Desperate help with baby desert tortoise!!!

tortoisemom2121

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Hi! My neighbor has desert tortoises and they found a newborn baby desert tortoise last week in their backyard. I’ve been trying to help them figure out care for the baby as the couple is older and not great with technology. I actually have a sulcata tortoise, but have never raised babies so I’m learning as I try to help them although I’m sure there are differences in the care for a DT and sulcata. I’ve read so much conflicting information. Some sources say to utilize a light, and others say a light or heating pad will overheat the tortoise. Some say to put the tortoise in a plastic tub while others say a glass cage is fine. Some say dirt substrate is good and some say it’s bad and to use wood chips. I have no idea what to tell my neighbors because the information is so conflicting. The baby also has not absorbed all of its yolk sac. I was able to find information for them that said to place the tortoise on wax paper as that would help to absorb it. That worked and helped a lot, but the little guy still has some left that isn’t being absorbed, which isn’t helping him move. I’ve read several things that say to try warm wet paper towels? But I’m afraid without a heat source, the wet paper towels will get too cold.

I guess the most pressing matter is the lamp/heating source and helping him to get the rest of this yolk sac absorbed. Does he need a light? If so, what kind and what temperature? Does the light source depend on what you place him in (a plastic tub v a glass cage)? If it’s a glass cage, do you have to be careful about the light heating up the glass too much? If I can help my neighbors find some sort of heat source, then the wet paper towels shouldn’t get too cold right?

I’m just trying to help in any way I can and am feeling overwhelmed by the information, so it’s hard for me to tell them what to do. Any advice is greatly appreciated. TIA!
 

Yvonne G

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A 10 gallon aquarium or like-sized plastic tub is good for about 6months, then he'll need something bigger.

First thing to do is soak him in warm water, not too deep. Set up his tub with a covered top to keep the warm, moist air inside. The temperature needs to stay at 80-85°F day and night.

Once the yolk is absorbed offer him chopped up greens, weeds and plants.
 

wellington

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A 10 gallon aquarium or like-sized plastic tub is good for about 6months, then he'll need something bigger.

First thing to do is soak him in warm water, not too deep. Set up his tub with a covered top to keep the warm, moist air inside. The temperature needs to stay at 80-85°F day and night.

Once the yolk is absorbed offer him chopped up greens, weeds and plants.
Isn't a 10 gallon too small to regulate temps and not over heat? Kinda no place to get out from the basking heat
 

Tom

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Hi! My neighbor has desert tortoises and they found a newborn baby desert tortoise last week in their backyard. I’ve been trying to help them figure out care for the baby as the couple is older and not great with technology. I actually have a sulcata tortoise, but have never raised babies so I’m learning as I try to help them although I’m sure there are differences in the care for a DT and sulcata. I’ve read so much conflicting information. Some sources say to utilize a light, and others say a light or heating pad will overheat the tortoise. Some say to put the tortoise in a plastic tub while others say a glass cage is fine. Some say dirt substrate is good and some say it’s bad and to use wood chips. I have no idea what to tell my neighbors because the information is so conflicting. The baby also has not absorbed all of its yolk sac. I was able to find information for them that said to place the tortoise on wax paper as that would help to absorb it. That worked and helped a lot, but the little guy still has some left that isn’t being absorbed, which isn’t helping him move. I’ve read several things that say to try warm wet paper towels? But I’m afraid without a heat source, the wet paper towels will get too cold.

I guess the most pressing matter is the lamp/heating source and helping him to get the rest of this yolk sac absorbed. Does he need a light? If so, what kind and what temperature? Does the light source depend on what you place him in (a plastic tub v a glass cage)? If it’s a glass cage, do you have to be careful about the light heating up the glass too much? If I can help my neighbors find some sort of heat source, then the wet paper towels shouldn’t get too cold right?

I’m just trying to help in any way I can and am feeling overwhelmed by the information, so it’s hard for me to tell them what to do. Any advice is greatly appreciated. TIA!
The baby needs a brooder box set up in an incubator or somewhere similarly warm and humid while it absorbs its yolk sac and closes up the umbilical scar. This takes 7-10 days. It does not need an enclosure of any size, or a heat lamp yet. It needs daily soaks and warmth. This simulates the time they spend in the underground chamber after hatching and before emerging.

