Golden Greek Hatchling Soft Shell HELP!

Lindsinic

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What does "new growth" on a baby tortoise look like?

We have two potted hibiscus plants that we've been feeding Rocky leaves from. Also some wild honeysuckle leaves and clover. Also some radish and carrot greens. These other plants that you recommended, any idea where I might find them in Indiana? A non-store bought diet in Indiana has seemed tricky so far. Our property is surrounded by some wooded areas but I don't know what most of the ground growth actually is. I'm scared I'll poison Rocky or make things worse if I just pick some random greens from the woods.
@Tom @Markw84
 

Markw84

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Here's a picture from another thread. It is one of @Pearly 's tortoises. We were talking about marbling, but it does show a nice example of good growth on a youngish tortoise. I wanted to use this as your Testudo would have similar coloration to the new growth as opposed to my stars or sulcatas. You can see how the seams between the scutes are separating and the very light colored seam is new keratin forming. That is what you are looking for to indicate good, new growth.

Pearlys marbled 1.jpg
 

Lindsinic

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Well, Rocky definitely has no new growth at all. However, he is likely only around 4 months old. At what age is growth typically visible @Markw84 ?
 

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Markw84

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Well, Rocky definitely has no new growth at all. However, he is likely only around 4 months old. At what age is growth typically visible @Markw84 ?
For now you need a good scale that reads to one gram min. I would weigh weekly and look for the beginning of an upward trend. Weigh at the same time each week such as after a soak. Weekly can show ups and downs but over the course of a month there should be a gain. I look for tortoises their first two years to gain in the range of 5%-10% per month.

With a healthy tortoise, you will see visible growth seams within a month. Just keep in mind, tortoises not started properly will often fall considerably behind these marks.
 
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Lindsinic

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For now you need a good scale that reads to one gram min. I would weigh weekly and look for the beginning of an upward trend. Weigh at the same time each week such as after a soak. Weekly can show ups and downs but over the course of a month there should be a gain. I look for tortoises their first two years to gain in the range of 5%-10% per month.

With a healthy tortoise, you will see visible growth seams within a month. Just keep in mind, tortoises not started properly will often fall considerably behind these marks.
@Tom @Markw84
Rocky does not seem to be improving with a more "wild" diet, more natural sunlight and more humid enclosure environment. We now have an issue with some sort of surface growth on the coconut coir. It is some sort of fungus or mold that looks like surface cobwebs. Any advice?
 

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Tom

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The coir itself won't grow anything, so there is something organic on the surface there. Just remove the surface layers with the growth on it as needed. Not a big deal.
 

Lindsinic

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Rocky seems to be getting worse. His shell seems to be getting even softer up the sides and even onto the edges of his top shell. He seems lethargic and I feel like he is suffering :-(

At night he normally finds some sort of shelter or coverage. Last night he slept by the side of his food dish, out in the open. Kind of sticks his head and legs out and just lays them on the coconut coir.

I don't know what else to do for him. Better diet, more sunlight, moist/humid environment haven't helped.

@Tom @Markw84
 

Bee62

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Rocky seems to be getting worse. His shell seems to be getting even softer up the sides and even onto the edges of his top shell. He seems lethargic and I feel like he is suffering :-(

At night he normally finds some sort of shelter or coverage. Last night he slept by the side of his food dish, out in the open. Kind of sticks his head and legs out and just lays them on the coconut coir.

I don't know what else to do for him. Better diet, more sunlight, moist/humid environment haven't helped.

@Tom @Markw84
Sorry to hear that your Rocky is getting worse. All what you describe sounds to me like he suffers the hatchling failure syndrome.

@Tom wrote you the same and linked you his description of Hatchling Failure Syndrome.

I am so sorry that you must go trough this with your little tort.


I found this for you:

Hachling Failure Syndrome
Noelia Perez·Mittwoch, 26. Juli 2017

Symptoms of Hatchling Failure Syndrome
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen eyes/swollen shut
  • Constant sitting in water bowl
  • Soft shell
  • Partial paralysis
  • Edema
The tortoise's kidneys are no longer working properly usually due to chronic dehydration. Small tortoises can become dehydrated overnight if kept in dry conditions without access to a burrow that allows them to maintain proper hydration status. Over time, if they do not get sufficient water back into their systems, they experience chronic dehydration, which can cause kidney failure.
What can I do?
The early stages of kidney failure can be treated successfully. Treatment requires taking the tortoise to a reptile vet so it can receive fluids to reverse the dehydration. The vet may also draw blood, the results will help the vet determine how acute the kidney failure is. Be aware that by the time your tortoise is showing the symptoms listed above, it may already be too late.

