New Leopard Tortoise Not Eating

Lazmarr

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I recently purchased a year or so old leopard tortoise, which we've had for just over a week now. However, whilst she is moving around and exploring, she doesn't seem to be eating anything that's offered.

The enclosure is a tortoise table, but the temps are in range of what they require, the hot spot is around 34°C and the rest of the enclosure ranges from 24°C to 28°C. The humidity is kept around 40% with daily spraying and a repti-fogger which comes on periodically to keep the humid hide and other areas moist.

The tortoise does have a heat mat inside of her hide to keep the temperate during the night around 24°C

We've tried giving her some timothy hay as well as some fresh pea shoot salad and other lettuce leaves, but she doesn't seem interested in any.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Lazmarr

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For the humidity, I've just checked it again, in the humid hides, it's around 70% to high 80% during the day, and during the night goes up 90% and above. I'll place the probe around the enclosure and check what the humidity is outside.

The temperature inside the sleeping area is around 20°C, so I've put a low-wattage heat mat inside and will monitor how this affects the temperature.

I've bumped up the basking temperature to 36°C and will see how this works, she seems to like basking under it during the day. Again, she seems really active, just not interested in food. She was captive bread, but I can't get a hold of the breeder to ask what she's been fed, since it's been a really long Christmas and bank holiday here in the UK, but I will try again tomorrow.
 

Ink

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@Tom or @Yvonne G should be able to help you soon. If you can please post pictures of the tortoise and his enclosure. Welcome to the forum
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome,
This is the caresheet you need to check your temps etc are OK. We've all made mistakes at first but this will help you identify what needs changing and advise you on a good diet.
It's quite hard to maintain temps and humidity in open tables, but heat mats shouldn't be used under torts they can be a fire hazard and burn the tort. You would be better off with a CHE run through a thermostat for night and extra heat.
www.thetortoisetable.org.uk is a good guide to tort safe foods - pea shoots are listed as a 'do not feed' - https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk...ds&searchtxt=pea+shoots&x=6&y=16#.YdIslmjP1nI
During the winter I use Aldi crispy mixed leaf salad bags as a base - it has quite a good mix of leaves and I add things like lambs lettuce, carrot leaves, kale, pak choi, spring greens etc for variety. Florette Classic Crispy salad is one of the better mixes but can be expensive. Lidl, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury also have good crispy mixed leaf bags. Avoid any bistro or Italian mixes with spinach, or beetroot. I remove all the pale white bits and stalks then soak the good stuff to rehydrate and wash off any chlorine that the leaves may have been washed in before packing.
My leopard won't eat dried grass so I use a product called Readigrass (online Pets at Home)which I grind in a blender quite finely then mix into the wet leaves to add fibre.
Fruit shouldn't be fed as the torts system can't deal with the sugars.
During the summer my tort loves dandies, clover, ribwort and broadleaf plantain and sow thistle etc - the tortoise table will help you ID good weeds.
 

Lazmarr

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Hi and welcome,
This is the caresheet you need to check your temps etc are OK. We've all made mistakes at first but this will help you identify what needs changing and advise you on a good diet.
It's quite hard to maintain temps and humidity in open tables, but heat mats shouldn't be used under torts they can be a fire hazard and burn the tort. You would be better off with a CHE run through a thermostat for night and extra heat.
www.thetortoisetable.org.uk is a good guide to tort safe foods - pea shoots are listed as a 'do not feed' - https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk...ds&searchtxt=pea+shoots&x=6&y=16#.YdIslmjP1nI
During the winter I use Aldi crispy mixed leaf salad bags as a base - it has quite a good mix of leaves and I add things like lambs lettuce, carrot leaves, kale, pak choi, spring greens etc for variety. Florette Classic Crispy salad is one of the better mixes but can be expensive. Lidl, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury also have good crispy mixed leaf bags. Avoid any bistro or Italian mixes with spinach, or beetroot. I remove all the pale white bits and stalks then soak the good stuff to rehydrate and wash off any chlorine that the leaves may have been washed in before packing.
My leopard won't eat dried grass so I use a product called Readigrass (online Pets at Home)which I grind in a blender quite finely then mix into the wet leaves to add fibre.
Fruit shouldn't be fed as the torts system can't deal with the sugars.
During the summer my tort loves dandies, clover, ribwort and broadleaf plantain and sow thistle etc - the tortoise table will help you ID good weeds.
Hi Lyn,

Thank you for your reply with the detailed information, it is most appreciated! Especially with some examples of the foods that you feed yours from Aldi, I'll have to take a trip to see if I can pick up some. Definitely no go the spinach, since that can block calcium uptake, whenever we feed salads we'll make sure to remove all the spinach and avoid ones with beetroot :)

Since we don't have any dandelions right now, we have tried some wild rocket leaves and some kale, but she's not taken to it. We've tried chopping it up really finely too, and placing it on some slate.

