Worried - Lethargic Hatchling

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mctlong

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I got Jojo, a sulcata hatchling, for my birthday two weeks ago. S/He's about 5 weeks old. He seemed weak when I got him, but I thought he was just scared and anxious from the move to a new home. I thought he'd perk up by now. He hasn't. He sleeps most of the day and doesn't move much. He eats a little everyday and poops everyday, but he seems to lack energy. Any suggestions?

I'm scheduling a vet appointment this week.

Here's little about his environment:

Enclosures: He has 2 enclosures, one indoors and one outdoors. He spends evenings and nights indoors and warm days outdoors. The outdoor enclosure is a rabbit cage and the indoor is a tubberware. Both have moist coco-coir and hides (half log and plastic cups), large water dishes, cuddlebone, and a small garden of grasses from Joe's grazing mix. The humidity gage in the indoor enclosure reads 60 and the indoor enclosure has a heat lamp that heats his basking spot to 90F.

Diet: I feed him spring mix mixed with a little water, tnt and calcium powder twice daily. He eats a little each day and I've seen him nibble on the grass in his garden - but only when I pick him up and place him in front of the grass.

Soaking: I was soaking him once a day. This week, I increased it to twice daily, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon, 20 minutes each. I started adding vitasol to his morning soaking water 2 days ago.

UVA/UVB: I was using the reptisun 10.0 compact heat lamp, but I removed it earlier this week after reading that it could be harmful to hatchlings. All of his UVs now come from the time he spends outside.

I'm worried. He's eating and pooping everyday, but he's still lethargic. Aside from visiting a vet, I don't know what else to do. I would really appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks,
Shelly
 

egyptiandan

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What are Jojo's other temperatures like, warm end, cool end and night time. The Mercury vapor bulbs are just fine for your sulcata. You can use one as the basking spot as it combines UVB and heat.
Everything else sounds fine. :)

Danny
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Hi Shelly...could he be acting like a baby rather then being lethargic? Babies tend to sleep a lot, most of the day. Like cats actually. My babies are active early in the morning before I feed. Then after they eat, they will sleep the rest of the day and get up again in early evening. So if you are expecting him to be out and active all day that ain't gonna happen. He's eating and pooping that's a good sign. I'm thinking he might not be warm enough. One warm soak a day is enough, I wouldn't soak him twice. I wake up my babies whenever I want and I handle them and talk to them and generally mess around with them. I have to say your baby sounds fairly normal to me. So why don't you soak him then put him in front of the food and after he's done eating play with him some. Make him stay awake for a while. Keep us posted I hope this helps...
 

Laura

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SOunds like you are doing well. I would also wonder, since he is new and still young and shy, that moving him outside then inside, is confusing, and he needs to adjust to one enclosure and get his bearings. just a thought.
 

Homer

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I wish you the best with your youngin'. Closed eyes and not eating would be very bad. But eating and pooping is good in my book. My little guy is around 3 months old.

With Homer, I get like a good twenty minute running around like every other day. Usually, Homer just moves a couple of feet in one direction and then back again. Today, he has slept non-stop since 11 am and it is now 5 pm. And he has moved a "whopping" four inches from his morning food spot. :D

Sounds like your doing good. But I would do the vet thing to make sure.

Brian
 

mctlong

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egyptiandan said:
What are Jojo's other temperatures like, warm end, cool end and night time. The Mercury vapor bulbs are just fine for your sulcata. You can use one as the basking spot as it combines UVB and heat.
Everything else sounds fine. :)

Danny

We've has a warm fall, with outdoor tempeartures in the late 70s, early 80s. His outdoor enclosure has space for him to sit in the direct sun or shade. Inside, the warm end of his enclosure is 90 and the cool end is room temperature which fluctuates between 70 and 80 degrees depending on the time of day/night.

egyptiandan said:
Hi Shelly...could he be acting like a baby rather then being lethargic? Babies tend to sleep a lot, most of the day. Like cats actually. My babies are active early in the morning before I feed. Then after they eat, they will sleep the rest of the day and get up again in early evening. So if you are expecting him to be out and active all day that ain't gonna happen. He's eating and pooping that's a good sign. I'm thinking he might not be warm enough. One warm soak a day is enough, I wouldn't soak him twice. I wake up my babies whenever I want and I handle them and talk to them and generally mess around with them. I have to say your baby sounds fairly normal to me. So why don't you soak him then put him in front of the food and after he's done eating play with him some. Make him stay awake for a while. Keep us posted I hope this helps...

