Tortellini’s accident - choking

Tortellini5

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Oct 7, 2021
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41
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Santa Monica, CA
Hi all,
I want to share the horrible accident I had today with Tortellini, everyday he gets a soak and then I take him to the patio to roam around. He was roaming in patio and he walked up to my patio chair which has a horizontal metal about 1/2 a centimeter-ish. He walked up to it with neck above the horizonal metal, as soon as he felt he touched metal he got scared/ retreated into shell which caused him to get the metal stuck between his neck and shell basically suffocating and choking himself to death. I thought he was dying on me and I tried everything to release him but he was locked in tight. Idk how long it went on but way too long and in the end I felt a small release that let me slide him out without much force. He went back to his shell after the trauma and then came out walking around ok. I am now at the vet to make sure there was no internal damage. He has been very active during the drive and trying to eat what he sees so I think good signs.

Vet says there is no sign of trauma or any pain from the exam they just performed so they are sending him home now.

I will be even more cautious in taking care of him while he is exploring. :(

If anyone has any advice on how to gain his confidence back and keep him comfortable I would like to hear.

So glad he is ok and he did not choke himself to death. Danger is everywhere with these little guys.
 

Lyn W

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You just never know what they will get up to next! You have to anticipate every possible danger.
It's easier of the have their own safe space with only the things they need in it.
I'm glad he's OK
 

Tortellini5

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Santa Monica, CA
I tried to draw it out, the head was over the steel pole as he was sticking it out and up, and his bottom shell was under the pole since he is just the height to get stuck this way. Yeah I have a garden bed that I use as playpen inside to secure the entire area so I will have to start using it outside to secure anything that can come into contact with tortellini. Worst scare of my life!
 

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Tortellini5

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Santa Monica, CA
Wow….sounds like he spooked himself, but glad to hear things are ok. I’m having a little trouble visualizing what he got caught on. Can you try & take a picture of the scene? Good luck.
I posted below the picture of the chair and tried to draw it out. There are 2 of those chairs out there.
 

TammyJ

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What you have posted here is an extremely good example of why a tortoise must not free roam, but have its own suitable and secure enclosure!!! Thank you for this useful post and I am so glad that your tortoise is OK!!!
 

Maro2Bear

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I tried to draw it out, the head was over the steel pole as he was sticking it out and up, and his bottom shell was under the pole since he is just the height to get stuck this way. Yeah I have a garden bed that I use as playpen inside to secure the entire area so I will have to start using it outside to secure anything that can come into contact with tortellini. Worst scare of my life!

Thanks for the info & picture/diagram.
 

Tom

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Hi all,
I want to share the horrible accident I had today with Tortellini, everyday he gets a soak and then I take him to the patio to roam around. He was roaming in patio and he walked up to my patio chair which has a horizontal metal about 1/2 a centimeter-ish. He walked up to it with neck above the horizonal metal, as soon as he felt he touched metal he got scared/ retreated into shell which caused him to get the metal stuck between his neck and shell basically suffocating and choking himself to death. I thought he was dying on me and I tried everything to release him but he was locked in tight. Idk how long it went on but way too long and in the end I felt a small release that let me slide him out without much force. He went back to his shell after the trauma and then came out walking around ok. I am now at the vet to make sure there was no internal damage. He has been very active during the drive and trying to eat what he sees so I think good signs.

Vet says there is no sign of trauma or any pain from the exam they just performed so they are sending him home now.

I will be even more cautious in taking care of him while he is exploring. :(

If anyone has any advice on how to gain his confidence back and keep him comfortable I would like to hear.

So glad he is ok and he did not choke himself to death. Danger is everywhere with these little guys.
I keep saying this year after year, over and over... Tortoises need to be in safe enclosures that are designed and built for them. They shouldn't be running loose in human areas where humans do human things and have humans stuff.

My whole life, both career and hobbies, is dealing with exotic animals. All day every day. Much of my brain power daily goes to trying to ensure that the animals in my care can't find some new and novel way to hurt themselves. Letting a tortoise run loose in the house or in the yard, or loose anywhere, is a recipe for disaster and something bad will eventually find a way to happen. I wish people did not have to learn this lesson the hard way, but I suppose that is just human nature. I had to learn this lesson the hard way many times over, which is one reason why I am so adamant about this point.
 

Tortellini5

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Location (City and/or State)
Santa Monica, CA
I keep saying this year after year, over and over... Tortoises need to be in safe enclosures that are designed and built for them. They shouldn't be running loose in human areas where humans do human things and have humans stuff.

My whole life, both career and hobbies, is dealing with exotic animals. All day every day. Much of my brain power daily goes to trying to ensure that the animals in my care can't find some new and novel way to hurt themselves. Letting a tortoise run loose in the house or in the yard, or loose anywhere, is a recipe for disaster and something bad will eventually find a way to happen. I wish people did not have to learn this lesson the hard way, but I suppose that is just human nature. I had to learn this lesson the hard way many times over, which is one reason why I am so adamant about this point.
Yes I definitely understand the dangers especially when that never crossed my mind as a potential hazard. I always watch over him thinking that would be safe but this was still not the case. I let him out to walk around for excercise.

How do you recommend I get excercise time into his schedule? Playpen secured area would work right?
 

Tom

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Yes I definitely understand the dangers especially when that never crossed my mind as a potential hazard. I always watch over him thinking that would be safe but this was still not the case. I let him out to walk around for excercise.

