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Tortoise doesn't come out

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by Archie's mom, Nov 17, 2019.

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  1. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    Hi everyone, I'm in upstate NY and it's been unseasonably cold and dark. I have my Russian with lights on 14 hours heat at 80-95 and all he wants to do is sleep. He slowed down his eating almost a month ago, but I made food available everyday. He has a tunnel/house in the corner of his enclosure and he hasn't been out in a week. I still had the lights on everyday but he hasn't come out. I stopped putting the lights on a couple of days ago but his enclosure is under a window it's bright during the day.and the sun comes through. Our house and enclosure temp is 70-72. The enclosure is in the dining room and there's talking, music, and barking dogs all around but he's made no appearance. I've reached my hand inside the tunnel Friday to touch him and he moved his leg, same this morning. I miss him, any ideas on what is happening with him.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    How long have you had this tortoise? If you bought it recently from a pet store, chances are good it's a wild caught Russian tortoise and he's tuned in to the seasons, knowing that now is the time he's supposed to be brumating.
  3. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    I'm having trouble with my Russian Archie eating. He's slowed down too, sleeping 4-6 days at a time and barely eating. Nothing has changed except the weather. His lights are 14 hours and have UVB and heat lights. He chooses to crawl under his shade/cool area and sleep. When he is awake I soak him. He has no interest in any food. I've tried all sorts of food options and he just walks by it. He ate some last week and before that it was about a week. Should I be concerned?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2019
    ZEROPILOT and CarolM like this.
  4. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Russians do detect the change of the seasons and will slow down at this time of year. It’s their instinct to hibernate through the winter. However they can’t hibernate unless the temperature is below 50F (and above freezing) and long periods of inactivity at warmer temperatures can lead to serious weight loss and dehydration.

    You need to have bright lights on for 14 hours a day (you may need extra light but not heat).

    Your ambient temperature by day sounds just fine.

    At night it must not drop below 65F. You may need a Ceramic Heat Emitter with a thermostat to achieve this.

    Directly under the basking lamp it must be 95-100F. Without being able to bask at this temperature, your tortoise can’t raise its internal temperature sufficiently to be active, eat and digest food.

    Start every day with a 20 minute soak in warm water. This is extremely important for tortoises that are inactive and/or sick. Use a large flat bottomed bowl that your tortoise can’t see over or through. A washing up bowl is ideal because the larger volume of water cools more slowly. The water needs to be deep enough to just come up over the join between the shell and the plastron (undershell).

    Place food in the enclosure while your tort is soaking and pop your tort back under the basking lamp after the soak so he gets the hint.
  5. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    Yes, I purchesed him from Country Max in May
  6. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    Should I wake him to soak him?
  7. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Definitely. Don’t give him a choice. Haul him out and soak him first thing every day.
  8. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    I did today and he didn't like it......he soaked (but he didn't leave any matter in the water) when I put him back he did eat about 3-4 pellets (no lettuce) stayed under the light for about 10 minutes then went back to his hide-a-way and back to sleep...??
  9. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Well-Known Member

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    You definately have a russian. If in the middle of summer on a nice day- 90's he would eat in the am and sleep all day! Only to wake up when the Hibiscus fairy showed up!
  10. Millerlite

    Millerlite Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    russians are pretty sensitive to seasons. If its a wc tortoise he might be hardwired from many wild winters of hibernation. I also beleive they can feel pressure changes that might roll through winter time, and of course light cycle. Even with 14 hours of light and warm your russian may slow down.

    Kyle
  11. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Yes.
    And we need a lot more information.
    How long have you had him?
    Any changes in the enclosure?
    What are the temperatures?(under the lights and in the area he sleeps in)
    What has he been eating?
    What type of lights? (Photos)
    Is he drinking?
  12. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    If all heating, lighting, etc is where its suppose to be, then this is pretty normal behavior. My russian slows down every winter even though his enclosure temps etc hasn't changed. Just keep feeding as usual, maybe a little less to save on waste and give a warm soak just a bit more often during this time.
  13. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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  14. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    Been waking him up for a soak every 1 to 2 days ( he hates it)...he does eat afterwards but runs right back in his cave to sleep....he wont touch the greens (field, dandelion greens or collard) i am going to try the food processor idea...he likes the colored pellets and I tried a small amount of sweet potato and the loved it. I dont see that on the list of foods is it ok to give it to him?
  15. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    I've had him since May
    I did make him a bigger enclosure but he's been in it about a month or more
    The temps are 90-95 under the heat light and 70's in the other areas
    Now he's eating Fluker's Tortoise Diet, (which I'm not crazy about because it has dyes in it but he wasn't eating anything before. I also just started giving him a couple of bites of sweet potato, He used to eat the field greens.
    I have UVB tube light and bulb light and heat bulb is 100W (I don't know how to take/post pics)
    He seems to be drinking now that I'm waking him and soaking him daily
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  16. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    In times of NO EATING, letting a tortoise eat foods that are not ideal is o.k. in my opinion. Because food intake is energy and it almost always leads to eating normally again.
    It's great that he is drinking.
    A tortoise can go months without eating. But not very long without water.
    Try mixing up some dark greens cut up in those pellets.
    Fingers crossed.
  17. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    He "went for a walk" for 9 days in August and I have no idea what he ate while out there. When he was in an outside enclosure or I'd take him for a walk I never saw him eat plantain or clover, just dandelion flowers. Before he left and when he first got back he would eat the field greens but not now....just wants to sleep
  18. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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  19. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    Do you think I should or need to keep all the lights on the whole 14 hours if he is just sleeping in his hide-a-way. I know I should have them on after his bath and when he's eating but I feel like they arent making a difference in his behavior and just wasting electric and wearing out my bulbs
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