California Desert Tortoise eating little to none!!

Status
Not open for further replies.

RepRescue

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2011
Messages
3
i have a desert tortoise i just recently rescued from some weirdos that werent taking good care of him..hes about 4 yeas old or maybe a little more. i was planning on helping him hibernate but hes a little underweight and was poorly fed. from what i know he was on a lettuce only diet. he only wants to eat lettuce now even tho i offer him other greens and dried grass mix/alfalfa pellets etc..and when i do give in and give him lettuce (i tired mixing it in with other food and i didnt fool him) he hardly eats any lettuce at all just a couple bites and this is not daily...just when ever he feels like it! my questions are...Is he just not hungry because hes supposed to be hibernanting right now?? today is Nov 7th. Hes also sluggish?? is that normal?? and hes pooping dirt like really dirt!?? someone help!
 

Jacqui

Wanna be raiser of Lemon Drop tortoises
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
39,808
Location (City and/or State)
A Land Far Away...
Welcome! May I ask where your located. Sadly, if he is underweight, you certainly are not wanting to hibernate him. This means your going to have to try to fool him into thinking it is not fall. This will mean keeping him warm enough and with enough and long enough light hours. How are you currently keeping? Such as temps? Lights? enclosure?

If he only wants lettuce, you will either have to do the tough love thing and give him no options or (and the way I prefer especially with his other issues) is to keep feeding him the lettuce chopped finely with "better foods". Slowly (and sometimes this is very slowly) add just a little bit more percentage wise of the better food. Make the "better" food, as wise of choices as possible, too.
 

RepRescue

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2011
Messages
3
as of right now we are in so cal outside of san bernardino,its already gotten very cold and snowy outside so we have to keep him indoors obviously ive been keeping my heater set at 78 and we are currently working on his indoor room, so far he has two UVB lamps to go sit under if he want to,he has his own little hideaway,and a heating blanket incase it gets to cold for him which he does like to lay on and more.... we are still working on the room but come summer he will be outdoors which we already have a good yard thats tortoise friendly. we let him wonder free in the house but he knows where to get his sunlight and where him room is. hes very smart just very sleepy and stubborn.the floor in his room is lined with pet carpet so when he goes its easily cleaned. after we are finished half of the room will be desert for him lol. i have an iguana but not in the same room,she is in her own enclosure in our sitting room for now,but she also goes outside during summer. i just dont feel even heaters and others things are going to keep them warm outside during winter here.
 
M

Maggie Cummings

Guest
It sounds to me like he is too cold. He only needs 1 UVB light. Is it new? The quality of UVB fails after about 6 months then you need to buy a new one. It will continue to put out light but no UVB rays.He should be eating grasses and weeds. Alfalfa has too much protien in it for a desert tortoise so please don't try and get him to eat those. Get some Spring Mix and add some other leafy green to it like romaine, collards, endive . Cactus is something they would eat in the wild you should feed that too. He should be contained in a habitat and not allowed to walk around the house. That's one thing that's making him too cold.
 

RepRescue

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2011
Messages
3
okay well i appreciate your feedback! and i have two which are new i ordered online from lllreptile.com they are just in two different spots of the room and i have them screwed in about 2 feet from the floor. i have fostered alot of sulcatas and other reptiles in my life but never a desert tortoise yet so i really appreciate the help and will be following the direction you give me lol.
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,152
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
My biggest concern of all that you said is that he is pooping dirt..."really dirt"....are you soaking him in warm water every day for 30-45 minutes? You really should...as crapping dirt in such an amount for you to take notice and state he is pooping dirt....concerns me in that he may be experiencing some dehydration which in turn will bring on impaction...also if he has been only eating lettuce he likely was consuming.g dirt and rocks to try to attain vitamins minerals and calcium....please please please soak him at least once a day if not twice.....and the only way you will get him to eat is to bump those temps...he should have a spot that gets as high as 90-100ish..and a cool spot no lower right now than 80-85ish.....you actually only likely need one uvb bulb (what kind are you using for the uvb?) If he was kept outdoors and not much care offered him he likely has not learned to eat a variety of foods....where did he originate from? Do you know if someone picked him out of the wild ir was he captive born...that will also make a difference.....I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a pic of your little one :D
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
91,831
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi RepRescue:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

May we know your name?

It would be much easier to keep the little guy as warm as he needs to be if her were in a habitat and not allowed to have the whole room. I like the Christmas tree storage bins made by Iris. GOOGLE it and you'll see what I mean. It has nice, high sides so the tortoise can't climb out, and its about 4' long, giving him plenty of room. A 4 or 5 shelf book case with the shelves removed makes a good habitat too. You just have to line it with plastic to protect the wood.

If you measure the temp in these containers and it still seems too cool, then you have to partially cover it.

Like ascott alluded to, if he's a wild tortoise, they are sometimes hard to get to eat in captivity.

You might see if you can buy some Mazuri Tortoise Diet. It has a strong smell and if a tortoise likes it, they really, really go for it. Some of mine will eat it, some won't. You would use it in conjunction with the dark, leafy greens.
 

Shelly

Active Member
10 Year Member!
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
1,214
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
After you get him warmed up, try Dandelion greens and flowers, and Hybiscus flowers. Few DTs can resist those.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,310
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello and welcome. Everybody already said everything I wanted to say. If you follow all the advice above you should be back on track pretty quickly.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

New Posts

Top