Red footed tortoise don't eat fruit and general eating problems

Martellone

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Hello everyone,
i write you for a problem with my red foot. I had this tortoise from about 6 years since was a baby. In these years he has always given me some problems with eating. He doesn't like particulary fruits (I try all fruits recommended mango,papaya,apple that he hate, pear, bluberries, ananas, melon,watermelon). For a certain period he eats it and then for months he doesn't want to hear about it anymore.

He had a period of desease, he had a stomatitis and i care he with a antibiotic, on the advice of a veterinarian. He also had a pinworm infestation and was dewormed with panacur. During desease i give him to sustain a lot of bad food, but the only ones he ate (tortoise food european version like mazuri and meal worms) The week after deworming he restart to eat normally, dandelion an clover particullary and not fruits.
Now two weeks after deworming he has stopped eating again. He only eats if I offer him foods that he cannot eat or can eat rarely (tortoise food, wormmeal, banana). The last meal was on Sunday with mealworms. in the past three days i gim him dandelion, radicchio, ananas, papaya, strawberries but he didn't eat. he also became constipated and only had a bowel movement once in two weeks after a long bath in warm water.
What can I do to get her to eat vegetables and fruit again? Is it right to insist until he gets really hungry?

The tortoise is 6 years old, weight 520 g (before disease 580 g) and long 14 cm. From what I read on the forum he remained a little small for the age.

The enclosure is ok, 1,2 mx0.6 m, uvb neon, spot lamp with termostat to 26°C degrees during day and 21°C during night.Humidity maintained by spraying the substrate with water 2/3 times a day at 70%-80%. He has also a "pool" to bath.

I'm sorry for my english but i'm italian and english/Us is not my first language
Thanks
 

ZEROPILOT

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It's very possible that your issue is the temperature.
It needs to be at least 80°f most of the day for correct digestion to take place.
Redfoot should be between 80° and 88°f with 82-84 the petfect zone. 27°-28.8° celsius?
I think your friend may be having issues digesting certain foods.
Bump up the day and night temps by a few degrees, and see if I'm correct.
 
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Martellone

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Ok, thanks, i try to go to 27-28 °c degrees.

What do you think about his size?
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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They all grow at different rates and if something's off with husbandry (diet, temperatures, humidity, space) the growth can be "stunted".

He is on the "small side", average weight/size of 6 year redfoots should be more. However, mine RF is the same (at 6 years, she was 600 gram, 16cm carapace length). Since she's got more space to roam, humidity between 85-100% and correct temperatures she again has started growing. Since September she has gained 200 grams (+30% weight).

120x60cm enclosure is not large enough for his size. Lack of movement affects digestion and that could be the reason for constipation. Is it possible for you to make an enclosure outside for him (in the yard or on the balcony, for example)?

Also, you may try to offer him some mushrooms, they usually go mad about them.
 
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Martellone

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They all grow at different rates and if something's off with husbandry (diet, temperatures, humidity, space) the growth can be "stunted".

He is on the "small side", average weight/size of 6 year redfoots should be more. However, mine RF is the same (at 6 years, she was 600 gram, 16cm carapace length). Since she's got more space to roam, humidity between 85-100% and correct temperatures she again has started growing. Since September she has gained 200 grams (+30% weight).

120x60cm enclosure is not large enough for his size. Lack of movement affects digestion and that could be the reason for constipation. Is it possible for you to make an enclosure outside for him (in the yard or on the balcony, for example)?

Also, you may try to offer him some mushrooms, they usually go mad about them.
Now in North italy the weather is still cold.in summer, from late may to september he stay in an outside enclosure of about 1,5 m×1 m.
 

Tom

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Hello everyone,
i write you for a problem with my red foot. I had this tortoise from about 6 years since was a baby. In these years he has always given me some problems with eating. He doesn't like particulary fruits (I try all fruits recommended mango,papaya,apple that he hate, pear, bluberries, ananas, melon,watermelon). For a certain period he eats it and then for months he doesn't want to hear about it anymore.

