9 days without eating, help!

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Hey everybody, I am getting a little desperate about my ternal Lucy and wondering if it’s normal that she has not eaten in nine days. Before this time she had eaten earthworms, which now I know I should have changed… After light therapy she still is not eating, what should I try? I give her different things every day I give her omega steaks I’ve made her an omelette I’ve got her Kindle, I put the food on a red plate pull her from her hiding spot and sat her in front of the food then I walk away, no luck ! She just wants to but herself and hide. Won’t soak. Temp in cage ia 65in it’s coldest ( I have a gun) 85 in its warmest with an ambient temp on my house of 72
 

LaLaP

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Hi! So I don't know much about box turtles so hopefully someone will confirm what I think the issue is... I think Lucy may be trying to hibernate/brumate. How bright is it in your enclosure? How long are the lights on? With the days shortening and the temps dropping you need to mimic summer brightness and temps or they will want to sleep all winter and stop eating. Maybe add another light... not another heat lamp just a regular fluorescent light for brightness. Also maybe up your temps just a bit and keep lights on 12-14 hours a day. Do you have a uvb light?
Post us a photo of her enclosure. Maybe there is another problem and someone here can spot it.
 

JoesMum

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Go back to basics:

1. Get yourself a temperature gun type thermometer and double check the basking temperature. The basking lamp must hang vertically and temperature must be measured at tortoise level. She must be able to bask at 95-100F directly under a basking lamp. If she cannot do this, she cannot raise her body temperature to be active and cannot digest food.

2. Put the lights on timers so they are on full and bright for 14 hours. Use a timer to make sure this happens every day without fail.

3. Invest in a digital min/max thermometer and use that to find out how cold it is actually getting at night. Don't guess this temperature. If it is below 65F then it will take too long for your tortoise to warm up next day and that will cause loss of appetite. You may need a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) used with a thermostat to boost night time temperatures.

4. You must soak your tortoise first thing every morning for at least 30 minutes in warm water every day that it does not eat to prevent dehydration.

5. Feed your tortoise straight after the soak and leave food in place all day.

6. Walk away and leave your tortoise to it. Don't stand and watch. Don't fuss her. Don't get her out for cuddles or to roam your floor. She needs to be left entirely alone in peace to be brave and explore.

Tortoises can go a long time without eating and come to no harm. They will eat when they're hungry and they don't feel scared or stressed. Some are quicker to come round than others.
 
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She could be hibernating, or stressed she's in a new environment. I just adopted a box turtle (she's prob over 10yrs old), she wasn't eating for about a week+ not even pooping or peeing, I was worried as well. Turned out she was just stressed and just needed to settle in her new place. Unless you've had her for awhile, someone had told me turtles can go days without eating because it's winter time. I hope your turtle is ok and healthy!
 

lisa127

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Why do you think your turtle should not be eating earthworms? That is what he/She should be eating....

Increase cool end to 70ish instead of 65. Provide gentle heat at night and leave UVB on 12 to 14 hours a day to trick him into summer conditions. Keep it humid.
 
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Well she won’t even eat her earthworms she crawls all over them and ignores them and won’t eat pellets or fruit. She won’t even come out of her spot to see that there is food she yay stays buried until I pull her out for a soak and to attempt to feed her ... I’m very concerned.
 
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Lucy had gone over two
Weeks now without eating- she won’t even eat her earthworms ( which I have been attempting not to feed her but recently caved on one of our outdoor walks to t try and get her to eat something) she crawls all over them and ignores them and won’t eat pellets or fruit or veggies I have given her. She won’t even come out of her spot to see that there is food she just stays buried until I pull her out for a soak and to attempt to feed her ...I’ve tried a round of light therapy , no budge. Her temp in the cage ranges from 75 to 85 I’m very concerned, does she need a vet?
 

mark1

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a "round of light therapy" ? a turtle needs as full of a spectrum of light as you can provide 7 days a week 365 days a year …… bright , 14 hours a day ……I have 3 outside turtles inside this winter , their enclosure is 12 cubic feet , 8 square feet floor space , there are 4 4 foot fluorescent bulbs ,(2 6500 k , 1 uvb and one 2800k , along with one 150watt mvb) I took two of them out of hibernation , they were back to normal in a week .. i'd keep the entire enclosure 78-85degrees , humid with wet substrate ……. i'd use soaking wet sphagnum moss as a substrate …….. I don't think taking her outside for walks is particularly helpful in getting her eating …….. if she is responsive clear eyes and nose , no discharge , and mobile, I wouldn't do a vet unless I saw signs of her being ill aside from not eating …… i'd try to feed her everyday , make sure she drinks …… if she doesn't turn around in a month , I may rethink it depending on how she looked …… if she's not drinking I wouldn't go a month , but then if she's not drinking for any length of time she's going to appear ill before a month ……..

pACE3-12470530enh-z7.jpg
 

ColleenT

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Mine prefer to eat around 6 pm. Try feeding around that time. are her eyes clear and bright? Is she moist enough?
 

