Help (Star has trouble walking)

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Guys my star tortoise doesn't use his sole part of leg to walk she just slips n walk around pls help

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Yvonne G

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Tortoises, especially young tortoises, should not be kept on smooth surfaces like tile or newspaper. They need substrate so they have traction. Smooth surfaces cause the legs to slip out from under them and this eventually messes with the hip joints. In birds this is called spraddle leg, but I don't think it has a name in tortoises. You need to provide this tortoise with a substrate he can dig into and get traction on when walking.
 

TammyJ

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Can you tell us more about him, how old he is, his diet, temperatures and humidity level, pictures of his enclosure? This may help a lot.
 
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Can you tell us more about him, how old he is, his diet, temperatures and humidity level, pictures of his enclosure? This may help a lot.
Yes mam I would like to send her pics to u but mam I want her to be fine pls tell about her shell her walking which is the main concern n food ummm I feed her okra and lettuce n carrot salad every day n once a weak beans n I also feed her cucumber twice a week n 8 hours of sunlight daily pls help .

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Markw84

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We would love to help... Please give us a bit more information. The issues that first come to mind are lack of proper exercise, improper substrate, and possible metabolic bone disease. We need to know more to really help.

The tortoise looks like it was previously healthy and growing well. How long have you had this tortoise? When did this condition start? What are you giving the tortoise for a source of calcium? A picture of it's enclosure, would be helpful to see how you are lighting, providing heat, substrate, keeping humidity, and hides for security. The same for where you keep it outdoors for 8 hours each day. Pictures please! Is that covered, have unfiltered sunlight plus shade available, and what is the substrate there?

Think about, and let us know, of any changes to the way the tortoise has been kept in the few months prior to this condition starting to show.
 
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We would love to help... Please give us a bit more information. The issues that first come to mind are lack of proper exercise, improper substrate, and possible metabolic bone disease. We need to know more to really help.

The tortoise looks like it was previously healthy and growing well. How long have you had this tortoise? When did this condition start? What are you giving the tortoise for a source of calcium? A picture of it's enclosure, would be helpful to see how you are lighting, providing heat, substrate, keeping humidity, and hides for security. The same for where you keep it outdoors for 8 hours each day. Pictures please! Is that covered, have unfiltered sunlight plus shade available, and what is the substrate there?

Think about, and let us know, of any changes to the way the tortoise has been kept in the few months prior to this condition starting to show.
She has pretty good shell that I will agree but she has problem in walking from 6 months almost now I keep her in her table n where she get proper sunlight n where their is also a hiding place but during sunlight she keeps sleeping under that hiding spot n doesn't come for sunlight but she keep her self under sunlight then she goes to sleep I feed her okra n lettuce salad each day n beans once a week n cucumber twice a day pls help me n if she has mbd then tell me one cure .
 

Markw84

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She has pretty good shell that I will agree but she has problem in walking from 6 months almost now I keep her in her table n where she get proper sunlight n where their is also a hiding place but during sunlight she keeps sleeping under that hiding spot n doesn't come for sunlight but she keep her self under sunlight then she goes to sleep I feed her okra n lettuce salad each day n beans once a week n cucumber twice a day pls help me n if she has mbd then tell me one cure .
Please answer all my questions so I can help you. I have numbered them here to help you. I need to know all these things to help...

1- How long have you had this tortoise?
2- When did this condition start? (You did answer that and apparently 6 months now)
3- What are you giving the tortoise for a source of calcium? Cuttlebone/calcium powder sprinkled on food/food items high in calcium/etc??
4- A picture of it's enclosure, would be helpful to see:
4a- how you are lighting, (what type bulbs? How long are they on?)
4b- providing heat, and night heat? What are the temperatures- Lowest at night? Highest when basking? Average Daytime?
4c -substrate,
4d- keeping humidity, What is the humidity in the enclosure where the tortoise stays?
4e- and hides for security.
5- The same for where you keep it outdoors for 8 hours each day. Pictures please!
5a- Is that covered,
5b- have unfiltered sunlight plus shade available, (what is the temperature in the sun and in the hide where she stays?
5c- what is the substrate there?
6- Think about, and let us know, of any changes to the way the tortoise has been kept in the few months prior to this condition starting to show.

