Sick russian on antibiotic

Cscui

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Hello. Cocoa, my male young adult RT got sick this week after coming out of hibernation, he stayed Oct17-Mar18. I was afraid he was gonna be weak after a long hibernation so I set myself to find him for 2 days (as he moved from where I knew he was) and actually he found me! I was very happy to see him!

He came alright on Monday March 12 (or when I finally first saw him), he had a bath but didn't eat. He didn't want to stay indoors so out again. Tue another bath and he ate, very active, walked outside a lot but my mistake was to leave him outside as AZ weather is still cool at night. Wed ok but Thur was a cooler day and he was there with some mucus on his arm. I gave him a bath and I noticed he had eaten a red jalapeño that fell from the plant (he loves those and I don't let him eat them but I thought well he just came out and its ok) anyway at the bath I thought he was chocking but then I learned that it could be a RI. Kept him indoors in a hospital box with heat and light, left heat over 85 at night.
Vet had no app avail for that day so I took him Fri 16 (yesterday). Vet said he was very ill but gave him a 50-70 chance of recovery, gave him fluids shot and Ceftazidime antibiotic shot. No more tests as it was very expensive and I decided to see how he does on the antibiotic and warm baths everyday and in his hospital box at home, nurse said it was a good choice, I just wanted him to start some treatment.

They gave me instructions to give him food with vitamins and calcium but he has not eaten since Wed or Thur after the jalapeño. He has other letuces avail on the garden but I don't see any indication that he ate.

Anyway, he didn't eat Fri either and I offered him today Sat after the bath where I put the vitamin drops and carrot baby food I just bought and he is just there sleeping, he moves if I touch him but he doesn't even try to open his eyes. I put the box on the window with sun and he did a 180 turn away from his head on the sun so I checked the temps and it was higher (100-97) so I closed the window blinds so he is just under the 90-95 heat and light bulb. His shell is 90.

The nurse (cause the Vet talked to me maybe 4mins so I wasn't too happy) but the nurse was very nice and explained everything I asked him about syringe feed him if he didn't want to eat and he said that sometimes is not good as he is already fighting an infection so maybe leave him alone but I've read that maybe that would help him fight better. He kept leaving the room to go ask all my questions to the Vet doc, I mean for the price of just the consult I think I should have had the chance to ask the questions directly to the Vet Doc but well anyway). So, should I wait? Should I force feed him?
They gave me 6 more injections to give him every 3 days. He is underweigh (at 3 being 5 a normal score) and of course dehydrated.

I just want to help him as much as I can. He stayed outdoors all year for the first time in 3 years and he was very happy. The previous year he stayed mostly out and hibernated for 6-8 weeks. We have had him for 4 yrs.

Thanks!
Ceci
 

wellington

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It sounds like you are putting him outside? If so, don't. Set him up inside and keep temps day and night no lower then 85 with basking at 95-100. Soak daily keeping him warm the whole time. Add baby food carrots and piedialyte to the soaking water. Keep up the baby food and piedialyte until he starts eating on his own. Keep him inside and in the higher temps until he's back to 100%
Good luck and keep us posted.
Sorry if I misunderstood about the going outside part.
 

Cscui

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Yes he has stayed inside our home since Thursday after I noticed the mucus, I got a plastic box with the heat/UV lights cause his wood pen is too big and we haven't used it all past year as he spent it outdoors free in his garden/backyard

I had read about the pedialyte but to syringe force it and that it could be dangerous going the wrong pipe and in other part I read it wasn't too clear either if to bath him or how but I would go buy the pedialyte for tomorrow's bath.

Today I put him in a small container with the warm water and baby food/liquid vitamins and then this container inside the sink so I could keep adding hot water to the sink to keep the same temp on the water on the small container (I have a laser termometer gun) I wanted to be sure he was keeping his same temps to stay 30mins in there.

He hasn't done that gasping open mouth thing since Thursday evening, so even when the Vet said on Fri. that he is very ill, I'm hoping that because he stayed indoors in the box with the correct temps this is helping him and making him more confortable.

