4 month old baby sulcata no longer wants to eat and struggles to move!!

sandrawoz

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My baby Sulcata , all of a sudden, started sleeping like crazy, then by day 2 of sleeping all the time, refuses to eat, now "day 3" she wont eat or drink and seems like she struggles to even move around at all. I try to encourage her to move around by taking her out of her enclosure and she barely opens her eyes, takes a couple steps and passes right back out.
Her enclosure is 75-85 on the "cool" side and between 90 and the highest ive seen 101 under the heat lamp. I dont know what humidity is, but i mist her cage every day. I use shredded mulch and organic top soil mix. she has 2 water dishes in her cage, one she soaks in and one she likes to drink. She has a uvb bulb, but her shell is very soft!
I'm very worried.
 

Yvonne G

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My baby Sulcata , all of a sudden, started sleeping like crazy, then by day 2 of sleeping all the time, refuses to eat, now "day 3" she wont eat or drink and seems like she struggles to even move around at all. I try to encourage her to move around by taking her out of her enclosure and she barely opens her eyes, takes a couple steps and passes right back out.
Her enclosure is 75-85 on the "cool" side and between 90 and the highest ive seen 101 under the heat lamp. I dont know what humidity is, but i mist her cage every day. I use shredded mulch and organic top soil mix. she has 2 water dishes in her cage, one she soaks in and one she likes to drink. She has a uvb bulb, but her shell is very soft!
I'm very worried.
The most common cause for a baby tortoise to stop eating is because he isn't warm enough. Do you have a cover over his enclosure? What kind of UVB light are you using? Soak the baby in warm water daily for about 15 minutes. Pour water over the substrate and mix it up with your hands. Do you put calcium on the food?
 

Maro2Bear

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sandrawoz

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The most common cause for a baby tortoise to stop eating is because he isn't warm enough. Do you have a cover over his enclosure? What kind of UVB light are you using? Soak the baby in warm water daily for about 15 minutes. Pour water over the substrate and mix it up with your hands. Do you put calcium on the food?
Yes there is a top. Her lights sit right on the top of it. Her cage is plenty warm and her shell is about 85- 95 on average. We put calcium and she has cuttle bone in her cage as well. The same thing happened with our Russian tortoise and he died from a kidney issue. So needless to say, I'm freaking out. ☹️
 

sandrawoz

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Yvonne G

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Yes there is a top. Her lights sit right on the top of it. Her cage is plenty warm and her shell is about 85- 95 on average. We put calcium and she has cuttle bone in her cage as well. The same thing happened with our Russian tortoise and he died from a kidney issue. So needless to say, I'm freaking out. ☹️
If the UVB light is sitting on a screen or plexi, then the tortoise isn't getting the UVB it needs to make the calcium work. Screen and plexi filter out the UVB rays.
 

sandrawoz

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If the UVB light is sitting on a screen or plexi, then the tortoise isn't getting the UVB it needs to make the calcium work. Screen and plexi filter out the UVB rays.
I had no idea!! We have 2 cats, so she has to have a lid. If we put her in a closed room, what do you do to support the light ? Do you just hook it up to the ceiling? Can you send a pic of your set up for some idea s?
 

sandrawoz

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Greetings, just want to make sure that you found the Sully Care thread. Lots of info on lighting, temperature, heat, humidity, and soaking.

The one pix where it shows your Sullys right eye....it looks closed. Make sure you are not using incorrect lighting.

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
I took her to the vet and he said the company who sold her to me, sold her too soon! She's only 1 ounce and 2 inches long. He said she would need to be double her size ,before they should even consider selling them. Her immune system is still developing and basically she is very Ill. They did a tube feeding and calcium injection. We'll do another one again on Monday and hopefully she bounces back by next week's 3rd feeding on Thursday. He said if not, then it not going to be a good prognosis. ☹️ I don't know what to do.
 

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Most vets don't know what they are talking about. There is no semester on tortoise care in vet school. This vet you've found demonstrates my point. Calcium injections on little babies are usually not helpful and in some cases fatal because their little systems can't handle it. I also disagree with force feeding. There is a reason why the baby isn't taking food in. Forcing food into a digestive system that isn't up and running is not going to help anything and is likely to cause problems. Also, what difference does it make if the baby sits in the breeders enclosure, or someone else's enclosure while it puts on size? It makes none. Their immune systems function just fine from day one IF their needs are met.