He had a period of desease, he had a stomatitis and i care he with a antibiotic, on the advice of a veterinarian. He also had a pinworm infestation and was dewormed with panacur. During desease i give him to sustain a lot of bad food, but the only ones he ate (tortoise food european version like mazuri and meal worms) The week after deworming he restart to eat normally, dandelion an clover particullary and not fruits.
Now two weeks after deworming he has stopped eating again. He only eats if I offer him foods that he cannot eat or can eat rarely (tortoise food, wormmeal, banana). The last meal was on Sunday with mealworms. in the past three days i gim him dandelion, radicchio, ananas, papaya, strawberries but he didn't eat. he also became constipated and only had a bowel movement once in two weeks after a long bath in warm water.
What can I do to get her to eat vegetables and fruit again? Is it right to insist until he gets really hungry?

The tortoise is 6 years old, weight 520 g (before disease 580 g) and long 14 cm. From what I read on the forum he remained a little small for the age.

The enclosure is ok, 1,2 mx0.6 m, uvb neon, spot lamp with termostat to 26°C degrees during day and 21°C during night.Humidity maintained by spraying the substrate with water 2/3 times a day at 70%-80%. He has also a "pool" to bath.

I'm sorry for my english but i'm italian and english/Us is not my first language
Thanks
Hello and welcome.

Your tortoise's issues are the result of being housed and heated incorrectly. I say this not to be mean and hurt your feelings, but so that you know what is wrong and can fix it.

-Your enclosure is MUCH too small, both indoors and outdoors. They need at least 122x244cm indoors at this size, and bigger would be better. Outdoors the enclosure should be somewhere around 10x10 meters. When they are confined to small quarters, it causes health problems and they can't digest their food and move it along properly. You are seeing the results.
-Your temperatures are much too cool for this tropical species. It should never drop below 26-27 at night, and it should be somewhere around 28-30 during the day. They don't need a basking spot, but if you insist on using one, make it a flood bulb, NOT a spot bulb. Arcadia makes basking flood bulbs that you should be able to get over there.
-Open topped enclosures don't work. There is no way to maintain the correct temperatures and humidity. That is like trying to heat your house in winter with no roof. It can't work. You need a large closed chamber. Portable green house tents can work to improve things.
-You should be soaking this tortoise in warm water every other day. for 30-40 minutes. Keep the water warm the entire time.

Correct these husbandry problems, and your tortoise will regain its health and start to grow normally again.
 
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Martellone

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39
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Italy
Hello and welcome.

Your tortoise's issues are the result of being housed and heated incorrectly. I say this not to be mean and hurt your feelings, but so that you know what is wrong and can fix it.

-Your enclosure is MUCH too small, both indoors and outdoors. They need at least 122x244cm indoors at this size, and bigger would be better. Outdoors the enclosure should be somewhere around 10x10 meters. When they are confined to small quarters, it causes health problems and they can't digest their food and move it along properly. You are seeing the results.
-Your temperatures are much too cool for this tropical species. It should never drop below 26-27 at night, and it should be somewhere around 28-30 during the day. They don't need a basking spot, but if you insist on using one, make it a flood bulb, NOT a spot bulb. Arcadia makes basking flood bulbs that you should be able to get over there.
-Open topped enclosures don't work. There is no way to maintain the correct temperatures and humidity. That is like trying to heat your house in winter with no roof. It can't work. You need a large closed chamber. Portable green house tents can work to improve things.
-You should be soaking this tortoise in warm water every other day. for 30-40 minutes. Keep the water warm the entire time.

Correct these husbandry problems, and your tortoise will regain its health and start to grow normally again.
Thank you.
Unfortunately we live in a small house and is a very big problem to take a bigger indoor enclosure. The current one is closed (I attached a picture) But we correct the temperatures immediately. We don't have a garden but we have a balcony of 6x2 m. When we stay at home we can leave him free on the balcony during the period may-september. We may build too a bigger balcony enclosure for the periods that we don't stay at home.
What is flood bulb? i'm sorry but i'm not english and i have difficult to understand what is.
From tomorrow we introduce longer soak one day yes and one day no.

