Deonna

New Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Brookings
Hello, this is my first post but I've been reading this forum religiously for months now. Unfortunately my first post is a very sad one, I purchased 2 baby redfoots which I recieved on Sept. 30, I was told they were roughly 3 months at the time and they weighed in at 68.5 & 63 grams. When I first got them there was a very shy skittish one that was a little smaller (Little Foot) and a much more outgoing one that sometimes came off as a bully (Bowser). Within the first few weeks LF had quit eating for maybe 2 days, was pooling and seemed just off and after reading multiple posts here I found a few tricks to try. She ate a piece of the moss or something and was plugged up, she pooped, and after that she's been flourishing. During all of this Bowser was perfectly fine, he ate great, he enjoyed warm soaks, he explored and let you rub his cute little head. He has since taken a drastic downward turn within the last week. Ive weighed them regularly and since this last time he has lost weight (in grams) and its really making me realize it could be very serious as more issues just keep coming up.. On Oct 1st: LF- 63 Bowser- 68.5, Oct 17: LF- 65 Bowser- 72 then Nov 3: LF- 69.5 and Bowser- 69. He's absolutely refusing to eat, started running away from it is so I started feeding them in a separate container so he had to be around the food to possibly make him interested. I have tried EVERYTHING he occasionally takes a small nibble but nothing that can be doing much good. Now he still drinks regularly and I soak both of them everyday for 15-20 minutes and every other day I put calcium powder in the water. Since he is not eating he is no longer pooping and if anything does come out its a small amount of liquid/gooey mush. And if all of that wasn't bad enough I noticed yesterday he's not really opening his eyes until I soak him then he's able to open them a bit but I don't think he's keeping them open after. I've started twice a day soaks with him now to try and help his eyes. I'm at a complete loss for what to do, I never thought I'd get so emotionally invested in 2 little tortoises but I will be devastated to lose that little guy. Now since I'm sure it will be asked they are in a 2×4 (give or take) turtle table thing, about a third of it is completely covered and dark (temperature around 80-ish and humidity stays about 75-80) the rest is a mesh top with clear sides and I try my hardest to keep that at about 85-90 with humidity fluctuating much more than I'd liked between 70-90. The humidity in the open area is a real struggle for me, I do the best I know how but it's difficult to have it humid but also not too wet. I have 2 CHEs (I believe, 1 is black and 1 is white and I always keep at least 1 on all night) then I have my UVB bulb which I am recently finding out is bad and I need to replace with a tube light. They have repta-bark substrate with sphagnum moss on top as well as a hide log, large water dish and basking area. I've even thrown a couple cuttlebones in there hoping he'd at least munch on something but no luck. It's also worth noting that I live in a smaller town where finding a vet that can see a tortoise is difficult, they are more familiar with cattle than anything with a shell. So obviously if there was anything close I would have taken him already but to get him seen somewhere is going to be a multiple hour trip 1 way which is why I thought I'd reach out to see if there are any other suggestions before we begin a journey like that.
Thanks in advance and please tell me that my baby is going to be okay!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
90,550
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Set him up in a smaller hospital tank. A 10 gallon aquarium works good for this purpose. Cover the tank and maintain the temperature at 85°F day and night.

Soak him daily in 50%/50% baby food strained carrots and warm water for 45 minutes to an hour. If you place the soaking bowl back in the hospital tank it will stay warm.

The above should get his eyes open and make him feel better, but we really need to know why this happened in the first place (it MIGHT be because you're keeping them together as a pair, but then, it might not).

Please post pictures of the enclosure and let us know what foods you're offering plus what heat and lights you're using.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
25,507
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
The moss is definitely a no. Get rid of it.
The spiral UVB bulb is stressful to the eyes and doesn't really provide much useful UVB. So I'd also get rid of that.
Better no UVB for a short period that one of those.
Your temperatures and humidity levels are ok. But your enclosure, being open on top, is not ideal.
Your CHE don't sound like CHE. And if the "white one" is actually an MVB, there is another issue. If it turns out to just be an incandescent light, it also isn't doing much.
Do as @Yvonne G has suggested. And slso offer something that a REDFOOT can't resist. Like a cut strawberry.
Hopefully he will begin to feel less stressed, pass any blockage and begin to eat again.
And yes. Keeping two together is a bad idea. One will always be a bully. The submissive one can't escape and its stressful to them both.
 

Deonna

New Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Brookings
Set him up in a smaller hospital tank. A 10 gallon aquarium works good for this purpose. Cover the tank and maintain the temperature at 85°F day and night.

Soak him daily in 50%/50% baby food strained carrots and warm water for 45 minutes to an hour. If you place the soaking bowl back in the hospital tank it will stay warm.

The above should get his eyes open and make him feel better, but we really need to know why this happened in the first place (it MIGHT be because you're keeping them together as a pair, but then, it might not).