It would be a relief if he's just acting like a baby. I've never owned a hatchling, so I could be overreacting. I'll try raising the warm end of the enclosure. Should I raise it to 95 or 100F?

My adult Russian (Indy) will come out in the mornings and evenings to graze and he spends the rest of his time lounging in the shade or buried under timothy hay. Jojo isn't doing that. In the morning, I wake him up, soak him, and place him in a sunny spot in his outdoor enclosure and he stays there and sleeps, all day. He never moves more than an inch or two. He never attempts to go into the shade or burrow or anything. When I come home from work, he's in the same spot I placed him. I've also noticed that when I carry him or soak him, he doesn't struggle or try to escape, he just sleeps. My adult Russian will flail his legs when I carry him and try to climb out of his soaking tub. Jojo doesn't do that. He's just always sleeping. Is this normal behavior for a hatchling?
 

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I think your hot side is too cool. Sullys like it warmer than that (as do most desert torts)

I know people freak out about temps above 90, but keep in mind that the human body hovers around 98F to be able to function properly. Your basking spot should be in the high 90s at least.

Also, the compact bulbs are bad--if your bulb is COILED don't use it. If it is a mercury vapor bulb, like a trex or a powersun, you are all good. I use Trex and Powersun both with good results.

I would also discontinue the two enclosure thing for a while. Its very disruptive, especially since he is so young. I couldn't imagine doing that with my hatchlings---Novalee gets upset if I clean one day, and move a plant.
 

Homer

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I would do the vet thing on Monday if you could. I have already taken Homer to a local vet. for a check-up. Make sure you bag up some poop samples and keep them refrigerated. That will allow them to check for parasites.

A warm water enema by the vet. might not be a bad thing to make sure he is not impacted. And if that does not get him stirring, then nothing will. :p

Your tort is eating and pooping, so life is still good. Do not panic. This is not to say that nothing is going on, just that it could be worse.

If you read old posts about temps., everybody has their own opinion. I have personally settled on 80 as a low (night) and about 92 (day) as a max high.

But my inside enclosure is large enough that I have about a 4 degree difference from one end to another, so Homer can regulate himself. I am more fearful of de-hydration than I am of Homer not being hot enough. I still have never seen my little guy take a drink.

I would consider just indoor care for the next couple of months, because it will be easier to maintain a constant environment. Too many wild cards, in my opinion for prolonged outdoor exposure.

Your doing great. And your tort is lucky to have you as an owner. Very few people would provide the home that you have.

Positive thoughts,

Brian
 

mctlong

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Thank you for your words of support. I got Indy (my Russian) as an adult. Jojo is my first attempt at caring for a hatchling. From your posts, it sounds like his low activity level is normal for hatchlings, which is a relief.

I'll take him to the vet tomorrow and have him checked out and get a fecal. He's probably fine, but it'll make me feel better to know he was seen by a vet.

I'll order the Active UVHeat (T-Rex)100 watt Mercury Vapor Bulb from Carolina Pet Supply and keep him inside full-time. At what age do you recommend allowing him outdoors?
 

BethyB1022

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If it makes you feel better I have a hatchling too, and he acts very similar. He eats, poops, sleeps, and in general acts just like a baby should. He's active in the mornings right before mealtime, and he is active and looking for food at dinnertime. Other than that he is usually basking and sleeping. :)
 

tortoisenerd

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Could we get some tortoise and enclosure pictures? Yes, it is normal for a hatchling to not be active, with lots of naps. But you do need to make sure they are bright eyed (not eyes closed), and do move around a little each day with eating and basking. Do you have hides in the warm area? What temperature does the tort spend most of its time? As a hatchling, what about one enclosure you could use both inside and outside? You could just put the enclosure outside to give him some sun when you can watch him, and then he wouldn't have the change in enclosure but still get the benefits. I know that a slightly older tortoise can easily manage a change in enclosure for inside vs. outside, but at this stage of your tort still settling in, the fewer changes the better. Other people may have different opinions though. That is great you got a top of the line bulb and plan a vet visit. Does the vet specialize in tortoises?
 

Meg90

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I don't think people should preach that hatchlings are not active. I do not know where this info even started from. I agree with Kate, lots of naps are normal for babies, but never waking up and moving around is not.

I've had Novalee since she was 1 and a half months old. Literally 6 or 7 weeks old. She has never been inactive. She eats, poops, runs around. She climbs things (or tries too) goes in her water dish by herself---has some cuttle bone. She's never been lethargic, and if she was, it would scare me silly.

