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Help! Russian Tortoise can't lift herself

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by OhBeatrice, Jan 28, 2019.

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  1. OhBeatrice

    OhBeatrice New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I joined the forum today to ask an important question.I have a 7 year old female Russian tortoise. She is very active and loves to eat. This morning I set her food bowl in her enclosure and noticed that she was moving her legs in an attempt to make her way over but couldn't move forward or lift herself up. I took her out to see if she was able to walk on the floor but the same thing happened, she continued moving her legs but couldn't lift herself. If I put my hand under her belly and slightly lift her off of the ground she will begin to walk but as soon as I remove my hand she can't anymore. She has an appetite and will eat well if I lift her to the food bowl. Has anyone seen this behavior before? Could it be a leg injury?

    Some information about her care and set up:
    She lives in an indoor 4x3 ft enclosure in the winter.
    UVB: Reptisun T5 5.0 HO lamp
    Basking area: 100w heat bulb about 95 degrees
    Substrate: coconut fiber
    Diet: greens (kale, collards, turnip, dandelion are the most common) with calcium about 3 times a week and vitamins once a week.

    I soak her once a week and mist her and her food with water daily. I also mist the substrate to increase humidity which is at about 30 percent.

    If anyone can offer any answers or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    A lot of people don't realize that the calcium MUST HAVE UVB either from the sun or from a good light in order to make the bones and shell strong. Another thing to consider, without a UV reader, you don't know if your light is still putting out the required UVB for the tortoise. And a lot of those lights, although they keep shining, stop putting out UVB after six or eight months.

    What I'm trying to say is, it sounds like a calcium deficiency to me.
    Cowboy_Ken likes this.
  3. OhBeatrice

    OhBeatrice New Member

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    UPDATE: About an hour after I posted this she was back to normal, active, and eating. I did just change her UVB light two weeks ago and I make sure to replace it regularly. I hope this was just a one time thing but I am still confused as to what happened.
  4. mags48

    mags48 New Member

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    I am so relieved that she has come back to normal. In the books that I have read it says that they prefer a dry substrate, bathing 2or 3 times a week. More salad stuff and some fruit. I give mine a little bit of bell pepper and some cucumber. a small piece of banana off the end of one your eating. Tomato, Sweetcorn occasionally. You soon find out what there favourites are. They should have a background temperature of 78Degrees and a basking light. I have mine in the living room when it is cold, on a large table, with a basking light either end. The five of them are doing well. They are hibernating at the moment. I am praying that they will be healthy when they wake up. Good luck Margaret
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    She might have been constipated and the mass inside was pressing on the nerves. ?????
    Ben02 likes this.
  6. Ben02

    Ben02 Well-Known Member

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    Yep I’ve seen that before
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