Russian tort not pooping!

TeganTallullah

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Nov 22, 2015
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I'm quite worried about my Russian tortoise because she has not been pooping. I believe she's only pooped once in the last two months! Should I be alarmed, and if so what can I do to help? (I'm already bathing her regularly but not quite daily). Is there some kind of laxative I can give her? Any advice greatly appreciated.

Here's a bit of background.
At the end of November I joined this forum and posted a thread asking for advice because my tort was trying to hibernate: sleeping all day, not eating or pooping. Since then I have made a big effort to improve her conditions. I brought her a larger house (that has a covered hide area, unlike her last one), I got her a stronger heat lamp, put in a substrate of coir and bark, and got her a wider and shallower water dish that she can sit in. I also started giving her warm baths under her light several times a week. These changes seem to have helped her quite a bit: she is much more active (although she still takes naps in the day) and she is now eating a normal amount. However even though she's been eating properly since 20th December, she hasn't pooped since then! How can this be? She is peeing and passing white urates every few days, though. She's four/five years old. She eats dandelion leaves and flowers, clover leaves and flowers, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrot, courgette, parsnip, and apple. There's a cuttlefish bone in her house which she occasionally nibbles on, and I scrape some onto her food about once a week. The temperatures are: basking = 95F; warm side = 75F; cool side = 60F; and night = 50-55F. Here's a photo of her new house. :)
 

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Oxalis

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Typically many of the succulents tend to have a laxative effect on tortoises and should be feed infrequently. I think a lot of the forum peeps feed squash when they're in need of a laxative. Squash is also an occasional food since the Russian diet consists mainly of leafy greens. I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but I'm sure someone else here will have much more information! :) I hope your tortoise feels better soon!
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Do you think she could be eating her poop before you see it? Maybe she pooped and walked substrate over it.
I'd not feed the fruit, or the spinach or the broccoli as a regular diet. Russians eat weeds. the rest of what you feed sounds good. Don't worry so much, she's pooping or she wouldn't eat. Upset tummy's make them not eat. She's eating and acting normal....
 

TeganTallullah

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Thanks Maggie... Perhaps I'm worrying unnecessarily. I did think she would not eat if she had a digestive problem... I guess it is possible she's pooped and I missed it, but I don't think so - I've been keeping a good eye on her. Hmm...

About the food, I know Russians are meant to eat mostly wild weeds but I have trouble sourcing these as I don't have a garden. I pick dandelions and clover but other weeds I'm not sure about and don't want to risk giving her something bad by mistake...
 

swatsx

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What kind of substrate is that? The reason I ask is my Russian is on coco and when she poops it ends up being covered and blending in only reason I can tell is when I clean the substrate with a cat litter cleaner
 

TeganTallullah

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Nov 22, 2015
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Hey Swatsx, I think mine is coco coir too. Thanks for the heads up, it's possible I could be getting the same thing...
 

yillt

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I'm quite worried about my Russian tortoise because she has not been pooping. I believe she's only pooped once in the last two months! Should I be alarmed, and if so what can I do to help? (I'm already bathing her regularly but not quite daily). Is there some kind of laxative I can give her? Any advice greatly appreciated.

Here's a bit of background.
At the end of November I joined this forum and posted a thread asking for advice because my tort was trying to hibernate: sleeping all day, not eating or pooping. Since then I have made a big effort to improve her conditions. I brought her a larger house (that has a covered hide area, unlike her last one), I got her a stronger heat lamp, put in a substrate of coir and bark, and got her a wider and shallower water dish that she can sit in. I also started giving her warm baths under her light several times a week. These changes seem to have helped her quite a bit: she is much more active (although she still takes naps in the day) and she is now eating a normal amount. However even though she's been eating properly since 20th December, she hasn't pooped since then! How can this be? She is peeing and passing white urates every few days, though. She's four/five years old. She eats dandelion leaves and flowers, clover leaves and flowers, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrot, courgette, parsnip, and apple. There's a cuttlefish bone in her house which she occasionally nibbles on, and I scrape some onto her food about once a week. The temperatures are: basking = 95F; warm side = 75F; cool side = 60F; and night = 50-55F. Here's a photo of her new house. :)
DONT feed a laxative. As long as she is eating and she doesn't seem I'll I'm any other way, she should be fine. My tortoise poos very rarely and when he does it kind of blends in either the soil. I have never fed broccoli or carrot. Isn't carrot a bit hard? But apart from that tortoises set up and routine seems great. Just carry on doing what you're doing.
 

TeganTallullah

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Thank you Yillt! That's very good to know. All of these comments are making me feel a lot better. Unless someone comes and insists otherwise, I'll leave her be. :) I might try feeding her a bit of squash though...
(Oh, and yeah carrots are a bit hard so I grate them for her. She seems to be pretty keen on them).
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Squash is good, so are carrots, just not as part of a regular diet.
 

SarahChelonoidis

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The temperatures are: basking = 95F; warm side = 75F; cool side = 60F; and night = 50-55F.

Your temperatures strike me as rather cool still. I'm not a Russian keeper, but I would have thought 50F was too cold over night, every night. Is that standard care for Russians?
 

Yvonne G

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No, it's ok for Russian tortoises to have a night time cool down. As hers isn't a baby, that's ok.
 

TeganTallullah

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When a food is good for 'occasionally' but not as the standard diet, how often is occasionally?
 

Oxalis

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I have never fed broccoli or carrot. Isn't carrot a bit hard?
I don't think The Tortoise Table recommends carrots for the tortoise diet.

I almost never feed my Russian anything sweet like apple, since too much sugar can upset their digestive system. He is pretty excited for Mazuri or cucumber, so that makes a better treat, especially if I want to make sure he's getting some extra hydration. I suppose "occasionally" could mean once a month? Depends what the more knowledgeable members on here think. ;)

There is a sub-forum on here to help identify weeds, but The Tortoise Table is a great resource for browsing and learning about tortoise diets. You'll find some wonderful plants in there that you may be able to grow indoors in a small garden, like pansies (Viola spp.). :)
 

ZEROPILOT

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Nothing in equals nothing out. She/he does eat, right?
I notice that any time I place any of my tortoises in a box to go to the vet, they poop all over the box within 15 minutes. You could give it a try.
Also, unless you have your temperatures to at least 80 degrees, your tortoise will not be able to properly digest food and that may also be an issue.
 
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