We missed him so much here at home these months, he is a very stubborn little ninja so I'm hoping he can recover, I just love him so much that little amazing guy!

Thank you so much for your advice! It makes me more comfortable!
God bless
 

RosemaryDW

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Welcome @Cscui; I’m sorry we’re meeting when you’re so worried.

Our Russian had an RI coming out of hibernation this year; I don’t have much experience with tortoises and it was very scary! I’m going to tell you everything that happened, hoping it will give you some peace of mind.

I wasn’t sure what was wrong at first, just could tell she wasn’t right. I turned up the heat in her box and gave warm soaks, as the experienced members always say to do. She drank but wouldn’t eat, just slept all the time, she’d fall asleep during soaks. I got her to the vet a few days later, as soon as I could get an appointment.

Our vet her the same antibiotic as you, on the same schedule. She wasn’t too sick and he felt she might do okay just staying with the heat and soaks but since we were there he gave us the antibiotic. He explained she’d be sleeping and tired just as you and I would be while we were sick and even as we got better. If she wasn’t better in a couple of weeks we could come back for more tests to see if it wasn’t an RI but felt they weren’t needed at that time. Our vet is very good; I trust him but it was still terribly difficult for me.

I searched all over this formum, trying to figure out how long it might be until we saw improvement and found comments from members of about ten to fourteen days after starting antibiotics. She kept on sleeping or being groggy until day nine, when she started to eat a little bit from hand feeding. Because she’d drunk water coming out of hibernation I wasn’t too worried about her eating (Ha! That’s a lie, my husband and I beat ourselves up the entire time she was sick). Her symptoms were lessening during this period but the wheezing and sneezing was very hard to watch.

She’s been sticking in her box mostly but yesterday I realized she’d been out in the yard eating and pooping for a couple of days. She’s actually eating quite well but still spending more time in her box than usual.

All this took exactly one month and I expect she won’t be her full self for a while. I finally dropped the heat in the box today, but not all the way back to normal. It’s complete overkill but my husband is installing a web cam this weekend so we can keep an eye on her while we’re at work. :eek:

I hope you see improvement soon but I don’t think it will be right away, particularly as your tort is sicker than ours was.
 

Cscui

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@RosemaryDW Thank you so much for all your explanation, it really makes me feel more calmed and that is ok to have patience and just to wait, doing what we can and just hope for the best.

I was very worried up until he got the first treatment at the vet's office, I told myself and my young daughter that the important thing is that he was kept warm and that he was finally getting medicine and that no matter what he has had a happy life while he's been with us, he is very spoiled, he is the family's baby even though he only responds to my voice or comes to my hand but that we just have to do the best wtth the baths and the temps and to try to keep an eye without bothering him so he can have a better chance at recovering. I've been asking the kids and the hubby not to make noise or scream (playing) downstairs cause Cocoa is there

The day before he got sick and I was keeping him indoors in his box so he could get warm and dried after his bath before he could go back to the backyard I also put a wifi camera cause I was literally just sitting there by him on the sofa just watching him eating or trying to get out ☺️ and I thought I really need to go upstairs to do some work but now that he is just there sleeping I don't have to but yeah is very useful to have one if you are out of home

I really appreciate you taking your time to tell me all your story so I can have a better idea on what's going on and of course I'm glad your tort is ok and I hope she makes a full and happy recovering!

Thank you, have a good night!
 

Cscui

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Hello again to anyone reading this.

Its Thursday 22, a week after Cocoa was liked passed out not moving not even trying to open his eyes, very sick.

He started opening his eyes 2 days ago and moving a little but still he hasn't eaten.

Just warm 30min baths everyday with carrots baby food, vitamin drops (in the bath) some days and pedialyte, he just stays there not drinking but since Tuesday that he started to open his eyes a little and walking also some steps today he opens them up more and moving like he wants to get out of the "hospital" box (indoors in my house) today he was digging the newspaper so I removed it and under he has reptibark so he started digging in it too, I don't know if he feels too hot now?