The diet you are feeding is not good for a star tortoise and needs improvement. Please read this on how to raise a healthy leopard or sulcata. Star tortoise care is identical to leopard tortoises. Read through the diet recommendations. I find stars like grasses a bit more than leopards, but less than sulcatas.
 

Yvonne G

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I'm pretty sure your tortoise's problem is because he's living on a bare floor.
 

Markw84

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I'm pretty sure your tortoise's problem is because he's living on a bare floor.
Agree that is completely likely, but we can also see the diet is not good, no apparent calcium sources, and probably a tortoise that is staying in a hide and never warming its body to metabolize properly. Let's not give this poster the perfect out - to not answer the questions. Are we sure this tortoise wasn't just obtained perhaps 8-12 months ago and set up poorly in its newer environment? That's why such a nice looking tortoise probably 3 years old with great looking shell is now showing these signs? I'll bet there's a lot more to fix than getting it off a bare floor!
 

TammyJ

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Tanmay, please try to follow and answer the numbered questions from Markw84. This is the best way we can help !
 
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Please answer all my questions so I can help you. I have numbered them here to help you. I need to know all these things to help...

1- How long have you had this tortoise?
2- When did this condition start? (You did answer that and apparently 6 months now)
3- What are you giving the tortoise for a source of calcium? Cuttlebone/calcium powder sprinkled on food/food items high in calcium/etc??
4- A picture of it's enclosure, would be helpful to see:
4a- how you are lighting, (what type bulbs? How long are they on?)
4b- providing heat, and night heat? What are the temperatures- Lowest at night? Highest when basking? Average Daytime?
4c -substrate,
4d- keeping humidity, What is the humidity in the enclosure where the tortoise stays?
4e- and hides for security.
5- The same for where you keep it outdoors for 8 hours each day. Pictures please!
5a- Is that covered,
5b- have unfiltered sunlight plus shade available, (what is the temperature in the sun and in the hide where she stays?
5c- what is the substrate there?
6- Think about, and let us know, of any changes to the way the tortoise has been kept in the few months prior to this condition starting to show.

The diet you are feeding is not good for a star tortoise and needs improvement. Please read this on how to raise a healthy leopard or sulcata. Star tortoise care is identical to leopard tortoises. Read through the diet recommendations. I find stars like grasses a bit more than leopards, but less than sulcatas.
1-She is 3 years old .
2- she has paper in her tortoise table as a substrate.
3-i keep her table In sunlight for almost 8 hours a day .
4- I soak her for 20 minutes every day .
5-i feed her okra and lettuce salad every day n also feed her beans once a week n cucumber twice a week .
6- pictures of her home r attached below .
7- I don't her give any calcium powder or cuttle fish bone.
8- here r some of her pics on my bed if check her shell.
9- here r some more pics of her walking on my bed .
10- iam also sending her nail pics pls check that also .
11- some of her soaking pics under sunlight .
12- which calcium powder should I give her and by lookin at her shell I think mbd is not the problem. Pls help
 

Markw84

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@Tanmay Ambekar

You still have not answered the most important question for this issue - what has changed in the past 6-12 months and how long have YOU had this tortoise? To me it appears the tortoise was doing fairly well up until the past year. That allowed for good growth, but no substrate to properly walk on will cause the legs to no develop properly. A lack of calcium being able to be metabolized will then start the onset of metabolic bone disease which will effect the legs and only later become visible in the growth of the shell since the tortoise had a good start the first two years. Trouble with the back legs can also be a sign of an impaction, and with your tortoise's poor diet and no substrate, that could be an issue. Is your tortoise pooping normally? Have you seen it pass feces in the past week or more? Have you noticed your tortoise straining like it is trying to pass feces, but cannot? If this is the case you will need to address that immediately. Let us know...

You have a beautiful tortoise, but need to change most everything about how it is being kept to ensure it stays healthy. You need to do this immediately! It seems you have not bothered to look at the link on proper care for star and leopard tortoises I referenced above. I'll take the time to put a few things here for you so it is in one place to reference.

Star tortoises, especially their first few years, will fail to thrive and be active, unless you provide proper heat, humidity, and light. The enclosure you create for your tortoise is extremely important to set up properly. It needs to create the proper climate and secure feeling in a small space.

