My Gopherus isn’t eating and is sleeping all day

CharSparda

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He had been very active until last week when he started to sleep a lot and eating only from time to time (yesterday he ate just a little bit of his scarole). I gave him a bath yesterday and he pooped twice, but he immediately wanted to sleep again.

could he be trying to brumate? Should I be worried? Whenever I pick him up he wakes up and he hold me very strong.

should I let him brumate?

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That’s him a few minutes ago

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And that’s him yesterday when he was trying to escape from his bath (he got all wet because he fell backwards lol)
 

MenagerieGrl

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I have several suggestions, Keep up with the soaks, keep plying him with his favorite foods. What is the substrate in his Enclosure? It should be like Fine to medium Orchid Bark. Are you providing any Heat? If they are not kept warm, they have a hard time digesting their food. Are you providing any UV light?

Not sure if you have seen this. . .
@Yvonne G Might be able to chime in on this. . .
 

CharSparda

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I have several suggestions, Keep up with the soaks, keep plying him with his favorite foods. What is the substrate in his Enclosure? It should be like Fine to medium Orchid Bark. Are you providing any Heat? If they are not kept warm, they have a hard time digesting their food. Are you providing any UV light?

Not sure if you have seen this. . .
@Yvonne G Might be able to chime in on this. . .
Hello! Thank you

i will give him a soak tomorrow then. His substrate is coconut fiber and medium orchid bark (it’s actually pine). Most of it is coconut fiber though, deep enough for gim to dig. He has a 50w Heath lamp and a small UVB lamp which is about 30-40 cms above his enclosure.

imma check the link you sent
 

MenagerieGrl

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I would also suggest using a infrared Heat gun to check for temps. Is the enclosure open of closed? Why is/does the Bark look red? it that because of the lighting? or is it colored Bark, which would not be good.
 

CharSparda

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That’s his enclosure for now. It’s about 1.5 meters long. He has an UVB light and an infrared bulb, his temp (according to the term) is at 76-78 right now, and today he went out for some food (he’s awake right now).

oh and the bark isn’t colored, it must be because of the whole light and enclosure.
 

Yvonne G

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Pine and that compact fluorescent bulb are both eye irritants. He may be hiding because he's uncomfortable out of the hiding place. I'm fairly certain if you make some corrections to your husbandry you'll start seeing more of your tortoise:

- Set up a framework across the length of the enclosure so the lights hang straight down (the clamps sometimes fail and the light falls into the enclosure, also, lights should point down for most efficient use of the light). My UVB light of choice is a 22" T 5 fluorescent tube.

- pine and cedar (aromatic oils) are harmful to the sensitive tortoise. Pine and fir are not the same thing. Fir bark, cypress mulch, coco coir are all good, non harmful substrates.

- Buy a cheap dish pan at the dollar store and cut a doorway out of one end to use instead of the cardboard box. Once you moisten the substrate as it should be, the cardboard will start to disintegrate.

- Instead of a red light for heat use a 100 watt CHE (ceramic heat emitter) on a thermostat. Some tortoises are encouraged to eat their substrate when it's red from the light.

- Move your gauge down to tortoise level.

- Figure out a way to cover or partially cover the enclosure to keep the cool air from your house out and the warm, moist air in.

- Think about setting a few potted plants around inside so he feels a little more covered up.

All of these things are contributing to your little guy wanting to snug down inside his shelter. Make some corrections and you'll start seeing more of him.
 

MenagerieGrl

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One thing I think I see is. . . Is the the UV bulb a Compact fluorescent Bulb? They are known to burn the eyes. the preferred bulb is a T5 UV Tube. Honestly I'm not sure why the coil bulbs burn the eyes, It is highly recommended here. Do a search for" 14% UVB T5 Bulb - 22" (Arcadia)" Arcadia is the brand. they come in different lengths and UV outputs.
 

MenagerieGrl

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Pine and that compact fluorescent bulb are both eye irritants. He may be hiding because he's uncomfortable out of the hiding place. I'm fairly certain if you make some corrections to your husbandry you'll start seeing more of our tortoise:

- Set up a framework across the length of the enclosure so the lights hang straight down (the clamps sometimes fail and the light falls into the enclosure, also, lights should point down for most efficient use of the light)

- pine and cedar (aromatic oils) are harmful to the sensitive tortoise. Pine and fir are not the same thing. Fir bark, cypress mulch, coco coir are all good, non harmful substrates.

- Buy a cheap dish pan at the dollar store and cut a doorway out of one end to use instead of the cardboard box. Once you moisten the substrate as it should be, the cardboard will start to disintegrate.

- Instead of a red light for heat use a 100 watt CHE (ceramic heat emitter) on a thermostat. Some tortoises are encouraged to eat their substrate when it's red from the light.

