Found a tortoise in the garden, shell damaged. please help.

JoesMum

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Hi there

This tortoise will not hibernate in your home as it’s too warm. Hibernation needs a steady temperature below 10C and above freezing, ideally pretty steady around 5C.

This tortoise is trying to be active outdoors and, in or out, cannot do this without being able to bask.

Being cold-blooded means the tortoise can’t eat, digest food or be active without a “hot spot” at 35-37C either in a sheltered sunny spot or under a basking lamp.

I don’t know how outdoor temperatures are where you are, or whether frost and snow are likely.

Given where you live, this is likely to be a wild tortoise. Bringing it in without lamps will do more harm than good. And, from my experience of having a mature Testudo indoors one winter, stressful for both you and the tort as you simply won’t be able to provide enough space to roam.

My gut feeling would be that finding a safe spot to release the tort would be in its best interests. If you have something like a garden compost heap where it can dig in then all the better. This old tort has done the rounds many times.

I am really not one for interfering unless you really have to and that shell damage doesn’t appear recent to me.
 

lacrime

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Hi there

This tortoise will not hibernate in your home as it’s too warm. Hibernation needs a steady temperature below 10C and above freezing, ideally pretty steady around 5C.

This tortoise is trying to be active outdoors and, in or out, cannot do this without being able to bask.

Being cold-blooded means the tortoise can’t eat, digest food or be active without a “hot spot” at 35-37C either in a sheltered sunny spot or under a basking lamp.

I don’t know how outdoor temperatures are where you are, or whether frost and snow are likely.

Given where you live, this is likely to be a wild tortoise. Bringing it in without lamps will do more harm than good. And, from my experience of having a mature Testudo indoors one winter, stressful for both you and the tort as you simply won’t be able to provide enough space to roam.

My gut feeling would be that finding a safe spot to release the tort would be in its best interests. If you have something like a garden compost heap where it can dig in then all the better. This old tort has done the rounds many times.

I am really not one for interfering unless you really have to and that shell damage doesn’t appear recent to me.

Thank you so much for your reply and advice. I was actually thinking of letting her out in the garden and let her do whatever she wanted but wasn’t sure because she hardly ever moves from one spot. The weather is relatively warm, we’re in the Mediterranean coast of Turkey so I don’t think it’ll be freezing cold or any chance for snow.

I’ll put her in he garden then, I’ve previously arranged a spot where I covered the top to protect from the rain. I’ll put her back there then and hope for the best for the fella.

Again, thank you for your reply, I didn’t know anything about this tortoise and was a lot worried to be honest, thinking I might be doing her harm without meaning to.
 

JoesMum

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For basking she needs direct sun. A sunny corner is great. If she wants cover she’ll disappear under a bush. She probably won’t use a man made shelter... Joe wasn’t too keen most of the time [emoji849]

This thread might help you with understanding... I am not suggesting you go for the kennel and lamps, but it explains how I dealt with Joe in poor weather
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/outdoor-accommodation-in-a-colder-uk-climate.140866/
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Hello, Gokçe, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum. :)
Thanks for taking this tortoise in and trying to help it out.
Releasing it into the warm will probably be the best idea, but firstly, is the wound on the leg now healed up and not infected?
And is the tortoise breathing okay, no bubbles from the nose or wheezing?
 

lacrime

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For basking she needs direct sun. A sunny corner is great. If she wants cover she’ll disappear under a bush. She probably won’t use a man made shelter... Joe wasn’t too keen most of the time [emoji849]

This thread might help you with understanding... I am not suggesting you go for the kennel and lamps, but it explains how I dealt with Joe in poor weather
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/outdoor-accommodation-in-a-colder-uk-climate.140866/

Thank you for that link, I’ve read through it, you did an amazing job! Thanks for forwarding me. Before I got her inside, she was in the garden and she even used that little corner I arranged for her. But after a while I think she got a little sick because she was out in the rain all night and that was the reason I got her in, after knowing members advised me to do so.

I’ll keep an eye on her for the next few days. I have two other tortoises that I keep in the garden and they use the same kind of arrangement I made for them. They’ve even been sharing it until I separated them :)

Hello, Gokçe, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum. :)
Thanks for taking this tortoise in and trying to help it out.
Releasing it into the warm will probably be the best idea, but firstly, is the wound on the leg now healed up and not infected?
And is the tortoise breathing okay, no bubbles from the nose or wheezing?