Yvonne G

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Mark: There was an article about light therapy written by a well-known box turtle person that was posted here a while ago. I've looked for it, but can't find it. It was in addition to the normal UVB the turtle is receiving, tilted towards a turtle that isn't eating.

Christina: It sounds like your turtle wants to hibernate. You're going to have to trick her into thinking it's summertime. Lights on for 14 hour days, hot temperatures in the middle of the day, etc.
 

Pastel Tortie

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Lucy had gone over two
Weeks now without eating- she won’t even eat her earthworms ( which I have been attempting not to feed her but recently caved on one of our outdoor walks to t try and get her to eat something) she crawls all over them and ignores them and won’t eat pellets or fruit or veggies I have given her. She won’t even come out of her spot to see that there is food she just stays buried until I pull her out for a soak and to attempt to feed her ...I’ve tried a round of light therapy , no budge. Her temp in the cage ranges from 75 to 85 I’m very concerned, does she need a vet?
What water temperatures do you normally soak Lucy in?

I'm trying to remember what the "magic" temperature range I had to get my boxie's temperature up to during her soaks last year to make sure she was interested in eating. I want to say she had to be at or around the low 90s before she was really interested in eating (or pooping). I can tell you, for my box turtle, that she loses interest in food entirely by the time her soaking water temperature drops down to the low 80s.

Don't shock your boxie's system, but try to start out with a soaking temperature in the high 80s, up to the very low 90s and see how she responds. You can gradually make the water warmer by partial water changes. Use a laser thermometer to check her carapace temperature frequently, as well as the water temperature. Both are important.
 
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a "round of light therapy" ? a turtle needs as full of a spectrum of light as you can provide 7 days a week 365 days a year …… bright , 14 hours a day ……I have 3 outside turtles inside this winter , their enclosure is 12 cubic feet , 8 square feet floor space , there are 4 4 foot fluorescent bulbs ,(2 6500 k , 1 uvb and one 2800k , along with one 150watt mvb) I took two of them out of hibernation , they were back to normal in a week .. i'd keep the entire enclosure 78-85degrees , humid with wet substrate ……. i'd use soaking wet sphagnum moss as a substrate …….. I don't think taking her outside for walks is particularly helpful in getting her eating …….. if she is responsive clear eyes and nose , no discharge , and mobile, I wouldn't do a vet unless I saw signs of her being ill aside from not eating …… i'd try to feed her everyday , make sure she drinks …… if she doesn't turn around in a month , I may rethink it depending on how she looked …… if she's not drinking I wouldn't go a month , but then if she's not drinking for any length of time she's going to appear ill before a month ……..

pACE3-12470530enh-z7.jpg
Thank you. Light therapy was a suggested method on one of the linked pages given to me here by a long time member where you put them in directly under the uvb l light with no hide for two hours ( supposed to get her metabolis moving?) and then do a warm soak followed by 3 days of a special varied diet - anyway it didn’t work lol. She does have her light on from 8 in the morning till 10pm and then I just leave the heat lamp on cuz it gets too cold. Her cage is 70- 84 at all times. She only drinks when I pull her out. Her coco fiber substrate is very moist always and I give her soaks too every other day. Her eyes do not look cloudy. I guess I’ll see how long before she eats ....
 
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What water temperatures do you normally soak Lucy in?

I'm trying to remember what the "magic" temperature range I had to get my boxie's temperature up to during her soaks last year to make sure she was interested in eating. I want to say she had to be at or around the low 90s before she was really interested in eating (or pooping). I can tell you, for my box turtle, that she loses interest in food entirely by the time her soaking water temperature drops down to the low 80s.

