Strange Behavior?

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Sky2Mina

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Hi Everyone,

I am going a bit crazy here, please someone tell me if my star tortoise is behaving "normal" or if something is wrong with him.

There are three things that concern me today...

1. Today after soaking I heard some "clicking noises" (not while eating). I heard them a few times, it's not constant, but sometimes. Is he sick? Did he catch a cold? He eats normal, no runny nose, breathes normally and is ... strangely active.
After I heard the clicking noises I got a bit freaked out and turned on the Infrared Light to get higher Temperatures - temps are now 84-86 Fahrenheit (29-30 C) on the "cold" side and 89-91 (32-33 C) on the hot side.

2. He did some kind of "dance" - like rubbing his plastron while walking around (kinda furiously, never seen him that active, I am uploading a video right now). Is he itchy? Is he allergic? I just put down some reptile carpet, instead of the Coconut Bark, cause he didn't walk on the Coconut Bark at all, only on the side, where the reptile carpet was (before I had 50% Reptile Carpet, 50% Coconut Bark, now I changed to putting down Reptile Carpet to test if he prefers it.) He seemed to walk around more, but then there's this strange... "dance".

3. He is biting his legs. Is this "normal" behavior for being "itchy" or do I have to worry?
Could that be because of the reptile carpet or the infrared light? (these two things are new)

Wow, keeping :tort::tort::tort: is trickier than I thought. I am also having real dilemmas with humidity vs. dryness (since I already live in a humid country)... but that is another story.

Thank you in advance for your responses!
Mina

Edit: I just read this thread and wondering if his "itching plastron dance" could be because he is constipated? However, he pooped today (the first time in 3 days) - it seemed kinda hard though (I have no idea if that is normal or not and if I should do anything about it, or not...).

Any ideas?
I'm worried. :(

Here is the video of strange behavior number two.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EC_OB0R160
Sorry, the quality is not really great. But at least you'll know what I mean.

In the other video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dDCarHA_zA&NR=1), taken on the day I got her, you can see, that she walks fine on the reptile carpet...
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Re: clicking
Here's a relevant thread: "Clicking"
Clicking is quite common in turtles. I even suspect it's a good sign, like the turtle feels good enough to make some noise. Judging by how loud and croak-like this sound is (and by the fact that turtles are perfectly capable of opening and closing their mouth silently if they want to), I think maybe turtles do this to communicate with other turtles at a distance, rather like the croaking of a frog. At the very least, it's normal and harmless.

Re: dancing
Here is another relevant thread: "Is this odd behavior?"
As you can see in the other thread, people have suggested that it could be due to a health problem, a type of digging behavior, or both. In the thread referenced above, Whinhill states that after his Hermann tortoise took a bath and had a large bowel movement, the waggle-dancing stopped. So perhaps this behavior is in response to constipation. It could also be due to some plastral irritation, or soft substrate that is either uncomfortable or encourages wallowing. Taking all that into account, I'd say make sure the plastron is healthy, make sure the tortoise is not constipated, and make sure the substrate is appropriate, and the waggle-dancing should stop.

Re: leg-biting
Leg biting could be a response to joint point (due to rickets or gout), but it could also be a simple cleaning of remnants of food left on the forelimbs. I'd give the tortoise a nice warm soak to make sure it is clean. If it's simply a matter of scavenging food, then the forelimb-biting should stop. If the biting continues, I would take your tortoise to the vet, because that could be a sign of joint pain.

PS: I just viewed your YouTube video (thank you for posting that, BTW). Yes, that does appear to be a different sort of "dancing" than the kind posted above. Again, either their is some irritation to the plastron, or the substrate does not feel right to the tortoise. You can inspect the plastron, or have another tortoise expert or a veterinarian inspect it for peeling scutes, dryness, wetness, growing pains, etc. It could be the substrate, though. I recommend using cypress mulch, orchid bark, coconut coir, or some mix of these, perhaps with a little bit calcium sand mixed in. This should feel more comfortable for the tortoise, and should provide more consistent humidity levels, too.


Sky2Mina said:
Hi Everyone,

I am going a bit crazy here, please someone tell me if my star tortoise is behaving "normal" or if something is wrong with him.

