Deadly water dish

maggie3fan

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I realize that I am not an expert, however, I HAVE "headstarted" several hundred Sulcata hatchlings for their first year. I did the same thing when my sister had Gopherus agassizii dumped on her, I headstarted several hundred of them also. I did live in Calif then. Also that was before the 'net, so we didn't know stuff then like we do now. I will repeat, I am not any expert, but I did have these great groups of hatchlings. Actually, creeps of tortoises.
So while there were a very few deaths, we still raised some nice babies.

@Tom
But you have declared these very same water dishes that I used for freakin years without a problem "death traps"? Was I just lucky that nobody drowned? What is so bad about them? Can't have been that many deaths, as even tho you say they are bad, most other keepers simply parrot your words. Did we have an epidemic of drownings and somehow I didn't hear about these deaths?

Your quote...
Those water bowls are great for snakes and lizards, but they are literally death traps for tortoises. You need to remove that ASAP and replace it with a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate.

So there's my question, why are they bad? Saucers have straight sides, that makes them better? It's not a life threatening thing with me, I'm just curious
100_5737.JPG
 

Tom

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Over the years we've seen two members here walk in and find their tortoise upside down, stuck and still alive in those. One member found their tortoise upside down and dead. I'll bet your sister remembers these threads. I've got no idea how to go back and find these threads.

In person, I've met several people who've had the same thing happen. Both close calls and dead tortoises.

Here is the best way I can demonstrate this: Get one of those ramped bowls and get a Hot Wheels type toy car. I'm betting you've got something like that laying around with a NASCAR paint job. :) Keep all for wheels on the ground and drive it in and out of that bowl. Drive it in and out of the side of the bowl too. See the problem? Now take the same car and drive it in and out of a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate. See the difference?
 

Maro2Bear

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They might not be “DEATH TRAPS” but the high sides (if not buried down level with the substrate) make it much harder for youngsters to locate water, let alone drink from it. Id say if these dishes were buried down into the substrate they would probably be “ok”. Most ppl don’t. Since @Tom ’s advice is pretty spot-on based on his years of experience & detailed Sully/Leopard care guide ppl will emulate his pretty successful set-ups. Id say the higher water bowls also cause hatchlings to tip over and end up on their backs On the substrate too. Larger torts, not so much.
 

maggie3fan

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I am 75 years old and live alone. Why would I have little cars???
100_5743.JPG
My children are adults, my grandkids are adults and my great grand kids are too young...
100_5747.JPG
OK, so take my Hot Wheels out of the picture, and in the above photo there are rocks and marbles in the water part of the dish. I'm not too much of an idiot so I understood why it's called a death trap, but that's how I was taught how to utilize that type dish. Nobody under my watch drown. Supposed to use rocks and marbles 100_5745.JPG
However, I posted a thread just before I went to Y's house, of a box turtle that I found on her back directly under a CHE after falling off the top of a log hide. She was so hot I can't believe she didn't catch fire. Yet nobody raises a fuss about how dangerous log hides are. I have had numerous small torts and box turtles end up on their back, not all died but still...
Anyhow thanks guys
 

Maro2Bear

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I am 75 years old and live alone. Why would I have little cars???
View attachment 311086
My children are adults, my grandkids are adults and my great grand kids are too young...
View attachment 311087
OK, so take my Hot Wheels out of the picture, and in the above photo there are rocks and marbles in the water part of the dish. I'm not too much of an idiot so I understood why it's called a death trap, but that's how I was taught how to utilize that type dish. Nobody under my watch drown. Supposed to use rocks and marbles View attachment 311089
However, I posted a thread just before I went to Y's house, of a box turtle that I found on her back directly under a CHE after falling off the top of a log hide. She was so hot I can't believe she didn't catch fire. Yet nobody raises a fuss about how dangerous log hides are. I have had numerous small torts and box turtles end up on their back, not all died but still...
Anyhow thanks guys

I agree with the use of those WAY OVER-PRICED log hides too. Ive never used one for two reasons - way over-priced, & too many videos & comments of torts climbing & flipping!
 