He still has some bubbles coming out of his nose sometimes I just clean him and I can see its light yellow sometimes, like when it has been sitting there for a while on his nose, otherwise is just clear

Anyway today it was his second antibiotic shot and he was very feisty! First time my husband helped me but Cocoa wasn't moving much so it was easy, today I got nervous cause he kicked it out twice, he kinda scratched me with the other leg, man he was fighting me, the second time it was almost in and he moved so strong I just pulled the needle out, I had to call the hospital but they gave me confidence to try again so I did, I just waited a little for him to be back sleeping and I didn't moved him much and hold him not strong this time and once the needle went in he stopped moving (Vet assistant taught me to inject on corner of arm, like armpit in the soft spot) checked that there was no blood coming and in went, so I guess the thing is just to get it in and wait just a little to inject slowly, I guess he can't feel after needle is in just like I read somewhere and then inject.

After it was done I felt like maybe I didn't put the needle all the way in, I noticed just a little red like blood but he was moving and trying to like "leave me alone" when I was trying to see, but not coming out, just like it got red or maybe it got a tiny drop right after, anyway I was very nervous to hurt him, gosh I really don't know how I can dare to do it in the first place.

I really hope I did it ok and he is on the way of recovery, my baby. Day is cloudy and I'm not recovered 100% from my cold yet and spring break is almost over and I felt I didn't rest at all, whatever I just hope Cocoa makes it ok!

Thanks for reading me, if you have any advice I very much appreciate it, thanks!
God bless
 

RosemaryDW

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That sounds like progress: opening the eyes is good, moving is good, feisty is good. Ours went nine days without eating after starting treatment.

My husband had to learn to do injections by himself because he was traveling and then I was traveling; no opportunity for me to show him what to do. :eek: W found this video from a vet helpful:
.

When I was talking to my vet we discussed giving the tortoise *some* opportunity to self regulate temperature. Our night box is large; one side has dirt stacked up higher/closer to the heating element than the other so she can get very warm on that side but cool down somewhat (75 degrees) on the other. I’d err on the side of keeping him warm but if you can give him a little flexibility I think that would be okay. Our girl started sticking more to the hot side as she improved, which seemed weird to me but whatever.

Once our tortoise started improving enough to move around she started sneezing, which was awful to watch, and then rubbing her little nose. Nothing I could do to help her of course, because she’s a reptile and doesn’t see me as any kind of help. So you might get ready for that.

My next freak out after that was deciding there must be something else wrong because while she was moving a bit more and eating pretty well, she wasn’t going to the bathroom. A member here helped me understand not much would happen before a tortoise was eating two weeks or so. I still wasn’t happy about it; just about the time I was ready to call the vet I realized she’d been out and about in the garden eating and pooping for a couple of days. :oops:

Yesterday was sunny here and she was out about five hours and until five pm, which is about normal for early spring. Se was unusually charged up, even for a Russian. There is a gate she is always trying to break down in the spring and she went at it so hard she flipped herself over. (She righted herself fairly quickly and went right back to it.) I’ve never seen her do that; I think her locomotion is still off, due to congestion. She is eating well but not ferociously.

Here she is, getting back to herself, five weeks out of hibernation and four weeks after starting antibiotics. What a long wait that was and still not done!

Be patient; you’re doing all you can.

97B28521-EDCA-423E-AE04-C758608B49BA.jpeg
 

Cscui

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Hello. Its been 13 days since the Vet tube fed my Cocoa and a week since the last (7 out of 7) antibiotic shot. He started moving more and awake after the last shot but to this day he hasn't eaten.
On the recheck before the tube feeding he had gained a little weight and Vet said that was very good, but just from the carrot puree, pedialyte and vitamin drops I put on his 30min bath. I never saw him drink and I usually I stay there.

I saw him peed twice a lot last week and noticed some white this week on his reptibark.
He still cleans his nose and today I saw a little bubble coming out of his nose, he yawns when I take him outside in the sun, I don't know if this still counts like gasping or when he like chews but is not like the air gasping like when he was very ill, but still it worries me.