There are three things that concern me today...

1. Today after soaking I heard some "clicking noises" (not while eating). I heard them a few times, it's not constant, but sometimes. Is he sick? Did he catch a cold? He eats normal, no runny nose, breathes normally and is ... strangely active.
After I heard the clicking noises I got a bit freaked out and turned on the Infrared Light to get higher Temperatures - temps are now 84-86 Fahrenheit (29-30 C) on the "cold" side and 89-91 (32-33 C) on the hot side.

2. He did some kind of "dance" - like rubbing his plastron while walking around (kinda furiously, never seen him that active, I am uploading a video right now). Is he itchy? Is he allergic? I just put down some reptile carpet, instead of the Coconut Bark, cause he didn't walk on the Coconut Bark at all, only on the side, where the reptile carpet was (before I had 50% Reptile Carpet, 50% Coconut Bark, now I changed to putting down Reptile Carpet to test if he prefers it.) He seemed to walk around more, but then there's this strange... "dance".

3. He is biting his legs. Is this "normal" behavior for being "itchy" or do I have to worry?
Could that be because of the reptile carpet or the infrared light? (these two things are new)

Wow, keeping :tort::tort::tort: is trickier than I thought. I am also having real dilemmas with humidity vs. dryness (since I already live in a humid country)... but that is another story.

Thank you in advance for your responses!
Mina

Edit: I just read this thread and wondering if his "itching plastron dance" could be because he is constipated? However, he pooped today (the first time in 3 days) - it seemed kinda hard though (I have no idea if that is normal or not and if I should do anything about it, or not...).

Any ideas?
I'm worried. :(

Here is the video of strange behavior number two.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EC_OB0R160
Sorry, the quality is not really great. But at least you'll know what I mean.

In the other video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dDCarHA_zA&NR=1), taken on the day I got her, you can see, that she walks fine on the reptile carpet...



 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Re: clicking
Here's a relevant thread: "Clicking"
Clicking is quite common in turtles. I even suspect it's a good sign, like the turtle feels good enough to make some noise. Judging by how loud and croak-like this sound is (and by the fact that turtles are perfectly capable of opening and closing their mouth silently if they want to), I think maybe turtles do this to communicate with other turtles at a distance, rather like the croaking of a frog. At the very least, it's normal and harmless.

Re: dancing
Here is another relevant thread: "Is this odd behavior?"
As you can see in the other thread, people have suggested that it could be due to a health problem, a type of digging behavior, or both. In the thread referenced above, Whinhill states that after his Hermann tortoise took a bath and had a large bowel movement, the waggle-dancing stopped. So perhaps this behavior is in response to constipation. It could also be due to some plastral irritation, or soft substrate that is either uncomfortable or encourages wallowing. Taking all that into account, I'd say make sure the plastron is healthy, make sure the tortoise is not constipated, and make sure the substrate is appropriate, and the waggle-dancing should stop.

Re: leg-biting
Leg biting could be a response to joint point (due to rickets or gout), but it could also be a simple cleaning of remnants of food left on the forelimbs. I'd give the tortoise a nice warm soak to make sure it is clean. If it's simply a matter of scavenging food, then the forelimb-biting should stop. If the biting continues, I would take your tortoise to the vet, because that could be a sign of joint pain.

PS: I just viewed your YouTube video (thank you for posting that, BTW). Yes, that does appear to be a different sort of "dancing" than the kind posted above. Again, either their is some irritation to the plastron, or the substrate does not feel right to the tortoise. You can inspect the plastron, or have another tortoise expert or a veterinarian inspect it for peeling scutes, dryness, wetness, growing pains, etc. It could be the substrate, though. I recommend using cypress mulch, orchid bark, coconut coir, or some mix of these, perhaps with a little bit calcium sand mixed in. This should feel more comfortable for the tortoise, and should provide more consistent humidity levels, too.

Sky2Mina said:
Hi Everyone,

I am going a bit crazy here, please someone tell me if my star tortoise is behaving "normal" or if something is wrong with him.

There are three things that concern me today...