Yvonne G

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Ok, Maggie, here's the deal. Tortoises live in a hard body shell, and when they climb up the straight side inside that waterer (just because the ramp is there doesn't mean the baby is going to use it) they get over balanced, or straight up an down, and sometimes tip over backwards into the water. A plant saucer has slanted sides, so when they climb out they don't get straight up and down

(Loved the train wreck!)
 

Yossarian

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Ok, Maggie, here's the deal. Tortoises live in a hard body shell, and when they climb up the straight side inside that waterer (just because the ramp is there doesn't mean the baby is going to use it) they get over balanced, or straight up an down, and sometimes tip over backwards into the water. A plant saucer has slanted sides, so when they climb out they don't get straight up and down

(Loved the train wreck!)

This description is as good as video to any tort owner. To argue that these dishes do not pose a risk to small torts is irresponsible and a bit trollish, especially when the OP acknowledges the use of modifications (rocks and marbles) to supposedly make the dish safer (im skeptical). OP clearly knows there is a risk, and whether or not the rocks and marbles mitigate the risk, they are not employed regularly by the lost souls that post on reddit every day, in fact I dont think I have ever seen a picture of those water dishes with other objects in them.

And @maggie3fan most of us only have one tort, if mine died in its water dish because it got turned over as described above, I would call that a death trap, even if it is 1 in a 1000 or less.
 

maggie3fan

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Well, evidently I missed making my point. Years ago before the Internet my sister operated a large turtle and tortoise rescue, and belonged to tort clubs and the like. After I was retired I started helping her. So back in the day before we actually realized there was a better way of keeping chelonia, I learned from her and her tortoise friends. They taught me that those water dishes had the potential to be dangerous, so marbles and small rocks.added to the water part gave the animal a little more ability to save itself from drowning. I was not in the least way saying those dishes were safe. What I am saying is that with marbles and rocks added to the dish helped. Actually, I can be a bit more than trollish in saying if a keeper has numerous turtles and tortoises and one dies is that any less dramatic than a keeper with one and it dies??? I was not saying those dishes are not dangerous, I was saying that there are ways to stop that horrible mayhem, and small rocks help. It's that simple. I'm sorry you made so much more than there was. And the insults made it ever so pointed. Actually, I have never been called trollish, so thanks for that
 

Armadillogroomer

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@Yossarian has a point. Normal folks don't seem to know that they need to add rocks. The main reason that I prefer the terracotta is that you can buy them in ridiculoushuge size for less than the $20 that these bowls cost. But it's understandable that rescues must work with what they've got.

We retired ours as a wildlife bowl. We set it out for squirrels, but the toads love it too :)
 

maggie3fan

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Me neither.
So, frankly, the fact that neither of you saw water dishes with little rocks etc in them means nothing. We do travel in different circles, I never heard of so many drownings in those dishes, but that doesn't mean they didn't happen. The keeper with one tortoise who drowns, does then believe that water dish is a death trap; on the other hand, I have head started numerous clutches over the years, did use the death trap water dish and never had a drowning. So by that experience and the physical evidence, I would say that one keeper is inept. His fault the animal drowned, and obviously I, without a drowning among the many hatchlings I head started am the better keeper. BS
I think what I am getting at is; in this Internet savvy world great advice is given freely there's no doubt about that. But you still haven't shown me actual evidence that the dishes have no redeeming value. Sorry Tom, just because you say it is so, does not make it so. I have been involved with turtles and tortoises for a lotta years now, do you really think I didn't know about that dish??? Why else would I go to all the fuss to find marbles and rocks?
@Yossarian has a point. Normal folks don't seem to know that they need to add rocks. The main reason that I prefer the terracotta is that you can buy them in ridiculoushuge size for less than the $20 that these bowls cost. But it's understandable that rescues must work with what they've got.

We retired ours as a wildlife bowl. We set it out for squirrels, but the toads love it too :)
Actually, I retired my bowls as well. Mostly because I don't keep smaller tortoises anymore and I use a paint roller pan in most of my indoor habitats and Frisbee's in the others.
 

