I lost my Sulcata Sammy today...

Eryn

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Today before work I checked on Sammy, my African Spurred Tortoise, and he was unresponsive to me handling him. Usually when I would pick him up, he would stick his head out and open his eyes. When I found him today however, he had retracted his front legs to cover his face and when I pulled them away, I noticed his head was retracted fully into his shell, his eyes were barely open and his legs went limp moments later. I read here that soaking a tortoise can sometimes get a response from them but Sammy didn't seem to react to that either.. I took him to a reptile vet nearby and they concluded he was already dead before he got there. What bothered me though was the fact that his head was in his shell when I found him. I had read that when a Tortoise dies, their heads are limp and out of their shells.

Another point is I noticed Sammy had a bit of a runny nose and his eye was swollen. I was giving him turtle eye drops daily for a week but saw no improvement. I had planned on taking Sammy to the vet to get checked out but money has been so tight lately... I was actually going to make an appointment for him tomorrow when I found him today.

I feel like I could have saved him if only I had gotten him to the vet sooner.. Also, if he was dehydrated, maybe if I soaked him a bit longer he would have finally gave me a reaction? I don't know.. I'm just so distraught about this. I had gotten him from a friend who got him from a lady that couldn't take care of him. My roommate and I figured that Sammy may had already been sick when I got him. He was 3 years old, according to the friend I got him from. I have another friend who has a 16 year old African Spurred and when I first got Sammy, I asked them for advice. They made a point that they never soaked their Tortoise before and she grew up fine. Upon reading more and more about Sulcatas though, many people have said to soak them at least once a week. I feel like if I had done that instead of listen to my friend, Sammy might still be alive. I feel like its my fault even though everyone says it's not...

Anyways, I was just curious if a Sulcata dying with its head in its shell is normal. I feel like he could have lived or still been alive...
 

tortdad

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Sorry about your tort. What temps were you keeping it in? Sounds like it was too cold and not soaked enough.
 

crimson_lotus

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Very sorry for your loss. Sounds like maybe a respiratory infection. Agree with the above, he may have been cold and dehydrated. What was your set-up like?
 

Eryn

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Sammy had a good basking spot with a temp around 95° f. I would turn the lamp off at night and turn it on when I got up in the mornings. He would stay in a 40 gallon tank when I wasn't home but I would let him out in the house and let him explore if he wanted. I'd also take him outside with me on warm sunny days when I didn't have to work so he could get some natural sunlight. I was also feeding him shredded collard greens mixed with grass and clovers from my backyard. I also sprinkled powdered vitamin c over his food and would soak the leafs in bottled spring water so he could get some water while he ate.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Eryn:

I'm so sorry that you lost your little sulcata. Unless you have a necropsy, it doesn't benefit you to play the "woulda' , coulda' , shoulda'" game. It only serves to make you feel bad.

The only thing for you to do now, is research. If you plan on getting another tortoise, research, research, research!! Get it all set up before you get the animal and make sure you know how to care for it.
 

Eryn

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Hi Eryn:

I'm so sorry that you lost your little sulcata. Unless you have a necropsy, it doesn't benefit you to play the "woulda' , coulda' , shoulda'" game. It only serves to make you feel bad.

The only thing for you to do now, is research. If you plan on getting another tortoise, research, research, research!! Get it all set up before you get the animal and make sure you know how to care for it.
I don't think I'll be getting another Sulcata any time soon. It wouldn't feel right.. I should have asked my vet to do a necropsy but I didn't even think about it and my vet didn't suggest it.
 

Jodie

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So sorry for your loss. Blaming yourself will not help. It is always hard.
 

Tom

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If you ever do get another tortoise, I would not listen to that "friend". She's telling you all the old outdated stuff that kills tortoises. A few, like hers, somehow manage to survive and get over the hump, but that does not mean her methods are "optimal" or even good. It just means that her tortoise survived long enough to make it.
 

Eryn

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If you ever do get another tortoise, I would not listen to that "friend". She's telling you all the old outdated stuff that kills tortoises. A few, like hers, somehow manage to survive and get over the hump, but that does not mean her methods are "optimal" or even good. It just means that her tortoise survived long enough to make it.

Yeah... You're right. I know my friend meant well. I guess I'll know all of this for the future.
 

spud's_mum

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o_O I don't use heat at night for spud. Although it rarely drops below 20* will he be ok?

I'm sorry for your poll :(
 

Mamadee

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I am so sorry for your loss.
 

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tortdad

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My friend said I wouldn't need night time heat but it stayed relatively warm in my house. I'm sure that didn't really help though.
It sucks you lost your tort. Do you plan on getting another one?
 

DawnH

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I am so sorry for your loss. They definitely need heat as night also. This is a great site to read about the different varieties of tortoises and decide if another species is right for you as well as all that is required for that species. Losing a pet you love is never easy. Big hugs to you!
 

WithLisa

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I'm sorry for your loss, I'm sure you tried to give Sammy the best care. :(

o_O I don't use heat at night for spud. Although it rarely drops below 20* will he be ok?
Spud is a Hermann's, right? They don't need heat at night. On the contrary, I think that colder night temperatures would be healthier (in their natural habitat, the current night temperature is around 10-15°C).
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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I soak all my tortoises, different species, at least 4 times a week....Remember that for next time. And research here before you get anything else, sorry you lost your tort. It's hard
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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o_O I don't use heat at night for spud. Although it rarely drops below 20* will he be ok?

I'm sorry for your poll :(
I don't know what 20* is, but I would never allow my Sulcata babies to be below 75 to 80 at night. Spud looks like a small Sulcata, he needs humidity all night, warm not cold. Read the stickies at the top of the section
 

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