I feel like 10 days is quite a long time for her not to have eaten. How long can tortoises go without food and when should I be concerned if she's still not eaten anything?

The heat mat itself isn't under the substrate, but rather stuck to the wall, behind a plate of glass. Would you still advise against the heat mat within the sleeping area?

I keep other reptiles too so have a large stock of equipment. I have two heat lamps, one 60W flood light for the basking spot and have just added a 150W CHE for the night temperature since it seems a little low. I'll monitor the temperature that it gets up to tonight and will update the post.

In terms of heating, are heat cables controlled by a thermostat recommended to maintain temperature throughout?

Thanks again in advance! :)
 

Tom

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Hi Lyn,

Thank you for your reply with the detailed information, it is most appreciated! Especially with some examples of the foods that you feed yours from Aldi, I'll have to take a trip to see if I can pick up some. Definitely no go the spinach, since that can block calcium uptake, whenever we feed salads we'll make sure to remove all the spinach and avoid ones with beetroot :)

Since we don't have any dandelions right now, we have tried some wild rocket leaves and some kale, but she's not taken to it. We've tried chopping it up really finely too, and placing it on some slate.

I feel like 10 days is quite a long time for her not to have eaten. How long can tortoises go without food and when should I be concerned if she's still not eaten anything?

The heat mat itself isn't under the substrate, but rather stuck to the wall, behind a plate of glass. Would you still advise against the heat mat within the sleeping area?

I keep other reptiles too so have a large stock of equipment. I have two heat lamps, one 60W flood light for the basking spot and have just added a 150W CHE for the night temperature since it seems a little low. I'll monitor the temperature that it gets up to tonight and will update the post.

In terms of heating, are heat cables controlled by a thermostat recommended to maintain temperature throughout?

Thanks again in advance! :)
When they don't eat there is a reason. Most often it is temperatures, but sometimes it can be the lighting, or any number of other variables. We will try yo help you figure it out. Tortoises can go weeks or months without eating, but a leopard tortoise in the correct conditions should not have skipped any days.

There is no way to create the correct environment in an open table in a cold room. That is like trying to heat your house in winter with no roof on it.

Heat mats and cables should not be used with tortoises. Its not safe. Ambient heat should come from over head by way of a CHE or RHP controlled by a thermostat.

Humidifiers should not be used with tortoises. Humidity should be maintained by increasing or decreasing the ventilation in a large closed chamber.

What type of lighting and heat lamps did the reptile shop sell you? Any UV bulbs? What type?
 

Lazmarr

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When they don't eat there is a reason. Most often it is temperatures, but sometimes it can be the lighting, or any number of other variables. We will try yo help you figure it out. Tortoises can go weeks or months without eating, but a leopard tortoise in the correct conditions should not have skipped any days.

There is no way to create the correct environment in an open table in a cold room. That is like trying to heat your house in winter with no roof on it.

Heat mats and cables should not be used with tortoises. Its not safe. Ambient heat should come from over head by way of a CHE or RHP controlled by a thermostat.

Humidifiers should not be used with tortoises. Humidity should be maintained by increasing or decreasing the ventilation in a large closed chamber.

What type of lighting and heat lamps did the reptile shop sell you? Any UV bulbs? What type?
Thank you for the advice on heat mats and cables, when I had been researching the tortoise, prior to purchase, I seen heat mats and cables being discussed. Even Vivexotic tortoise tables are supplied with a glass screen mounted inside the hide, to prevent the tortoise from touching the heat mat.

To clarify the humidify, it's a zoo med reptifogger which isn't set to come on all the time, only periodically once in the morning, to dampen the substrate.

In terms of lighting, as I have lots of spare equipment from keeping other reptiles, I have attached an Arcadia T5 UVB 12% bulb, which is mounted the recommended 40cm from the substrate. I have a 60W UVA+Heat Flood Light alongside a 150W CHE which comes on at night and during the day when it's cooler.

