Help! Sick tortoise

Megansnoke

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I work at petsmart, and on Wednesday night, a guy drops off his tortoise. He says he didn’t know tortoises needed lights and that he can’t take care of him. So I take him. Apparently this guy bought him online for his 4 year old son. They left him in a small cardboard box for I have no idea how long and they were trying to feed him crickets. Obviously he didn’t eat them. I have no idea how long it’s been since he’s eaten. He will not open his eyes. I’ve been giving him three warm baths daily and leaving him in a tank with uvb lights and a heat lamp. He still hasn’t perked up after two days of this (granted I do understand it’s going to take him a long time to recover). I’m very worried and feel awful for this little guy. He’s not even fully grown. I really just want him to open his eyes. Help me please?? Should I just bite the bullet and take him to a vet?? I’m not exactly the most experienced with tortoises.
 

EllieMay

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Hi Megan! That’s just awful and god bless you for trying to help.. can you post some pics of the tortoise so we can tell what kind he is and offer you some species specific advice?
 

Minority2

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Read this to learn how to care for the Russian tortoise you have taken in:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/b...or-other-herbivorous-tortoise-species.107734/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

Continue with the daily soakings. As a precaution I would definitely take that tortoise to an experienced reptile vet.

If you're serious about keeping this tortoise you're going to need to provide for it. This means large enclosures, not small tanks. Varied diets, not mainly consisting of store bought greens. And proper temperature and humidity levels.

What uvb bulb and heat lamp are you currently using? Model/type/color? Provide pictures if you are unable to provide the nomenclature. Certain types of bulbs are known to contribute to eye problems in tortoises.
 

TechnoCheese

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He looks like he might be an adult. Be sure to give those links a read, if you haven’t already.

Please keep in mind that this tortoise needs a minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet.
 

Megansnoke

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He looks like he might be an adult. Be sure to give those links a read, if you haven’t already.

Please keep in mind that this tortoise needs a minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet.

Don’t worry. If I keep him he will be spoiled and well taken care of. I’m aware red bulbs are awful and have a ceramic. His basking spot is 95 degrees. He has a 5.0 UVB. I plan on making him a home out of wood and I’ll make sure it’s at least 4x8. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research and understand they need a TON of room. At the moment he’s not moving much but once he’s all healed up I should have his big enclosure ready. I plan on making him happy. He definitely deserves it.
 

TechnoCheese

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Don’t worry. If I keep him he will be spoiled and well taken care of. I’m aware red bulbs are awful and have a ceramic. His basking spot is 95 degrees. He has a 5.0 UVB. I plan on making him a home out of wood and I’ll make sure it’s at least 4x8. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research and understand they need a TON of room. At the moment he’s not moving much but once he’s all healed up I should have his big enclosure ready. I plan on making him happy. He definitely deserves it.

Sounds like he’s lucky to have you :)
 

LaLaP

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Welcome to the forum. Sorry it's under such difficult circumstances. So glad you've taken him in and are dedicated to his proper care. Hopefully he recovers. I have a Russian too. I'm a new tort parent so I don't have much advice. I have read some threads about force feeding torts that aren't eating. I don't know if that is appropriate for him but since you don't know when he last ate maybe he really needs it? Hopefully someone with more expertise will chime in about it. You could search the forum for "force feed" and see what people have done in the past. Just an idea. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

Yvonne G

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He IS a fully grown tortoise. Russian tortoises are a small species and he's about full size.

Because he won't eat, and his eyes are stuck shut you should try the baby food soak treatment. Nothing to lose, right?

Using a container with tall sides, but a small floor space, put in a half jar of carrot Gerber Strained baby food. Then add warm water, bringing the level up to the middle of the tortoise's sides (that way he doesn't have to strain to keep his head out of the water). Leave him soaking in there for at least an hour. Don't worry that you think the water is getting too cold. It won't get any colder than the ambient temperature of the room he's in, and that's not too cold for him.

Do this faithfully every day for three days and you should see his eyes start to open on the third day. Once his eyes are open, he MIGHT start eating. Take a close look at his nose and make sure the nares are not covered over with gunk or dry food (if they can't smell they won't eat).

During the time he's not soaking, keep him in a small,covered enclosure at about 80F degrees. This is for a SICK tortoise, not a healthy one. 80F degrees is too hot for a healthy Russian. But the heat will help him fight off an infection if there is one.
 

Yvonne G

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If your 5.0 UVB light is one of those curly-shaped bulbs, don't use it. They're not good at giving off enough UVB, plus it MIGHT be detrimental to his eyes.
 

Megansnoke

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If your 5.0 UVB light is one of those curly-shaped bulbs, don't use it. They're not good at giving off enough UVB, plus it MIGHT be detrimental to his eyes.

I’ve heard the same and thankfully I have strip UVBs left over from past reptiles.
 

Megansnoke

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He IS a fully grown tortoise. Russian tortoises are a small species and he's about full size.

Because he won't eat, and his eyes are stuck shut you should try the baby food soak treatment. Nothing to lose, right?

Using a container with tall sides, but a small floor space, put in a half jar of carrot Gerber Strained baby food. Then add warm water, bringing the level up to the middle of the tortoise's sides (that way he doesn't have to strain to keep his head out of the water). Leave him soaking in there for at least an hour. Don't worry that you think the water is getting too cold. It won't get any colder than the ambient temperature of the room he's in, and that's not too cold for him.

Do this faithfully every day for three days and you should see his eyes start to open on the third day. Once his eyes are open, he MIGHT start eating. Take a close look at his nose and make sure the nares are not covered over with gunk or dry food (if they can't smell they won't eat).

During the time he's not soaking, keep him in a small,covered enclosure at about 80F degrees. This is for a SICK tortoise, not a healthy one. 80F degrees is too hot for a healthy Russian. But the heat will help him fight off an infection if there is one.

I will definitely be trying this. I’ve read this on other websites and have already purchased the baby food. Thank you for such detailed instructions! I really appreciate it!
 

Megansnoke

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Welcome to the forum. Sorry it's under such difficult circumstances. So glad you've taken him in and are dedicated to his proper care. Hopefully he recovers. I have a Russian too. I'm a new tort parent so I don't have much advice. I have read some threads about force feeding torts that aren't eating. I don't know if that is appropriate for him but since you don't know when he last ate maybe he really needs it? Hopefully someone with more expertise will chime in about it. You could search the forum for "force feed" and see what people have done in the past. Just an idea. Good luck and keep us posted.

I’ve watched videos and considered force feeding but I’m scared it might stress him a lot. I’ve read a lot about letting him soak in water with baby food. Gonna give that a shot first. But thank you!
 

LaLaP

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I’ve watched videos and considered force feeding but I’m scared it might stress him a lot. I’ve read a lot about letting him soak in water with baby food. Gonna give that a shot first. But thank you!
Sounds like a good choice. I hope the baby food soak helps.
 

vladimir

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I will definitely be trying this. I’ve read this on other websites and have already purchased the baby food. Thank you for such detailed instructions! I really appreciate it!

Good luck! You can definitely trust Yvonne's advice. Let us know how it goes! :)
 

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