- Move your gauge down to tortoise level.

- Figure out a way to cover or partially cover the enclosure to keep the cool air from your house out and the warm, moist air in.

- Think about setting a few potted plants around inside so he feels a little more covered up.

All of these things are contributing to your little guy wanting to snug down inside his shelter. Make some corrections and you'll start seeing more of him.
Thank you, Yvonne for chiming in. . . ?
 

Lyn W

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Your bulbs need to hang because your tort isn't getting the full benefit of the heat and uvb etc. when they are at an angle. Have you checked the temps at tort level with a reliable thermometer? The dial type you are using is too high on the side and they can be inaccurate.. A digital thermometer/hygrometer placed at tort level would give you more accurate readings . A digital temp gun is great for spot checking temps around the enclosure.
The clamps have also been known to fail and cause fires so hanging them is much safer and you can adjust temps by raising or lowering them.
Red bulbs aren't great because they colour the substrate etc and encourage torts to eat things they shouldn't.
The coil/cfl bulbs have a reputation for affecting tort eyes, you should be aware of the risk in case your tort develops any eyes problems.
A plastic box with a hole cut in it would be better hide. Cardboard can get soggy and mouldy - it is also a fire hazard under lamps.
Your substrate looks very dry - check the caresheet linked above to see what the humidity levels should be and if pine bark is OK to use. I don't think that pine bark and orchid bark are the same.
 

CharSparda

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Pine and that compact fluorescent bulb are both eye irritants. He may be hiding because he's uncomfortable out of the hiding place. I'm fairly certain if you make some corrections to your husbandry you'll start seeing more of your tortoise:

- Set up a framework across the length of the enclosure so the lights hang straight down (the clamps sometimes fail and the light falls into the enclosure, also, lights should point down for most efficient use of the light). My UVB light of choice is a 22" T 5 fluorescent tube.

- pine and cedar (aromatic oils) are harmful to the sensitive tortoise. Pine and fir are not the same thing. Fir bark, cypress mulch, coco coir are all good, non harmful substrates.

- Buy a cheap dish pan at the dollar store and cut a doorway out of one end to use instead of the cardboard box. Once you moisten the substrate as it should be, the cardboard will start to disintegrate.

- Instead of a red light for heat use a 100 watt CHE (ceramic heat emitter) on a thermostat. Some tortoises are encouraged to eat their substrate when it's red from the light.

- Move your gauge down to tortoise level.

- Figure out a way to cover or partially cover the enclosure to keep the cool air from your house out and the warm, moist air in.

- Think about setting a few potted plants around inside so he feels a little more covered up.

All of these things are contributing to your little guy wanting to snug down inside his shelter. Make some corrections and you'll start seeing more of him.

Thank you a lot for all the info! I think I’ll do the frame and the roof on my own within the next days, as for the bulbs, what I understand is that both the red bulb and the UVB bulb are both perjudicial for my tort?

I immediately ran to the closest pet shop and found these:

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is any of those OK? Or should I get the ceramic heat light and the UV tube? The ones that caught my attention were these:
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which is quite expensive (about 100 dollars) and the following:

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regardless the price, are those OK or should I keep on looking?
 

CharSparda

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Location (City and/or State)
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Your bulbs need to hang because your tort isn't getting the full benefit of the heat and uvb etc. when they are at an angle. Have you checked the temps at tort level with a reliable thermometer? The dial type you are using is too high on the side and they can be inaccurate.. A digital thermometer/hygrometer placed at tort level would give you more accurate readings . A digital temp gun is great for spot checking temps around the enclosure.
The clamps have also been known to fail and cause fires so hanging them is much safer and you can adjust temps by raising or lowering them.
Red bulbs aren't great because they colour the substrate etc and encourage torts to eat things they shouldn't.
The coil/cfl bulbs have a reputation for affecting tort eyes, you should be aware of the risk in case your tort develops any eyes problems.
A plastic box with a hole cut in it would be better hide. Cardboard can get soggy and mouldy - it is also a fire hazard under lamps.
Your substrate looks very dry - check the caresheet linked above to see what the humidity levels should be and if pine bark is OK to use. I don't think that pine bark and orchid bark are the same.
Thanks! I already bought a plastic hide for him but he doesn’t like it, he prefers the cardboard one lol but I guess I’m gonna keep on looking for another option.

as for the dryness, the vet told me a 30-40% humidity was alright, which is very very dry, so should I spray it every now and then still?
 

