RT doesn't come out much

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New Member
5 Year Member
Oct 16, 2012
I've had my tortoise for about 6 months now. I purchased him from a pet store, but he has been in good health. I'm used to him coming out of his "cave" and exploring around his cave during the day. For the past two weeks or so, he's just been in his cave sleeping all day, and occasionally comes out to eat, then goes back in.

To give you an idea of his setup: I have a large aquarium (not sure of exact size, but he has plenty of room to roam). He has all of the proper lighting, and a small pool of water. His cave is a terracotta pot underneath a wooden shelf (that he used to LOVE climbing and sitting on top of all day, but he hasn't done this for a long time). He has some type of wood chip substrate, and I read that he should have something to dig in so I got him a different type of substrate from the pet store, and put it in a certain area of his tank, but he seems totally disinterested in that too. The only recent change I've made to his tank is putting a heater behind the glass next to where his cave is, because I was afraid he was getting too cold at night. Could he just be staying in there all day because it's so warm and cozy? His heat light does a good job of creating a warm environment for him, so I can't imagine he'd get cold outside of the cave either..

I don't know a whole lot about tortoises yet, so maybe this is normal, but i'm just a little worried.

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
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Jan 23, 2008
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Clovis, CA
Hi Jessicann:

This is about the time that steppe tortoises start to wind down for winter. How long are your lights on per day? What are the temperatures on the floor of the habitat (in different spots)?


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Feb 25, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Southwest Washington
It would also really help to know the size of your tortoise

Also the size of your aquarium.
Can he fit in the water bowl, and do you soak your tortoise 1-2x per week?
What exact light are you using (you mention a heat light)?
What substrate are you using, and what did you add? You are right, wood chips alone are not the best choice.

And, with the extra heater, what are the temps in the enclosure on the 'warm' and 'cold' side?
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