My rescue has a few problems..

Robbie Denby

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Hello!

A few days ago I acquired a Indian star tortoise from an old friend, after a visit she had at the vets scared her into thinking she couldn’t look after it, and offered me to look after it, since I’ve had years of experience with a sulcata tortoise (which eventually I had to donate to a zoo as he grew to big and I wasn’t at the time able to give him the support he needed)

Anyway! Back to the story and details of the tort;

The tort is 3 years old, weighs 40g showing light pyramiding. The vet that examined the tort noticed it’s under shell was fairly soft (I’ve checked it is a little soft, mainly seems to be soft on the back end of the tort near the bum.

Also they noticed the tort has a beak issue on one side.. it appears over grown.. (I’ve tried to get a photo but as it’s so small you may not see it on the image..

The vet also advised the basking bulb would needed to be changed to a ceramic bulb.. something when I owned torts afew years ago was a no no?

Well anyway, I’m here back on here again after a few years, with my rusty knowledge to try my damned best to get this tort growing and back to good health..

Here’s what the set up currently looks like
IMG_8150.jpg

Here’s the size of the tort next to food IMG_8157.jpg

And here’s a photo of my attempt to show the lip issue (the lip has a growth on the torts right side) IMG_8153.jpg

I believe in later months the previous owner began to lose the will to care for the tort.. things I have currently changed are: adding cuttlefish (2 different types to see if he goes for any) the previous owner said he didn’t touch them, so she instead sprinkled it on his food.

I’ve increased humidity, every 3-4 hours or so I am topping up the tank with a good blast of mist to keep humidity high. I’ve added various food to his diet to test him on different items to see what he enjoys and doesn’t. (He has runner beans, broad-beans, dandelion leafs, zoomed grassland food, various flower toppers, hibiscus leafs and cress) I’m mixing this all up in small portions and he is eating.. although I think the lip issue isn’t helping with eating, he seems to miss the food..

So anyway, if there’s any advice I could get or improvements that could be done, or anything to help increase the strength of the shell, support his growth, and or if anyone has had a similar issue with the over growth on the lip?

Any support would be great thank you.
 

Yvonne G

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You have a nice set up for this baby, but I'd like to suggest a few changes.

Move the hiding place back into a corner and up against the wall.
Change out those reptile bowls for plant saucers (plant saucers with sloping sides, and sunk down into the substrate are safer)
Add several potted plants around in there to diffuse the light and give him more places to hide and feel safe. Plants that hang down would be good, like boston fern and spider plants.
The substrate needs to be a bit damp, so you may need to take everything out and line the enclosure with plastic to protect the wood.
Is that a NEW fluorescent tube light? and is it a UVB tube?
You have sprinkled too much of whatever that is over the food. You only need a tiny pinch between your thumb and forefinger of calcium and vitamins, and only two or three times a week.
Turn the cuttlebone over so the soft side is up.
The ceramic heat emitter is fine, but he needs a basking light too. I don't use the spot lights like Tom does, so I can't speak to them, but if your tube is a UVB, you can just use a small incandescent bulb, maybe 65 watts or so.

Keep the CHE on at night for night time heat, but with the basking light during the day, having the CHE on too may make it too hot in there.

Have you read our care sheet?
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-star-tortoise.159167/
 

Robbie Denby

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5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Nottingham
You have a nice set up for this baby, but I'd like to suggest a few changes.

Move the hiding place back into a corner and up against the wall.
Change out those reptile bowls for plant saucers (plant saucers with sloping sides, and sunk down into the substrate are safer)
Add several potted plants around in there to diffuse the light and give him more places to hide and feel safe. Plants that hang down would be good, like boston fern and spider plants.
The substrate needs to be a bit damp, so you may need to take everything out and line the enclosure with plastic to protect the wood.
Is that a NEW fluorescent tube light? and is it a UVB tube?
You have sprinkled too much of whatever that is over the food. You only need a tiny pinch between your thumb and forefinger of calcium and vitamins, and only two or three times a week.
Turn the cuttlebone over so the soft side is up.
The ceramic heat emitter is fine, but he needs a basking light too. I don't use the spot lights like Tom does, so I can't speak to them, but if your tube is a UVB, you can just use a small incandescent bulb, maybe 65 watts or so.

