Hatchling Russian not thriving...

kricker

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Purchased a CBB hatchling Russian from Tyler Stewart in Las Vegas. It shipped early December. Since it arrived, it's been extremely reluctant to eat.

I've tried keeping it in two setups -

Either a 10 gal aquarium, wrapped in construction paper on the lower 1/3, or a hutch like this with a ceramic heater and fluorescent full UV spectrum bulb. Coco coir bedding. Reptisun bulb keeping basking spot at @ 100 degrees, other side is consistently around 70. Undertank heater on side of hidebox. At night, turn off everything but the undertank, dropping ambient temp to around 62 degrees. Big piece of slate in the middle of the tank where I try to entice him to feed on spring mix. In the larger enclosure, I've never seen him take a step. In the smaller one, I've seen him eat twice.

Daily baths of roughly 15 min in slightly warmer than lukewarm water in the lid of a food container. Usually poops in the bath. His hidebox up until reading the caresheet on this forum had been dry.

Extremely lethargic. If moved, he'll sit where he's placed, periodically slightly extending his forelimbs and neck, retracting them, and sitting still. Wakes up a bit for baths, walks around the lid he's in. I've seen him eat two pieces of baby romaine roughly the size of his shell.

Today, soaked the coir in his hidebox over the undertank heater until it was thoroughly damp, but not to where it could be wrung out. I'll place him on top of that for the night. The wet coir is warm to the touch.

Seems clearly dehydrated.

I'd love any advice. Never kept a tortoise after success with snakes previously.

Uk3dGho.jpeg
 

kricker

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I started moistening his bedding to damp prior to moving him into his hidebox to sleep for the last two nights. He's eaten nothing since my post. Tried boiling some carrots, pureeing them, and giving him a bath in the carrot water for about 30 min for each of the last two days. He almost never opens his eyes, and I've only seen him walk once unless in the bath in the last two days. Most of the time, I'll take him out and sit him on the slate under his basking light in the morning. He then will do this every few minutes.
 

TheLastGreen

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He seems almost constipated, or he has an extreme respitory infection, but I do think it is the respitory infection
@zovick what do you think?
I would lower the water a little bit, hopefuly zovick can way in soon
 

kricker

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Yeah - that amount of water is supervised. I typically don't leave an open dish of water in the enclosure. Its shell feels thin and flexible - I'm not sure if that's typical or not. He has defecated every day, usually in his bath.
 
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Maro2Bear

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Greetings…..your link is pointing to a Cormorant on wiki…

or a hutch like this with a ceramic heater and fluorescent full UV spectrum bulb.
 

zovick

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This is about how open his eyes ever get, only during this morning's carrot bath.
This tortoise is showing signs of a severe respiratory infection. The way it is extending its neck and pumping the front legs in and out are attempts to get air into its lungs. Was it possibly chilled during shipping? Did it feel cold when you opened the box?

You need to keep its temp at or even slightly above 85 degrees day and night plus give it injections of ceftazidime every other day for 10-14 days if you want it to survive. You will need to get the ceftazidime from a vet as it is not available without a prescription.
 

kricker

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Dropped him off for an overnight at the local exotic animal vet. Antibiotics, vitamins, etc. They're concerned that there may be a secondary problem in addition to the respiratory infection, but we'll know more tomorrow.
 

TaylorTortoise

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I would advice making his enclosure warm all day and night around. Please monitor and let him be. Offer food, do give saily soaks until you see improvements. Actions are needed asap with babies. It can be very deadly if not taken care of fast. Act fast which you are, good job.
 

biochemnerd808

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I hope your little one rallies. So sorry you are having to deal with this. I sent Tyler Stewart this link so he can chime in himself. Have you tried contacting him personally? He is approachable and very knowledgeable.

Vitamin injections are actually dangerous for babies, I hope the vet knows what they are doing. Did you find them via the vet list here on the TFO?

I would use a 60w CHE (ceramic heat emitter) on a Hydrofarm or similar thermostat to boost night temps. This little one needs to be kept toasty warm for a little while, 80°F minimum day and night. A 10gal is really really small, and hard to get proper temps in. A 20gal or 40gal sterilite bin with insulation wrapped around the sides may be easier to work with. I like closed chambers, there are many articles on the TFO about setting them up. Also read the pinned care sheet by @Tom - lots of valuable information there.
 

TylerStewart

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Just catching up on this, I hadn't heard that this one was struggling until today. It's clearly not doing well now, but I'd like to see the setup(s) and start there, there's almost always something a little off in a setup when a baby doesn't do well like this. Personally, I'm not really someone that believes in, or blames "hatchling failure syndrome," I kinda feel like if a baby can get out of the egg on its own, move around and eat initially, it should survive. We almost never lose babies here (much less than 1%, the two headed Russian we hatched this last summer killed my statistics when it passed away) and we hold everything here for at least a month to make sure it's off and running. I think that "hatchling failure" term is used by people that are looking for an excuse for the poorly started baby that they sold. But like Katie said, a 10 gallon enclosure is too small to give a proper temperature gradient. You basically can't heat one end to a proper hot spot without the other end (12 inches away) being too hot also. You need a larger square footage, or at least low sides so the heat can escape (small footprint I don't love, but with low sides and a low wattage heat bulb placed low, it can kinda work for a while). Babies like this can handle cool temps, definitely room temp overnight is fine for a healthy baby Russian, and even cooler, as long as they are heating up during the day. We miss a few babies every year in the outdoor enclosures that show up in the spring after a winter where their body temps are definitely in the low 40s or high 30s over winter, and they obviously do that in the wild. I think for a respiratory issue with a baby, it would be caused by humidity combined with cool temps, or could be caused by stagnant air. Generally, you'd hear wheezing or bubbles in the nose along with a RI. I'm not sure I'd call this RI quite yet, but my suggestion would probably start with a mild oral antibiotic that was added to the water it's soaking in (daily). If it's defecating every day, it's definitely eating something, so that's a huge plus.
 

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