Help Needed. Baby African Pancake Tortoise

tmundy2790

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I’ve had my baby for a couple of weeks now. Ordered him from Arizona Tortoise Compound. He started off fairly energetic but has definitely slowed down. At this point he barely moves, and will usually be exactly where I left him whenever I come back. When I take him out to soak he does still get very energetic and try to run away in my hand.

The substrate is coconut soil mixed with moss and rainforest mix bed to increase humidity. Has a hot spot for the day and a CHE for the night.

It’s very difficult to identify if he’s eating. I’ve seen some poop, but the food doesn’t seem to go anywhere. At this point getting fed a mix of spring mix, grasses and weeds, and tortoise pellets.

Any advice as to what is going on here would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Kasia

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I’ve had my baby for a couple of weeks now. Ordered him from Arizona Tortoise Compound. He started off fairly energetic but has definitely slowed down. At this point he barely moves, and will usually be exactly where I left him whenever I come back. When I take him out to soak he does still get very energetic and try to run away in my hand.

The substrate is coconut soil mixed with moss and rainforest mix bed to increase humidity. Has a hot spot for the day and a CHE for the night.

It’s very difficult to identify if he’s eating. I’ve seen some poop, but the food doesn’t seem to go anywhere. At this point getting fed a mix of spring mix, grasses and weeds, and tortoise pellets.

Any advice as to what is going on here would be greatly appreciated.
Please be more specific about your conditions eg. temp, humidity... do you soak him daily? Did you contact ATC, maybe they can help and give you additional clues eg. if he was dewormed? @Tom @Yvonne ?

Most important please write more about setup.. maybe he is too cold or too hot... „or” can be many things....
 

TammyJ

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We need to know the exact temperatures, humidity level etc. Also that water bowl is too large and too high off the substrate, similarly with the food dish. Get a smaller water dish and sink it down so the sides are not creating a wall he has to climb to get in or drink. It is very important that he is properly hydrated and given warm soaks every day for whatever time is recommended on the care sheets for that species.
Just put the food on a slate or piece of flat tile, and put it closer to the hide. I think he may be nervous and uncomfortable and need to feel more secure.
 

tmundy2790

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Day temps range from 85-105 depending if cool side or in the hot spot, night temps stay more consistent in the low 80s. The tank was too dry at first, I have gotten the humidity up consistently over 50% now; I don’t trust these cheap gauges enough to say what exactly it is at, but I do re soak a couple times a day since it is a very young tortoise.

I can change the food/water sources; that’s easy. He is currently getting daily warm soaks; about 30 minutes a day.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

TriciaStringer

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Day temps range from 85-105 depending if cool side or in the hot spot, night temps stay more consistent in the low 80s. The tank was too dry at first, I have gotten the humidity up consistently over 50% now; I don’t trust these cheap gauges enough to say what exactly it is at, but I do re soak a couple times a day since it is a very young tortoise.

I can change the food/water sources; that’s easy. He is currently getting daily warm soaks; about 30 minutes a day.

Any advice is appreciated.
You can use terra cotta saucers that usually sit under pots. They are inexpensive in Walmart garden center and work great.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Yeah, call and talk to Andrew at ATC and get as specific as you can with finding out what the care regimen had been. That's will be your best way to know what has been. Pancakes are not greedy for heat, and they like moisture more than most seem to think, IMO.

I keep babies in a sweater box with a slope, down hill end is always moist up hill end is dry with a 25 watt CHE. I use decomposed granite for the substrate. I use small plastic lids that come from take out or deli food for a water tray. My little ones sometimes sleep in the water until the food appears, they eat, sit near where but not directly under where the CHE hits, they hide under an upside down plastic deli cup lid for awhile then eat more, and repeat.
 

tmundy2790

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I have talked to Andrew and made changes to the home to make it more accommodating. More accurate gauges have allowed me to get better control of some things.