Please post pictures of the enclosure and let us know what foods you're offering plus what heat and lights you're using.
If I get him set up in a little hospital tank, I would put the substrate and stuff in it just like the regular home then? Also I keep reading about this baby food bath, what is that exactly? I cook some carrots, mash them up and put them in the warm water?
I had recently saw that they don't do well in pairs which is disheartening as I had originally planned on only starting with 1 tortoise but thought it would be nice for it to have a friend to not be alone all the time. They don't seem to have a problem with each other, but we did make some alterations to their dark side adding another doorway and putting a board in between so they each have their own space. They usually go to their own side by themselves. I will add pictures of what I can.
As far as diet I will post pics of the pellets I occasionally use to mix things up but for the most part I feed them a variety of different things kale, romaine, turnip greens, collard greens, mushrooms, carrots, squash, pumpkin, banana, kiwi, mustard greens, butter lettuce, the tiny oranges. Usually its a mix of greens with squash or something and then try to do some greens and a fruit on the weekends for something special. We do have dried meal worms I throw in there from time to time and whenever it rains I go outside and find nightcrawlers for them, which Bowser used to love and refused today, but that's not a steady thing. Also it's getting a little late in the year now but when I find dandelions outside I grab those too. I try to keep it a fresh variety for them so they don't get bored and be careful with the fruits cause I read they can get addicted fairly easy to stuff like bananas.
I assume the eye problem would be the first thing to try and take care of? But I don't know if the not eating has somehow caused the eye issue or if they are unrelated. I will post a pic of Bowser later when I do a soak but don't want to mess with him again now since he's resting. I read about people force feeding them after a few days, should I try that cause I honestly don't know how I would even go about doing that he's so small I don't know how I'd make him open his mouth.
I will try to get some pics for lighting, I know there is 2 CHEs in there as we had trouble keeping Temps up right in the beginning but I don't know exact names for them one is black and one is white but my bf did that so I'll ask him exact names and sizes for them. Then we have one of the coil UVB bulbs, which will be one of the first changes I will be making to the enclosure after reading all the problems it can cause. The dark side also has one of those heated mat things underneath all the substrate, it's in the middle so they both have the option of going to the opposite end if they don't want to be on it but they do really seem to like digging in there and getting warm. Both sides have their own temperature things hooked up the mat and lights that turn off/on with the temperature.
Please don't judge me off the pictures! I know its nothing lavish but we're really trying the best we can to help these tortoises thrive, I'm a little nervous there's gonna be something I'm doing way wrong as much research as was done before buying them I'm realizing I still wasn't 100% prepared for all the issues that could come up. Also the towels are a recent very temporary fix to try and help my humidity situation, it has been a struggle.
 

Attachments

  • 20211110_131614.jpg
    20211110_131614.jpg
    1.2 MB · Views: 28
  • 20211110_131639.jpg
    20211110_131639.jpg
    1.1 MB · Views: 28
  • 20211110_131649.jpg
    20211110_131649.jpg
    989.6 KB · Views: 28
  • 20211110_131707.jpg
    20211110_131707.jpg
    1.2 MB · Views: 27
  • 20211110_131742.jpg
    20211110_131742.jpg
    1.4 MB · Views: 26
  • 20211110_131801.jpg
    20211110_131801.jpg
    1.4 MB · Views: 25
  • 20211110_131910.jpg
    20211110_131910.jpg
    1.2 MB · Views: 29

Deonna

New Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Brookings
The moss is definitely a no. Get rid of it.
The spiral UVB bulb is stressful to the eyes and doesn't really provide much useful UVB. So I'd also get rid of that.
Better no UVB for a short period that one of those.
Your temperatures and humidity levels are ok. But your enclosure, being open on top, is not ideal.
Your CHE don't sound like CHE. And if the "white one" is actually an MVB, there is another issue. If it turns out to just be an incandescent light, it also isn't doing much.
Do as @Yvonne G has suggested. And slso offer something that a REDFOOT can't resist. Like a cut strawberry.
Hopefully he will begin to feel less stressed, pass any blockage and begin to eat again.
And yes. Keeping two together is a bad idea. One will always be a bully. The submissive one can't escape and its stressful to them both.
Yeah I've been working on getting rid of the moss completely since the first issue with one eating it. But they do like it in the corners to bury themselves in so I feel bad. Is that even normal for redfoots to be digging under stuff like that or could they be doing that because the light I'm using is wrong and it's too bright? The UVB bulb is the only one in the enclosure that puts off any actual light, so if I take that out until I get a proper one should I move them right in front of a window for light or could I put just a regular light bulb in there so they can see but it's not overpowering.
 

Canadian Mojo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
211
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario
You won't get much, if any, UV through the glass. You don't really need to worry about them not getting any (while you wait for a new bulb) because they are forest tortoises -- they really don't ever get much UV traipsing around the floor of the Amazon. Keeping them warm and wet is much more important for their immediate health.
 

Jan A

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
1,697
Location (City and/or State)
Boulder, CO
Yeah I've been working on getting rid of the moss completely since the first issue with one eating it. But they do like it in the corners to bury themselves in so I feel bad. Is that even normal for redfoots to be digging under stuff like that or could they be doing that because the light I'm using is wrong and it's too bright? The UVB bulb is the only one in the enclosure that puts off any actual light, so if I take that out until I get a proper one should I move them right in front of a window for light or could I put just a regular light bulb in there so they can see but it's not overpowering.
My redfoot, Houdini, really doesn't like bright light. He's perfectly happy with the light from a window that faces east in the afternoon. If he's outside, he'll stick his nose in a corner. He doesn't burrow but he loves his new hide.

