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Could someone help

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by Buttier, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Buttier

    Buttier New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    This is Leo, he was given to my son as a Christmas present. The problem is that the person that gave my son Leo did not know what kind of tortoise he is. We would like to give this little guy the best life we can. So I would like to see if anyone could help me figure out what kind or tortoise he is so we can properly take care of him

    Thank you! 20190210_182918.jpg
    Cathie G likes this.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    It's a desert tortoise and he's not well. His eyes are swollen and he looks in pretty bad shape. He's a younger tortoise, not a baby, but not full grown either. He needs a GOOD UVB light and he needs to be kept warm day and night. Don't allow the night time temperature to drop below 78F degrees, and the day temp should be 80-85F degrees. Give him a good soaking in warm water. I probably would be beneficial to add a few drops of liquid bird vitamins to the water. Leave him in the soak for a good half hour. You can place him, soak and all, back in the enclosure near (NEAR) the light to keep the water warm for the half hour. What I wrote for hatchlings, and it probably would be a good idea for this guy too:

    You've got to forget all you thought you knew about caring for baby tortoises. We've evolved and grown in our knowledge. It's new. It's important.


    Baby tortoises hatch out in the monsoon season. The ground is moist. There is lots of vegetation for them to eat. The days of keeping baby tortoises on alfalfa pellets and in a dry environment are old school.


    Another thing you have to get over is the light. Your new baby's light needs to be on 12 or 14 hours a day (not just when you're home, but all day long). If you don't keep your baby warm, he's going to get sick and die.


    Here's what he needs:


    A UVB light. Baby tortoises use the UVB from either the sun or a good light, to make vitamin d3. The calcium he eats can't work without the UVB/vitamin d3. Without the UVB, the calcium just gets pee'd and pooped out and his shell grows soft and he dies.


    I like the Mercury Vapor Bulb (MVB). There's no need for anything bigger than a 100 watt bulb. Your MVB needs to be mounted in a ceramic-based fixture, and it has to hang straight down. If you use a clamp, you shorten the life of the bulb. It needs to hang straight down.


    He also needs a hiding place to feel secure, a feeding tile and a waterer. I like to use a plant saucer that's sunk down into the substrate, because the sloping sides make it easy for him to climb in and out of the water. I also put a layer of small rock on the bottom so the water isn't too deep.


    To keep the baby warm at night, I use a black light. But you could use a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) if you want.


    My babies are used to eating:


    endive escarole dandelion

    radicchio mulberry leaves grape leaves

    prickly lettuce lamb's quarters mallow

    nettle plantain violas

    pansies chickweed purselane

    thistle chicory yarrow

    filarree hollyhock

    and whatever other edible weeds I can find outside.


    I chop it all up into tiny pieces and mix it all up together. Then I grate a bit of zucchini and a cucumber over it, add a couple pinches of calcium powder and mix it up again. Tightly cover the left-overs and it stays good in the fridge for several days.


    Soak your new baby in warm water daily for about 15 minute
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    Kenno, ascott, Cathie G and 1 other person like this.
  3. Buttier

    Buttier New Member

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    Thank you Yvonne I really appreciate your help
    Cathie G and Ray--Opo like this.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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