Assessing my new girl

Kimmers000

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Hello!

This is Penelope, our new "Golden Greek" - I'm going to post her pic in the Greek threads too, to see if I can find out what subspecies she might actually be. I suspect she's a Mesopotamian Greek...

Anyway! Age is uncertain, but she's old enough to have laid eggs at least once. We're at least her third home - first home was keeping her in a 20 gallon tank with nothing but a light bulb. Ugh. The home we got her from corrected her care about a year and a half ago when she had an upper respiratory infection that they took her to the vet for. The vet must have searched and found a semi-decent care sheet - they at least had her in a bookcase converted to a table (which I still have her in, but am going to build her a more substantial table very soon). They had a CHE for supplemental heat (which I now have on a thermostat because our house gets cold at night - low 60s), a basking (red) bulb (now replaced with an actual basking bulb keeping her basking spot 95-100), and a "vitamin light" (what the well meaning girl called it - which was a coil style uv bulb; now replaced with a tube style T5 10.0). They weren't monitoring her temps in any way, that I know of. They had her on the hay/straw that she's still on at the moment - I know, I know, it's on the list of things to change and I have coco coir standing by. I'm just trying to minimize stress by changing things slowly... She was being fed carrot primarily because "she loves it so much" and occasionally kale. Thankfully, while she's of the firm opinion that pellets are all made of tortoise poison, she absolutely loves the greens and weeds she's been getting - so far: collards/mustards/escarole/dandelion/clover/plantain, with more variety to come as I do my research as to what else I've got in my yard. And I have snuck a few moistened pellets smashed into the greens - she doesn't like them and jerks her head back in disgust when she gets a bite, but she loves the greens enough that she keeps eating. So far, she seems to be eating a pile of roughly torn greens about 2/3 her size a day. She had no water available in her old home and as far as I know, wasn't being soaked. I've been soaking her every other day and she takes a hearty drink every time and then spends the rest of her soak trying to climb out. She's got a terra cotta saucer of water now, big enough for her to get into but I haven't seen her go near it.

She weighs 840 grams and is 16.2cm long. According to the calculator, a healthy weight for her size.

Any input is appreciated, based on how she looks. I've never had an adult tortoise before (only a youngster that we got as a hatchling and who passed away at 2... As a side note, I cannot tell you how frustrating it is that we tried sooooo hard to do everything right with our little guy and still lost him but people can treat a tort the way Penelope has been treated and she has managed to stick around....). She's not very active - she wakes up from wherever she burrowed in the night before as soon as her lights come on, and basks for a couple of hours. I feed her and she pigs out, then returns to her basking area and sleeps the better part of the day, sometimes wandering back to her food in the afternoon for a snack. Sometime in the late afternoon she picks a spot to sleep and slowly burrows in over the next few hours, and that's where she stays until the following morning.

IMG 4121

Does her beak look alright? She was being fed directly on the hay previously, but now she eats off of a terra cotta saucer - I would give her a tile but she likes to walk straight through her food.
IMG 4123

Her eyes have a visible "ring" in them, not solid black. Is that normal or a result of irritation from the coil style bulb? And are they puffy at all?
IMG 4124

Her shell and plastron look pretty rough, but I don't know what signs of trouble to look for.
IMG 4125

Thanks!
 

JoesMum

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Nails fine.

Beak overgrown and needs trimming - use nail clippers to trim it back a little at a time

Eyes - abnormal. I have no idea of the cause. Compact UVB is a possibility.

A big old Greek like that should be kept outdoors and needs a very large enclosure; probably needing to hibernate in winter


Diet is weedy and leafy greens. No fruit, tomato, bell pepper or carrots as Greeks cannot digest sugars properly- they cause digestive and kidney problems

You might find this useful
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/outdoor-accommodation-in-a-colder-uk-climate.140866/
 

Bambam1989

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What brand of tort pellets are you feeding? Most people feed the Mazuri tortoise food (original, not LS) and most torts LOVE it.
 

Kimmers000

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I have original mazuri. I keep putting it in front of her, soaked for just a minute, but she's not having it. The old owner handed me about 3 bottles of assorted (I think zoo med) varieties that she wouldn't eat there either. One bottle has dried flowers in it, and she did say that she seemed to like the flowers - true here so far, she's loved the couple of flowers I've given her (dandelion, pansy).
 

JoesMum

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Torts don’t need Mazuri, or any other pelleted food, if they’re getting a good variety of greens.

The pellets do need to be properly softened - mushy - before being fed otherwise they’ll expand in the gut and cause digestive blockages.

Try smearing just a tiny bit on food your tort dies like rather than offering lots.
 
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