If the temperatures and humidity are not quite right, I do have a pane of glass which I could cover the open end of tortoise table with, or I do have a smaller Vivarium which I could try instead?
 

Lyn W

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Hi Lyn,

Thank you for your reply with the detailed information, it is most appreciated! Especially with some examples of the foods that you feed yours from Aldi, I'll have to take a trip to see if I can pick up some. Definitely no go the spinach, since that can block calcium uptake, whenever we feed salads we'll make sure to remove all the spinach and avoid ones with beetroot :)

Since we don't have any dandelions right now, we have tried some wild rocket leaves and some kale, but she's not taken to it. We've tried chopping it up really finely too, and placing it on some slate.

I feel like 10 days is quite a long time for her not to have eaten. How long can tortoises go without food and when should I be concerned if she's still not eaten anything?

The heat mat itself isn't under the substrate, but rather stuck to the wall, behind a plate of glass. Would you still advise against the heat mat within the sleeping area?

I keep other reptiles too so have a large stock of equipment. I have two heat lamps, one 60W flood light for the basking spot and have just added a 150W CHE for the night temperature since it seems a little low. I'll monitor the temperature that it gets up to tonight and will update the post.

In terms of heating, are heat cables controlled by a thermostat recommended to maintain temperature throughout?

Thanks again in advance! :)
My tort isn't fussy on rocket - may be too peppery for him and I usually end up throwing more kale away than he eats but once in a while I'll sneak some in. They can go quite a while without food as long as they are hydrated - do you give him luke/baby warm shallow soaks (water always below head)? He may drink in it but they can also absorb water through their vent. He will probably poop in it too so be ready to change the water and never let it get cold.

The CHE should always be used with a thermostat to stop it overheating your tort and used near the hide not actually in it. You can set it to keep temps even (150w may be too high for a table so I wouldn't use without a thermostat). The mat may be OK on the wall if it's not in contact with your tort but I've never used one so don't really know.

If you post some pics of the enclosure to give an idea of size and layout etc and also the lamps you use for basking and uvb etc you'll get better advice from people who know more. I've had my leopard since he was about 3 - 5 years old when he was too big for a viv or table. He has always had his own adapted room, so all my heating is based on a larger space.
He lives indoors all year around because even our summer temps can be too cold and wet for leopards. He has an insulated and heated dog kennel as his hide but has free access to the garden during the warmer months.
PA250005
 

Tom

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Thank you for the advice on heat mats and cables, when I had been researching the tortoise, prior to purchase, I seen heat mats and cables being discussed. Even Vivexotic tortoise tables are supplied with a glass screen mounted inside the hide, to prevent the tortoise from touching the heat mat.

To clarify the humidify, it's a zoo med reptifogger which isn't set to come on all the time, only periodically once in the morning, to dampen the substrate.

In terms of lighting, as I have lots of spare equipment from keeping other reptiles, I have attached an Arcadia T5 UVB 12% bulb, which is mounted the recommended 40cm from the substrate. I have a 60W UVA+Heat Flood Light alongside a 150W CHE which comes on at night and during the day when it's cooler.

If the temperatures and humidity are not quite right, I do have a pane of glass which I could cover the open end of tortoise table with, or I do have a smaller Vivarium which I could try instead?
I also use the Arcadia 12% HO tubes. Love them. However 40 seems too close to me. I use a UV meter to set the height and most of mine are 46-50cm from the tortoises. I've had some that needed to be mounted 60 cm. Every bulb, reflector hood and enclosure is a little different. The only way to know how much UV is reaching the tortoise is to put a meter under the bulb. UV bulbs that are too close burn their eyes. Torts with sore eyes often don't want to eat. This might be your problem. A UV meter can confirm or deny. Solarmeter 6.5.

No humidifier should be used with tortoises. They should not be breathing those little micro droplets of water. That is not the same thing as humidity. Leopards are particularly susceptible to cool damp air.

I would highly recommend the vivarium, but it will need to be large for a one year old leopard. The CHE set on a thermostat, will be able to maintain ambient at 80 or higher.
 

Lazmarr

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My tort isn't fussy on rocket - may be too peppery for him and I usually end up throwing more kale away than he eats but once in a while I'll sneak some in. They can go quite a while without food as long as they are hydrated - do you give him luke/baby warm shallow soaks (water always below head)? He may drink in it but they can also absorb water through their vent. He will probably poop in it too so be ready to change the water and never let it get cold.