Thank you for your warm welcome! :)

Yes, the wound seems to be okay, it’s not infected. She seems a bit worse for the wear but I think she’s been like this for a while. When I first saw her I was worried but everyone assured me it was old wounds.

And no bubbles, no wheezing as far as I’ve observed. I don’t know tortoises very well, but I looked for anything unusual and there seems to be none. I feel like she just wants to sleep through winter because she herself stopped eating a while back. I saw no defecation, her eyes are closed, she hardly moves. I’ll still keep an eye on her just in case.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Yes, apart from the leg injury, it seems old damage well on the way to healing. My Tidgy had one of her scutes removed much deeper than those on this tortoise, though yours has more missing, but Tidgy made a full recovery, though the carapace will never fully recover.
Start warm soaks, 20 to thirty minutes duration, up to a level just above where the carapace meets the plastron. A tortoise needs to be warm in order to digest it's food and to exercise is also necessary for it's digestive processes. If it's too cold it won't eat. They can go a long, long time without eating, but that tortoise needs to get its body temperature up to 30°C each day to function properly.
If her eyes are closed and she's hardly moving, this needs to be done as soon as possible.
 

lacrime

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Yes, apart from the leg injury, it seems old damage well on the way to healing. My Tidgy had one of her scutes removed much deeper than those on this tortoise, though yours has more missing, but Tidgy made a full recovery, though the carapace will never fully recover.
Start warm soaks, 20 to thirty minutes duration, up to a level just above where the carapace meets the plastron. A tortoise needs to be warm in order to digest it's food and to exercise is also necessary for it's digestive processes. If it's too cold it won't eat. They can go a long, long time without eating, but that tortoise needs to get its body temperature up to 30°C each day to function properly.
If her eyes are closed and she's hardly moving, this needs to be done as soon as possible.

So you suggest I keep her inside for the duration of winter, instead of putting her back to the garden and let her attempt hibernation?

Sorry if I keep making you repeat yourself, I get that it’s not easy to help from afar without being able to see for yourself. Plus, my knowledge about tortoises is very limited and this is the only place where people are willing to help me. Around here I’ve heard vets call tortoises tropical animals and they don’t know anything about them.
 

JoesMum

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Thank you for that link, I’ve read through it, you did an amazing job! Thanks for forwarding me. Before I got her inside, she was in the garden and she even used that little corner I arranged for her. But after a while I think she got a little sick because she was out in the rain all night and that was the reason I got her in, after knowing members advised me to do so.

I’ll keep an eye on her for the next few days. I have two other tortoises that I keep in the garden and they use the same kind of arrangement I made for them. They’ve even been sharing it until I separated them :)



Thank you for your warm welcome! :)

Yes, the wound seems to be okay, it’s not infected. She seems a bit worse for the wear but I think she’s been like this for a while. When I first saw her I was worried but everyone assured me it was old wounds.

And no bubbles, no wheezing as far as I’ve observed. I don’t know tortoises very well, but I looked for anything unusual and there seems to be none. I feel like she just wants to sleep through winter because she herself stopped eating a while back. I saw no defecation, her eyes are closed, she hardly moves. I’ll still keep an eye on her just in case.

She needs to be kept away from your torts. If she is carrying any bugs then you don’t want them passed on to yours.
 

lacrime

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She needs to be kept away from your torts. If she is carrying any bugs then you don’t want them passed on to yours.

No problem. She’s in the garden next door, so no need to worry about passing on anything.

So it’s okay I put her in the garden instead of taking her in and warming her up?
 

JoesMum

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No problem. She’s in the garden next door, so no need to worry about passing on anything.

So it’s okay I put her in the garden instead of taking her in and warming her up?

Who knows? But my gut feeling is that a wild tortoise should be left to sort itself out if at all possible.

It sounds like wounds are healed - if they were open/infected then it’s a different matter.

What I am sure of is that a tort normally used to roaming miles will go stir crazy indoors. And I think it would be better to let nature take its course.
 

lacrime

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Who knows? But my gut feeling is that a wild tortoise should be left to sort itself out if at all possible.

It sounds like wounds are healed - if they were open/infected then it’s a different matter.

What I am sure of is that a tort normally used to roaming miles will go stir crazy indoors. And I think it would be better to let nature take its course.