1. Today after soaking I heard some "clicking noises" (not while eating). I heard them a few times, it's not constant, but sometimes. Is he sick? Did he catch a cold? He eats normal, no runny nose, breathes normally and is ... strangely active.
After I heard the clicking noises I got a bit freaked out and turned on the Infrared Light to get higher Temperatures - temps are now 84-86 Fahrenheit (29-30 C) on the "cold" side and 89-91 (32-33 C) on the hot side.

2. He did some kind of "dance" - like rubbing his plastron while walking around (kinda furiously, never seen him that active, I am uploading a video right now). Is he itchy? Is he allergic? I just put down some reptile carpet, instead of the Coconut Bark, cause he didn't walk on the Coconut Bark at all, only on the side, where the reptile carpet was (before I had 50% Reptile Carpet, 50% Coconut Bark, now I changed to putting down Reptile Carpet to test if he prefers it.) He seemed to walk around more, but then there's this strange... "dance".

3. He is biting his legs. Is this "normal" behavior for being "itchy" or do I have to worry?
Could that be because of the reptile carpet or the infrared light? (these two things are new)

Wow, keeping :tort::tort::tort: is trickier than I thought. I am also having real dilemmas with humidity vs. dryness (since I already live in a humid country)... but that is another story.

Thank you in advance for your responses!
Mina

Edit: I just read this thread and wondering if his "itching plastron dance" could be because he is constipated? However, he pooped today (the first time in 3 days) - it seemed kinda hard though (I have no idea if that is normal or not and if I should do anything about it, or not...).

Any ideas?
I'm worried. :(

Here is the video of strange behavior number two.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EC_OB0R160
Sorry, the quality is not really great. But at least you'll know what I mean.

In the other video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dDCarHA_zA&NR=1), taken on the day I got her, you can see, that she walks fine on the reptile carpet...



 

GeoTerraTestudo

Active Member
5 Year Member
Joined
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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Broomfield, Colorado
Re: clicking
Here's a relevant thread: "Clicking"
Clicking is quite common in turtles. I even suspect it's a good sign, like the turtle feels good enough to make some noise. Judging by how loud and croak-like this sound is (and by the fact that turtles are perfectly capable of opening and closing their mouth silently if they want to), I think maybe turtles do this to communicate with other turtles at a distance, rather like the croaking of a frog. At the very least, it's normal and harmless.

Re: dancing
Here is another relevant thread: "Is this odd behavior?"
As you can see in the other thread, people have suggested that it could be due to a health problem, a type of digging behavior, or both. In the thread referenced above, Whinhill states that after his Hermann tortoise took a bath and had a large bowel movement, the waggle-dancing stopped. So perhaps this behavior is in response to constipation. It could also be due to some plastral irritation, or soft substrate that is either uncomfortable or encourages wallowing. Taking all that into account, I'd say make sure the plastron is healthy, make sure the tortoise is not constipated, and make sure the substrate is appropriate, and the waggle-dancing should stop.

Re: leg-biting
Leg biting could be a response to joint point (due to rickets or gout), but it could also be a simple cleaning of remnants of food left on the forelimbs. I'd give the tortoise a nice warm soak to make sure it is clean. If it's simply a matter of scavenging food, then the forelimb-biting should stop. If the biting continues, I would take your tortoise to the vet, because that could be a sign of joint pain.

PS: I just viewed your YouTube video (thank you for posting that, BTW). Yes, that does appear to be a different sort of "dancing" than the kind posted above. Again, either their is some irritation to the plastron, or the substrate does not feel right to the tortoise. You can inspect the plastron, or have another tortoise expert or a veterinarian inspect it for peeling scutes, dryness, wetness, squiggles, etc. It could be the substrate, though. I recommend using cypress mulch, orchid bark, coconut coir, or some mix of these, perhaps with a little bit of calcium sand mixed in. This should feel more comfortable for the tortoise, and should provide more consistent humidity levels, too. Tortoises may come from arid environments in nature, but they also occupy relatively high-humidity microclimates as well. You also want to provide a hideaway they can dig under, like an overturned half of a terracotta pot, or a Fluka half-log.
 

relaxkuma123

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I suggest you should bring him to vet urgently.
I've never seen my indian tort act like that.
It could probably be fatal effects to the baby indian.

