Need help making sure my new tortoise is healthy

tapeworm-grub

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Hello everyone! I just joined this forum just a few minutes ago and this is my first post. I just bought a Russian tortoise from someone near by a couple days ago and he seems to have a few concerning issues. First issue was that his beak and nails were severely overgrown, but I took care of that quickly. Second, when he walks he appears to drag his back legs or just barely use them, and when he eats they just spay out behind him. Third, he never seems to get full and eats ALOT, I know this issue all to well with my turtle who I swear would eat the entirety of a horse leg if I threw one at him, are they similar in the fact that they never stop eating even when there full? Those are the main issues for now, his shell appears healthy except for a chip in it, and he seems alright. I know for a fact he wasn't in the best of care with his last home, because he was simply a playtoy for the families kids for 6 years. What do you think I can do to make sure he's in good care? or am I overreacting on his issues?
Thanks everyone!
 

wellington

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Pictures of enclosure and details of temps, day, night all over and basking. What type of uvb and heat are you using. Size of enclosure. All this will help us help you.
How old and pictures of the tortoise and a video of him walking would help too.
 

tapeworm-grub

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Pictures of enclosure and details of temps, day, night all over and basking. What type of uvb and heat are you using. Size of enclosure. All this will help us help you.
How old and pictures of the tortoise and a video of him walking would help too.

Did the previous owner use a UVB light?
That sounds like a serious issue. Let's fix it.
You're not over reacting

Sorry for the late reply, but I'm unsure of what the previous owners used, he came with 2 lights, one I know to be a heat bulb, but the other one doesn't work and I think it was heat as well. His previous cage was a 30 gallon with dirty woodchips, I have him in an indoor 50 gallon with carpet now. I just realized I am using a 100 watt UVA bulb instead of a UVB glad I caught that I will change it soon. I'm using a 100 watt heat bulb as well. I read that tortoises in cramped spaces can became lazy and barely use there back legs because of that. Do you think that could be the case?
Also I'm unsure of how old he is, but he is an adult size and at least more then 6 years old. I can also add pictures soon if need be. I hope this helps.
 

Jan A

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Sorry for the late reply, but I'm unsure of what the previous owners used, he came with 2 lights, one I know to be a heat bulb, but the other one doesn't work and I think it was heat as well. His previous cage was a 30 gallon with dirty woodchips, I have him in an indoor 50 gallon with carpet now. I just realized I am using a 100 watt UVA bulb instead of a UVB glad I caught that I will change it soon. I'm using a 100 watt heat bulb as well. I read that tortoises in cramped spaces can became lazy and barely use there back legs because of that. Do you think that could be the case?
Also I'm unsure of how old he is, but he is an adult size and at least more then 6 years old. I can also add pictures soon if need be. I hope this helps.
Welcome.. photos always help...the sooner the better.
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome.
Glad you found the forum to help correct the mistakes the poor tort has been been subjected to and to give him a better life.
Start with a decent sized enclosure - I think 4 x 8 is the minimum for an adult but the bigger the better!

This caresheet will help you with other important things like diet, temps, substrate, humidity, lamps etc.

Regarding food, I was told to think of the shell as an upturned bowl and feed that amount but if he finishes it all feed more. He may not eat it all in one go but they like to graze and will go back. Check the caresheet for the correct diet.
 

tapeworm-grub

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Hi and welcome.
Glad you found the forum to help correct the mistakes the poor tort has been been subjected to and to give him a better life.
Start with a decent sized enclosure - I think 4 x 8 is the minimum for an adult but the bigger the better!

This caresheet will help you with other important things like diet, temps, substrate, humidity, lamps etc.

Regarding food, I was told to think of the shell as an upturned bowl and feed that amount but if he finishes it all feed more. He may not eat it all in one go but they like to graze and will go back. Check the caresheet for the correct diet.