I can understand you not SEEING him moving around, but if he's definitely NOT moving around, that's a problem.
 

mctlong

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I am hesitant to use the same enclosure outdoors and indoors because Jojo's outdoor enclosure attracts gnats (because of the damp substate) and I don't want to bring gnats indoors.

Here's a pic of his indoor enclosure. The indoor enclosure has 4 hides including two plastic cups, a cermic pot, and a plastic basket flipped upside-down. There are two water dishes (a small one in his garden and a large one outside his garden). Its too dark to take a picture of his outdoor enclosure, but its roughly the same layout, except the hides are different - there is a half log instead of a plastic basket.

l_c8fe86c628e74be1b60fb2c934db33d7.jpg


I keep the heat lamp over his garden. Below is a closeup of his indoor garden. The terminator is a plastic cup that I use as a hide. The garden's a little sad because its only been growing for two weeks (I planted it when I brought him home) but it has a few grasses for him to nibble on. The majority of his diet comes from spring mix mixed with a little water, tnt, and calcium.

l_9316b360741f4b41a0e689881b403b22.jpg


My vet does not specialize in tortoises. He calls himself an "exotic pets specialist." He's been good with Indy, so I trust him. However if anyone knows of a good tortoise vet in the San Fernando Valley, CA let me know.
 

BethyB1022

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Ahh, I didn't mean my baby wasn't moving. He's very active. I was merely supporting that babies do take lots of naps and maybe not to expect them to be super active everytime you check in. Sorry if I confused anyone :-(
 

mctlong

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BethyB1022 said:
Ahh, I didn't mean my baby wasn't moving. He's very active. I was merely supporting that babies do take lots of naps and maybe not to expect them to be super active everytime you check in. Sorry if I confused anyone :-(

No worries. I'm gonna go with my instinct on this one and take him to the vet.
 

Homer

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mctlong said:
No worries. I'm gonna go with my instinct on this one and take him to the vet.

Any updates ?

Brian
 

mctlong

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Yes :)

The vet says he looks good. He's a little small, but as long as he continues to eat and gain weight, he'll live to be 100. I haven't heard back on the fecal yet.

Does anyone know if there's growth chart index for sulcatas? For example, a list somewhere saying how much a hatchling Jojo's age should be gaining per week, month, etc?
 
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Maggie Cummings

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mctlong said:
Yes :)

The vet says he looks good. He's a little small, but as long as he continues to eat and gain weight, he'll live to be 100. I haven't heard back on the fecal yet.

Does anyone know if there's growth chart index for sulcatas? For example, a list somewhere saying how much a hatchling Jojo's age should be gaining per week, month, etc?

I know that so far there is no growth chart for Sulcata...
 

Homer

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mctlong said:
Yes :)

The vet says he looks good. He's a little small, but as long as he continues to eat and gain weight, he'll live to be 100. I haven't heard back on the fecal yet.

Does anyone know if there's growth chart index for sulcatas? For example, a list somewhere saying how much a hatchling Jojo's age should be gaining per week, month, etc?


Thanks for the update. I am happy for you. I guess because I have only had my Homer for a month, I totally get your anguish.

I know my vet visit was $60, and it was worth every penny considering the peace of mine it provided.

Brian
 

mctlong

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Thank you everyone!!! Jojo is moving around alot more now. He's still not as active as my adult Russian, but he's definitely more active than he was two weeks ago. When I pick him up, he wiggles his legs around and tries to escape. Before, he'd just sit on my hand, sleeping. He also makes an effort to crawl out of his soaking water. Before he'd just sleep in the water without making any real attempt to move around or escape.

I've also noticed that he's thermoregulating. Before, I'd place him in his basking spot and he's stay there all day long. Now, I place him in his basking spot and he'll sleep there for awhile and then walk into the shade to sleep or climb into his water dish to cool off. He wasn't doing that before. I'm very excited about his progress. He's also eating ALOT more. So much, that I'm considering limiting his feeding time to 20 minutes a day so he doesn't become a little chunky monkey. Its such a relief to watch him scarf down all those greens.

As a result of suggestions from this forum, I raised his basking area to 95ish and changed his UV from a coiled lamp to a T-Rex Mercury Vapor. I also stopped keeping him outdoors during the day so he spends 100% of his time indoors where I have better control over the temps.

Thank you everyone for your help. :)

He's acting like a tortoise now instead of a limp, sleeping rock! ;)

.... and it looks like Jojo made the calender. Its been a good week all around. :D
 
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