Keep the CHE on at night for night time heat, but with the basking light during the day, having the CHE on too may make it too hot in there.

Have you read our care sheet?
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-star-tortoise.159167/

Thank you for replying Yvonne and thanks for your advice!. The sprinkling on the food is a multi vitamin given to the previous owner by the vet who examined the tort.

The bulb is a uvb light but I’m unsure how old it is.. I was going to replace this regardless so I know for certain it is emiting UV.

I have a new viv I am waiting to set up, and I just yesterday I sealed the entire thing, I was just waiting for abit of advice before I began wiring it up ;).

Can I ask, is coconut coir still the best substrate for these torts? And also should I be worried that the tort is almost 3 years old and only weighing 40g?

Thanks in advance!
 

Robbie Denby

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Also I have read the care sheet, just noticed it mentioned orchid bark.. didn’t know if knowledge had moved on over a few years and favoured the bark instead
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome - or welcome back!
I don't know anything about Star torts but you can rest assured that any info here will be as up to date as possible.
Good luck with the little guy!
 
Last edited:

Yvonne G

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Thank you for replying Yvonne and thanks for your advice!. The sprinkling on the food is a multi vitamin given to the previous owner by the vet who examined the tort.

The bulb is a uvb light but I’m unsure how old it is.. I was going to replace this regardless so I know for certain it is emiting UV.

I have a new viv I am waiting to set up, and I just yesterday I sealed the entire thing, I was just waiting for abit of advice before I began wiring it up ;).

Can I ask, is coconut coir still the best substrate for these torts? And also should I be worried that the tort is almost 3 years old and only weighing 40g?

Thanks in advance!


Yeah, that's too much vitamins. Only a pinch between thumb and index finger. I prefer orchid bark (fir bark), but many of our members swear by coco coir. He is very small for his age, but you'll see better growth now that he's being taken care of by someone who is interested in him.
 

Robbie Denby

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5 Year Member
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Feb 6, 2013
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Nottingham
Yeah, that's too much vitamins. Only a pinch between thumb and index finger. I prefer orchid bark (fir bark), but many of our members swear by coco coir. He is very small for his age, but you'll see better growth now that he's being taken care of by someone who is interested in him.

Thanks for your advice!, I’ve set up the new viv last night how you suggested, going to get a basking lamp later on today. I’ve had 2 torts in the past but never one as confident as this, he never hides in his shell, and runs around eating a lot. He seems very happy and is really enjoying his lambs lettuce with added testudo mix, and dandelion. Changed his food to a terracotta saucer (just need to find one for his water that’s big enough)


I’m going to begin keeping a record of his weight each week to monitor growth.

IMG_8174.jpg
IMG_8176.jpg
 

Lyn W

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Some plants on there for him to hide under and add some interest for him would be good.
Spider plants are good and tort safe but if you buy any plants from a shop/garden centre you have to re pot and leave for almost a year to grow out any pesticides and fertilisers etc, so if you can get cuttings from someone you know doesn't use chemicals that would be quicker. Some people use artificial plants but keep an eye out for nibbling. Shallow terracotta plant saucers are really cheap and if you sink them level with the substrate that makes them more accessible.
www.thetortoisetable.org.uk is a good guide to tort safe plants.
 

Robbie Denby

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5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Nottingham
Some plants on there for him to hide under and add some interest for him would be good.
Spider plants are good and tort safe but if you buy any plants from a shop/garden centre you have to re pot and leave for almost a year to grow out any pesticides and fertilisers etc, so if you can get cuttings from someone you know doesn't use chemicals that would be quicker. Some people use artificial plants but keep an eye out for nibbling. Shallow terracotta plant saucers are really cheap and if you sink them level with the substrate that makes them more accessible.
www.thetortoisetable.org.uk is a good guide to tort safe plants.

Thanks Lyn, I was going to a garden centre today to see if they have spider plants and Boston ferns or a few other things able to go into the enclosure. Wow a year?! It’s going to look boring in the enclosure for a while!, unless I can find somewhere else to source these plants...
 
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