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Tortoise Choked This Morning - What to do For Future Reference?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by B31415, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. B31415

    B31415 New Member

    Aug 22, 2017
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    United States
    Hi all,

    My Sulcata Tortoise Littlefoot will be 1 year old this May. He's somewhere around 4-5 inches big.
    This morning I had quite the scare when I realized that he had a piece of his Repti-Bark substrate lodged in his mouth. He has used Repti-Bark substrate almost entirely since I have gotten him. I use it because it keeps him clean. He makes a giant mess of wet cocoa coir.

    So, when I realized he had something stuck in his mouth I stood by and attempted to let him fix it himself. I waited about five minutes until he started pumping his head in and out of his body. At this point I was very concerned and picked him up in an attempt to help. As I suspected, picking him up in a stressed situation make him bring his head into his body and hiss. It ended up dislodging the wood chip and he swallowed it. After the episode he immediately began eating food I had placed out.

    My question is, what else should I have done? Or what could I have done if things didn't resolve themselves? I know tortoise CPR but that' about it. Do I need to change his diet to help him pass the wood chip?

    Also, should I change his substrate now that it's the appropriate size to truly choke him?
  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Jan 9, 2010
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    Southern California
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    I think this is a one-in-a-million sort of scenario and you don't need to worry about it. I've never had this happen and I've raised literally hundreds of leopards, stars, russians, CDTs and sulcatas on O bark and never had this happen. In the event they get something stuck like that, all a person can do is pick them up and try to pull it out.
    Bee62 likes this.
  3. Bee62

    Bee62 Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2016
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    Germany, Lower Saxony, Hardegsen, Ludwigshöhe
    I totally agree with Tom. My 1,5 year old sulcatas sometimes eat pieces of the Repti bark and it never does any harm to them. I think that they eat little wood pieces to "clean" their intestines.
    But when a wood piece stuck on the beak the tortoise wants to get rid of it and he or she makes this funny or for you scary motion with the head, mouth and sometimes with their legs too.
    When I see what big pieces of dry cuttlebone they can swallow without problems I never have fear when they swallow a piece of their Repti Bark.
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