I attached other 2 pictures of the meal of this afternoon, he return to eat something, but few and he don't touch the pineapple but only dandelion and clover (firts picture is with full meal, the second whan is the food leftover.
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you.
Unfortunately we live in a small house and is a very big problem to take a bigger indoor enclosure. The current one is closed (I attached a picture) But we correct the temperatures immediately. We don't have a garden but we have a balcony of 6x2 m. When we stay at home we can leave him free on the balcony during the period may-september. We may build too a bigger balcony enclosure for the periods that we don't stay at home.
What is flood bulb? i'm sorry but i'm not english and i have difficult to understand what is.
From tomorrow we introduce longer soak one day yes and one day no.

I attached other 2 pictures of the meal of this afternoon, he return to eat something, but few and he don't touch the pineapple but only dandelion and clover (firts picture is with full meal, the second whan is the food leftover.

6x2 meters balcony is great. You may setup a part of it as a "tortoise space" - with a planter box, substrate, plants and such and leave part of it as it is, shaded by tent or garden umbrella. So he will have full area available to roam but with some space made really comfortable for him. You may think of making a warm "night box" for him there or just take him inside for the night.

Flood bulbs are wide beam bulbs (120 degrees angle, labeled BR20, BR30, R20, R30). Usual A-type (pear-shaped) lamps are also fine. You may take a photo of a label on your lamp, so we can tell for sure if it's suitable (some of the bulbs are labeled "basking spot lamp", while they are flood lamps by design).

From the photos it looks like there is too little substrate. There should be about 4 inches. And what substrate do you use?

P.S. - Here is the photo of how my "balcony setup" is done: https://tortoiseforum.org/media/besha-balcony.12645/
It's not the best possible (I plan to extend substrate covered space), but may give you an idea. She has free access to all balcony area, which is shaded and safe to roam.
 

Martellone

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39
Location (City and/or State)
Italy
6x2 meters balcony is great. You may setup a part of it as a "tortoise space" - with a planter box, substrate, plants and such and leave part of it as it is, shaded by tent or garden umbrella. So he will have full area available to roam but with some space made really comfortable for him. You may think of making a warm "night box" for him there or just take him inside for the night.

Flood bulbs are wide beam bulbs (120 degrees angle, labeled BR20, BR30, R20, R30). Usual A-type (pear-shaped) lamps are also fine. You may take a photo of a label on your lamp, so we can tell for sure if it's suitable (some of the bulbs are labeled "basking spot lamp", while they are flood lamps by design).

From the photos it looks like there is too little substrate. There should be about 4 inches. And what substrate do you use?

P.S. - Here is the photo of how my "balcony setup" is done: https://tortoiseforum.org/media/besha-balcony.12645/
It's not the best possible (I plan to extend substrate covered space), but may give you an idea. She has free access to all balcony area, which is shaded and safe to roam.
Wow, your tortoise spaces are very beautiful and organized.
I attached a picture of lamps that i use during the day and night (ceramic black one). The lamps don't have any label. But are both 75w.
Actual substrate is sphagnum peat. How often you change the substrate? On sunday we changed the substrate and we add a higher quantity like your advice.

I have a doubt. Now i'm at work but i think that with the new temperatures is very hard to meintain 70-80% humidity by only spray water in the morning and when i return home in the evening.

This morning after a night at 26,5°C he was very active, very "fast". He "attacked" the dandelion leves. I hope to see the dish empty when i return home this evening (i put in the dish mango and pineapple too).

Thank you very for the many tips
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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Wow, your tortoise spaces are very beautiful and organized.
I attached a picture of lamps that i use during the day and night (ceramic black one). The lamps don't have any label. But are both 75w.
Actual substrate is sphagnum peat. How often you change the substrate? On sunday we changed the substrate and we add a higher quantity like your advice.

I have a doubt. Now i'm at work but i think that with the new temperatures is very hard to meintain 70-80% humidity by only spray water in the morning and when i return home in the evening.

This morning after a night at 26,5°C he was very active, very "fast". He "attacked" the dandelion leves. I hope to see the dish empty when i return home this evening (i put in the dish mango and pineapple too).

Thank you very for the many tips
Thank you!

