My Russian tortoise is sleeping a lot more but nothings changed in his enclosure.

lymcBoris

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My 3 year old male Russian tortoise Boris has been healthy and active for just over the year that we've had him. In the local sunny weather in Scotland lately I've had him out a few times in the sunshine and he has been putting on weight no problem and has always had a good appetite. However, in the last 2 weeks he has become very inactive and is not interested in his food. I'm getting worried now as I'm foraging for lots of great weeds and flowers that he loves and he's just not eating. I wake him up and und
ig him, put him under his heat lamp, bathe him as normal evert few days. He just heads straight back to his hide. Nothing has changed in his enclosure. Temps, lighting all the same. I'm worried about him. Has anyone any advice please? Thanks.
 

lymcBoris

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This is his enclosure. It's 6x3ft. I use Coco coir and orchid bark. Kept at around 70-80 humidity. 35-37 flood basking temp. Ceramic heater set at 26 celcius near his hide. All lights and heaters on timer 12 hrs on 12 hrs off. I use Arcadia ProT 5 39W strip light. I've already been told not to use the light holder that I have so please don't tell me again. I just need some advice from Russian owners who may have experienced same and have some advice. This sometimes turns into a "don't use that clamp", "that's dangerous" and I know some use them others don't. I take care. I've read the care sheets also. Thanks.
 

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lymcBoris

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Boris is 277g and 11.6cm. He is approx 2 and a half years old. I've kept a record of his weight and length since we got him. I've attached measurements showing his weight (g) and lengths(cm) over the time we've had him.

27/03/2019 7.2 100
27/04/2019 7.7 101
30/05/2019 7.8 112
17/06/2019 8 118
07/07/2019 8.4 128
07/08/2019 8.5 138
01/09/2019 8.8 151
13/10/2019 9.2 168
29/11/2019 9.7 180
25/12/2019 10 201
10/02/2020 10.3 237
19/03/2020 10.8 274
24/04/2020 11.2 288
12/05/2020 11.2 279
05/06/2020 11.6 277

As you can see, he has lost weight the last 2 months. Is this normal?
 

Kim&Tim

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Hi, nice and clear, I like that ha ha😁
I've had similar issues with my 5 year old russian Timmie. This was my fault.

Timmie is rescue tort who's had a miserable life for 4 years. When he came to live with me, he went from a 12x12 inch box to 2.6x6.7 ft. He did that remarkably well, he adjusted great. Then his 6x6 outdoor was done and I put him in there 4/5 hours a day. After a while he started hiding more, not waking up on his own, eating less.
I went to fast, in general torts don't like change, even when it's an improvement. They get scared/insecure. I should have put him in there for 30 min, back inside and gradually increase the amount, slowly. So I kept him in for a 10 days, soaked him every day for 30+ minutes under the lamp. I would put him under the lamp every 2 hours if he would hide again. After a few days things got better and better. Then I slowly increased the outdoor time the way I should have to begin with.

I grew up with my grandpas testudo greaca, he died in 90's in 2011. He was an outdoor tort since 1925. In spring and summer he would have his off weeks sometimes. I think due to hormones/weather/etc. He would always be back to normal.

I have a similar setup indoors like you, except the che, I don't use one. It could be that your 26c che is a bit too much for spring and summer near the hide. Do you know the temps without the che there? Mine is 22/23c there and he likes that temp. You could try that. Since Boris is 3, you can drop the humidity. 40/50 is good enough now.

I would start with soaking every morning after you wake him, warm water under his lamp 30+ min. After that you put him in front of food and walk away. If you can, put him under his lamp every few hours. He is alowed to hide, definitely, but not 12 hours straight. That's how I got Timmie going and we did something similar with old Peter.
 

Kim&Tim

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Boris is 277g and 11.6cm. He is approx 2 and a half years old. I've kept a record of his weight and length since we got him. I've attached measurements showing his weight (g) and lengths(cm) over the time we've had him.

27/03/2019 7.2 100
27/04/2019 7.7 101
30/05/2019 7.8 112
17/06/2019 8 118
07/07/2019 8.4 128
07/08/2019 8.5 138
01/09/2019 8.8 151
13/10/2019 9.2 168
29/11/2019 9.7 180
25/12/2019 10 201
10/02/2020 10.3 237
19/03/2020 10.8 274
24/04/2020 11.2 288
12/05/2020 11.2 279
05/06/2020 11.6 277

As you can see, he has lost weight the last 2 months. Is this normal?
It's ok, sometimes they haven't pooped for 2 days or need the pee when you weigh. I have this too, great that you make notes! I do this too😀 I'm from the coast in the Netherlands btw, so we have the same type of weather!
 

lymcBoris

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Hi, nice and clear, I like that ha ha😁
I've had similar issues with my 5 year old russian Timmie. This was my fault.