Ink

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I used that in my outside enclosure with my leopard. Until, one morning I put him outside in the enclosure, I lifted the dish up to clean it and OMG there was a baby copperhead snake under it. I carefully got my tortoise out and went inside. That was the last time I used that dish!😁 (Yes yellow belly by the tail)
 

Tom

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Sorry Tom, just because you say it is so, does not make it so.
The fact that it happens on a regular basis makes it so. Me saying it is so is just pointing out facts in an effort to be helpful to people and warn them before they find their tortoise upside down in one of these tortoise death traps.

And yes, you were just lucky that it didn't happen to you. Just like the people who still use and advocate sand soil mixtures for tortoises. Just like the people still using coil bulbs and proclaiming they've been using them for years and they've had no problem. Where's my evidence?
 
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I got one of the bowls before finding this forum. I put some flat tiles (I already had them at home) in mine that come up nearly to the sides. Basically it makes it extremely shallow. I like the look of the terra cotta better though too. But figured may as well go with what I've got at the moment.

20201118_081345.jpg
 

Maro2Bear

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I got one of the bowls before finding this forum. I put some flat tiles (I already had them at home) in mine that come up nearly to the sides. Basically it makes it extremely shallow. I like the look of the terra cotta better though too. But figured may as well go with what I've got at the moment.

View attachment 311328

I think you might have over done it with the stones here. You still want to provide water and space. Can’t quite tell, but is your dish sunken down into the substrate? Thats always a plus. Much easier for torts to walk over and sink their head (and hard-shelled bodies) down into a dish.

Maybe it’s just the clarity of your water & the overhead aspect.
good luck.
 

Chefdenoel10

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I am 75 years old and live alone. Why would I have little cars???
View attachment 311086
My children are adults, my grandkids are adults and my great grand kids are too young...
View attachment 311087
OK, so take my Hot Wheels out of the picture, and in the above photo there are rocks and marbles in the water part of the dish. I'm not too much of an idiot so I understood why it's called a death trap, but that's how I was taught how to utilize that type dish. Nobody under my watch drown. Supposed to use rocks and marbles View attachment 311089
However, I posted a thread just before I went to Y's house, of a box turtle that I found on her back directly under a CHE after falling off the top of a log hide. She was so hot I can't believe she didn't catch fire. Yet nobody raises a fuss about how dangerous log hides are. I have had numerous small torts and box turtles end up on their back, not all died but still...
Anyhow thanks guys

LOVE the fed ex truck! 🤣
 

Learning123

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I realize that I am not an expert, however, I HAVE "headstarted" several hundred Sulcata hatchlings for their first year. I did the same thing when my sister had Gopherus agassizii dumped on her, I headstarted several hundred of them also. I did live in Calif then. Also that was before the 'net, so we didn't know stuff then like we do now. I will repeat, I am not any expert, but I did have these great groups of hatchlings. Actually, creeps of tortoises.
So while there were a very few deaths, we still raised some nice babies.

@Tom
But you have declared these very same water dishes that I used for freakin years without a problem "death traps"? Was I just lucky that nobody drowned? What is so bad about them? Can't have been that many deaths, as even tho you say they are bad, most other keepers simply parrot your words. Did we have an epidemic of drownings and somehow I didn't hear about these deaths?

Your quote...
Those water bowls are great for snakes and lizards, but they are literally death traps for tortoises. You need to remove that ASAP and replace it with a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate.

So there's my question, why are they bad? Saucers have straight sides, that makes them better? It's not a life threatening thing with me, I'm just curious
View attachment 311080
Some people don't have common sense and a lot of uneducated (in the species) people buy tortoises (Newby myself). But if by straying people away from the bowls may save a life why not? On top of theyll be saving money. I like my potting dish myself.
 

wellington

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If something could potentially be a death trap, then why not steer people away from using it. If they already have it and can't return it, then I and many others will suggest stones. We have even suggested stones for the saucers as people have had their torts flip onto their backs in them too.
Many have suggested to get rid of any hides that can be climbed also.
Most items sold in pet stores are a waste of money and with some thinking outside the box, can be replaced with much safer, cheaper items.

Btw, I love the cars pics, too funny
 

TammyJ

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Those marbles and stones in the water bowl are too smooth.
Just kidding...kinda.
When my torts were small, I made sure to have some rough stones in the water pool so they could get a grip and flip back over if they overturned, but they never did that I knew of.
Now they are tall, and all the stones are small.......!
 
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