Advice Please!! 2nd consecutive day of coming home to find Tilly on her back!!!

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danielledelynn

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Yesterday afternoon, Nick and I went to the Allentown Art Festival in downtown Buffalo, NY for several hours. As always, the first thing we did when arriving home was check on our little tortoise. Poor girl was on her back, with her arms and legs kicking and flailing :( We flipped her back over and as soon as we did, she dug herself deep into the substrate for the rest of the night.

I came home from work today, only a short while ago, to find her in the exact same spot, upside down again! Only this time, her arms and legs weren't kicking and flailing like they were yesterday-- they were more still. I flipped her back over, and she hauled butt over to the other end of her enclosure, with a long string of poop hanging from her butt (really gives meaning to the word scared sh*tless)

We recently got her a half-log and put it in her enclosure. She loves it, she goes right in it at night. Within a few minutes of putting it in her enclosure several days ago, right in front of us, she did seem very curious to check it out and even climbed it...but when she got to the top, she did a walking/slide back down. She seemed to rather enjoy it, as she did it 10+ times, over and over, like a little kid going down the slide at the school playground. But she didn't flip over any of those times! So is it the log? Or is it something else?


On both occasions she was on her back, there's no way to tell if she was like that for only a few minutes...or several hours. Is she fine? Is there signs of something I should look for that would indicate she was injured? Should we remove the log-hide even though she seems to love it?
 

Annieski

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This did happen to me with Mortimer, when I first got him[6 oz.] and then when he was about 4 lbs. When he was smaller. I was told the major concern was the pressure placed on the lungs while being upside down[lungs are at the top of carpase] I would take anything "sturdy" out of the enclosure and replace with a small cardboard box, turned upside down with an entrance cut out. It gives a hide but he can't get good footing to climb. When Morty was the 4 lb. upside down tort, he got very stressed[not sure how long he was that way] Not only did he have poop all over himself---but he vomitted as well. Needless to say, the longest I ever left the house was about 1 1/2 hours[at least until it stopped happening]
 

Sigmar

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Get the log out of there and see if it happens again. Or build the substate up high around the log so it becomes more like a tunnel. Is she flipped in a corner?
 

danielledelynn

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She LOVES the log...I'd hate to just take it out of there. Here are some pictures we took of her a few minutes after we put the new log (it's actually very small...smaller than what it appears in the pics!) in her enclosure. As you can see, she loves to explore. Is there anything we can do to fix the flipping problem without actually removing the log?

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see, this is how we've seen her get down...she kinda does this walk-n-slide on her tummy back down into the substrate

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Annieski

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After seeing your pic's, I think you need to get it out for now OR move it to the middle and build the substrate up higher around the sides. I think if it stays as is--- you will come home to NO tortoise in the enclosure because he will figure out the top of the tub is the door to freedom.
 

Terry Allan Hall

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Annieski said:
After seeing your pic's, I think you need to get it out for now OR move it to the middle and build the substrate up higher around the sides. I think if it stays as is--- you will come home to NO tortoise in the enclosure because he will figure out the top of the tub is the door to freedom.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing...the top of the half-log looks like it'd be very easy for Tilly to escape over the side!
IMG_1738.jpg

And European torts are quick to figure such things out! ;)

Other than that thought...cute lil' Hermann's and very artfully laid out environment! :cool:
 

Seiryu

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Annieski said:
After seeing your pic's, I think you need to get it out for now OR move it to the middle and build the substrate up higher around the sides. I think if it stays as is--- you will come home to NO tortoise in the enclosure because he will figure out the top of the tub is the door to freedom.

I agree. Either move it to the middle or remove it. She has probably figured out she might be able to get out by climbing up there.

The height of the enclosure is too small to have something up next to it. I have never used the clear tort bins myself. But I wouldn't be surprised if she can see out, and wants out too. Which could be why she's climbing and in the end flipping, trying to get out of there.
 

ChiKat

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Elainea23 said:
I know it's sad to take away something she clearly enjoys (my tort likes to climb & slide his log, too) but it's safer and less stressful for both of you, really.

I agree with this. I had to take out Nelson's half log for the same reason. I really had to baby proof his enclosure too because he's a little monster ;) He was always trying to climb up the corners of his enclosure and would flip over. Now he doesn't have access to the corners :rolleyes:

Now that Nelson is a year old I added the log back in, and he is much better about climbing it safely! I also built up substrate to the sides at one point so it was less dangerous.

You definitely need to move the log away from the edge of the enclosure though! Torts are escape artists.

Did you recently get a Russian tortoise too? Or am I thinking of someone else?
 

danielledelynn

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bettinge

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When I had her, I found her flipped twice near a hide I had, so I removed the hide. When I had her ouside for 3 weeks, there where plenty of places to get into trouble, but she did fine.

I would definetly move the log away from the plactic enclosure, maybe remove it all together. I would also keep these types of hazards away from the heat lamp, as you really don't want her up side down there.

Climbing is good as it builds their mussle and abilities, and burns calories. But, if she is flipping, maybe she should only have the log there when you are home.
 

PeanutbuttER

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In addition to what everyone else has already suggested, you could always try putting a little fake plant right where she normally falls on her back. The extra foliage will give her enough "traction" to flip herself over. Works for my russians. I'll try to take a picture for you next time I see them use it.
 

tortoisenerd

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You need to take out that log. While they are babies, the enclosure needs to be baby proofed. Once the tort is older and you have an enclosure with higher sides and such it is fine to have hides like that. In the meantime, use something with vertical sides, or a fake plant that is impossible to climb (I got one that was like a shrub that was dangerous, but the types with the stems you stick in and the overhanging slippery leaves are good). I would not want anything relatively dangerous in my tort's enclosure when I wasn't home. When on their backs, their lungs are depressed and if they got stressed they might only last minutes, or maybe hours. Not something you want to risk. Especially keep hazards away from heat and water, but once you find something causes your tort to flip, it needs to be taken out. No, there shouldn't be lasting damage from being flipped, but the more times it happens the more risk you are taking. I am actually very surprised Annieski's Mortimer didn't aspirate if he vomited. I have not heard of a tort doing that unless they were deathly ill. Glad Mortimer and Tilly are ok!
 

Stephanie Logan

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Good grief, what an enchanting little tort and such great photos of her having adventures!

Still, you must find a way to keep Tilly from tipping--you wouldn't want to lose her in any sense of the word.

Someone on here did bury their log so the substrate became a ramp and the drop from the top was very shallow, and plants or small rocks placed thoughtfully nearby can ensure Tilly has a leverage source handy to right herself if she's on her back.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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You don't need to remove the log, you just need to build the substrate up on both sides making it a cave or tunnel. All babies climb and fall, so if you build up the sides you remove the ability to fall. You don't need to take it out. I use logs in every habitat I have and I just add substrate up the sides.
If she's still failing her legs that means she's recently fallen. If she's still it's been a while. If there's poop and pee it's been a long while...
 

ChiKat

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maggie3fan said:
You don't need to remove the log, you just need to build the substrate up on both sides making it a cave or tunnel. All babies climb and fall, so if you build up the sides you remove the ability to fall. You don't need to take it out. I use logs in every habitat I have and I just add substrate up the sides.

Unless she's a troublemaker like my Nelson. I built the substrate up on both sides and he would walk off the ends and flip over :rolleyes:
 

danielledelynn

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Just an update on the flippin' situation. We made the hide into a tunnel like a few of you suggested and built the substrate around it and guess what? No more flipped tortoise! We've kept it that way for almost 10 days and she's right where she's supposed to be...on her belly!
 
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