My Tortoise Keeps Flipping, Please HELP! Pics Included

stephieee

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Hi everyone!! My name is Stephanie and I am the mother to my 2-year old Eastern Hermann named Franklin. The past six months, Franklin seems to be flipping. When he flips, it seems he doesn't try to flip himself over. The part that is EXTREMELY concerning is he always gravitates towards the warmer area of his habitat, therefore flipping under the light. I have been very fortunate to find him but I know the outcome of him being flipped under his light for too long. I've gotten so concerned that while I have to leave for work (I work part-time and my Mom/sister come home while I am working) I turn off his light and they turn it off when they get home (it is off for approximately two hours in the afternoon). I really do not like turning off his light because he loves basking under it and can be active that time in the afternoon. This morning I awoke to a flipped Franklin right under his light. My mom and I believe the reason he keeps flipping is he climbs on top of his hide and tumbles off so I have replaced his hide. I am going to attach pictures of his home hoping that someone could please provide pointers and tips on what else could cause him flipping. He is my first tortoise and I want to make sure he lives a long, happy, and healthy life. I truly love him so much and would appreciate ANY feedback. Thank you so much in advance!!! In the pictures you'll be able to see my handsome little man :)

20170514_104349.jpg 20170514_104401.jpg 20170514_104413.jpg 20170514_104421.jpg
 

wellington

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I would remove the hide all together. He has plenty of plants to make himself a nice hide in. Otherwise move the hide away from the light.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Stephanie, and welcome!

That's a nice enclosure, a good size and decorated nicely. I'd like to make a couple suggestions. Find some sort of little tub with straight up-and-down sides that you can use for a hide. Invert it and cut out a door to make a cave. With the straight sides he can't climb on top of it. The flower pot you're using is too open, and not really a "hiding place."

Get rid of those reptile bowls and use small clay plant saucers recessed into the substrate instead. The straight sides on the reptile bowls sometimes cause little babies to over balance and they tip over backwards, sometimes landing in the water and drowning.

I don't know what to tell you about the flipping. Some babies just seem more prone to this than others. But if you fix those two things, maybe it will slow him down a bit.
 

wellington

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Also be sure that water dish is big enough for him to get his whole self into and deep enough that the water comes up to where is top and bottom shell meets or just past it.
Didn't see the post from Yvonne about the dish until after I posted.
 

stephieee

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Hi Stephanie, and welcome!

That's a nice enclosure, a good size and decorated nicely. I'd like to make a couple suggestions. Find some sort of little tub with straight up-and-down sides that you can use for a hide. Invert it and cut out a door to make a cave. With the straight sides he can't climb on top of it. The flower pot you're using is too open, and not really a "hiding place."

Get rid of those reptile bowls and use small clay plant saucers recessed into the substrate instead. The straight sides on the reptile bowls sometimes cause little babies to over balance and they tip over backwards, sometimes landing in the water and drowning.

I don't know what to tell you about the flipping. Some babies just seem more prone to this than others. But if you fix those two things, maybe it will slow him down a bit.

Thank you so much for your response!!! I have two clay plant saucers so I will switch those out for him. I was also afraid that the flower pot is too open. Since we put it in he is sleeping in his spider plant instead. I will look into creating him a new hide altogether. Would colored tupperwear work? That way it isn't clear so he has a dark hide.

Hopefully he grows out of the flipping. I'm assuming it's starting because he has gotten bigger and is still getting used to his size. I really appreciate your help! :)
 

stephieee

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I would remove the hide all together. He has plenty of plants to make himself a nice hide in. Otherwise move the hide away from the light.

Thank you for the response! Removing the hide makes me nervous but I will do whatever it takes to prevent him from flipping! Since we put in the new hide he has been staying near his spider plant so you're right that he might not need one!! I appreciate your help :)
 

KrissyLeigh

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I actually use clay pots, and they work really well. What I do is have them mostly buried, and put soil over the top to make a little hill. I bury it so the opening is a little below ground level, so they can barely fit through the opening- this way even if they walk over the lip they won't fall / flip. And one of mine LOVES walking up to the top of the hill and sitting there. If she isn't hiding that's where I always find her. They also use them as hides.

Not that I disagree with the advice on the previous posts, but if you want to use the pots in can be done - just takes extra substrate and a little bit of engineering!
 

Yo Adrien

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Thank you so much for your response!!! I have two clay plant saucers so I will switch those out for him. I was also afraid that the flower pot is too open. Since we put it in he is sleeping in his spider plant instead. I will look into creating him a new hide altogether. Would colored tupperwear work? That way it isn't clear so he has a dark hide.

Hopefully he grows out of the flipping. I'm assuming it's starting because he has gotten bigger and is still getting used to his size. I really appreciate your help! :)
Hi Stephieee, I also have found one of my RF babies on her back after returning home from work. Such a terrible moment of absolute panic and fear! !:eek: I promptly removed the 1/2 log hide completely, and actually used a hammer and tapped on my clay pot to break it in half (vertically, if it is standing upright) then placed horizontal and dug it into the substrate and filled with sphagnum moss. It is a favorite "dry" hide now.:)
 

William Lee Kohler

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"Franklin seems to be flipping." I would love to see such an acrobatic tortoise some time:eek:! I suspect your Franklin is likely a Francine;). Higher incubation temps cause more females as well as split or extra scutes. Can also cause intersex/not reproductive tortoises.
 
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I agree, Franklin is probably a female. I had the exact same problem, except vice versa. Roxanne Natasha became Roxy Nathaniel! The vet looked at the tail size, and because it was long and straight it was a he. I would check your tail. Your habitat looks great, nice job!
 

threeboxerlover

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"Franklin seems to be flipping." I would love to see such an acrobatic tortoise some time:eek:! I suspect your Franklin is likely a Francine;). Higher incubation temps cause more females as well as split or extra scutes. Can also cause intersex/not reproductive tortoises.
Hi there - I am Stephieees Mom, and another of Frank's caretakers. I actually posted earlier about a vision issue and then I came here to look at the pictures my daughter posted of Frank and saw your response. One of Frank's scutes is "deformed" - not split but not symmetrical or uniform (the vet pointed it out to us). You can see it clearly in one of the pics above. Also, a vet tech at the office said that Frank is a girl because of her plastron being completely flat rather than concave? Anyway, I just found your comment about incubation temps and scutes relative to the other problem (neurological) that Frank (or Francine ;)) is experiencing. Thank you!
 

threeboxerlover

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"Franklin seems to be flipping." I would love to see such an acrobatic tortoise some time:eek:! I suspect your Franklin is likely a Francine;). Higher incubation temps cause more females as well as split or extra scutes. Can also cause intersex/not reproductive tortoises.
It is an MVB bulb. I don't remember the brand - 100 watts.
 

TammyJ

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I just wonder if it's the right sort of light. Maybe it is too hot or too bright and has something to do with the "flipping".
 

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