Based on more reading and further examination of his newer symptoms, I believe it to be a vitamin a deficiency. He is not opening his eyes much when he is in the tank. Today with some care the last couple days was the first time I saw him do any basking in a while, and he was exploring after the lights went out at night with his eyes open for the first time in a while. He ate some yesterday, but nothing today. I recently made changes to his uvb and he was probably getting too much before.

If I am correct and it is a possible severe lack of vitamin a, should I try to search around for a vet immediately? I am in a rural area so reptile vets with any real knowledge will be hard to find.
 

Pearly

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I have talked to Andrew and made changes to the home to make it more accommodating. More accurate gauges have allowed me to get better control of some things.

Based on more reading and further examination of his newer symptoms, I believe it to be a vitamin a deficiency. He is not opening his eyes much when he is in the tank. Today with some care the last couple days was the first time I saw him do any basking in a while, and he was exploring after the lights went out at night with his eyes open for the first time in a while. He ate some yesterday, but nothing today. I recently made changes to his uvb and he was probably getting too much before.

If I am correct and it is a possible severe lack of vitamin a, should I try to search around for a vet immediately? I am in a rural area so reptile vets with any real knowledge will be hard to find.

How about carrot baby food soaks? Have you tried those?
 

TammyJ

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I have talked to Andrew and made changes to the home to make it more accommodating. More accurate gauges have allowed me to get better control of some things.

Based on more reading and further examination of his newer symptoms, I believe it to be a vitamin a deficiency. He is not opening his eyes much when he is in the tank. Today with some care the last couple days was the first time I saw him do any basking in a while, and he was exploring after the lights went out at night with his eyes open for the first time in a while. He ate some yesterday, but nothing today. I recently made changes to his uvb and he was probably getting too much before.

If I am correct and it is a possible severe lack of vitamin a, should I try to search around for a vet immediately? I am in a rural area so reptile vets with any real knowledge will be hard to find.
I think I have seen here to be very careful about letting the tortoise get vitamin A injections. It can be the wrong thing to do, so please wait and get some expert advice about it.
 

tmundy2790

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I’ve been doing sweet potato soaks the past couple days since I wasn’t 100% sure what was wrong. I’m going to pick up some carrot today.

Would keeping the uvb off for a day or two have any benefit?
 

Kapidolo Farms

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I’ve been doing sweet potato soaks the past couple days since I wasn’t 100% sure what was wrong. I’m going to pick up some carrot today.

Would keeping the uvb off for a day or two have any benefit?

I wanted to say, sweet potato soaks are good.

If you see benefit with turning the UVB off, for several days that is okay too. I agree with @TammyJ that Vets get overzealous with vitamin injections. Top end tortoise vets tend to not do that, without blood work specifically indicating a need, it's not a good "well it can't hurt" method, it can hurt if done uninformed for the specific tortoise.

Andy has posted he feeds many flowers - flowers with all those colors will have many vitamin A precursors. Dandelions, squash blossom, honeysuckle blossoms etc. all work well for that purpose, Hibiscus too.

I find my pancakes get excited over radicchio and will have a 'hands in the enclosure or not - let's eat' attitude about it. Many spring mixes have some in them.
 

tmundy2790

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I've continued the soaks but it is really hard to tell if he is getting any better or not. Currently 2x a day in warm baby food and warm water.

I've found him in his water bowl a few times lately, which I thought was encouraging; but when I returned later on he was still in it so it may have just been more confusion from him not opening his eyes much. Eye drops seem to help for a moment, but I never see him keep his eyes open in the tank much.

He will always show a great deal of energy when I grab him or first start a soak (flailing, attempting to climb, etc.), but other than that he mostly sits where I leave him. He will move around to some extent but generally just stays in one spot.

I also cant tell if he has eaten since this weekend. Is there any way to not necessarily force feed a baby but at least kinda help coax them into eating?

I'm feeling less and less hopeful about my baby as the days are dragging on and he doesn't seem much better.
 

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