Desert tortise questions

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Roch

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Hello,
I'm new here as well as a fairly new desert tortise owner. I live in so cal. My tortoises were gifted to me very unexpected but they have grown to be a big part of the family and my heart. Their names are grumpy and lazy, I was told they were a year old when I got them, so now they are, in theory one and a half years old. I got them in September and starting in November they became very slow and I think they were trying to hibernate. From what I researched one year old tortoises didnt need to hibernate so I just kept things "normal" for them. When I got them I knew they were active because their furniture was always rearranged when I got home and their food eaten. And they had runny noses so I took them to the vet and he wasn't too concerned with the runny nose, which did surprise me, but he said they were very healthy and happy. They were very social at the vet and had a great time. Then about nov or dec they stopped eating and never seemed to move, but I would every other day or so, tickle their toes and make sure they were still alive. They alway were, so my theory with this is that they maybe a year or two older than I was told and they were trying to hibernate. I still fed them about once a week, or at least put food in their cage and water soaked them once every 2 weeks or so...I hope this was ok to do...so now as its starting to warm up they are becoming more active. I am a little worried because for the last 2 weeks they have even eating more, and enjoying their water soakings but they have not pooped yet. Is this ok? How long can I wait to be concerned about this...or should I already be concerned about this? Grumpy and lazy thank you for your reply...they are happily roaming around the house right now. I should mention they are kept indoors In a large plastic container with newspaper and a hide box and both heat and sun bulbs. I have done a lot of research on tortises and just taken what I feel to be right and what they seem to respond to well.

Oh yeah, I know that diet is very important to tortise health and growth...but my guys seem to have favorites so that concerns me that they don't eat enough of a variety of foods. Their diet is largely, broccoli, kale, greens, hibiscus flowers, rose petals, and honey suckle. I also put calcium powder on their greens sometimes. They both seem to favor the broccoli and kale over everything. But I wish they would eat the plants more...should I be concerned about this also?

Thanks!

Ps., at the vet they took a stool sample and the vet tested it and found out they have parasites, which he said is common and can be treated and that probably was the reason for the runny nose. They have been treated for this but need to be tested again to make sure the parasites are gone.

Ps, sorry for spelling and grammar errors, I am typing on an I pad, and have never sent a large typed email on this before...I may go back to the laptop...
 

dmmj

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First off, welcome to the forum, I hope you enjoy your visits here.
Concerning diet I personally would cut out the broccoli, my CDT eats a variety of leaves and flowers and weeds, with a fruit or vegetable given one a month.
The runny nose can be tricky sometimes , it can be a symptom of a respiratory infection, or it could be something else, hard to diagnose online in all honesty.
Regarding hibernation it i a natural response to colder weather, you can either let them hibernate or keep them up by keeping them warm, of course you should never hibernate a sick tortoise. If you do hibernate you should stop feeding them, they need to have an empty stomach for hibernation.
I hope you feel free to ask any other questions you may have.
 

Roch

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Thanks for the info! I was never trying to hibernate them, their cage remained lit and heated they just slept all day and never ate that much...but now for the last 2 weeks they have been up and eating but they have not yet pooped...they did pee though. Should I be concerned with the lack of pooping?
 

dmmj

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No, no food in = no poop, plus they could be eating it.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Roch:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

Your tortoises have gone a long time without eating, however, they were not allowed to be cold, so were not in a true brumation state. They probably lost a lot of weight during the winter. So now you have to really get with the program and get them to eat lots of food to put weight back on.

Because they are so young, I would soak them in warm water every morning. During this time, chop up some food for them I say chop, because they are picky and chopping and mixing it all together helps to get them to eat more of a variety. Buy several heads/bunches of greens. This week, buy turnip greens, dandelion greens and escarole. Feed them this all week or until the bunches/heads are gone. Chop it up and mix it together.

Next week buy endive, raddiccio and Spring Mix. etc. etc. blah, blahdy blah.

After about a 15 minute soak, place them in front of the food and step away, don't hover over them.

If you can get them to eat Mazuri Tortoise Diet, that would help put some weight on them too. There are a couple folks in SoCal who sell it and are members here on the forum.

Glad to have you here with us. Desert tortoises are among my very favorite.

What would you like us to call you?
 

Roch

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emysemys said:
Hi Roch:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

Your tortoises have gone a long time without eating, however, they were not allowed to be cold, so were not in a true brumation state. They probably lost a lot of weight during the winter. So now you have to really get with the program and get them to eat lots of food to put weight back on.

Because they are so young, I would soak them in warm water every morning. During this time, chop up some food for them I say chop, because they are picky and chopping and mixing it all together helps to get them to eat more of a variety. Buy several heads/bunches of greens. This week, buy turnip greens, dandelion greens and escarole. Feed them this all week or until the bunches/heads are gone. Chop it up and mix it together.

Next week buy endive, raddiccio and Spring Mix. etc. etc. blah, blahdy blah.

After about a 15 minute soak, place them in front of the food and step away, don't hover over them.

If you can get them to eat Mazuri Tortoise Diet, that would help put some weight on them too. There are a couple folks in SoCal who sell it and are members here on the forum.

Glad to have you here with us. Desert tortoises are among my very favorite.

What would you like us to call you?

My name is Rochelle, handler of grumpy and lazy...thanks for your comments, I will get them on a nice variety diet to get their weight back on and keep you updated! Their lack of pooping is what is concerning me...does it take a little time for their systems to get back going? When should I see some healthy poops?
 

Yvonne G

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When I feed my Manouria tortoises (ok for them to eat fruit) canteloupe, it takes about 2 weeks for the seeds to start showing up in their poop.

Little desert tortoises' systems are probably not that slow, however, a week or so wouldn't worry me.

I'm sure that if you start soaking them in warm water every morning, and allow them to stay in the soaking tub longer than THEY want to, they will poop in their frenzy to get out.
 

Roch

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I have started to soak the guys every morning, with the foods suggested...but when I soak for so long the water gets cold in just a few minutes. is it ok for them to sit in cold water?
 

Yvonne G

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It may feel cold to you because you are 98.6F degrees. Room temperature, 75f degrees or so, isn't too cold for him to sit for a few minutes.
 

ascott

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You can also place a basking light over the soaking container....or if you monitor them you can soak them outside if your outside temps are warm....:D
 
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