The people at the Vet don't want me to syringe feed him when I requested about the Critical if it was ok to help him they keep saying just keep offering him food or they want me to go for another re-check which is nothing but a look for 3mins with the Vet Dr at for $45 and a prepared estimate on what they can do more tests on him, I undestand this is their job$ but c'mon is like I don't get any extra advice or I don't get any extra time to ask questions, its a 45min drive to get there, why wouldn't they want me to help him by feeding him! could I kill him by chocking him? The assistant said "well is the same thing we tube feed him so" yeah so but its only once and you charge me like for 3 packages of it... c'mon!
I really don't know if I should just wait for him. I let him go outside but all he wants to do is to burrow in a cold spot (this is AZ is very warm now but a humid burrow is cold in the shade).

Should I keep him indoors under 95-100F to see if he can completly get rid of the leftover mucous? In the night I'm adding his half bucket for him to cover as I think he must be tired and would like to cover in cooler, or I don't know, for his self esteem?

This week I'm not bathing him everyday anymore, maybe then he would get hungry?

Blood test after a week on antibiotic showed the infection was improving and fecal test (after tube fed) showed no parasites.

Hubby says I should wait and give him time, Cocoa is not a person but a "slower" recovery tortoise. I don't know, everyday that passes and he walks away from food makes me so sad and worried, I feel he walks more but with his head down like if he had no energy.
 

RosemaryDW

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My vet wouldn’t do any different than yours; he told me to see what happened with antibiotics and if no improvement then we could do tests. Most vets don’t make a ton of money and respectfully at $45, your vet isn’t making much either. He’s got to cover his building, equipment, staff out of his charges, not just his own salary. I understand $45 is a lot to you, just trying to add some perspective. If he doesn’t suggest tube feeding at home, I would try to respect that.

Otherwise I don’t know how to advise you on next steps for your tortoise; you might get more responses by posting in the health specific thread. Sounds like continuing improvement to me but I understand what it’s like to worry with your only tortoise and recovery taking so long.
 

Cscui

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Hi RosemaryDW

Yes I understand that an exotic animal Vet has to be way more expensive than a regular one, it just seem that the so far $600 we have shed in the last month in appointments, tests, re-checks and plus doesn't make me feel satisfied :( because if I ask something over the phone they just want me to bring him for a re-check and then I feel like I leave with the same doubts, I don't know, I just worry

Money is not so much the problem but the fact that recovery is slow and I don't get it cause he has never been sick so i don't have this experience, I just feel I could get a little more info from the Vet, they are very nice and everything don't get me wrong, but like I said if I call with questions I feel like I end up talking and responding to myself XD

Anyway today after posting, later in the afternoon, Cocoa wanted to go out, was scratching and trying to climb so I went out with him, he walked a lot and fast, climb and looked around, while I watched, still didn't touch any food and my daughter came out to see him and told me that maybe he was kinda blind as he kept walking on the wall or fence and bumping his head, he walked looking down like to the ground and made me curious. When he came out of hybernating and got sick and took him to the Vet they remind me of the UVB and heat lamps and right after I went to get a new UVB, he has been in a plastic storage box with the lights on top and now after reading other post i wonder if the CFL coil Exo terra is damaging his sight? Today I also ended up bringing back inside and putting new reptibark and all his stuff in his big table cage as he moves and walks more, also from your advice that he can choose to be in the hot or cooler side

Anyway, I appreciate a lot your comments and advice, a lot! thank you so much! I'm just trying to be patient and to understand that this is a different kind of slow recovery as he was very weak for starters after a long hibernation.
Praying he gets his appetite back tomorrow after the long playing outing today ;P
Thank you!
 

mark1

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not sure how hot you are keep the tortoise , but you can keep them to hot which is as bad as keeping them to cold ........ i might be wrong on russian tortoises , but anything i've ever kept had an optimal temp that seemed around 83 degrees ......... getting them hot during the day is a good thing , but they do need to cool off to their optimal temperature .... been my experience really sick turtles don't do a good job thermoregulating themselves ....... the fact most folks say they tend to look for cool spots might indicate their uncomfortable at the temp they're being kept at ........ imo , vitamin b injections do seem to stimulate appetite , especially noticeable in turtles that have not eaten over a long period of time .....
 