Timmie is rescue tort who's had a miserable life for 4 years. When he came to live with me, he went from a 12x12 inch box to 2.6x6.7 ft. He did that remarkably well, he adjusted great. Then his 6x6 outdoor was done and I put him in there 4/5 hours a day. After a while he started hiding more, not waking up on his own, eating less.
I went to fast, in general torts don't like change, even when it's an improvement. They get scared/insecure. I should have put him in there for 30 min, back inside and gradually increase the amount, slowly. So I kept him in for a 10 days, soaked him every day for 30+ minutes under the lamp. I would put him under the lamp every 2 hours if he would hide again. After a few days things got better and better. Then I slowly increased the outdoor time the way I should have to begin with.

I grew up with my grandpas testudo greaca, he died in 90's in 2011. He was an outdoor tort since 1925. In spring and summer he would have his off weeks sometimes. I think due to hormones/weather/etc. He would always be back to normal.

I have a similar setup indoors like you, except the che, I don't use one. It could be that your 26c che is a bit too much for spring and summer near the hide. Do you know the temps without the che there? Mine is 22/23c there and he likes that temp. You could try that. Since Boris is 3, you can drop the humidity. 40/50 is good enough now.

I would start with soaking every morning after you wake him, warm water under his lamp 30+ min. After that you put him in front of food and walk away. If you can, put him under his lamp every few hours. He is alowed to hide, definitely, but not 12 hours straight. That's how I got Timmie going and we did something similar with old Peter.
Hi there and thanks for the reply and your experience. I'm thinking maybe I've stressed him out a bit. Since the weather got quite hot here and it's not very "normal" for Scotland, I wanted him out in the sunshine and maybe stressed him as he's not used to being outside. I don't have a setup for him so sat with him while he roamed. It's been since I did this. I undug him this morning and put him in for soak. Then measured and weighted. He did do a big poo though. He then took one bite of his greens which are usually irresistible to him, but just went straight back to sleep in his hide. If the Che is off it's about 18 ambient temp. I even set up a lamp to shine on him for extra light. I feel like he is depressed or something 😔. Feeling quite sad.
 

Kim&Tim

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Hi there and thanks for the reply and your experience. I'm thinking maybe I've stressed him out a bit. Since the weather got quite hot here and it's not very "normal" for Scotland, I wanted him out in the sunshine and maybe stressed him as he's not used to being outside. I don't have a setup for him so sat with him while he roamed. It's been since I did this. I undug him this morning and put him in for soak. Then measured and weighted. He did do a big poo though. He then took one bite of his greens which are usually irresistible to him, but just went straight back to sleep in his hide. If the Che is off it's about 18 ambient temp. I even set up a lamp to shine on him for extra light. I feel like he is depressed or something 😔. Feeling quite sad.
I get you but it will be better. Torts are like this sometimes. He's maybe like Timmie, if I hide, I'm safe. I would soak him everyday to make sure he's hydrated. I would also only put him out when you've made him an outdoor setup that is completely done. So no changed with layout etc. You can get him used to going out.

There's another thing to our disadvantage and that's our weather types. The fall and winters are quite steady, our summers and springs are not. Tuesday it was 25c here, today raining, windy, no sun/dark 13c.

Torts are very sensitive to changes like that unfortunately.

Try to make a routine, soak, lamp, food, get him under the lamp etc. He'll snap out of it.

Have you ever done a stoolsample check for worms btw? I would do one. Mine was clear, but good to do one!
 

lymcBoris

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I get you but it will be better. Torts are like this sometimes. He's maybe like Timmie, if I hide, I'm safe. I would soak him everyday to make sure he's hydrated. I would also only put him out when you've made him an outdoor setup that is completely done. So no changed with layout etc. You can get him used to going out.

There's another thing to our disadvantage and that's our weather types. The fall and winters are quite steady, our summers and springs are not. Tuesday it was 25c here, today raining, windy, no sun/dark 13c.

Torts are very sensitive to changes like that unfortunately.

Try to make a routine, soak, lamp, food, get him under the lamp etc. He'll snap out of it.

Have you ever done a stoolsample check for worms btw? I would do one. Mine was clear, but good to do one!
That's good to know. I'll try to stop worrying and keep to a routine. And yes, I agree that I should get a proper setup for outside.
The weather is exactly the same here today! Windy, rain and 13degrees. Thank you very much for your good advice and reassurance.
 

lymcBoris

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I get you but it will be better. Torts are like this sometimes. He's maybe like Timmie, if I hide, I'm safe. I would soak him everyday to make sure he's hydrated. I would also only put him out when you've made him an outdoor setup that is completely done. So no changed with layout etc. You can get him used to going out.

