Any advice please. (not eating, closed eyes)

Ardelle

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My tortoise twiglet is around 9 months, his basking bulb blew lasy week so was without a bulb for a day as the local pet shop has shut down due to a fire.

He started moving less then walking around with his eyes shut. He has now stopped eating.
I am bathing him to encourage him to drink however only a few mouthfuls taken.

He just crawls to a corner to sleep and only
Moves when picked up.

His basking spot is set to 32 degrees and connects to a dimmer switch to regulate the temps, he also has a uvb bulb and I am using coca cior and a top layer of forest floor - cyprus mulch.
 

Kt07788

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Top soil is what I was recommended. Do you water spray often?
 

Tom

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My tortoise twiglet is around 9 months, his basking bulb blew lasy week so was without a bulb for a day as the local pet shop has shut down due to a fire.

He started moving less then walking around with his eyes shut. He has now stopped eating.
I am bathing him to encourage him to drink however only a few mouthfuls taken.

He just crawls to a corner to sleep and only
Moves when picked up.

His basking spot is set to 32 degrees and connects to a dimmer switch to regulate the temps, he also has a uvb bulb and I am using coca cior and a top layer of forest floor - cyprus mulch.
He's not warm enough.

The basking area directly under the flood bulb should be around 36-37C. 26-32 is a good day time ambient temperature. The basking bulb should not be on a dimmer or a thermostat. The ambient heat should be set on a thermostat. The basking bulb should be on a timer. You don't want the "sun" going on and off all day...
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.


Most of the care info and products sold by pet shops is all wrong. Here is the correct info. Give this a read and come back with all your questions.
 

Tom

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Top soil is what I was recommended. Do you water spray often?
Top soil should not be used under tortoises. It is made from composted yard waste and all sorts of other weird stuff. There is no way to know what is in it, and the people who make it don't intend for it to be used as animal bedding.
 

Ardelle

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He's not warm enough.

The basking area directly under the flood bulb should be around 36-37C. 26-32 is a good day time ambient temperature. The basking bulb should not be on a dimmer or a thermostat. The ambient heat should be set on a thermostat. The basking bulb should be on a timer. You don't want the "sun" going on and off all day...
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.


Most of the care info and products sold by pet shops is all wrong. Here is the correct info. Give this a read and come back with all your questions.
Hi thanks so much for all this advice, I got a dimmer as when I first had him he was buring himself alot and I was told he was too hot.

The dimmer doesn’t go off completely but the heat output increases and decreases.

If I remove it am I better going for a lower wattage bulb?

Will increase the temperature for him, I am
Worried sick to be honest, is there any way to get him to eat? I have tried the carrot soak as seen on a thread on here.

Hes very lethargic
 

Ardelle

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He normally loves coming outside with me for a roam around but isn’t opening his eyes and just sits there now hence I know something is wrong!

I only have a uvb bulb and the basking bulb you mentioned a ambient bulb?
 

Kt07788

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Oh thanks. When we rescued ours we were told no mulch as she eats it.

We buy the best none fertilised compost as she likes to dig. However she mostly rhomes the garden by day this time of year. (It's very secure)
 

Tom

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Hi thanks so much for all this advice, I got a dimmer as when I first had him he was buring himself alot and I was told he was too hot.

The dimmer doesn’t go off completely but the heat output increases and decreases.

If I remove it am I better going for a lower wattage bulb?

Will increase the temperature for him, I am
Worried sick to be honest, is there any way to get him to eat? I have tried the carrot soak as seen on a thread on here.

Hes very lethargic
I explain how to set the basking bulb in the care sheet: Place a digital thermometer that records the high and the low directly under the lamp. For a small tortoise like yours, just lay the thermometer on its back and let it cook under the bulb for an hour. Adjust the height of the fixture up or down to get the correct temperature under it.

The appetite will come back when the tortoise is feeling better. They can go a long time with no food.
 

Tom

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Oh thanks. When we rescued ours we were told no mulch as she eats it.

We buy the best none fertilised compost as she likes to dig. However she mostly rhomes the garden by day this time of year. (It's very secure)
If the tortoise is eating orchid bark or cypress mulch, that is an indicator of other problems. Its usually diet related.
 

Ardelle

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I have a plastic thermometer under the lamp so will increase the temperature from 32 to 36?
So hopefully he will recover and eat?
I do feel his problem started when a bulb blew last week
 

Ardelle

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Sorry last question, before I sleep should I switch his basking bulb off tonight? I normally do however was wondering if to leave it on at a lower temperature if hes ill?
 

Ardelle

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This is all the things I am using is anything not right?
 

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Tom

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Sorry last question, before I sleep should I switch his basking bulb off tonight? I normally do however was wondering if to leave it on at a lower temperature if hes ill?
This depends on the ambient temperature in the enclosure. I'd keep ambient night temp around 23-24C for an ill tortoise of this species. Even up to 26C would be okay. Ambient temps should be controlled by a CHE or RHP set on a thermostat. The light bulbs need to be off at night so it will be dark.

All of that equipment looks good except the spot bulb. Not the end of the world, but spots will cause more pyramiding than a flood bulb. I would switch that when you can.
 

Ardelle

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Thank you I will order a heating element today, is any ceramic bulb ok? 100w again?
 

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Lyn W

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Thank you I will order a heating element today, is any ceramic bulb ok? 100w again?
Make sure you use the CHE with a thermostat so that it turns on and off at the required temp and doesn't overheat your tort.
Is Ilkeston in the UK?
Do you give him luke/baby warm shallow soaks? The water must only be up to where the carapace and plastron meet and should never cover his head. They can go a long time without food but must be kept hydrated.
 

Tom

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Thank you I will order a heating element today, is any ceramic bulb ok? 100w again?
Only your thermometer can tell you if 100 watts is enough in your enclosure. It is pretty large and open, so you might need two 100 watt CHEs spread out over the top to warm the whole thing. Both can run on the same thermostat.
 

Ardelle

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Hi I will unplug the basking bulb from the thermostat and use with the heat bulb instead/
This enclosure was the smallest the pet shop would allow me to take him with
 

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