How do you recommend I get excercise time into his schedule? Playpen secured area would work right?
He needs a dedicated tortoise enclosure outside that is just for him.
 

trickfred

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First thought: Put a piece of pool noodle or water pipe insulation around the bar in question, then cover it with your choice of (coloured/patterned) duct tape. This will make it too big for him to clothesline himself on, and the duct tape will prevent him from nipping pieces of the foam off. Of course, this still requires you supervise in case he pulls on the edges of the tape, but it will stop the immediate self-clotheslining problem. You could also replace the chairs, but this is a simple cheap temporary solution.
 

Pearl’s Mom

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Mission Biejo, California
Hi all,
I want to share the horrible accident I had today with Tortellini, everyday he gets a soak and then I take him to the patio to roam around. He was roaming in patio and he walked up to my patio chair which has a horizontal metal about 1/2 a centimeter-ish. He walked up to it with neck above the horizonal metal, as soon as he felt he touched metal he got scared/ retreated into shell which caused him to get the metal stuck between his neck and shell basically suffocating and choking himself to death. I thought he was dying on me and I tried everything to release him but he was locked in tight. Idk how long it went on but way too long and in the end I felt a small release that let me slide him out without much force. He went back to his shell after the trauma and then came out walking around ok. I am now at the vet to make sure there was no internal damage. He has been very active during the drive and trying to eat what he sees so I think good signs.

Vet says there is no sign of trauma or any pain from the exam they just performed so they are sending him home now.

I will be even more cautious in taking care of him while he is exploring. :(

If anyone has any advice on how to gain his confidence back and keep him comfortable I would like to hear.

So glad he is ok and he did not choke himself to death. Danger is everywhere with these little guys.
Oh geez I’m so glad he’s okay. Terrifying
 

TammyJ

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First thought: Put a piece of pool noodle or water pipe insulation around the bar in question, then cover it with your choice of (coloured/patterned) duct tape. This will make it too big for him to clothesline himself on, and the duct tape will prevent him from nipping pieces of the foam off. Of course, this still requires you supervise in case he pulls on the edges of the tape, but it will stop the immediate self-clotheslining problem. You could also replace the chairs, but this is a simple cheap temporary solution.
If the human continues to live in the tortoise enclosure, then it would seem that this might indeed be a most practical solution.
 

Tom

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First thought: Put a piece of pool noodle or water pipe insulation around the bar in question, then cover it with your choice of (coloured/patterned) duct tape. This will make it too big for him to clothesline himself on, and the duct tape will prevent him from nipping pieces of the foam off. Of course, this still requires you supervise in case he pulls on the edges of the tape, but it will stop the immediate self-clotheslining problem. You could also replace the chairs, but this is a simple cheap temporary solution.
Since this is your first post, I have no idea what your level of tortoise experience is, but you just suggested a great way for the OP's tortoise to get impacted with duct tape and pool noodle foam. Any large sulcata is likely to eat that sort of thing.
 

trickfred

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Since this is your first post, I have no idea what your level of tortoise experience is, but you just suggested a great way for the OP's tortoise to get impacted with duct tape and pool noodle foam. Any large sulcata is likely to eat that sort of thing.

*shrug* Yes I'm new here. My tortoise is smart enough to figure out that a thing is not food after a few nips. And please note I mentioned 'supervision', 'temporary' and 'replace chairs'.

Not very welcoming here. Guess I'll move on.
 

Jan A

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I tried to draw it out, the head was over the steel pole as he was sticking it out and up, and his bottom shell was under the pole since he is just the height to get stuck this way. Yeah I have a garden bed that I use as playpen inside to secure the entire area so I will have to start using it outside to secure anything that can come into contact with tortellini. Worst scare of my life!
YIKES!!
 

Jan A

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*shrug* Yes I'm new here. My tortoise is smart enough to figure out that a thing is not food after a few nips. And please note I mentioned 'supervision', 'temporary' and 'replace chairs'.

Not very welcoming here. Guess I'll move on.
You can learn how to take better care of your tort here or not. You can have thoughtful, experienced analysis of why your suggestion works or why it might not. We are a collection of experiences from newbies to people having cared for torts for decades. We care about torts, turtles & the like.

Your ego might be bruised, but challenge or ask questions if you disagree with what someone states about your ideas because we debate & challenge here. It's all about better care for torts & turtles, and we ALL benefit from discussions & someone else's experiences.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
57,678
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You can learn how to take better care of your tort here or not. You can have thoughtful, experienced analysis of why your suggestion works or why it might not. We are a collection of experiences from newbies to people having cared for torts for decades. We care about torts, turtles & the like.

Your ego might be bruised, but challenge or ask questions if you disagree with what someone states about your ideas because we debate & challenge here. It's all about better care for torts & turtles, and we ALL benefit from discussions & someone else's experiences.
Yes. Love you! Please bruise my ego, bash it in, if it will make me a better tortoise keeper and teach me something I didn't know.
 

Tom

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Messages
57,678
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*shrug* Yes I'm new here. My tortoise is smart enough to figure out that a thing is not food after a few nips. And please note I mentioned 'supervision', 'temporary' and 'replace chairs'.

Not very welcoming here. Guess I'll move on.
We are very welcoming here, but when you suggest something that is likely to do harm for your very first post, something has to be said about it so that no tortoises are harmed by what you did not know.

And one day your tortoise will show you that it is NOT that smart if you keep giving it the chance. After decades of tortoise keeping with 1000s of tortoises, a person gets a pretty good feel for what tortoises will and won't do, and you see a pretty good cross section of all the things that can go wrong.

We are all friends here, but not many of us are shy about protecting the well-being of tortoises. You are welcome here. Join the conversation. Teach me what I don't know, and learn what you don't know. Stick around and you'll learn who we all are and what our personalities are all about.
 
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