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Need advice on an Indian star care

Discussion in 'Indian Star and Burmese Star tortoises' started by Robbie Denby, Jun 8, 2019.

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  1. Robbie Denby

    Robbie Denby Member 5 Year Member

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    Hello friends!

    I’m asking for your advice on looking after a Indian star tortoise. The tortoise belongs currently to my old work manager, who has had the tortoise roughly 2 years.

    I last saw this tort roughly a year ago and it seemed to weigh no more that 100g - appearing small and sluggish.

    My friend has recently been in touch with me and is asking if I will take the tortoise as she’s now petrified she can not look after it properly as its situation appears to have gotten worse over time, with its limited eating and soft under shell, whilst still very small in size, with an over growing beak and long nails (this was told by a vet - also I’m not yet exactly sure on the torts current weight).

    The current living conditions of this small Indian star are a viv approx 4ft (this I feel is to big for the size of the tort?) coconut coir substrate, uv bulb and a heat lamp set at the far right side of the viv. I would highly doubt that the uv bulb had ever been replaced, and I’m aware the owner is currently likely to feed the tort a lot more fruit than it should have.

    I have previously owned a Sulcata tortoise which eventually grew so large I re-homed him with a zoo for disabled children (he was the size of a washing machine, and in my previous living situation I couldn’t care for him)

    I’ve been an active member on this site before, and I’ve taken on board a lot of advice and learnt a lot of things from everyone here, so I’m asking again, what is the best set up for me to give this tortoise the best chance at survival?

    From my understanding looking after a Indian star is very similar to a sulcata. With my sulcata I used coconut coir (although I now hear orchid bark is better?) the humidity was constantly high (I might need reminding of temperatures of the vic during day and night, it’s been 5 years since I had a tort and I’m a little hazy with details).

    I had timers to switch off the uv bulb and dim the light but maintain a slightly lower heat than in the day. My sulcata diet was mainly dried and fresh flowers and grass, which some dried brought tort mix and mainly kale.

    I’m thinking the Indian star will need a smaller viv?.

    So anyway what I’m needing to know is how can I bring this Indian back to its best, what heat bulb (60v?-100v?) will I need (forgot small details) what temperature should the viv be at to give best humidity, what substrate should be used.

    Also how can I ween a tort away from a bad fruit diet, back around to veggies.

    Any advice here would be great!

    (I will add a picture when I can, I’m going to see the tort hopefully on Tuesday, so I will be able to get an exact weight of the tort, it’s environment and it’s diet)
  2. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Pictures would be helpful.

    4 ft enclosure is not too small for an Indian Star. I use that size to start stars in their first year or two.

    Please read this care info I posted. It will answer most all your questions. https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-star-tortoise.159167/

    Come back with any questions and pictures of the tortoise when you get it. It may be already quite deteriorated in health status from what you are describing, and may be a long process to bring it back to health if that is still possible. Not growing and a soft plastron on a 2+ yr old tortoise is not a good sign at all.
  3. Robbie Denby

    Robbie Denby Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I’ll get more details and images of the tort in its current state and update this thread with photos
  4. Robbie Denby

    Robbie Denby Member 5 Year Member

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    0a743800-2309-44b8-b631-327f22ec6543.jpg

    Currently have this one image sent by the current owner.
  5. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    The tortoise does not look too bad. It did have a very rough first year with hardly any growth and severe pyramiding. The more recent growth looks much better. So growth is a good sign. Eyes look good and they are an indicator of problems - so another good sign. It it is active and eating, a good enclosure (heat and humidity) and good diet with clacium and D3, it could very well do quite well for you. Have you read the thread I linked above? Please follow that as a guide and you will be doing this tortoise a great service!
  6. Robbie Denby

    Robbie Denby Member 5 Year Member

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    Yeah I also thought it seemed quite active and lively from the photo - just seems quite small! (I believe the tort to be almost 3 years old)

    Yes I have read through the guide you have sent linked and it seems very similar to a guide I used for my previous sulcata.. so I’m positive I will be able to follow it.

    Once I get pictures of the tort for myself of the under shell and weight I’ll post them here.

    Thanks!
  7. Robbie Denby

    Robbie Denby Member 5 Year Member

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    Ok so I have just managed to get ‘shelby’ to mine from its previous owner.. here is a photo of its current set up. I’m not happy about the ceramic bulb.. this was added after a vet had mentioned it to be nessessary.

    I would like full scrutiny of this set up on on how it can be improved to support the small Indian star you see in the far left.

    Thanks in advance!!

    IMG_8150.jpg
  8. Robbie Denby

    Robbie Denby Member 5 Year Member

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    Afew other details on the tortoises overall health and weight.

    The tort appears to have a ‘defect’ of some sort going on with its bottom beak. What could be done to improve this?

    The undershell is slightly soft (not as bad as I first thought..

    Also the tort does appear to eat..
    But may be small and weigh little for its age? It’s almost 3 years old and weighs 40g.

    Absolutely any tips would be amazing.. thank you!
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