Water Or Not?

buglady

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I have a debatable question. I live in the North of Mozambique; any wild tortoise would probably not have water available for most of the year. But i read a thread claiming that tortoises need to be soaked every day?????
Im worried that they're dehydrated but i want their homes to be as close to the wild as possible. Any suggestions?
 

Ben02

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I have a debatable question. I live in the North of Mozambique; any wild tortoise would probably not have water available for most of the year. But i read a thread claiming that tortoises need to be soaked every day?????
Im worried that they're dehydrated but i want their homes to be as close to the wild as possible. Any suggestions?
Adults don’t need to be soaked daily.
 

Toddrickfl1

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I have a debatable question. I live in the North of Mozambique; any wild tortoise would probably not have water available for most of the year. But i read a thread claiming that tortoises need to be soaked every day?????
Im worried that they're dehydrated but i want their homes to be as close to the wild as possible. Any suggestions?
They definitely need water. They might not have water in the wild, but more 95% percent of hatchlings in the wild will die before reaching adulthood though. I'm trying to give my guy better odds than that in captivity.
 

Yvonne G

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Once they're big enough to be moved outside I no longer soak them, but they have a large waterer in their yard.
 

Tom

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I have a debatable question. I live in the North of Mozambique; any wild tortoise would probably not have water available for most of the year. But i read a thread claiming that tortoises need to be soaked every day?????
Im worried that they're dehydrated but i want their homes to be as close to the wild as possible. Any suggestions?
Tortoises in the wild have ways of managing water retention and ways of finding and conserving water that a tortoise in a captive environment do not.

Also, wild tortoises might be able to survive long periods of drought, but that doesn't mean it is good for them or optimal. I've seen numbers from different studies that indicate somewhere between 300 and 1000 babies die for everyone that makes it to maturity. Dehydration is one reason why some of them don't make it.

Babies of all species should be soaked daily. Survival rates are greatly increased by this practice. Adults do not need to be soaked all that often, but drinking water should always be available. I don't want my pet tortoise to merely survive. I want them to thrive. Keeping them well hydrated is one element of my "thrive" strategy.
 

TammyJ

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Tortoises in the wild have ways of managing water retention and ways of finding and conserving water that a tortoise in a captive environment do not.

Also, wild tortoises might be able to survive long periods of drought, but that doesn't mean it is good for them or optimal. I've seen numbers from different studies that indicate somewhere between 300 and 1000 babies die for everyone that makes it to maturity. Dehydration is one reason why some of them don't make it.

Babies of all species should be soaked daily. Survival rates are greatly increased by this practice. Adults do not need to be soaked all that often, but drinking water should always be available. I don't want my pet tortoise to merely survive. I want them to thrive. Keeping them well hydrated is one element of my "thrive" strategy.
Of course, 100%.
 

Tom

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If I find a starving, dehydrated mongrel dog on the street where it has always lived, and took it home for myself to keep, how would I treat it? That's right.
Give them the best because we can!
I think this is a pretty good analogy. Life in the wild is extremely tough for all species. Predators, parasites, disease, territorial fighting, encroachment by humans and their poisons, hazards and roads, starvation, drought and dehydration, etc...

The point is: Just like a mongrel surviving in the streets, surviving in the wild isn't easy. The wild isn't the model I want to use for my tortoise enclosures or care routines. I pick and choose the elements of the wild that I think are good and helpful, and attempt to discard all the other stuff.
 

puffinboots

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I have a debatable question. I live in the North of Mozambique; any wild tortoise would probably not have water available for most of the year. But i read a thread claiming that tortoises need to be soaked every day?????
Im worried that they're dehydrated but i want their homes to be as close to the wild as possible. Any suggestions?
When I first got by baby tortoises in the early 90’s I had read that they would get all the liquid they need from their diet, so they were never given water. If I placed water in their enclosure they would ignore it. Now they have multiplied & moved to a larger outside place the sun is so hot , I have to water the young trees there & papyrus plants . The tortoises congregate under these plants where the earth is wet & cool.They have a concrete drinking vessel which they often use as a toilet . On occasion I see the heads go down for a drink but not often.
 

Hoka's Mom

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I can survive with no food for days and a day or so without water but I would not want to.
Since my little guy can't speak I let him decide by making sure water is available for him (he's an adult)
Animals are very good at deciding what they want and knowing what they need. Being as "close to the wild" as possible
is really not optimal and ,likely, not as enjoyable either.
 

C. Nelson

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If I have time, I still soak my adults daily. It is the perfect chance to check out their health besides giving me peace of mind that they are well hydrated. I'd rather be safe than sorry. That said, when I go on short vacations they pet sitter doesn't need to bath them.
 

kazjimmy

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If your tortoise is a small specie, get them a large water blow. If you have giant tortoise. Get a sprinkler timer system. The reason for soaking tortoise is to avoid dehydration. As a human keeping tortoise as a pet you are determine its life. Out there in the wild, the nature determine.
 

Dovey

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HOWEVER... Desert species are, by design, best off flushing their bladders all at once rather than just a bit of urate more often. Otherwise, they are prone to bladder stones. Virtually all of the Sonora desert tortoise rescue and adoption sites recommend offering water only once or twice a week. What about that? o_O
 

Tom

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Virtually all of the Sonora desert tortoise rescue and adoption sites recommend offering water only once or twice a week. What about that? o_O
They are wrong. That information is based off of ill-conceived incorrect assumptions, it has been parroted for decades, and it is the primary reason that most of the baby DTs that hatch annually do not survive. I've rehabbed and raised dozens of them over the years. All of them thrive on daily soaks. There was only one that I couldn't save because it was too far gone when it came to me. I can't undo damaged kidneys past a certain point.

Repeated side-by-side experiments with other species also verify this fact. Yes, adult tortoises can survive long periods with minimal water. Babies cannot. Further, soaking a DT more often than needed does no harm. Soaking too little an kill them.
 

Dovey

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Good to know! My juvenile seems to enjoy a brief soak on occasion.

Can tortoises take in moisture through their vents like lizards do?
 

daniellenc

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Good to know! My juvenile seems to enjoy a brief soak on occasion.

Can tortoises take in moisture through their vents like lizards do?
It is believed so and hydration is so key it just seems worth it to soak.
 

Tom

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Good to know! My juvenile seems to enjoy a brief soak on occasion.

Can tortoises take in moisture through their vents like lizards do?
No one can seem to find a peer reviewed scientific study to prove this, but anecdotal evidence suggests that , yes, they can. It s my personal option based on decades of experience housing tortoise in many ways and observing what other keepers do, that they do absorb water through the cloaca.
 

Yvonne G

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I read that there is only one species of turtle that 'drinks' through the cloaca and that is a turtle native to Australia.
 

jbuenavides

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Aquatic turtles should have a habitat that is 75% water, while semi-aquatic turtles should have an enclosure that is 50% water. Tortoises are land-dwelling, but they still need water for soaking—25% of the habitat can be water, provided it is very shallow, as tortoises can drown.
 

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