More here:

Different species, but many helpful details here:

After the brooder box stage, here is the correct info on housing and caring for the baby:

I've started loads of DTs. They are very easy and should survive and thrive as long as the typical misinformation is ignored and you don't dehydrate them with the wrong housing set up. Most of the care info given is plain wrong and will result in the death of hatchlings. Ask questions. I'm happy to explain how these conclusions were reached and proven.
 

tortoisemom2121

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The baby needs a brooder box set up in an incubator or somewhere similarly warm and humid while it absorbs its yolk sac and closes up the umbilical scar. This takes 7-10 days. It does not need an enclosure of any size, or a heat lamp yet. It needs daily soaks and warmth. This simulates the time they spend in the underground chamber after hatching and before emerging.

More here:

Different species, but many helpful details here:

After the brooder box stage, here is the correct info on housing and caring for the baby:

I've started loads of DTs. They are very easy and should survive and thrive as long as the typical misinformation is ignored and you don't dehydrate them with the wrong housing set up. Most of the care info given is plain wrong and will result in the death of hatchlings. Ask questions. I'm happy to explain how these conclusions were reached and proven.
Thank you so much! I’m going to go read all of these! If I have any questions after reading, I’ll be sure to reach out! Thank you again!
 

tortoisemom2121

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The baby needs a brooder box set up in an incubator or somewhere similarly warm and humid while it absorbs its yolk sac and closes up the umbilical scar. This takes 7-10 days. It does not need an enclosure of any size, or a heat lamp yet. It needs daily soaks and warmth. This simulates the time they spend in the underground chamber after hatching and before emerging.

More here:

Different species, but many helpful details here:

After the brooder box stage, here is the correct info on housing and caring for the baby:

I've started loads of DTs. They are very easy and should survive and thrive as long as the typical misinformation is ignored and you don't dehydrate them with the wrong housing set up. Most of the care info given is plain wrong and will result in the death of hatchlings. Ask questions. I'm happy to explain how these conclusions were reached and proven.
Okay already have a question! Where does one get an incubator and quickly?
 

TammyJ

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Good luck with the little guy. You came to the right place for help!

When it is possible, maybe you can take a few pictures for us.

As has been said, keep him warm and with the correct humidity level.
 

wellington

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No, it's fairly easy to get it 80-85F. You don't want a gradient for this little baby. He's in the hospital.
Yeah I didn't realize when I first asked you, that the baby still had its yolk sac. Thought it was a little older. Skimming thru a long thread doesn't always work lol.
 

Tom

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Okay already have a question! Where does one get an incubator and quickly?
Local feed store will probably have it in stock. Like a place where people get horse and farm supplies. Possibly Tractor supply too.

Or you can make something with a large tub, a heating element, and a thermostat.
 

tortoisemom2121

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Hi! My neighbor has desert tortoises and they found a newborn baby desert tortoise last week in their backyard. I’ve been trying to help them figure out care for the baby as the couple is older and not great with technology. I actually have a sulcata tortoise, but have never raised babies so I’m learning as I try to help them although I’m sure there are differences in the care for a DT and sulcata. I’ve read so much conflicting information. Some sources say to utilize a light, and others say a light or heating pad will overheat the tortoise. Some say to put the tortoise in a plastic tub while others say a glass cage is fine. Some say dirt substrate is good and some say it’s bad and to use wood chips. I have no idea what to tell my neighbors because the information is so conflicting. The baby also has not absorbed all of its yolk sac. I was able to find information for them that said to place the tortoise on wax paper as that would help to absorb it. That worked and helped a lot, but the little guy still has some left that isn’t being absorbed, which isn’t helping him move. I’ve read several things that say to try warm wet paper towels? But I’m afraid without a heat source, the wet paper towels will get too cold.

I guess the most pressing matter is the lamp/heating source and helping him to get the rest of this yolk sac absorbed. Does he need a light? If so, what kind and what temperature? Does the light source depend on what you place him in (a plastic tub v a glass cage)? If it’s a glass cage, do you have to be careful about the light heating up the glass too much? If I can help my neighbors find some sort of heat source, then the wet paper towels shouldn’t get too cold right?

I’m just trying to help in any way I can and am feeling overwhelmed by the information, so it’s hard for me to tell them what to do. Any advice is greatly appreciated. TIA!
Can anyone tell me what I want the humidity to be set at within the incubator??? TIA!
 

TammyJ

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Any news on this one? How is he doing now? Have you tried to provide the recommended conditions?
 
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