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Smoke exposure

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by steppingonlegos, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. steppingonlegos

    steppingonlegos New Member

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    Our 20 month old Sulcata had a close encounter today when a bulb fell into his substrate and created a smolder. Lots of smoke but he seems ok so far. Eating and resting and active too. We soaked him and will do that a few times a day. But until we remediate the smoke he’s in a big closet without ideal heat.

    My questions are two-fold: what’s an easy way to increase heat that won’t also be dangerous for a few days or will he be ok at home room temps (73ish) for a few days at this age?

    Also his shell smells strongly of smoke despite being soaked and gently scrubbed with a soft toothbrush. Any thoughts on if I should be doing more to rid the smoke smell from his shell and, if so, what?
    Moozillion likes this.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    We've made many posts about not trusting the clamp on those clamp lights (it was a clamp fixture, right?). I had the same thing happen.

    Tortoises can hold their breath for a very long time. Let's hope he didn't breathe in any harmful smoke. He should be ok, but if you're worried you should go to the vet

    You can just use a regular incandescent bulb u ntil you can replace his equipment
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  3. TriciaStringer

    TriciaStringer Well-Known Member

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    Poor fella. I have no answers for you but a couple suggestions. I’d use a 65 w flood bulb from Walmart. I pull the cord completely taut and then lay something heavy on it outside of the enclosure so it won’t become slack again.
    Hopefully someone else can help you more.
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  4. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Well-Known Member Platinum Supporter

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    Hope it all turns out good for you all.
    73ish is not good enough for a sully. Low 80's at least. Is the closest empty of clothes and have clothes hanging rods. You could suspend your light or CHE from the rod and adjust the height. Then use a lot of duct tape and secure the cord to the rod. Duct tape yayyyyyy!
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  5. steppingonlegos

    steppingonlegos New Member

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    Thanks guys. I am completely aware of the need for secure heating and lights. He’s always had secure everything but for whatever reason the new light my husband just put in wasn’t secured and I had no idea. It only takes once, clearly.

    I upped the heat to 82 in the closet and am working quickly to remediate his enclosure. The closet is mostly empty. It’s carpeted though and I’m a little gun shy about hanging lights over it after today. We’ve ozone bombed his room so if that doesn’t significantly help by morning I’ll need to rig something else for now.

    Does anyone know if I can use Dawn on his shell? I’m trying to think of what could be used to cut smoke without being super harsh.
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  6. Relic

    Relic Member

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    Back in the 70's I had an adult pair of red-foots. They were kept in a large box made of particleboard with shredded newspaper as the substrate. Their heat source was an old chrome aquarium light fixture, overloaded with a pair of 100 watt incandescent light bulbs. This fixture was suspended on two coat-hangers, unbent and stretched across the box, with the whole thing about 8 inches above the paper. Surely, besides the total inadequacy of the husbandry aspect (this was the 70's; knowledge was hard to come by), you can clearly see the fire-hazard inherent in the arrangement.

    But all was well, the tortoises were at least 3 inches away from the light fixture as they walked underneath, until one day one of them decided to crawl over the top of the other while he was basking in the warmth. And my wife and I were both at work. The light was apparently knocked into the box, the newspaper quickly ignited, the wooden box followed suit, the exposed cedar-siding wall in our tiny apartment that was next to the box then caught fire. Our neighbor upstairs smelled the smoke penetrating her floor and called the fire department. The fire was contained to our unit, but we lost both tortoises, a dog, and a lot of the possessions that we, as a 4-month newlywed couple, had scrimped together. Hard lesson learned.

    Six years later I began a new profession, and spent the next 29 years as a firefighter. Strange world, ain't it.
  7. steppingonlegos

    steppingonlegos New Member

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    Whoa Relic that’s a crazy, sad, horrifying, scary and amazing story! And here I am just considering finding a new husband
  8. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    Greetings.....sorry to hear of the horrific incident you had. Lucky it wasnt worse. As far as Dawn dish detergent. It is successfully used to safely remove grease/oil/tar residue on waterfowl and other marine animals following spills. Thst said, I’m not sure it’s going to remove “smoke” from your tortoise’s shell.

    I would just suggest several daily long soaks for a period of time. Id be more worried about acrid smoke damage to throat, eyes etc than the smell.

    This article does say it is successfully used on sea turtles as well - https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127999735

    Good luck
  9. KAGDR

    KAGDR Member

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  10. Pastel Tortie

    Pastel Tortie Well-Known Member

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    I agree with @Maro2Bear. If you want to try Dawn, go for the plain blue stuff, no additives, and make sure your tortoise doesn't drink any soapy water.

    As for getting rid of the smoky smell, activated charcoal, baking soda, and white vinegar are all supposed to be able to absorb odors. Don't mix them together, but you can pour any of those individually into cups or other open containers and place in the smelly area.

    White vinegar is one of the most gentle cleaning products you can find, and it breaks down easily. As soon as it's dry, it's fine to use the items around the tortoise.
    Ray--Opo and queen koopa like this.
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