

What type of basking bulb are you using? If you are using the CHE for basking, that may be your problem. You need a light emitting flood bulb for basking.

Here's the heating and lighting info:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In the UK, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12%. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
And here is more explanation:

I think I am using a 10.0 uvb light if that answers your question.
Yes I am using a CHE for basking, I can see if we could change that if its a problem. Just curious, how would the bulb affect his behavior? He sits under one a lot, will it hurt him?

Thank you very much for your advice.
 

Tom

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I think I am using a 10.0 uvb light if that answers your question.
That doesn't answer my question. ZooMed makes three types of 10.0 bulbs. Is it a long tube, or is it a screw-in type cfl? If you are using the cfl type, it may be burning his eyes and causing him to remain hidden to stop the pain. The cfl yes are the ones most commonly recommended and sold by pet stores.

Refer to my previous post with the four lighting elements, make the needed changes, and your tortoise's behavior and health should improve.
 

Herman_WA

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Sorry, yes, it is a tube bulb.
I have used the same bulb since I got him.
Do you think it would just now start to hurt his eyes?
 

Tom

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Sorry, yes, it is a tube bulb.
I have used the same bulb since I got him.
Do you think it would just now start to hurt his eyes?
The long tubes shouldn't hurt his eyes. Its the cfl types that do that sometimes.

The regular 10.0 tubes don't make much UV. How far from the tortoise is the bulb? The HO 10.0 T5 bulbs are effective, but the older T8 types are not. If he's been inside all winter with inadequate UV, he may be feeling the effects of it all these months later. Sunshine through a window doesn't work. The glass filters out the UVB.

Pics of your bulbs and enclosure will help us assess what is going on and help you fix it.
 

Herman_WA

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The UV bulb is 12in from the ground of the enclosure. I will look into the other types of UV bulbs you mentioned.
Thank you for your help!
Here is a pic I found of the bulb I am using.
. Screenshot_20210416-084636_1.png
 
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Tom

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The UV bulb is 12in from the ground of the enclosure. I will look into the other types of UV bulbs you mentioned.
Thank you for your help!
Here is a pic I found of the bulb I am using.
. View attachment 323293
That is a cfl. Potential eye burner. Turn it off immediately. That might be why the tortoise is hiding all the time.

Refer to the four elements of lighting previously posted. Make these changes ASAP, and your tortoise should be fine.
 

Herman_WA

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That is a cfl. Potential eye burner. Turn it off immediately. That might be why the tortoise is hiding all the time.

Refer to the four elements of lighting previously posted. Make these changes ASAP, and your tortoise should be fine.

He has used the same light ever since I got him, (a year ago) and this behavior is new. Why would it just start affecting him now? Thank you.
 

Tom

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He has used the same light ever since I got him, (a year ago) and this behavior is new. Why would it just start affecting him now? Thank you.
I don't know. Maybe moving the enclosure has made him get under it more often? Possible there are tiny micro cracks that have formed in the phosphor coating during the move that weren't there before?
 

Herman_WA

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I don't know. Maybe moving the enclosure has made him get under it more often? Possible there are tiny micro cracks that have formed in the phosphor coating during the move that weren't there before?
Also, there is another light on in the room that he is in that we can't turn off. He still has lots of darkness in his enclosure and a hide that he never uses though. Could this be an issue too?
I will look into another light.
 

Herman_WA

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He is outside right now, and I just noticed some bubbles/foam in the front corner of both eyes. I literally just noticed this. Do you think this could be because of the light too?
 

Tom

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He is outside right now, and I just noticed some bubbles/foam in the front corner of both eyes. I literally just noticed this. Do you think this could be because of the light too?
Yes.
Also, there is another light on in the room that he is in that we can't turn off. He still has lots of darkness in his enclosure and a hide that he never uses though. Could this be an issue too?
I will look into another light.
It needs to be dark at night. It needs to be bright and "sunny" when he's indoors during the day. There should not be "lots of darkness" in his enclosure during the day. Having a couple of hides is good, but the rest should be brightly lit.
 

Herman_WA

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Yes.

It needs to be dark at night. It needs to be bright and "sunny" when he's indoors during the day. There should not be "lots of darkness" in his enclosure during the day. Having a couple of hides is good, but the rest should be brightly lit.
Sorry I should have mentioned it is only pretty dark at night, it is nice and light in the day time.
Before he moved rooms it was completely dark in his enclosure at night.
 
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