Star and leopard hatchlings are actually one of the more sensitive tortoise hatchlings to raise properly. I treat them exactly the same. Both are also extremely prone to pyramiding if not kept very humid. They also need a lot of warmth. I always follow what I call the 80/80 rule for tortoises I refer to as "monsoon tortoises". I keep them at a minimum of 80°f (27°C) and 80% relative humidity. I use the term monsoon, because most of the information out there for Leopards, Sulcatas, and Stars is outdated. It incorrectly assumes since they are from areas that get very dry and hot, they are a "desert" species. They are not. The have to hide and aestivate and wait out the drier seasons, and grow and thrive when the monsoons come. The monsoon season is what you want to duplicate in their housing.

To properly control heat and humidity, you will almost always have to go with a closed chamber. Even in a humid part of the world, the humidity and temperatures inside an enclosure is quite different than the temperature and humidity stated for your area at any time. Under the lights, and indoors, in a "box" and certainly sitting on newspaper, it will be VERY DIFFERENT! Boxes, plastic open bins, open tortoise tables - do not work and are extremely bad for these type tortoises. Humidity should always stay around 80% and temperatures should never drop below 80°f (27°C). They need a basking area where it is around 100°f (38°C). Daytime overall temps in the enclosure should be in the 27° - 32° range. A humid hide should be provided that holds humidity, provides security, and stays around 28° - 29°

You need a good substrate. Newspaper is probably the worst! Bare tile is also terrible. They need a natural surface they can walk and exercise on. Something that will hold moisture and not mold or rot. Clean, untreated soil can work. Many use coco coir. The best substrate I have found is orchid bark (fir bark). Pet shops sell it as reptibark, but it is about 5 times more expensive if sold by a pet shop as opposed to going to a garden center and buying fine grade, pure, orchid bark. It holds moisture well, and will not mold. All my tortoises thrive no it. I put about 3" layer in the enclosure and dump about a gallon of water in and mix it all up so the bark is uniformly moist. That keeps the humidity up and simulates the conditions they would be actively growing in the wild. Never let the temps drop below 27°. Never use a heat pad, or heat from below.

To control heat and light you will need:

A UVB/UVA source. They need UVB exposure to properly manufacture vitamin D3 so they can utilize calcium they need for proper bone growth. Outside, full sun just a few hours a week will do this. If that is not possible, you need to provide a UVB source. UVA is also critical for proper health and activity. It is a key trigger for activity, breeding, and feeding. Be sure you have both adequate UVA and UVB available. A Fluorescent tube is the best for this. Arcadia is a great brand popular in Europe. I use the T5 HO 12.0 46" bulb. (Some use a MVB (mercury vapor bulb) for both heat and UVB, but I find they are impossible to use in a properly enclosed chamber as they will overheat the enclosure. That is why the fluorescent tubes are by far the best choice. Also the MVB tend to stop putting out good UVB within 4-8 months by actual measurement.) The fluorescent tubes I use continue to provide good UVB for a few years. I always check UVB output with a solarmeter to ensure proper exposure. Outside time is perhaps the best way to get good UVB exposure. Just an hour or so at least twice a week is enough. However, you have to be sure there is nothing blocking the UVB from the sunlight. glass, plastic, screens all filter out UVB and if your tortoise is in "sunlight" but it is coming through a window, or screen, of plastic covering, there is no UVB that your tortoise is getting!! Be sure to watch temperatures in the sun and have shade available always. It can get too hot very quickly.

A Basking area light. Your tortoise needs to be able to heat its core body temp up to properly metabolize food. They need to control their body temperature and get the core temperature to 84°f (29°C) which is the perfect thermal metabolic temperature for a tortoise. However, a tortoise also needs to be able to heat their skin to allow for the metabolism of Pre-vitamin D to Vitamin D3. This happens primarily in the thinner skin on the backs of their legs which you will see them stretch out and expose while basking. This takes a warmer basking spot than just 29°. This takes a few hours of basking time a week. Basking also stimulates activity. I use simple incandescent FLOOD bulbs. 50-65 watts is plenty, hung above the basking area adjusting height to get a temperature of 38°-39° directly below at tortoise shell height. Do not use a spot type bulb. They focus the heat in too narrow a place and will overly desiccate the carapace. I have my lights on a timer that is set for 14 hours a day of light, followed by 10 hours of complete darkness.

