Need Help!! (baby lethargic and soft)


New Member
Apr 18, 2014
I have a pardalis pardalis hatchling that isn't eating. He hasn't been doing well for several weeks now. His shell is extremely soft and he is very lethargic. Still opening his eyes and moving around but only after soaking. I'm using a mercury vapor 160watt that is 14in from the substrate, hot spot is 125, cool side is 80-85. He's being soaked 2-4 times daily in a mixture of jump start, pedialite and multi vits including calcium. I've also made a tortoise smoothie from African grasses, jump start, mazuri tortoise chow, carrots and pedialite that I'm also soaking him in. He's housed with a blonde leopard that is doing fine. Does anyone have any idea what might be going on? Here is. Picture of my setup.. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1408939792.815116.jpg Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Team Gomberg

10 Year Member!
Oct 1, 2012
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Oregon
Where did the new baby come from?

How did they house the baby before you got it? On dry pellet substrate? Without a water dish? Any daily soaks?
Sometimes knowing the way your tortoise was kept after it's hatching can clue you in on why they are not thriving.

Since being in your care, what have you offered for calcium? Has the high wattage MVB been your only UV source?

The low sided tub with a hot bulb is most likely creating a pretty hot and dry environment for those little ones. They would both benefit from an improved enclosure. Either a closed chamber or a nice humid hide.

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
The biggest wattage bulb I use is 100w. And I use the Mercury Vapor Bulbs because they have the necessary UVB and heat all in one fixture. Then I cover or partially cover the whole habitat to keep the cool house air out and the warm air in. I also pack the hiding place with moist sphagnum moss. My substrate is very moist too. With all this moisture it is very important to not allow the habitat to get below 80F.

Since your baby seems lethargic and is not eating, I would soak in Gerber strained carrots mixed with water once a day for about a half hour each time. You should start to see an improvement in 3 days. Then once the baby is eating on his own, lightly sprinkle a pinch of calcium powder over the food twice a week.

For the time being, since the baby isn't eating what you're offering, chop up some lettuces into small pieces and offer him that. Anything to get him eating again. After he's back on track you can slowly change over to a better leopard-oriented diet.