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Brown Burmese having a hard time adjusting outside

Discussion in 'Asian brown/black and Impressed tortoises' started by TortObsession, Apr 28, 2017.

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  1. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    I have an 8 year old female Brown Burmese that I moved to an outdoor enclosure about a week ago. I've provided her with an x-large dogloo kept at 75° for warmth and extra shelter. She won't come out of the igloo on her own. I've taken her out every day once the outside temps reach the 70s. Once I get her out, she usually eats and explores fairly normally. Today though, I took her out twice, and both times she went back in. Sometimes if I just set her on the ramp to the igloo, she'll go back in, but this time I set her completely off to the side, and she still crawled back in. When I moved her into a new inside enclosure a few years ago, she stopped eating for several days. We talked to Vic Morgan, and he suggested adding some of her substrate from her old enclosure to her new one to help her adjust. I've don't that with this enclosure, but she still wants to stay hidden. Should I continue taking her out daily, or should I just let her decide to come out eventually on her own? Any suggestions are welcome.
  2. MichaelaW

    MichaelaW Well-Known Member

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    Is there much cover outside? She may feel insecure. Have you tried feeding her outdoors? Try leaving a nice pile of fruit out in the enclosure. Tortoises can take a while to adjust to new situations.
  3. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    I don't know anything about them, but fruit is bad for most tortoises so I don't know if a pile of it is the way to go. Is she has lived inside all these years she may need some time to adjust. I agree that if there isn't a lot of cover she may not want to come out. Post a pic of the enclosure maybe we can see what might be needed.
  4. SarahChelonoidis

    SarahChelonoidis Well-Known Member

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    Browns can tolerant more fruit then most. How much shade does the yard have? Is it quite an open space, or does it have a lot of plantings for her to feel secure? As you know probably know, these are crepuscular tortoises and aren't necessarily going to come out of hiding during the day. Since this is a new space, you need to allow time for the tortoise to adjust and feel safe before exploring will be an option (and even then, it may not happen outside of the dawn and dusk hours). I wouldn't take her out unless you have reason to suspect something is wrong (and then I'd still try to keep to her schedule - say 5am or 9pm).
  5. MichaelaW

    MichaelaW Well-Known Member

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    Fruit is a natural part of their wild diet.
  6. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    The enclosure has a canopy roof, and it's also shaded with multiple trees. I've also provided her with a humid hide along with the igloo. I've placed her food dish, with fruit in it, just outside of the igloo several times. I was finally able to get her to stay out yesterday. I soaked her for a bit and she ate a fair amount of her food.
  7. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    She has tons of shade from trees and from the canopy over the enclosure. I'll have a few organicly grown, tortoise safe plants coming within the next few days hopefully. I just worry about her not getting food and water. I tried placing her food dish in the igloo, but she just ignores it then. Once I get her out, she seems pretty happy. When she was still indoors, she was normally pretty active as long as her lights were on.
  8. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    It's not the best picture, but this is her enclosure. I have some plants ordered that I will plant in the topsoil near her humid hide. I'm also thinking about planting an apple tree or two inside the enclosure. I've thrown some grass seed down, and hopefully it'll sprout before too long. So far, the chain link hasn't proven to be a problem like it would for a Sulcata, but I'll add cender blocks or wood around the bottom if it does become a problem.

    EDIT: Apparently the picture didn't upload. I'll have to see if I can get one to upload.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
  9. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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  10. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Yup, that's way too open. That space needs about 10 or 15 small shrubs, lots of ground cover plants and maybe a couple small trees. They come from the rain forest, and even though you have lots of plants outside of the habitat, the actual habitat is very bare and wide open. The tortoise is never going to feel safe in there until you get lots of plants.
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  11. keepergale