Yes, I think you might be right. When she was feeling better and she was active in the box, she used to try climbing out of it, I heard scratching from time to time!
I don’t know for sure but I think they come from the nearby field. I have two other tortoises, only one has hatched in my garden, the other I found on the street. And now this one.

I left her in the garden for now. Outside it’s around 18C in the afternoon now, it’s very sunny. At night it gets cold, perhaps goes down to as low as 6-7C, I’m not sure.

I just checked on her and she’s still where I left her, in that space I had prepared. Her head seems partly out, eyes closed my guess. If she was attempting hibernation then it’s best if she’s out to fend for herself.

I know I sent a millions messages on here but this is really the only place I can talk about them and I want to do whatever’s best for them. So thank you for all your messages, I really appreciate them.
 

Cheryl Hills

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If she is trying to bromate, yes. Your temps need to be increased and lights need to be on for her enclosure for 12 to 14 hours. Your house temps are to low for her to stay active and to high for her to burmate. It would not be safe to put her back out at this point, besides, she is trying to heal.
 

JoesMum

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Yes, I think you might be right. When she was feeling better and she was active in the box, she used to try climbing out of it, I heard scratching from time to time!
I don’t know for sure but I think they come from the nearby field. I have two other tortoises, only one has hatched in my garden, the other I found on the street. And now this one.

I left her in the garden for now. Outside it’s around 18C in the afternoon now, it’s very sunny. At night it gets cold, perhaps goes down to as low as 6-7C, I’m not sure.

I just checked on her and she’s still where I left her, in that space I had prepared. Her head seems partly out, eyes closed my guess. If she was attempting hibernation then it’s best if she’s out to fend for herself.

I know I sent a millions messages on here but this is really the only place I can talk about them and I want to do whatever’s best for them. So thank you for all your messages, I really appreciate them.

She needs shelter where she can dig in. Don’t be afraid to shove her under a bush. Ideally the earth underneath to should be loose. Tip a bucket of top soil there if it’s rock hard.

She’s a wild tort and I think we need to respect that.
 

lacrime

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If she is trying to bromate, yes. Your temps need to be increased and lights need to be on for her enclosure for 12 to 14 hours. Your house temps are to low for her to stay active and to high for her to burmate. It would not be safe to put her back out at this point, besides, she is trying to heal.

Thank you for your reply. She was sick when I first got her in, but then she became better and was active until she stopped eating by herself. No defacation either which is required for hibernation from what I gather. She gradually slowed down, and showed no signs of sickness so I decided to put her out in the garden. I’ll keep an eye on her still but keep her in the garden for now.

She needs shelter where she can dig in. Don’t be afraid to shove her under a bush. Ideally the earth underneath to should be loose. Tip a bucket of top soil there if it’s rock hard.

She’s a wild tort and I think we need to respect that.

Thank you. Yes, I think I’ll do that. And great idea about the top soil where the ground is hard. I never thought of that! Now I feel bad because I spotted one of my own torts going to the space I provided for him, and the ground is always so hard in the garden. Hope he’s okay. He’s hibernated in that garden last year too so I’m hoping he managed.
 

Kristoff

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They are incredibly resilient. I’m sure she’ll be fine now that her sore healed and you kept her warm for a bit. Don’t worry if she disappears - she might dig herself in somewhere. Your garden seems to be a magnet for torts. I’m a little jealous, so please wear an evil eye bead. ;) Please do keep coming back with questions - that’s what this forum is for! :<3:
 

lacrime

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They are incredibly resilient. I’m sure she’ll be fine now that her sore healed and you kept her warm for a bit. Don’t worry if she disappears - she might dig herself in somewhere. Your garden seems to be a magnet for torts. I’m a little jealous, so please wear an evil eye bead. ;) Please do keep coming back with questions - that’s what this forum is for! :<3:

Hey Lena! Well, I hope she’ll be okay. I hope she finds herself a nice spot or she gets comfortable enough where she is. No matter what, I hope she stays safe!

Heh, I don’t know about my garden’s magnestism but I was just talking about the evil eye bead with my mom and sis today! :) Our building site has a gardener and he brings me any lost tortoises he finds even though I’m running out of space in my garden!

Thank you! I’ll definitely be back with another million questions I bet! :) I want to know more about torts too, so I’ll have a good read through in the forum as well. Much love!
 
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