I recommend Dr. Chaowaphan Yinharnmingmongkol DVM.
(น.สพ. เชาวพันธ์ ยินหาญมิ่งมงคล หรือ หมออ้อย) of VET4 hospital.
http://www.vet4hospital.com/
Normally he usually starts working at the hospital around 4 pm.
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Also, the ambient temperature might be too high. There is not much a difference between the cool side and warm side. His strange behavior might be due to overheating. Tortoise should have a temperature gradient from about 70-95 Fahrenheit.
 

Sky2Mina

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Thank you for your responses!

I gave him a soaking and, as I haven't seen him bite his legs so far (in the last 45 minutes, that is). He let some urate and I think I saw him drinking. I changed the substrate and he did one quick "dance step" on it, not more. Then he went to eat a little and back into his hide.

But earlier, after he did those crazy dancing steps in the video, he came out once again to eat, so I don't really understand this behavior. I checked his shell. Seems normal to me.

It might have been too hot, but then, why did he walk right under the infrared light?
I just used the infrared light for the first time today, so it might have been that (if it wasn't the substrate). But don't they have bubbles or something when they are overheating?

I am going to observe all three things closely and go to the vet if the behavior consists, of course (Thank you Ekkapat, for the Vet-Suggestion!).

Anyway, as I mentioned I really have a dilemma how to keep him. If it's too cold, he might catch a cold, and too hot is obviously not good either. Some people tell me to keep him dry, some say he needs humidity etc. Normally I keep him on the balcony, where I can't really influence/decrease the temperature (80-90) or humidity (70%). I can only make one side hotter, by turning on the heating light. The lowest temperature last night was around 80 Degrees (no heating used).
I'm thinking of taking her inside, so I can control temperatures better, but I am normally using air conditioner and I'm not sure how it would affect the little tort. Plus I think natural morning-light would be better than an UV lamp. It's confusing anyways. :/

Mina
 

ascott

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I have no experience with type of tortoise.....but that moment of hysteria immediately reminded me of a tortoise I watched one time outdoors that started to overheat....they get really crazy frantic...and in your video it is hard to tell what that grass stuff is but appeared once he went under it he stopped his upset....the red/purple lights are awesome...like invisible heat...but might wanna check the heat at his level...it also sounded as those a couple important features to him were changed the ground beneath him the heat above him...I have never heard of tortoise trying to munch on itself....so wow....I would be interested in what he is doing later once he has a minute to adjust....tortoises are such a wonderful creature of habit :D
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Sky2Mina said:
But don't they have bubbles or something when they are overheating?

Turtles get bubbles and fluid coming from their nostrils when they have a respiratory tract infection, and they are prone to getting infections when they are too cold, not too hot. Excessive heat kills quickly, excessive cold kills slowly.

As for humidity, I would consult with some of the Indian star tortoise experts here on TFO and elsewhere, as I have never kept this species. All I can tell you is that, even tortoises that come from dry environments need some humidity, but as for the specific range of humidity required, that varies from species to species.
 

Laura

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when i spray my sulcatas they do that hoochy coochey dance.. i think the water tickles.. your tort is doing that under that grass when its touching its shell..
Id test that and see if he continues or not..
 

Sky2Mina

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Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening

Thank you everyone for your responses. He seems fine now. This morning he was already up, when I woke up (which is a first). Now he's eating his greens, like usually. I haven't seen him walk crazily or bite his front legs. I haven't heard him clicking either, but I will monitor closely.

Mina
 

l0velesly

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I've seen my tortoise do that dance once too.. except it was sleeping, and I thought it was having a nightmare. It just jerked around and rubbed itself against the surface. I'm thinking mine was itchy.
 

zesty_17

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I don't have the same species as yours, but the crazy dances my box turtles/cooters do are usually before egg laying, or if something doesn't feel "right" on their shells-dirty, a bug lands on them, me tickling them, etc... Before egg laying, one of my females acts like a psycho spinning in circles, sometimes biting, usually trying to look at her back-end & turning around and around. Only one of my box turtles makes the clicking for me, and the lady I got her from said that the parents did it also-usually when she would feed them. So i take it as a sign of contentment when mine does it.
 
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