    keepergale Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    There does seem to be plenty of shade but not much cover. I think some shrubs or ground level visual barriers will make your tortoise more comfortable. How big is your 8 year old? The opening for the little hide didn't look all that big.
  12. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    I know it's too open at the moment, but I don't want her to try to eat something that's been sprayed with stuff that won't be safe for her, and I don't have access to anything organic without ordering it. I do have a few things on the way. I also plan on picking up a few apple trees that I can buy organic locally, although they're pretty small right now. She's 10" long and 8" wide. The opening to the hide is a little over 12" wide. She has gone in it. Would it be safe to get a few shrubs just from a locally nursery since she's probably not too likely to try to eat them?
  13. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    I just ordered some artificial shrubs that will be here Monday. I'll get some tortoise safe shrubs from a garden center and let them grow out for a few months before I plant them in her enclosure.
  14. algoroth1

    algoroth1 Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Sometimes we overthink our tortoises' thinking. I think you are safe if you buy a few Alocacias or similar, rinse them off and distribute around the enclosure. Do you have a soaking setup she can climb into? From my seven years of experience, once you have a safe environment set up, leave her alone and let her figure things out for herself. These torts are smart but when stressed get shy. It's OK for her to spend a few days hiding in a new habitat. Just watch from a distance. Whenever I get concerned about my tort's eating, I put Mazuri pellets in the food bowl. He's at it in no time. Keep up your good work with your m.e.e. and keep us posted.
  15. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    Thanks! I added several artificial plants and two organic aloes, and I have several other organic live plants coming in within the next few days. I bought a few hostas and a hibiscus that I washed off really well and repotted. I guess I'll let those sit few a few months before adding them. I brought her out to get food earlier, and she seemed to like the added plants, but she still decided to go back inside not long after she ate. Her water bowl is large enough for her to soak in, and I soaked her yesterday.
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  16. Kapidolo Farms

    Kapidolo Farms Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    You can cut branches off of trees (mulberry being an excellent choice) and lay them on the ground for instant edible forest. These tortoises (Manouria) don't seem to like walking around when there is no on the ground cover. I made a fake forest for adult blacks by placing four foot sections of palm frond in potholes. You can use giant canary reed grass too. Mulberry is edible but only lasts for several days then the leaves drop, they are edible though.

    If you look at the images Vic Morgan has posted most of his enclosure space is pretty overgrown with plants.
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  17. TortObsession

    TortObsession Member

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    Thanks! I have 5 spider plants, 2 banana plants, and several christmas cacti coming in Thursday at the latest. About 1/3 of her enclosure now has a ton of ground cover, and hopefully the rest will within the next few days. I'm tempted to get a few decent sized ponytail palms from the store, and put them in there in pots where she shouldn't end up eating any of it.
  18. Kapidolo Farms

    Kapidolo Farms Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    TortObsession likes this.
  19. teresaf

    teresaf Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to change the subject a little bit. Well I will say one thing first... when I put my black Burmese out (probably because they didn't have cover) they would only come out during the morning hours and in the evening hours. Sometimes one would come out sometimes both this is just a temporary enclosure that I have for them until they're much larger enclosure is done. Now here's where I'm changing the subject a little. Mine like to walk the edges of their fence line and burrow into the ground an inch or two if they end up there at night time. It was pretty scary when one afternoon I came out and there was only one in the enclosure. If your enclosure is going to be a permanent location I would definitely dig down a little and place a board. Luckily my temporary enclosure is located inside a fenced area which is inside another fenced area. But it was a bear finding the little booger

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  20. algoroth1

    algoroth1 Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Right. I've got adult Oreca palms and two other types in our enclosure. Their dropped fronds cover the ground and I clean 'em out every so often, much to Ponce's displeasure. My male m.e.e. also hunkers down now and then, but not very deep and only when the temps are in the 60's or less. As long as it's not in the nineties, he patrols his perimeter even mid-day. The whole enclosure is heavily shaded. Again, given the size of Tort-P's girl, I wouldn't worry about ground cover consumption. She knows whats edible. Best to all.
    TortObsession likes this.
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