The CHE should always be used with a thermostat to stop it overheating your tort and used near the hide not actually in it. You can set it to keep temps even (150w may be too high for a table so I wouldn't use without a thermostat). The mat may be OK on the wall if it's not in contact with your tort but I've never used one so don't really know.

If you post some pics of the enclosure to give an idea of size and layout etc and also the lamps you use for basking and uvb etc you'll get better advice from people who know more. I've had my leopard since he was about 3 - 5 years old when he was too big for a viv or table. He has always had his own adapted room, so all my heating is based on a larger space.
He lives indoors all year around because even our summer temps can be too cold and wet for leopards. He has an insulated and heated dog kennel as his hide but has free access to the garden during the warmer months.
View attachment 338483
Hi Lyn,

Yes we do give her a soak each day but this has only been for around 15-20 minutes, we make sure that the water stays luke warm for her too. I'll try a 40 minute soak instead and see how that goes.

I'll post some pics of the setup later today so it's easier to see what it looks like. We have a thermostat hooked up to all heat bulbs, and it even controls the time of the UVB so it's on around 12 hours a day. @Tom, 40cm was chosen based on the information found online for this species and the information provided by Arcadia. If the 12% output is too high at this distance I do have a spare 6% bulb I could try instead?

Your tort looks amazing haha I may have to look into an insulated kennel in future then! How do you find the humidity affects it, and is there a particular brand you use? If it's not too much to ask, could you post a photo of the full setup? :)
 

Tom

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It looks like there is a glass cover over the whole thing? Your heat lamps and UV are not effective if passing through glass or perspex. All of the heating and lighting need to be inside the enclosure. You need a close chamber.

I understand why you chose 40cm for the UV tube height, but what I'm telling you is that every bulb, fixture, and reflector perform differently in different enclosures. You need a meter to know what is happening under YOUR bulb. Anything else is a guess.
 

Lazmarr

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It looks like there is a glass cover over the whole thing? Your heat lamps and UV are not effective if passing through glass or perspex. All of the heating and lighting need to be inside the enclosure. You need a close chamber.

I understand why you chose 40cm for the UV tube height, but what I'm telling you is that every bulb, fixture, and reflector perform differently in different enclosures. You need a meter to know what is happening under YOUR bulb. Anything else is a guess.
Thanks for your reply! I had placed the glass top over it last night and for this morning, only to see how it would influence the temperatures and humidity. They did increase slightly.

I will look into getting a UV meter then :)

I have placed an order for an enclosed vivarium which should be here sometime this week.

Is there anything else that I could try to help her to eat in the meantime?
 

The green gherkin

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I recently purchased a year or so old leopard tortoise, which we've had for just over a week now. However, whilst she is moving around and exploring, she doesn't seem to be eating anything that's offered.

The enclosure is a tortoise table, but the temps are in range of what they require, the hot spot is around 34°C and the rest of the enclosure ranges from 24°C to 28°C. The humidity is kept around 40% with daily spraying and a repti-fogger which comes on periodically to keep the humid hide and other areas moist.

The tortoise does have a heat mat inside of her hide to keep the temperate during the night around 24°C

We've tried giving her some timothy hay as well as some fresh pea shoot salad and other lettuce leaves, but she doesn't seem interested in any.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I recently purchased a year or so old leopard tortoise, which we've had for just over a week now. However, whilst she is moving around and exploring, she doesn't seem to be eating anything that's offered.

The enclosure is a tortoise table, but the temps are in range of what they require, the hot spot is around 34°C and the rest of the enclosure ranges from 24°C to 28°C. The humidity is kept around 40% with daily spraying and a repti-fogger which comes on periodically to keep the humid hide and other areas moist.