Thank you so much for the care sheet, it's exactly what I need. I only owned a tortoise a long time ago, and he ran away... Still don't know how that happened haha. The cage I have him in is temporary, I'm wanting to put him in a good sized outdoor cage but it's winter time, and it's very cold outside its no place him as of right now. Also no worries with food for him he ate through 2 large handfuls vegetables, and leafy greens, I was afraid he was going to bust out of his shell!
 

tapeworm-grub

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Here are the pictures of him (his name is Gary) see how his legs just seem to "give out? He also seems a little scratched up almost, his previous owners did mention they used to just let him roam around the house, maybe he messed up shell by doing that. The third picture is his temporary enclosure I have him in. Please ignore the mess! We weren't fully prepared for him haha.

IMG 20210205 130108282 IMG 20210204 233642468 IMG 20210204 233615051

IMG 20210205 130108282 IMG 20210204 233642468 IMG 20210204 233615051
 

wellington

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Remove carpet and put in proper substrate.
I would also cut his nails. The back feet for sure. They look very long which could be the problem. Use flat rock or slat to feed on and put a couple more on the floor for him to walk on and it will help to keep the nails filed back after you cut them.
As you mentioned, he does need a bigger home. If after the nail trim he doesn't walk better, a bigger home should help.
 

tapeworm-grub

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Remove carpet and put in proper substrate.
I would also cut his nails. The back feet for sure. They look very long which could be the problem. Use flat rock or slat to feed on and put a couple more on the floor for him to walk on and it will help to keep the nails filed back after you cut them.
As you mentioned, he does need a bigger home. If after the nail trim he doesn't walk better, a bigger home should help.
Thanks! I'll make sure to do all that.
 

Lyn W

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Hard surfaces aren't good for tort legs so a few inches of one of the recommended substrates is needed asap and a source of UVB.
Don't use coiled or cfl type bulbs as they can burn tort eyes.
It may be an idea to get some calcium powder and add a pinch to his food 2 or 3 times a week or get a cuttlefish bone (the sort used for birds but with metal or plastic clips removed) and scrape that over it.
A terracotta plant saucer would be more accessible for him and if big enough he may self soak.
If you've not clipped nails before be careful you don't clip them too short as you can damage nerves - there may be a thread about it if you use the search facility or ask a vet to show you.
You may find www.thetortoisetable.org.uk helpful as a guide to tort safe plants
 

tapeworm-grub

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Location (City and/or State)
Washington
Hard surfaces aren't good for tort legs so a few inches of one of the recommended substrates is needed asap and a source of UVB.
Don't use coiled or cfl type bulbs as they can burn tort eyes.
It may be an idea to get some calcium powder and add a pinch to his food 2 or 3 times a week or get a cuttlefish bone (the sort used for birds but with metal or plastic clips removed) and scrape that over it.
A terracotta plant saucer would be more accessible for him and if big enough he may self soak.
If you've not clipped nails before be careful you don't clip them too short as you can damage nerves - there may be a thread about it if you use the search facility or ask a vet to show you.
You may find www.thetortoisetable.org.uk helpful as a guide to tort safe plants

Thank you, I have already clipped his nails, but I was afraid of exactly what you just said so I need to do a little more. I had a food bowl in there but he couldn't access it, so I started feeding him on the ground. I put him on carpet because he seemed to be having trouble walking on his substrate, but I'll put some in there very soon. I've already put a UVB light in there, and Working on putting a larger one in. I have some calcium powder and I'll start putting a little onto his food.
 

Gijoux

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Here are the pictures of him (his name is Gary) see how his legs just seem to "give out? He also seems a little scratched up almost, his previous owners did mention they used to just let him roam around the house, maybe he messed up shell by doing that. The third picture is his temporary enclosure I have him in. Please ignore the mess! We weren't fully prepared for him haha.

View attachment 317417 View attachment 317418 View attachment 317419

View attachment 317417 View attachment 317418 View attachment 317419
Roaming around the house was bad for him. Walking on linoleum doesn't allow him to get traction so the legs splay out. Placing the food on a piece of slate or tile as suggested is the best way to feed. A large plant saucer, large enough for him to get into completely, pushed down into the substrate is the best type of water dish.
 

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