My tortoise isn't eating

Morjana

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Nov 8, 2018
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Jordan
hello, I have a small greek tortoise for a few months now. It hasn't been eating for a week and a half, its eyes are normal and the activity as well, but it refuses to eat.
I put a heating pad in the inclosure recently and still not eating, but it keeps soaking itself in the water. I'm so worried that it might die, what can I do?
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Hello and welcome to the Forum!

How old is the tortoise and where did you get it from? Do you know what subspecies of Greek it is? I keep various Greeks and their care is slightly different based on their locale in the wild.

What lights do you use in your enclosure? Also what are the temps and humidity level in the enclosure? What do you currently feed your tortoise? Do you soak it regularly/daily?

Pictures of your enclosure setup and of the tortoise would help us to know what may be going on.
 

Morjana

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Thank you for your reply

I don't know what subspecies of greek it is nor the age. It's so small, around 3 cm. And I got it from a pet store which isn't experienced at all.

I just got a new wood enclosure with the heating pad, still no light because it's been very hard finding one where I live. I'm also trying to find a good thermometer. I soak it around 2 times a week but I keep finding the tortoise in the water that I keep in the enclosure.

I used to put it daily in the sun but now it's getting colder and there is not much sun around so no use of it.

The enclosure has peat moss in it. And the tortoise liked it before.
 

Yvonne G

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This is the time of year when the days are getting shorter and telling tortoises it's time to stop eating because soon it will be too cold. If you don't want your tortoise to brumate, you'll have to fool him into thinking it's still summer - warm enclosure, long 14 hour days, etc.
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Thank you for your reply

I don't know what subspecies of greek it is nor the age. It's so small, around 3 cm. And I got it from a pet store which isn't experienced at all.

I just got a new wood enclosure with the heating pad, still no light because it's been very hard finding one where I live. I'm also trying to find a good thermometer. I soak it around 2 times a week but I keep finding the tortoise in the water that I keep in the enclosure.

I used to put it daily in the sun but now it's getting colder and there is not much sun around so no use of it.

The enclosure has peat moss in it. And the tortoise liked it before.
3cm is a small hatchling, so it's not that old, maybe a couple months tops. A photo would help identify it's subspecies of Greek, if you can post one.

Pet Stores don't always sell healthy animals, so there is a possibility that it was already ill when you brought it home if they were not caring for it properly.

The enclosure needs lights, both UVA for basking and UVB since the hatchling is kept indoors now and doesn't get natural sun. Having no lights in the enclosure definitely means lower temperatures, and that will cause the tortoise to stop eating and sleeping more and become more ill.

For hatchlings, they should be soaked daily in warm water for 20-30 minutes. It's important to help them stay hydrated and maintain healthy kidney function as they grow.

What is the humidity level in the enclosure? Greek hatchlings also need 80% of that. Hot and humid is the goal to help them grow healthy.

You'll want to get the enclosure set up properly as soon as possible to help get the hatchling back to normal. Hatchlings are very fragile and get very ill easily when their habitat is not sufficient.

I have some very good and current care details for Greek hatchlings on my website, if you would like to see how my setup is. I keep a variety of subspecies of Greeks and currently have 13 hatchlings that I am raising.

https://sweetgreektorts.com/hatchling-husbandry

Please keep us updated and ask any questions that you need so we can help.
 

Morjana

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Thank you very much for your help.

I have it for almost 3 months now so I think it wasn't getting bigger because of the lack of nourishment. It was in a cartoon box with lettuce in it.

I soaked it in warm water for around 20 minutes, didn't try to leave until it urinated so I moved it to the enclosure where there was rocca leaves. It kept moving around and I left the place so it won't be stressed and now the leaves are less than before. Didn't eat much but it's progress.

How can I know the humidity level? And what is UVA lamp for? The place is warm because of the heating pad I put under the peat moss.

I added a photo of the tortoise.
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Thank you very much for your help.