The tortoise does have a heat mat inside of her hide to keep the temperate during the night around 24°C

We've tried giving her some timothy hay as well as some fresh pea shoot salad and other lettuce leaves, but she doesn't seem interested in any.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hello we have a one year old leopard which we had a few weeks old he or she has just turned one.
When we had him it was a few days before he began to eat mainly exploring his new table.
Here is what I've learnt in his first year .
Leave out the humidifier remember he is from a hot climate we use a a handful of moss which we soak then squeeze out the excess water he loves to lie on it from time to time and other times not .
His first food that he began to take were komodo fruit and flower pellets soften with a teaspoon of water and he has them daily along with lambs lettuce and various others .
Pansy flowers and leaves are also a favourite of his as well as dandelions which I grow myself and various grasses (yes I buy the seeds and grow them).
As you say here in the UK it's winter so no weeds at the moment but a trip to your local supermarket will provide all the prepacked lettuce rocket etc you need.
I'm no expert but monty is eating everyday and gaining weight I hope yours will soon too.
Pete
 

biochemnerd808

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Hello we have a one year old leopard which we had a few weeks old he or she has just turned one.
When we had him it was a few days before he began to eat mainly exploring his new table.
Here is what I've learnt in his first year .
Leave out the humidifier remember he is from a hot climate we use a a handful of moss which we soak then squeeze out the excess water he loves to lie on it from time to time and other times not .
His first food that he began to take were komodo fruit and flower pellets soften with a teaspoon of water and he has them daily along with lambs lettuce and various others .
Pansy flowers and leaves are also a favourite of his as well as dandelions which I grow myself and various grasses (yes I buy the seeds and grow them).
As you say here in the UK it's winter so no weeds at the moment but a trip to your local supermarket will provide all the prepacked lettuce rocket etc you need.
I'm no expert but monty is eating everyday and gaining weight I hope yours will soon too.
Pete
Actually, even in the UK winter, you can find some weeds. Plantain weed, many brassica, violets, and thistles will withstand freezing temperatures. Chickweed and deadnettle grow right now, too, though not happily.
 

lyingcat8

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Hiii -- I was wondering how your tort was doing, and if they started eating? I know when ours was fairly picky we grated up yellow squash on their food every other day or so and it really helped increase their appetite.

Did you reach out to the person you got them from to see what they'd had luck feeding them?
 

Lazmarr

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Hey everyone,

Sorry for not replying sooner, I caught covid and had been ill for quite a while and have had a busy schedule since. But I wanted to update everyone too.

We got the new vivarium a few days after my last update, and set it all up, see the picture below, and she's been much better. I spoke with the breeder we bought her from and they'd been fed some Komodo tortoise food and spring salad.

Tortoise Enclosure

I got her some of the food she'd been eating, and the temperatures seemed much better. She scoffed down a whole load of them and even a lot of the salad too.

The basking spot is around 36-38°C and the cooler end, especially inside the hide, is no less than 25°C, around 26-27°C during the day. The humidity of the enclosure is between 50-65%.

She's still quite energetic, moving around lots and basking/sleeping. However, lately she's not been eating as much as she has been, seemingly disinterested, and instead only nibbles here and there. I had offered food by hand, which she proceeded to eat a few little leaves, but hasn't really eaten any salad leaves or any of the tortoise food balls.

I'm not sure if I should be worried since she's not eaten much. Any advice you could offer would be great!
 
Last edited:

lyingcat8

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Hey everyone,

Sorry for not replying sooner, I caught covid and had been ill for quite a while and have had a busy schedule since. But I wanted to update everyone too.

We got the new vivarium a few days after my last update, and set it all up, see the picture below, and she's been much better. I spoke with the breeder we bought her from and they'd been fed some Komodo tortoise food and spring salad.

View attachment 340278

I got her some of the food she'd been eating, and the temperatures seemed much better. She scoffed down a whole load of them and even a lot of the salad too.

The basking spot is around 36-38°C and the cooler end, especially inside the hide, is no less than 25°C, around 26-27°C during the day. The humidity of the enclosure is between 50-65%.

She's still quite energetic, moving around lots and basking/sleeping. However, lately she's not been eating as much as she has been, seemingly disinterested, and instead only nibbles here and there. I had offered food by hand, which she proceeded to eat a few little leaves, but hasn't really eaten any salad leaves or any of the tortoise food balls.

I'm not sure if I should be worried since she's not eaten much. Any advice you could offer would be great!
Are you soaking her regularly? When ours wasn't eating, we did a few things, soaking them for long periods of time - we kept the tub on a heating pad, and changed the water with warm frequently. We'd leave them in their up to an hour or so -- letting them walk around in the water and build up their appetite. I find that if we slack on their soaking, they are kind of lazy...

We started grating yellow squash over their food once or twice a week -- I was also able to find some cactus pads for them to eat.

If able, consider buying these two things:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058DVVAM/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08YNBGK5Z/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

It should be this type of Mazuri, and not the kind that has LS on the bag.
 

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