Your humidity problem could be improved greatly with changing out the moss & whatever else for coco coir or orchid bark (fine fir bark) or a combination of both, with the coco coir on the bottom. You can then pour water in the 4 corners of the enclosure underneath the substrate & it will evaporate upwards while the substrate on top stays dry.

A hospital unit shouldn't have substrate in it. Use paper towels. Keep the temps up 85 deg F or higher 24/7.

For carrot soaks, you can use baby strained carrots--50% carrots & 50% water. His eyes remaining shut may be a reason he's not eating. You can also try flushing his eyes with saline solution (in the eye dept for contact lenses at a drug store), or Yvonne & others can suggest eye drops you can try.

Others will be along to help. Please hang in there. It is all the more stressful when your tort is ill. Welcome to the forum. We are here to help.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
25,507
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
For light alone, what you use is up to you.
If you swap over to a strip florescent T5 5.0 UVB. It will provide UVB and light for 12 hours a day. That's a day cycle of light that isn't too bright and more than enough UV.
Any Redfoot I've ever had liked to sleep "under" something. Leaves, branches, pipes, pots. They like to dig or wiggle down into the substrate and feel safe at night. This is an instinctual behavior that stays with them well into adulthood. And even large adults would rather rest in a large, bushy area of plants than out in the open.
I suggest you buy a few Spider plants or Lyriopi and plant them in an area near each other. You'll find that a baby RF will gravitate to that spot.
Just like the moss.
These plants may not live very long in your enclosure. So be prepared to replace them periodically.
They are pretty hardy and RF don't tend to eat these.
 

Rachels

New Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Messages
25
Location (City and/or State)
Meridian Idahio
Hello, this is my first post but I've been reading this forum religiously for months now. Unfortunately my first post is a very sad one, I purchased 2 baby redfoots which I recieved on Sept. 30, I was told they were roughly 3 months at the time and they weighed in at 68.5 & 63 grams. When I first got them there was a very shy skittish one that was a little smaller (Little Foot) and a much more outgoing one that sometimes came off as a bully (Bowser). Within the first few weeks LF had quit eating for maybe 2 days, was pooling and seemed just off and after reading multiple posts here I found a few tricks to try. She ate a piece of the moss or something and was plugged up, she pooped, and after that she's been flourishing. During all of this Bowser was perfectly fine, he ate great, he enjoyed warm soaks, he explored and let you rub his cute little head. He has since taken a drastic downward turn within the last week. Ive weighed them regularly and since this last time he has lost weight (in grams) and its really making me realize it could be very serious as more issues just keep coming up.. On Oct 1st: LF- 63 Bowser- 68.5, Oct 17: LF- 65 Bowser- 72 then Nov 3: LF- 69.5 and Bowser- 69. He's absolutely refusing to eat, started running away from it is so I started feeding them in a separate container so he had to be around the food to possibly make him interested. I have tried EVERYTHING he occasionally takes a small nibble but nothing that can be doing much good. Now he still drinks regularly and I soak both of them everyday for 15-20 minutes and every other day I put calcium powder in the water. Since he is not eating he is no longer pooping and if anything does come out its a small amount of liquid/gooey mush. And if all of that wasn't bad enough I noticed yesterday he's not really opening his eyes until I soak him then he's able to open them a bit but I don't think he's keeping them open after. I've started twice a day soaks with him now to try and help his eyes. I'm at a complete loss for what to do, I never thought I'd get so emotionally invested in 2 little tortoises but I will be devastated to lose that little guy. Now since I'm sure it will be asked they are in a 2×4 (give or take) turtle table thing, about a third of it is completely covered and dark (temperature around 80-ish and humidity stays about 75-80) the rest is a mesh top with clear sides and I try my hardest to keep that at about 85-90 with humidity fluctuating much more than I'd liked between 70-90. The humidity in the open area is a real struggle for me, I do the best I know how but it's difficult to have it humid but also not too wet. I have 2 CHEs (I believe, 1 is black and 1 is white and I always keep at least 1 on all night) then I have my UVB bulb which I am recently finding out is bad and I need to replace with a tube light. They have repta-bark substrate with sphagnum moss on top as well as a hide log, large water dish and basking area. I've even thrown a couple cuttlebones in there hoping he'd at least munch on something but no luck. It's also worth noting that I live in a smaller town where finding a vet that can see a tortoise is difficult, they are more familiar with cattle than anything with a shell. So obviously if there was anything close I would have taken him already but to get him seen somewhere is going to be a multiple hour trip 1 way which is why I thought I'd reach out to see if there are any other suggestions before we begin a journey like that.
Thanks in advance and please tell me that my baby is going to be okay!
Please take to reptile vet..has he been treated for parasites>? My redfoot had them when I first got him..now year later doing great
 

New Posts

Top