MenagerieGrl

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So, I prefer the CHE (Ceramic Heating Emitter), for heat. They are great at providing heat and can be left on at night if needed. They are good as they do not provide light at night letting the tort sleep in the dark. Additionally, since they are not a filament fixture the CHE's last a long time. Re : humidity, even temperate Torts can use humidity, keep the ambient humidity at 50-80%, and in the Hide, 80 to 100% can be beneficial . This is why "Closed" enclosures are preferred and able to keep the humidity up in acceptable levels. In my enclosure I frequently add 3 to 4 quarts of water to keep the orchid bark moist. Moist, not soaking. Oh, and Flood bulbs are preferred to Spot bulbs. Spot's concentrate the heat to such a small area.
When using the CHE, you need to use a Porcelain socket fixture. Like the Fluker's Fixture at the bottom of your first Pet store Picture.

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1640751592792
 
Last edited:

Lyn W

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Thank you a lot for all the info! I think I’ll do the frame and the roof on my own within the next days, as for the bulbs, what I understand is that both the red bulb and the UVB bulb are both perjudicial for my tort?

I immediately ran to the closest pet shop and found these:

View attachment 338189

is any of those OK? Or should I get the ceramic heat light and the UV tube? The ones that caught my attention were these:
View attachment 338190

which is quite expensive (about 100 dollars) and the following:

View attachment 338191

regardless the price, are those OK or should I keep on looking?
The mvb bulbs aren't recommended anymore because they have been found to dry and damage tort shells, and spot basking bulbs can also be too intense so look for a flood type. Many of us use the T5 HO UVB tube kits with separate basking flood bulbs and/or a che run through a thermostat which will stop it over heating and cooking your tort. USA members may be able to give you other basking bulb options available to you at hardware stores. UVB kits tube are available online if your stores don't have them.
Check the caresheet linked above for humidity, that will be your best guide and Yvonne G is one of the most experienced and respected members here so take note of her advice too.
He will eventually use your plastic hide if you leave it - they don't like change so need time to adjust to new things.
 

CharSparda

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
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So, I prefer the CHE (Ceramic Heating Emitter), for heat. They are great at providing heat and can be left on at night if needed. They are good as they do not provide light at night letting the tort sleep in the dark. Additionally, since they are not a filament fixture the CHE's last a long time. Re : humidity, even temperate Torts can use humidity, keep the ambient humidity at 50-80%, and in the Hide, 80 to 100% can be beneficial . This is why "Closed" enclosures are preferred and able to keep the humidity up in acceptable levels. In my enclosure I frequently add 3 to 4 quarts of water to keep the orchid bark moist. Moist, not soaking. Oh, and Flood bulbs are preferred to Spot bulbs. Spot's concentrate the heat to such a small area.
When using the CHE, you need to use a Porcelain socket fixture. Like the Fluker's Fixture at the bottom of your first Pet store Picture.

View attachment 338194
View attachment 338193

Thank you for all the support! I already have the Fluker's Fixture so it won't be a problem to own the CHE. I already ordered that one.

The one I'm having problems finding it is the UVB tube, it's apparently very rare. I'll go to Petco this afternoon to see if they can find it, if not I'm going to have to order it from amazon, although the one that you showed me isn't available here in Mexico.
 

CharSparda

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Mexico City
The mvb bulbs aren't recommended anymore because they have been found to dry and damage tort shells, and spot basking bulbs can also be too intense so look for a flood type. Many of us use the T5 HO UVB tube kits with separate basking flood bulbs and/or a che run through a thermostat which will stop it over heating and cooking your tort. USA members may be able to give you other basking bulb options available to you at hardware stores. UVB kits tube are available online if your stores don't have them.
Check the caresheet linked above for humidity, that will be your best guide and Yvonne G is one of the most experienced and respected members here so take note of her advice too.
He will eventually use your plastic hide if you leave it - they don't like change so need time to adjust to new things.

Ok I already bought a new plastic hide (it's for a hamster but it should work). As for the UVB HO T5 I have some doubts, should it be 10.0 UVB or 5.0 UVB? The description says 10.0 is for desert reptiles so I'm guessing that's the right one, but it's also more rare to find...

I'm also looking for a carpenter to follow Yvonne's advices, thank you!!
 

MenagerieGrl

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Ok I already bought a new plastic hide (it's for a hamster but it should work). As for the UVB HO T5 I have some doubts, should it be 10.0 UVB or 5.0 UVB? The description says 10.0 is for desert reptiles so I'm guessing that's the right one, but it's also more rare to find...

I'm also looking for a carpenter to follow Yvonne's advices, thank you!!
So, the intensity of the T5 HO depends on how far away from the surface the bulb is. Really what is needed, is a UV meter, problem is they are NOT cheap and in the neighborhood of $250us. Additionally, they are a supplement when sunshine is not available, as in Winter time when it is hard to get tort's outside.
With that being said get what you can get and follow any instructions on the package. I believe the 10.0 recommends a 20" distance.
I'll Tag a member that know more than I.
@Tom
 

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