I have it for almost 3 months now so I think it wasn't getting bigger because of the lack of nourishment. It was in a cartoon box with lettuce in it.

I soaked it in warm water for around 20 minutes, didn't try to leave until it urinated so I moved it to the enclosure where there was rocca leaves. It kept moving around and I left the place so it won't be stressed and now the leaves are less than before. Didn't eat much but it's progress.

How can I know the humidity level? And what is UVA lamp for? The place is warm because of the heating pad I put under the peat moss.

I added a photo of the tortoise.
The UVA and UVB lamps provide artificial sunlight and other benefits for tortoises that are housed indoors. They help the tortoise with food digestion and proper growth. I don't use heat pads at all, but instead have ceramic heat emitters in each enclosure, in addition to the lights. Without proper lighting, the tortoise will have trouble thriving. They are a necessity.

A steady diet of broadleaf greens, weeds, and flowers should be the main part of the diet. I give my hatchlings a variety by also feeding spineless prickly pear cactus, optunia fruit (cactus fruit, not the same as store-bought fruit), Mazuri (a tortoise kibble that can be moistened and contains lots of nutrients and fiber which is great for growth), and once a week I give them "store-bought" greens that include: red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, turnip greens, dandelion greens, collard greens, and radicchio.

You'll need to get a hygrometer to measure the humidity level. To keep humidity up, it's helpful to have the substrate be damp, and misting the enclosure every 2-3 days.

A humid hide is a major help too. My babies all sleep in theirs at night. At the bottom of the link I shared, I have step-by-step instructions on how to make one easy and cheap.
 

Morjana

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The problem is that we don't have most of the things needed where I live. I looked so hard to find the heat pad.

From the link you provided I might have the subspecies that lives in jordan, which is where I live. How can I be sure? Will that help in anyway with how can I care for it?

People don't really care for tortoises here, they think that they can put them in a box with some lettuce, but I like to take care of my animals and I have grown weatgrass and another plant that I forgot its name specially for the tortoise. But I have been trying with rocca because the tortoise likes it the most.

I will order the lights online but might take a month to arrive. How can I keep it safe till then?
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, AZ
The problem is that we don't have most of the things needed where I live. I looked so hard to find the heat pad.

From the link you provided I might have the subspecies that lives in jordan, which is where I live. How can I be sure? Will that help in anyway with how can I care for it?

People don't really care for tortoises here, they think that they can put them in a box with some lettuce, but I like to take care of my animals and I have grown weatgrass and another plant that I forgot its name specially for the tortoise. But I have been trying with rocca because the tortoise likes it the most.

I will order the lights online but might take a month to arrive. How can I keep it safe till then?
A month without proper lights is a long time for a hatchling and it's condition can easily worsen in that time. Just be aware of that. It at least cannot digest food properly and the carapace will develop pyramiding. Get the lights as soon as you can to prevent any illness from advancing, even if you pay a little more for faster shipping.

I'm not familiar with rocca. Are you able to order Mazuri? That's a good supplement for tortoises and may help yours along until the enclosure.

Definitely soak it daily and if you can take it outside in natural sunlight for even a few hours a day, that will help. Keep the enclosure nice and warm.

If you have a Mesopotamian subspecies (also known as "Golden Greek"), then don't stress about the humidity. The daily soaks and humid hide will suffice. This subspecies could develop a respiratory problem with too much moisture, so humidity should be a little lower, about 40-50%. The substrate can stay dry and just mist it a couple times a week to imitate a light rain.
 

TammyJ

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Did you say what the temperature in the enclosure is? You said your tortoise "keeps soaking itself in the water". Could the heating pad be too hot?
 

Morjana

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Nov 8, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
Jordan
Did you say what the temperature in the enclosure is? You said your tortoise "keeps soaking itself in the water". Could the heating pad be too hot?
I don't think it is too hot because the soaking hasn't stopped even before getting the hearing pad. I used to feel the tortoise was cold when handling it and it would still soak itself.
 

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