Mom in need of HELP!

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JamJam

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I have had a russian tortiose for about 11 days. At Petco we were given some advice that I think is leading us astray. Now I think poor Waffle is in shock and I am really getting worried. PLEASE HELP.

Heres the deal:
The pet store said he and his companion hadn't been eating much. They thought they were quasi hibernating even though the temp was correct (or so they assured me). They told me not to be worried if the tortise did not eat much until spring or if he was very inactive.

This seemed a bit contrary to what I had read, but the staff seems (seemed) so bright and passionate. The more I read, the more concern I have that Waffle is sick or in shock. I need help.

Behavior:
We have had him since 12/23. He has had one bite of food since then. Romaine lettuce, parsley, and yellow peppers (his fav. according to petco). All have been rejected.

We were advised to bath him daily. (I am moving to once a week now that the overwelming majority of resources seem to think my petco advice is excessive). I have yet to see him drink or see him relieve himself. The skin around his head and legs is lose. I read this is a sign of dehydration. The humidity is at 50-60%. I spray the soil twice a day.

I noticed his nose was a little wet today. This concerns me. He spends most of his day burrowed and his eyes are starting to stay shut more often. He is sometimes in the basking area, but most often he is in the center of the tank. This suggests, at least to me, that the temp. can't be too bad, right? His tail never moves--it is always in the same spot (wrapped around).

He seems to like us. Doesn't shrink away, looks straight at us. Doesn't seem scared.

Enviroment:
I have him in a glass enclosure. (I know, I know, but it is a starting location until I come up with a more creative place for him to live). I am putting a boarder up so that he knows that there is a wall.

The temp is 80 - 85 in basking area, and 70-75 in the non-basking side of the tank. I have some heat from a pad, the rest from overhead lights. I also have a uv light between 12-14 hours a day. His bedding is 100% unidentified dirt that came in block. It expanded with the addition of water. I forgot the brand (cut me some slack--25 year old single mom trying to give my son a pet/friend.) Once a day I take him out to wander the house.
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Now what:
I am worried that he is in shock or sick. I have no idea how to fix this. I am hesitant to run him to a vet tomorrow (because I don't want to add additional stress--the vet is not close). On the other hand, we've become VERY attached and I don't want him to be unhappy (best case) or die. Again please please please help.

Is this normal? Am I overreacting? Underreacting?
Also, he is pretty close to the tv...might this freak him out?​
 

Fiddlerchick

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Hi there JamJam, and welcome!

I’m afraid I can’t at this point offer much in the way of sage advice because I am also a brand-new tortoise mom, but my basic sense from your post is as follows:

1) The runny nose – it sounds like Waffle might very well have a respiratory infection, and should see a vet sooner rather than later;

2) I’d start by moving him away from the TV since I would think that he might find the deep, rumbling vibration and flashing lights unsettling since torts have good eyesight (you said Waffle is in a glass enclosure) and are sensitive to vibration, and are used to sleeping after sundown;

3) It sounds like your temperatures are in the correct range, but I suspect the humidity level in his enclosure might be rather high for a Russian, as they are originally from an arid climate in Central Asia;

4) You didn’t mention where you live, but it is raining hard in Los Angeles now, and our little Farishta (who wandered into our yard about one month ago and we took her in) finds gloomy weather as depressing and sleep-inducing as the cats and I do, so that could be a contributing factor if it applies in your case;

5) Our Farishta has been responding well to daily warm water soaks. She “does her business” after about 30 minutes in the tub (we warm up the water when it cools down), and then I take her out for a walk in the garden outside our apartment. The soaking is apparently good for re-hydrating them. She enjoys these outdoor walks very much and eats stuff she finds growing outside, although she has not yet demonstrated any interest in any food I have put in her indoor enclosure so far (a whole range of veggies, fruit, flowers and things to entice her to at least try something).

Do you have access to any outdoor space where there might be grass and various weeds, plants, flowers, etc., that are not toxic to torts (check this page: http://www.sdturtle.org/Plants that Poison.htm ) and that has not been sprayed with pesticides, fertilizers, etc., where you or your son could take her out for supervised walks whenever the weather permits?

Hopefully the veteran tort “parents” will come online soon and give you better advice, but in the meantime, my best wishes for the new year, and a swift and successful recovery for Waffle!

-Brenda K

P.S. Waffle is indeed lucky to have found a home with someone who cares about him as much as you do! :cool:
 

Fiddlerchick

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10 Year Member!
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Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles, CA
Hi there JamJam, and welcome!

I’m afraid I can’t at this point offer much in the way of sage advice because I am also a brand-new tortoise mom, but my basic sense from your post is as follows:

1) The runny nose – it sounds like Waffle might very well have a respiratory infection, and should see a vet sooner rather than later;

2) I’d start by moving him away from the TV since I would think that he might find the deep, rumbling vibration and flashing lights unsettling since torts have good eyesight (you said Waffle is in a glass enclosure) and are sensitive to vibration, and are used to sleeping after sundown;

3) It sounds like your temperatures are in the correct range, but I suspect the humidity level in his enclosure might be rather high for a Russian, as they are originally from an arid climate in Central Asia;

4) You didn’t mention where you live, but it is raining hard in Los Angeles now, and our little Farishta (who wandered into our yard about one month ago and we took her in) finds gloomy weather as depressing and sleep-inducing as the cats and I do, so that could be a contributing factor if it applies in your case;

5) Our Farishta has been responding well to daily warm water soaks. She “does her business” after about 30 minutes in the tub (we warm up the water when it cools down), and then I take her out for a walk in the garden outside our apartment. The soaking is apparently good for re-hydrating them. She enjoys these outdoor walks very much and eats stuff she finds growing outside, although she has not yet demonstrated any interest in any food I have put in her indoor enclosure so far (a whole range of veggies, fruit, flowers and things to entice her to at least try something).

Do you have access to any outdoor space where there might be grass and various weeds, plants, flowers, etc., that are not toxic to torts (check this page: http://www.sdturtle.org/Plants that Poison.htm ) and that has not been sprayed with pesticides, fertilizers, etc., where you or your son could take her out for supervised walks whenever the weather permits?

Hopefully the veteran tort “parents” will come online soon and give you better advice, but in the meantime, my best wishes for the new year, and a swift and successful recovery for Waffle!

-Brenda K

P.S. Waffle is indeed lucky to have found a home with someone who cares about him as much as you do! :cool:
 

egyptiandan

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Brenda gave some great advice. :D
To expand on that I'd stop using the heat pad. Tortoises aren't good at regulating their body temperature on a heat pad. Do you know the temperature right under your basking lamp?
I would also not let him run around the house. This time of year the floors are cool and drafty, not good for a tortoise.
With the runny nose it does sound like a respiratory infection. Make sure you call your vet to find out if they treat tortoises. If they don't search for ones near you that do. If thats not possible, find an excellent one somewhere and have your vet call them for consultation purposes. That way your tortoise will get the best care possible.
If possible can you post pictures of your Russians and your set-up? That would give us a better idea of whats going on. :D

Danny
 
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