Ceramic heater is fine, as long as it is enough for keep temperatures. Keep it running on the thermostat all the time. Not so sure about the second bulb, but it looks like a flood type incandescent (maybe you have packaging left?). If temperature under the basking lamp is around 30-31C, it's okay to use (put a thermometer probe for 1 hour under the lamp to check).

Peat moss isn't great substrate for tortoises (might be wrong, but it's very acidic). Plain coco coir, orchid (fir) bark or cypress mulch work are the best options. If you do timely spot cleaning and soak tortoise regularly, substrate lasts for 1 year at least.

As for the humidity with enough substrate level you just need to pour some cups of water in the corners, to wet the bottom substrate layers. Top layer should stay dry to prevent shell fungus. Humidity will stay high because of evaporation for a week or more.

I'm glad to know that higher temperatures worked and he is doing better. Keep us updated and ask any questions you might have!
 

Martellone

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Thank you!

Ceramic heater is fine, as long as it is enough for keep temperatures. Keep it running on the thermostat all the time. Not so sure about the second bulb, but it looks like a flood type incandescent (maybe you have packaging left?). If temperature under the basking lamp is around 30-31C, it's okay to use (put a thermometer probe for 1 hour under the lamp to check).

Peat moss isn't great substrate for tortoises (might be wrong, but it's very acidic). Plain coco coir, orchid (fir) bark or cypress mulch work are the best options. If you do timely spot cleaning and soak tortoise regularly, substrate lasts for 1 year at least.

As for the humidity with enough substrate level you just need to pour some cups of water in the corners, to wet the bottom substrate layers. Top layer should stay dry to prevent shell fungus. Humidity will stay high because of evaporation for a week or more.

I'm glad to know that higher temperatures worked and he is doing better. Keep us updated and ask any questions you might have!
For two years we used coco coir but due to the long process of hydrating the tile and then letting it dry, we abandoned it. Yes peat moss has a pH of 4,1. If i find cypress mulch on garden i buy it. If not i buy bark.

I have the box of the bulb there aren't write informations.

Unfortunately i just arrived at home and he doesn't touch the fruits. He has only eat one or two small leaves of dandelion and stop.

Tomorrow i try to mix 2 or 3 pellet of similar mazuri tortoise food to the fruit and greens. But it's a problem to always have to give him a "gift" to make him eat
 

Martellone

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Yes, it's ok. At has a confusing naming "spot daylight", but actually is a flood lamp.
Some updates.
The flood bulb is arrived..i change the substrate too.Now low side pine cork, upper side cipress mulch (in italy is very very very expensive!!)
In the week end he eat mushrooms and 2 or 3 leaves of dandelion. today 4 wormmeal too. From tomorrow i start to diet oneday yes and oneday not like suggestion of the guides on this forum.

Yesterday we go to the vet for the last control after stomatitis and she say that the tortoise is completely recovered from the disease. good. The vet says that he may not eat fruit in this period because in Italy it is not in season and since it is imported it is not properly ripe and the turtle could perceive it. I'm not really convinced.

I called the indoor enclosure builder to modify it with ad another piece. The enclosure will become 1,50 m x 0,6 m. Not the best like yours suggestion but better than now. the maximum for my house.

Now the problem is to maintain humidity. The enclosure has holes for air circulation. two holes at the bottom left and 2 at the top right. I close one of the holes in the top but nothing has changed.

Thank you very much for yours suggestions.
I will let you know if he starts to have more of an appetite again and if he starts to grow again. Thanks again
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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Some updates.
The flood bulb is arrived..i change the substrate too.Now low side pine cork, upper side cipress mulch (in italy is very very very expensive!!)
In the week end he eat mushrooms and 2 or 3 leaves of dandelion. today 4 wormmeal too. From tomorrow i start to diet oneday yes and oneday not like suggestion of the guides on this forum.

Yesterday we go to the vet for the last control after stomatitis and she say that the tortoise is completely recovered from the disease. good. The vet says that he may not eat fruit in this period because in Italy it is not in season and since it is imported it is not properly ripe and the turtle could perceive it. I'm not really convinced.