Don't shock your boxie's system, but try to start out with a soaking temperature in the high 80s, up to the very low 90s and see how she responds. You can gradually make the water warmer by partial water changes. Use a laser thermometer to check her carapace temperature frequently, as well as the water temperature. Both are important.
I’ve been soaking her in pretty warm water, I’ll use my laser gun to check... what is carapace? Thank you :) just want to be a good turtle mom lol
 

Pastel Tortie

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I’ve been soaking her in pretty warm water, I’ll use my laser gun to check... what is carapace? Thank you :) just want to be a good turtle mom lol
The carapace is the top side of your boxie's shell. The plastron is the underside. The good thing about warm water is that it quickly brings the turtle's temperature up to the ambient (warm) water temperature.
 

mark1

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the light they need is visual , not for d3 production , they only need to see it ……. not that they don't need uvb for d3 production …… it's just that in this case the need is visual , it stimulates hormones in the brain through the eyes ……… to me light therapy is everyday , there are 7 box turtles in the pic below , all similar size to the one you see , they are all but one comfortably hidden , and all can see the light , like when they hide outside , they hide in the sun ….. the light would be the same as I usually use a 4 fluorescent fixture ( 2 6500k , 1 uvb , 1 2800k) and a mercury vapor bulb , i'd guess 12,000-14,000 lumens over a 5 square foot floor space , soaking wet sphagnum , standing water , no water dish ……. the sphagnum moss can be cleaned like a sponge and replaced as it breaks down ………..

DSCF2588.jpg


hiding in the sun

DSCF3053.jpg
 
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Go back to basics:

1. Get yourself a temperature gun type thermometer and double check the basking temperature. The basking lamp must hang vertically and temperature must be measured at tortoise level. She must be able to bask at 95-100F directly under a basking lamp. If she cannot do this, she cannot raise her body temperature to be active and cannot digest food.

2. Put the lights on timers so they are on full and bright for 14 hours. Use a timer to make sure this happens every day without fail.

3. Invest in a digital min/max thermometer and use that to find out how cold it is actually getting at night. Don't guess this temperature. If it is below 65F then it will take too long for your tortoise to warm up next day and that will cause loss of appetite. You may need a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) used with a thermostat to boost night time temperatures.

4. You must soak your tortoise first thing every morning for at least 30 minutes in warm water every day that it does not eat to prevent dehydration.

5. Feed your tortoise straight after the soak and leave food in place all day.

6. Walk away and leave your tortoise to it. Don't stand and watch. Don't fuss her. Don't get her out for cuddles or to roam your floor. She needs to be left entirely alone in peace to be brave and explore.

Tortoises can go a long time without eating and come to no harm. They will eat when they're hungry and they don't feel scared or stressed. Some are quicker to come round than others.
All
This is great advice , thank you
 

SenaRe

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My Booger gets like this starting in the fall and goes through the winter. I get so frustrated with him because my Teddi just chows down like there's no tomorrow and they are in tanks right beside each other. Sometimes he hides for two or three days then he takes a soak and we usually catch him coming out of his water early in the morning when we are just waking up so it could be that your turtle is active when you don't see it. I just make sure there is food in on his eating rock for if he's hungry and change it out so it doesn't go bad.

Try leaving something non active (greens, fruit, lean dog food etc) in over night and then check it the next day to see if anything is missing. Otherwise if she really wants to hibernate so badly I would just leave her alone. Check her daily to make sure she's doing good and give her a soak. If you're concerned about her not eating you can try what I do with Booger. I take his turtle pelts and let them soak in the water until they fall a part and stir them in. Then put your turtle in to soak. When/if she gets a drink she then gets at least some nutrients from what has dissolved in the water. Granted it won't be much, but it would be more than what she's currently getting.
 

KBeam

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My ornate’s enclosure has lights on for 14 hours a day with timers, she also has a thermostat to control temperatures, which I also check with a laser thermometer. And she still semi brumenates this time of year. She only comes out every 3-4 days, eats, soaks in her pond then buried herself again. I rarely see her out.
1. My vet says this is normal.
2. I feed her favorites; pumpkin, strawberries, salmon limited ingredient cat food and a few mushy boxie pellets.
3. I pull her out weekly and soak her and weigh her to make sure she’s hydrated and healthy.
 

Pastel Tortie

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@christina lazaro -- How is Lucy doing?

Do you have a scale to weigh her? Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the general line of thought here is that if you're soaking Lucy periodically and she isn't losing weight, then she's probably fine until she starts noticing it's springtime. :)
 
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