RosemaryDW

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Anyway today after posting, later in the afternoon, Cocoa wanted to go out, was scratching and trying to climb so I went out with him, he walked a lot and fast, climb and looked around, while I watched, still didn't touch any food and my daughter came out to see him and told me that maybe he was kinda blind as he kept walking on the wall or fence and bumping his head, he walked looking down like to the ground and made me curious.

Our Addy bumped around a lot at the beginning as well (it’s how I first noticed she was off) and then she seemed to take quite a while to be able to accurately find and bite into food. I was positive she was blind also. :eek: Now I think it was just more that she was very congested and couldn’t smell to locate food. I know their sense of smell is highly acute.

She did take seemingly forever to be fully herself, even from a “small” infection. It took between three and four weeks from her first long (one hour) “bumping around” session in the yard to moving and eating at what I felt was normal.

I think it’s good your tortoise has the option to move around her heat sources. Mine has sure made use of her choices. As silly as I felt for putting in a “tortoise cam,” I can see that she’s using her heated box much more than last year at this time. She’s also staying much closer to the heat source at night than last year.

I hope it continues to go well. We are currently on vacation and I honestly think we might have canceled if she wasn’t as well as she is. It’s just so stressful when you’ve never seen it. Like having your first kid, I suppose.
 

Cscui

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Hello,
Thanks for your advices and comments, they help a lot to understand and to, again, practice patience.

I took Cocoa outside again today, he wasn't asking but the day was warm and nice. I took a barrier he has on his garden and of course he walked that direccion as he tries to escape, I instead moved that barrier to the other side cause I didn't want him to go in the backyard so I wouldn't have to have to look much for him later to bring him inside for the evening/night, well, the little ninja jumped the barrier on a spot where the wood was not sturdy and of course I spent a good 20-30min and then my hubby when he got home look too for a good 15-20 with no avail. Later I went again decided to find him so I spent another 20-30min goshhh well as much as it bothers me I think is a good sign. I found him way in the other side of our backyard on vines where he seldom goes there but well, gotcha!

Earlier when I took him and I watched him for a good time, he walks like looking down, that's what made me think on his eyes, but then how he can avoid and turn around where the food is? So just like you say, RosmaryDW, I imagine is still something with his slow recovery.
When he was ill, one of his eyes was like glued and couldnt open it for 2-3 days, on the re-check I told the vet but by then he was ok opening both and the Vet didn't say anything, so maybe he sees blurry or something like that so I have hope he will get better. But, I stopped using the CFL just in case. I read that it could be a deficiency of Vit A too so I'm still doing the carrot pure/pedialyte/vitamin drops on his bath, I was doing every other day this week but I guess I'll do it everyday until I see that he drinks by himself or starts eating.
When he opened his mouth while being outside I push a strawberry and its like he realized and gave me this look, I promise!, like oh woman... but he had no other choise but to bite it XP and chewed and swalowed it but that was it, he started running away from me. I just miss him so much coming to my hand to hold him (to get him out) but well he walked fast today! and like I said I think its a very good sign that he climbed and jumped out of his garden, oh my baby ;) of course I had to uncover the pool as my daughter insisted that what if he didn't see and fell but before in the extension of the garden (that I opened for him to walk) I saw how he wasn't going on a little step where the gate is and he was going on the side so he could walk down on the dirt, he is not dummy!

Thank you Mark1 yes I think I need to let him chose where to go in the night and indeed he choses the cooler that is like 72-75 at night and he digs as I put coco coir in that corner, I'm not crazy about it but I'll just try and see

RosemaryDW thank you for all the info with your experience, it really makes me more comfortable, keep enjoying your vacation! And yes I'm glad we didn't fully plan to go to my cousin's wedding in Mexico cause I would have cancel it, we don't have family here and no way I would have left him with anyone else, I don't know what else we would have done, he needed extra care, I'm just glad.

Thank you, good night
 

Hayes Johnson

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I would make sure to keep him warm. I am so sorry about him! I hate that feeling whenever my tortoise is sick.
 