There's another thing to our disadvantage and that's our weather types. The fall and winters are quite steady, our summers and springs are not. Tuesday it was 25c here, today raining, windy, no sun/dark 13c.

Torts are very sensitive to changes like that unfortunately.

Try to make a routine, soak, lamp, food, get him under the lamp etc. He'll snap out of it.

Have you ever done a stoolsample check for worms btw? I would do one. Mine was clear, but good to do one!
Sounds gross but I do have a good look at his poo very often. Are the worm eggs visible? I've not seen anything in them but I will need to get my son's microscope set up for a detailed look. How delightful! 😃
 

Kim&Tim

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I totally understand, I worry too but then I snap out of it!😁 Torts can go awhile without food with minimal to no weightloss! But that's why soaking is very important now. When he's hydrated he's fine.
When all of this is ok:
Weight fine
Eyes nice and clear
Poop firm
Urates liquidy
Urine clear
Movements ok
Posture/head upright (no head hanging, droopy lethargic posture sick tortoises can have)
Worms ok

If all of that is a yes, he's just sulking a bit. Torts are strong willed, stubborn. Things can take a while, just be stronger😉
 

Kim&Tim

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Sounds gross but I do have a good look at his poo very often. Are the worm eggs visible? I've not seen anything in them but I will need to get my son's microscope set up for a detailed look. How delightful! 😃
I do that too for live worms, you can't see eggs unfortunately. A vet/lab can check with a microscope and they'll do a worm egg count. A certain percentage is acceptable/normal. If too many, he needs to be dewormed.
 

lymcBoris

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I totally understand, I worry too but then I snap out of it!😁 Torts can go awhile without food with minimal to no weightloss! But that's why soaking is very important now. When he's hydrated he's fine.
When all of this is ok:
Weight fine
Eyes nice and clear
Poop firm
Urates liquidy
Urine clear
Movements ok
Posture/head upright (no head hanging, droopy lethargic posture sick tortoises can have)
Worms ok

If all of that is a yes, he's just sulking a bit. Torts are strong willed, stubborn. Things can take a while, just be stronger😉
Would you say he was a healthy weight for his age?
His poops are dark, moist and firm, Urates liquidy but quite a lot of it. He seems fine. Those wee shiny eyes looking at me when I lift him up to eye level. Yep, he seems fine except for the sleepiness. I'll try what you suggested and soak every day and every couple of hours under the lamp. Will see how that works.
 

Kim&Tim

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For his age he has a good weight I think. Timmie is around 10 cm, 420 grams and 5 years old. In general the males become heavier, but not that much bigger if that makes sense. So it's not like they grow 5 cm and 140 grams or something. It's more an overal weight gain and a little shell growth that comes with it.

Oh and i forgot snot/coughing/clear nose on my list
 

lymcBoris

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For his age he has a good weight I think. Timmie is around 10 cm, 420 grams and 5 years old. In general the males become heavier, but not that much bigger if that makes sense. So it's not like they grow 5 cm and 140 grams or something. It's more an overal weight gain and a little shell growth that comes with it.

Oh and i forgot snot/coughing/clear nose on my list
That's good. Ah, ok. His nose is clear and no coughing or sneezing.
Would you mind sharing some pics of your Timmie? I'd love to see his outdoor enclosure. Thanks again.
 

KronksMom

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You said your son had a microscope. If the magnification goes up to at least 400x, you can make a fecal slide yourself and check for eggs. I have never done it myself, but I heard (on here) that it's pretty easy to tell if you see anything or not. Just look up pictures of what you're looking for.
 

Kim&Tim

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You said your son had a microscope. If the magnification goes up to at least 400x, you can make a fecal slide yourself and check for eggs. I have never done it myself, but I heard (on here) that it's pretty easy to tell if you see anything or not. Just look up pictures of what you're looking for.
That would be cool! But you need to know exactly what the accaptable amount of eggs is per a cerentain percentage of feces. I have a horse and with them it's exactly the same. The lab also checks his and check for other parasites. So I let them do it, they are all vets too. Horses can be very ill too with a heavy worm/parasite count. There are also quite a few different types of worms and parasites, same as for torts. So I don't want to mess with that.
 

Kim&Tim

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So it's not as easy as I heard on the internet? That's so surprising....
Well it can be when you know all the different worm types and parasites and know the amounts they're allowed to have etc etc😁 then it's super easy ha ha. But I don't so I let them do it😅
 

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