I called the indoor enclosure builder to modify it with ad another piece. The enclosure will become 1,50 m x 0,6 m. Not the best like yours suggestion but better than now. the maximum for my house.

Now the problem is to maintain humidity. The enclosure has holes for air circulation. two holes at the bottom left and 2 at the top right. I close one of the holes in the top but nothing has changed.

Thank you very much for yours suggestions.
I will let you know if he starts to have more of an appetite again and if he starts to grow again. Thanks again
Thank you for the update! I'm glad he's getting a bit better!

On humidity: you need to cover both top holes, hot and humid air escapes through these like through the chimney pipe. Also, if you use this round gauge to measure humidity, they are very inaccurate. A simple thermometer/hygrometer with a display from house goods store will show you more correct readings. Also, I look at condensate on the walls and glass doors and it seems that humidity is fine.

On fruit: in the wild they eat ripe fruit (which fall on the ground), so don't really like non-sugary non-ripe ones. Wax coating on imported fruits may be the issue as well. You may let fruit to lay a couple of days in a dark, moderately warm place, covered with a plastic bag to ripe (works with mangoes, bananas, tomatoes and papaya at least).

Also, you may offer him some ruccola, cilantro or radicchio. Maybe he will like them better, than dandelions. Feeding him every other day is not really natural way, but you may try it - if his appetite restores you can get back to everyday feeding.
 

Martellone

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Thank you for the update! I'm glad he's getting a bit better!

On humidity: you need to cover both top holes, hot and humid air escapes through these like through the chimney pipe. Also, if you use this round gauge to measure humidity, they are very inaccurate. A simple thermometer/hygrometer with a display from house goods store will show you more correct readings. Also, I look at condensate on the walls and glass doors and it seems that humidity is fine.

On fruit: in the wild they eat ripe fruit (which fall on the ground), so don't really like non-sugary non-ripe ones. Wax coating on imported fruits may be the issue as well. You may let fruit to lay a couple of days in a dark, moderately warm place, covered with a plastic bag to ripe (works with mangoes, bananas, tomatoes and papaya at least).

Also, you may offer him some ruccola, cilantro or radicchio. Maybe he will like them better, than dandelions. Feeding him every other day is not really natural way, but you may try it - if his appetite restores you can get back to everyday feeding.
An update..the tort doesn't eat much in this days but he gained 14 grams in 10 days(we weighed it after poop). I think without worms he assimilates food better. Tomorrow after i have read a lot of post on this forum i make an experiment..i give him a greens mix and doesn't eat..i added a small amount of kiwi and in a few minute he eat all!! Before on Italian red footed guide i had read that kiwi and tomatoes are bad fruits but on forum i read that they are safe in a varied diet.
We give him a bis of greens with a small amount of cherry tomato (1/3 of tomato) and he eat all..incredibile!!!!!i think is the biggest quantity of Ford eated in a meal in 6 years of life.
I hope that with the measures taken thanks to the advice you gave me and the stimulating foods he will start to grow again.

PS i have a dream of a big tort since i was young.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Well, that sounds like a huge improvement! Congratulations!

I would offer him some mushrooms or mango/papaya next. I peel imported fruit (they are usually covered with protective wax for easier storage and transportation). Also, he might like something like zucchini.

Keep us updated!
 

Martellone

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Well, that sounds like a huge improvement! Congratulations!

I would offer him some mushrooms or mango/papaya next. I peel imported fruit (they are usually covered with protective wax for easier storage and transportation). Also, he might like something like zucchini.

Keep us updated!
Hello,
this morning after 6 days of ripening in a plastic bag, i give to my tortoise a mango..and surprise he ate it very quickly. We give him a bis. I think the other times I tried to give it to him it was always unripe (and he never eat it).
We are very happy.

Thank you very much Alex for your advice.

In general now, except for a couple of days a week, he eats almost everything we give him. For example yesterday a mix of greens and rocket salad without any similar mazuri or delicious fruit and he eat all. I also got a hibiscus plant and he loves the leaves, he doesn't eat the flowers.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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That's certainly a success! I think, you may start tracking his weight now :)

Would be glad to hear more updates and see more photos from you!
 

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