RosemaryDW

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I’m glad he’s walking around. Perhaps it’s time for him to have more freedom?

The first two things I got Addy to eat were a red rose (tortoises love red) and some cactus.

I will say I almost broke down and offered her a bite of strawberry (because it’s red and sweet). But decided with her gut so empty I didn’t want to put sugar in there as the first thing. I’m sure it won’t hurt Cocoa; tortoises eat a lot of sugarly flowers in the spring when they are available. But you might think instead about cucumber or cactus and/or a red rose or hisbiscus, if you have one that isn’t sprayed.
 

Cscui

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Hello!

Cocoa started eating on Thursday! I read something the night before (after he tried the strawberry) that tortoises eat in the morning and I remember that indeed Cocoa eats only in the mornings so I decided to wake him up after kids left for school and ofered him food, he loves cactus pads so I had it ready BUT he can't see or he can see exactly where it is so as he was opening his mouth I was putting the food right inside otherwise he would miss it, he was so hungry as he was so eager to eat, he ate a very good portion, we were so happy, my daughter kinda cried when she got home and I told her and I showed her the video, she was soooo happy.

So same thing Fri and Sat. Today I rolled the escarole with calcium powder and the reptile vitamins drops in it, I thought to roll it so he could eat more on one bite if I had to feed him, we basically are doing the here comes the airplane, he first gets his head high and stretches his neck and opens big and I shovel the food right in there if I don't do it this way he misses, so he is not blind but somehow he sees differently, sometimes, on the pauses he does he would walk back and then open his mouth again so he must see things very blurry to think he has to step away to get it, so I'm a little worry but I'm just happy he is eating, I hope his sight improves with time but right now I don't care if I have to feed him like a baby.

We came outside, the days before were too windy (even a dust storm) and then cold so today is warm, he stayed here in the sunnny/shade part and he peed then he walked away and pooped (first poop since he started eating) so that's good sign, I was expecting him to do it yesterday but he just peed and a lot, almost gets me on my shoes cause I thought he was done and I moved him to his table and he peed again ;)

If I could I would take him to the optometrist to get him some eyeglasses, my baby pobrecito

I'll call the Vet this week I think if there is anything else I can do to help him improve

He is staying on the 95-100 during the day then I move him to the 80s in the night, I'm afraid he won't do it by himself, I just wake him up and move him closer and then he walks inside the cover and then he digs and goes to sleep
Bath in carrot pure/pedialyte/water every other day

Thank you for tour comments and help everyone!
God bless
 

Cscui

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IMG_6883.PNG
Thursday Apr, 12, 2018, so hungry. 2 weeks after being tube fed at Vet and 4 weeks since eating, coming out of hibernation and getting very ill. IMG_6871.PNG IMG_6942.JPG
My daughter wanted to feed him yesterday too
 

Cscui

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Ahh something else, he has never eaten flowers, I bought hibiscus seeds 2 years ago to grow it myself, flowers came out beautifully, offered him many times, he never even touched them. He hasn't touch tomatoes either.

My Mom and Grandma had tortoises since we were little and they always fed them letuces and tomatoes, the one we had at home would come to the patio metal door and knock at it ;P well scratch it haha but it was like she was like hey where's my food?! if my Mom forgot to put food out earlier, it was very funny. She even had babies when we had 2 tortoises, we didn't even know until my Mom saw she was digging in a pile of dirt we had in the backyard and then my brother taped the whole thing, she put 3 eggs and then Mom had them for a long while

Anyway I always remembered that and it was the first things to offer Cocoa when we got him but he was soooo picky, just like my daughter, its like she picked him (out of 3) and she had to pick the picky eater. Nothing red, no flowers and no way those dry pellets tortoise food you have to put in water, he hates that, he seriously would get mad and run away!

So anyway, I don't complain, he likes escarole, kale, endive, mustard and turnip greens, well not so much the mustard and he used to like radicchio, not anymore and well, the nopales (cactus pad) is his fave. I plant the gazing seeds but I don't thing he is too interested on that if he can find the kale or whatever is planted on his garden.
 
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