Night heat/overall temp control. You need to ensure the temp never drops below 27°. You want total darkness for proper night rest. I use a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) for this connected to a thermostat set for 27°. This will probably only kick on briefly at night as the lights will provide enough heat during the day. It will kick on if the enclosure temperature drops below 27° and back off once it reaches 28°. A CHE heats by emitting far-IR - which is a deeper heating, less desiccating type of IR heat. They emit no visible light. Do not use any type of incandescent "night light" like the red, or blue, or black night lights. Tortoises have much better color vision than humans, and can see wavelengths we cannot. They actually have 4 types of cones in their eye vs. humans who have only 3. Colors look much different to them, and are key triggers for activity, eating, circadian and circannual rhythms. Red lights are well within their vision and red triggers many eating choices. Blue is also very visible to them, in fact, they can see ultraviolet light that is invisible to us. Blue also is a key Circadian trigger. In addition to all this, all these incandescent night bulbs also emit far more near-IR than they do visible light. Near-IR is infrared radiation that is very close (near) the wavelength that is visible light. It is far more desiccating to the carapace of the tortoise, and maintaining proper carapace and keratin hydration is key to preventing pyramiding.

Always have clean drinking water available in a source big enough for the tortoise to get into and soak. I use the clay saucers that go under flower pots. They work perfectly. Avoid anything too deep or with straight, vertical sides.

Soak your tortoise in a bath of warm water daily for 30 minutes or so as much as possible. This is extremely important for overall health and hydration. Use an opaque tub he cannot see out of and ensure the water stays in the 30° to 38° range. I start with water that is about 38° and by the time it has cooled to 31° or so, your tortoise will probably have pooed in the water and it will need changing anyway. Your tortoise will normally poo in the bath water and this will actually dramatically reduce mess in the enclosure that would have to be picked out. Your tortoise will learn to stretch out and "bask" in the soak for a bit and then become quite active, like he is trying to get out. I like this as it is a valuable exercise time for him. Kind of my tortoise treadmill. Exercise is very important to overall health, muscle/bone development, and proper bowel movement (gastro-intestinal health).

A star tortoise needs room to roam. I start hatchlings in a 3' x 6' enclosure. That will work for their first 2 years. Once they hit about 16-20cm, I would go with a 3x8 enclosure as a minimum. An adult leopard should be outside as much as weather will permit. A hatchling will do much better in a closed chamber like I've described, than they will do outside, even in "perfect" temperatures outside. I limit outside time for young tortoises to about 1 hour outside time per day max. for each 1" in overall length of your tortoise. So I will limit outside time to 3 hours max in a day for a tortoise that is 3" (8cm) long.

Food is obviously very important. Star tortoises are primarily leafy green, with some grass, eaters. Be careful to feed foods with proper calcium to phosphorus ratios. They need high fiber. They cannot digest, and it unbalances the gut chemistry, if you give them fruits. Keep it low protein. If you have to supplement with grocery greens go with endive, the darkest green parts of Romaine, green leaf, red leaf. If you can get opuntia cactus (prickley pear cactus) it is one of the best sources of calcium and a great food. Weeds are the best. Dandelion, mallow, plantain, thistle, filaree, sow thistle, milk thistle, wild mustard, colvers, chick weed, hawksbit, hensbit, cats ear, nettles. Lots of plants you can grow are also great foods. I grow as many edible plants as possible anywhere I need plants in my landscaping: Mulberry leaves, grape leaves, hibiscus leaves & flowers, Rose of Sharon, rose, gazanias, petunias, pansies, hostas, honeysuckle, geraniums, leaves and blooms from any squash/pumpkin/cucumber, most succulents like jade or aeonium. Grass is also great for fiber, so start adding a bit of fresh cut grass on top of the food. It may take a while, but they do learn to like it.

To ensure good calcium, I always have a cuttlebone available in the enclosure. Some will ignore it for a month or more, then suddenly start eating it. You can also use chicken eggshells, boiled, and then crushed and sprinkle on top of the food.

For ideas, here is a few pictures of my enclosure I use. Compare them to your enclosure. I think you will immediately see the difference. I am trying to create a little piece of the environment where the tortoise would normally live. I've also added a picture of a 9 month old leopard and 10 month old sulcata from my group I have kept back to show you how a properly raised tortoise should look. Follow the guidelines above and you will see similar results. Before you take advice from anyone on raising a tortoise, ask to see picture of their tortoises they raised to see if what they are proposing really works, and is not just repeated theories they have obtained online...