One of the main jobs of the kidneys is to filter the blood and remove the toxins and acidic byproducts of normal cellular processes. As the kidneys fail, they are less effective at filtering the bloodstream, so those toxins and acidic compounds begin to build up. To neutralize the rising acid levels in the blood, the tortoise's body begins to remove calcium from its bones and shell -- leading to the softening of the shell, limp limbs, and the lethargy. The tortoise's internal organs can also suffer damage from the rising acidity and toxins. When tortoises reach this stage, no amount of fluids will make the kidneys restart or undo the damage to the tortoise's bones and organs.
Why Does This Happen?
Misinformed pet stores or vets may tell new owners that these species are desert animals, they cannot tolerate any humidity and should be kept at very high temperatures. THIS IS WRONG and it shows a real lack of understanding about how tortoises and many other desert animals actually deal with their environment! The natural behavior of desert species in the wild is to come out of their burrow in the early morning (when temperatures are cooler) to bask and eat. When the temperatures start to rise, they disappear back down into their burrows. They simply do not stay out in the heat of the day for any length of time if they can avoid it by finding shade or a burrow.The relative humidity inside tortoise burrows in the wild has been measured at 40 to 60 percent, which is typically much higher than the above-ground humidity. Air temperatures inside a burrow are also much cooler, lower than above-ground temperatures. This cooler, (cooler than the desert heat, but not cold) more humid micro-environment prevents small tortoises from getting overheated and dehydrated, since they can move either higher or lower in the burrow as needed to remain comfortable.
How do I prevent Hatchling Failure Syndrome?
The only real way to treat Hatchling Failure Syndrome is to keep your tortoise from becoming dehydrated in the first place. The best way to accomplish this is to establish a lower-temperature, higher-humidity micro-habitat in your tortoise enclosure, one that mimics the conditions found inside a tortoise burrow.
To prevent dehydration and establish this kind of micro-habitat in your enclosure, we suggest these steps:
  • Continue to soak your hatchling or small tortoise regularly and provide a shallow water bowl for it to drink from.
  • Provide a substrate that holds moisture, such as a 50/50 mixture cococoir and topsoil, and make sure that the substrate is deep enough to allow your tortoise to dig a nightly burrow or scrape (a shallow burrow excavated on top of the soil). New Zealand Sphagnum moss is also recommended, this will ensure that your humidity levels stay where they need to be. A tortoise will usually choose a dark corner away from any light or heat lamps to sleep in, so pile the substrate deeper in that area.
  • Provide an appropriately-sized hide box with a cellulose sponge attached to the inside, and keep the sponge damp. This hide box can be in the sleeping corner or a different one. Observe your tortoise and see what it prefers.


Humid Hide

  • Monitor the humidity in your enclosure. Purchase a hygrometer and find a way to place it in the enclosure near where your tortoise sleeps. Try to maintain a humidity level as directed on our reference guide, in whatever area your tortoise sleeps in.
  • Buy a spray bottle, a pump sprayer, or a watering can and use it to moisten the substrate regularly to maintain a higher humidity level in the tortoise's sleeping area.
  • Provide a closed chamber environment, this will ensure the adequate levels are provided.



Why do you have to do all this?
The problem is that we cannot duplicate a natural environment indoors for any tortoise. While the recorded humidity for areas where some desert species live in the wild may be very low, the humidity that is found down in a burrow can be considerably higher. Hatchlings -- particularly indoors in the summer in an air-conditioned building -- do not retain body moisture as well as adults. In air-conditioned houses, the ambient humidity can drop to 10% or lower.
In the wild, if a hatchling is to survive (and very few do), it must have access to an area that will allow it to retain its moisture. In captivity (indoors) there is no way it can look for this area -- we must supply it.

  • Cooler does not mean cold, but cooler than the temps of their natural habitat.. The group reference sheet provides the proper temperatures and humidity levels.
 

orli bein

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I saw your post and was hoping to get tips for our just hatched Golden Greek. He just hatched yesterday and it’s been a bit over 24 hours but he’s not moving much and won’t eat. He seemed more energetic right after hatching from the egg than now. We have a ceramic heat lamp on, variable temperature zones, a 4’x2’ enclosure and have bathed him and sprayed water to keep things moist. We don’t have the UVA/UVB light but it’s coming tomorrow. I’m also going to get him sun exposure tomorrow. Should I be worried? I noticed suggestions to put Vitasol drops in the bath water. Would that be the bird droplets? Any additional tips are welcome. We also might have been handling him too much since it’s our first hatchling and the kids are excited to show him off. We’re going to have a hands off couple of days except for bathing. Thank you for any and all suggestions.
Here’s a photo of our habitat.
265F20FB-A920-4DD5-9842-7D52C3A933C9.jpeg
 
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