Here is a list of likely possibilities for what is wrong:
  • Your enclosure is too dry and you don't have a humid hide. Misting does almost nothing if the top is open.
  • 75 is too cold for this tropical hot weather species. Nowhere in the tank should drop below 80 day or night.
  • What type of UV bulb are you using? Most of them are ineffective from 18 inches away and through a screen top. After four months of no UV, you might start to see this problem.
  • What supplements, if any, are you using? Vitamins? Calcium? With or without D3? Any Mazuri?
  • Where did you get the tortoise? Most breeders/sellers do not start them correctly. Here is how it usually goes: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/ No amount of money or vet care can save them if you bought one of these dry started babies from the wrong source. It was dead before you even got it if this is the case. By contrast, here is how they should be started: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/
  • Bought-in-a-bag "soil" should not be used for tortoises. There is no way to know what composted yard waste it is made from and toxicity is a likely possibility.
  • Are you soaking daily? I don't mean the tortoise walking in and out of a water dish in the enclosure. I mean a warm water soak for 30-40 minutes daily.
  • Most of the care and feeding info for this species that you find in books and out in the world from vets, breeders, books and the internet is wrong. Its all based on old incorrect assumptions of how they live in the wild. This info has been circulating for three decades, and most people seem reluctant to accept that we've been doing it wrong all this time. Those that do accept this new info have healthy smooth tortoises to show for it.
  • I see no mention of night heat. How are you keeping the tortoise warm at night?
  • What foods have you been feeding?
Any one of these things, or some combination of them, could be your issue. Here is all the correct care info in one place for you. Check it out and see what you are doing differently.
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/


This is a lot of info to take in. I've been raising baby sulcatas since the early 90s. I did it wrong for about two decades before I began to figure out why all of "their" advice didn't work. 10 years of growth and enclosure experiments with 100's of babies have shown me what I've just explained to you above. Its a lot to take in. Let it all sink in and then come back and ask all your questions. Ask for more explanation about any of this. Ask why five books call this a "desert' species, and I'm directly saying it is NOT. We are all here to talk tortoises, so feel free to comment, complain, question, and converse.
 

Donna Albu

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Most vets don't know what they are talking about. There is no semester on tortoise care in vet school. This vet you've found demonstrates my point. Calcium injections on little babies are usually not helpful and in some cases fatal because their little systems can't handle it. I also disagree with force feeding. There is a reason why the baby isn't taking food in. Forcing food into a digestive system that isn't up and running is not going to help anything and is likely to cause problems. Also, what difference does it make if the baby sits in the breeders enclosure, or someone else's enclosure while it puts on size? It makes none. Their immune systems function just fine from day one IF their needs are met.

Here is a list of likely possibilities for what is wrong:
  • Your enclosure is too dry and you don't have a humid hide. Misting does almost nothing if the top is open.
  • 75 is too cold for this tropical hot weather species. Nowhere in the tank should drop below 80 day or night.
  • What type of UV bulb are you using? Most of them are ineffective from 18 inches away and through a screen top. After four months of no UV, you might start to see this problem.
  • What supplements, if any, are you using? Vitamins? Calcium? With or without D3? Any Mazuri?
  • Where did you get the tortoise? Most breeders/sellers do not start them correctly. Here is how it usually goes: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/ No amount of money or vet care can save them if you bought one of these dry started babies from the wrong source. It was dead before you even got it if this is the case. By contrast, here is how they should be started: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/
  • Bought-in-a-bag "soil" should not be used for tortoises. There is no way to know what composted yard waste it is made from and toxicity is a likely possibility.
  • Are you soaking daily? I don't mean the tortoise walking in and out of a water dish in the enclosure. I mean a warm water soak for 30-40 minutes daily.
  • Most of the care and feeding info for this species that you find in books and out in the world from vets, breeders, books and the internet is wrong. Its all based on old incorrect assumptions of how they live in the wild. This info has been circulating for three decades, and most people seem reluctant to accept that we've been doing it wrong all this time. Those that do accept this new info have healthy smooth tortoises to show for it.
  • I see no mention of night heat. How are you keeping the tortoise warm at night?
  • What foods have you been feeding?
Any one of these things, or some combination of them, could be your issue. Here is all the correct care info in one place for you. Check it out and see what you are doing differently.
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/


This is a lot of info to take in. I've been raising baby sulcatas since the early 90s. I did it wrong for about two decades before I began to figure out why all of "their" advice didn't work. 10 years of growth and enclosure experiments with 100's of babies have shown me what I've just explained to you above. Its a lot to take in. Let it all sink in and then come back and ask all your questions. Ask for more explanation about any of this. Ask why five books call this a "desert' species, and I'm directly saying it is NOT. We are all here to talk tortoises, so feel free to comment, complain, question, and converse.
 

Ray--Opo

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Welcome and my hope and prayers are with you and your little buddy. There is very valuable information from Tom. Read and ask questions. Good luck!
 

ZEROPILOT

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I hope you have a good outcome.
Tiny tortoises often only show symptoms so severely when they are near death.
If this tortoise does pass.
Pause. Read up and make sure that all of your parameters and housing, lighting are correct before attempting to get another tortoise.
If I had a Sulcata, I would listen to everything that @Tom has to say.
Having one die is unfortunate. Having 2 die is suspicious.
I feel for you.
 

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