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Smooth sulcata.jpg
 
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Hello sir this for helping but in India we don't have all this things like substrate we have very hot whether here n plenty of sunlight . I have her for 3 years now she might be 3.15 years old .she has problem in walking that's all .
 

Bee62

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Hello @Tanmay Ambekar
To keep a tortoise on paper causes the problem with walking.
If you give your tort some soil from outside ( earth, not sprinkled with chemicals ) in her enclosure it will be much more comfortable for her and easier to walk. The problem is the paper.
 

Markw84

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Hello sir this for helping but in India we don't have all this things like substrate we have very hot whether here n plenty of sunlight . I have her for 3 years now she might be 3.15 years old .she has problem in walking that's all .
Did you even read what I took the time to post for you?
You don't have those things in India? Under substrate I gave you options including SOIL. Dirt, garden soil, earth??
If you've had this tortoise the entire 3 years and kept her the exact same way for 3 years, then the problem you are seeing is an ongoing problem due to the way you are keeping her that is now reaching the point where she can barely walk. That can be a combination of the lack of any substrate where she can walk properly to develop leg mobility and muscles, and could be added to by a lack of calcium for proper bone development.
--or--
Your tortoise has a blockage that also can kill it if you don't do something. That also is a result of the way she is being kept as diet and exercise as well as proper hydration and metabolic temperatures all contribute to proper digestion and then... bowel movement.

You ignore all the information I give, yet say you just want help with walking. I am taking the time to give you that information because that is what is needed to correct the problem with the limited information we have to go on.

But you do not even answer if she has had any reqular bowel movement in the past week or so, or is straining like trying to force a bowel movement.

Both of these issues are the long-term result of the way she is being fed and housed.
 
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She doesn't have any bowled problem n sir actually we stay in a building n I can't keep soil in her table becuz all the soil will enter our home by wind so I thought paper but paper is not good should I keep cotton matts in her table n pls tell some simple food n calcium score a u said
 

TammyJ

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Markw84 has taken a lot of time to help you and is just about the best expert here. What you cannot get in India can be substituted for something else similar. I live in Jamaica in the Caribbean, so I also cannot get some of the things that are recommended by the experts.
You say you cannot use soil as a substrate because it will "enter our home by wind". This means that your tortoise is in an open enclosure, so you just need to change it for a large plastic box with a cover so no wind can blow out anything that is in it and the tortoise is protected from the outside environment and possible predators - cats, dogs, or children who may hurt him by mistake if they can get to him.
The problem of the weakened/paralysed hind legs might be helped a lot by giving the tortoise what he needs in terms of humidity, as in a closed container like in the pictures Mark has put in for you. Also the substrate could be some grass and leaves, weeds etc. that you are sure have not been sprayed with any pesticide or insecticides.
My tortoises get good exercise pushing themselves forward through the weeds in a section of their enclosures, and they have cuttlebone available for calcium. The grass/weeds will also make the enclosure more humid, especially if you spray it with a little water every morning. The grass/weeds should be changed regularly for fresh ones to ensure that mold and fungus does not take hold in there.
The diet that Mark has recommended should be followed to ensure that the tortoise gets the best chance to grow stronger and healthier from now on, so try to get some of those better diet items. Can you get pumpkin leaves and flowers over there in India? Those are great food for him.
I am a bit concerned about the time (8 hours every day?) in the sunlight, it may be too much/too hot for him?
Please, please take some time and read all the questions and try to be patient as we are really hoping to help you here!:)
 
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Markw84

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She doesn't have any bowled problem n sir actually we stay in a building n I can't keep soil in her table becuz all the soil will enter our home by wind so I thought paper but paper is not good should I keep cotton matts in her table n pls tell some simple food n calcium score a u said
I apologize for being blunt, but that is the same as saying you want to keep a fish but you can't have water in the aquarium because it might spill. If that is the case - there is no way you should have a fish!

If you want to keep a tortoise - it must have some type of earth to live on.

Perhaps this will help combined with what I have already offered:

Click on this link...

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...rtoises-modified-for-indian-residents.139674/
 
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