Distressing find. (Upside down)

Lady Ashthorn

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Hello, everyone.

Today when I (admittedly late) came in to check on baby Ez I found him FLIPPED OVER! The poor darling had been upside-down for gods know how long and his shell was covered in excrement. I quickly turned him back over and cleaned him off as best I could. I watched him for 10 minutes and he made a circuit of his enclosure, drank some water, and ate some food. He is moving around in his flower pot, staying in the shade, and I don't know how he managed to flip himself. Yesterday because the probe which his CHE is plugged in to got too wet and cold so it turned off for a couple of hours. He was buried under the CHE warmth for a while and then I woke him up just in case he was overheating. He went to bed last I saw him beside his flower pot where he could still be warm but not too hot.

Today was a rude awakening for me and I am currently re-working my care schedule so that this does not happen again. Is there anything I need to look out for or do for Ez? I've seen posts where tortoises have flipped for an unknown amount of time, been turned right-side up again and then they expire a couple of hours later. Is Ez in danger of this?

I will be watching Ez like a hawk for the next while and any advice given is much appreciated.
 

ZenHerper

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That is scary! ((hugs))

Post a photo of your entire enclosure...things that seem benign to us may be a flipping hazard for the Round Ones.

Double check all your temps...what are they?

Upside down torts can suffocate since their lungs are at the very top of the body, and the other organs press them flat. Suffocation can cause a lot of other things like cardiovascular distress, and heat stroke (under heat bulbs), leading to death.

Make sure to give several extra daily soaks so that your wee one's hydration, heart, and kidneys can get back into balance.
 

wellington

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If it happens again, slowly flip him back over and then give a long warm soak. They can dehydrate cuz as you seen, they usually empty out.
As for preventing it, remove anything he can climb on, make corners angled not squared off. This can easily be done by putting a piece of wood across the corners on and angle, bury stones or pieces of log/wood just under the substrate in various places so maybe he can get a grip on it too right himself.
 

wellington

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If it happens again, slowly flip him back over and then give a long warm soak. They dehydrate easily cuz as you have seen, they empty out.
Take out anything they can climb on. Bury rocks or wood just under substrate in various places so they maybe can get grip on it too right themselves.
Make square corners angled corners.
 

Lady Ashthorn

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That is scary! ((hugs))

Post a photo of your entire enclosure...things that seem benign to us may be a flipping hazard for the Round Ones.

Double check all your temps...what are they?

Upside down torts can suffocate since their lungs are at the very top of the body, and the other organs press them flat. Suffocation can cause a lot of other things like cardiovascular distress, and heat stroke (under heat bulbs), leading to death.

Make sure to give several extra daily soaks so that your wee one's hydration, heart, and kidneys can get back into balance.
Here are current pics of the enclosure, I know its small bit I'm working on turning the whole thing on its side to give more space. The temp under the lamp is close to 90F, inside the flower pot is 78F, and where he is (see the spotty dark area!) beside the pot is 81F. The slate rock in the top left is where he flipped.

I gave him a nice warm soak and he drank a lot!

Thank you so much!
 

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ZenHerper

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The bad news is that tortoises that flip once have a high chance of doing it again. Their brains don't connect their actions in the past with the consequences of those actions.

Most of the trouble for your habitat is the size; upgrade things ASAP. Tortoises need exercise and will not walk around things in their way - they blunder on through, over, nearly-over, tipping over.

Babies need to hide. From predators, from temperatures that are too high, from dry air, ...

Your renewed set up will need a wider species-appropriate temperature gradient, and more cover. Plants help hold humidity levels stable, provide shade from lamps and heat, and let your wee one hide in a very natural way.

In the meantime: Remove the food plate when not in use. Remove one of the hides (the plastic container is slippery and was very possibly the cause of the accident). Make sure there is space around the perimeter for walking. Get some plastic decor vines to provide some artificial cover all through the space.

Keepers with flippers employ spy cams linked to their phones for an added layer of security. Leave a key hidden in case you have to call a neighbor or friend to help with a future rescue.
 

Tom

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What species are we talking about?

The low, sloped sides and small sized enclosure are your problem. They are less likely to try and climb vertical sides compared to walls that have a slope. They are less likely to try to climb when the walls are much taller too. A larger enclosure with more furniture in it will also make the tortoise less anxious to get out.
 
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