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Tortoise cold..!

Discussion in 'Indian Star and Burmese Star tortoises' started by Dharam, Jan 13, 2018 at 9:15 AM.

  1. Dharam

    Dharam Member

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    In india we are experiencing a winter and out of my two female indian star tortoise the smaller has developed cold.!

    She was kept outside as we live in their natural range but they are kept dry.

    I noticed bubbles coming out from her nostrils so as seen in kamp kenans videos I kept her in sun inclined forward which lead to a huge amount of mucoid material coming out of her mouth and nostrils..

    She eats very little and does not like to move around much while the bigger female eats well and also roams around..

    Please help as no Vet facility is available in India..!
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    You must be aware of weather conditions and pay attention to upcoming weather patterns. When it's going to be cold, you must put heat over the shelter so they can stay warm. I suggest you now bring the sick tortoises inside and set them up under lights. The whole enclosure should be about 85F degrees until you no longer see the respiratory infection symptoms.
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  3. Dharam

    Dharam Member

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    I have started keeping her inside for night and morning we keep her in bright sun for a good two three hours temperatures have started to rise and lowest is around 18 centigrade but is rising everyday..

    I have a question what happens to their wild cousins as they face even more colder environment and they donot even hibernate..?
  4. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I feel one of the biggest misconceptions about keeping tortoises is that in their "natural range" they will do fine and we do not need to be as careful about heat and humidity. That leads to unhealthy tortoises that are most often very pyramided. Why? This is their natural range, right????

    Tortoises are "designed" to live on the ground and use the ground for stability of temperatures and humidity. The ground is a huge heat sink that has a tremendous thermal inertia that is very resistant to the changes in air temperatures. Just 10" below the surface, the ground remains within a few degrees of the daily AVERAGE temperature of the area. If you stick a temperature logger in just a 6" pallet under a bush, dug by a tortoise and under a tortoise sitting there, (as I have done in several locations) you will find the temperature swing there remains about 1/3 the daily air temperature swing. Additionally, the drying effects on their carapace are negated in those locations as well.

    I don't know where you are located, but if we look at that area around Tiruchchirappalli for example, that is in the heart of India Star natural range, we can see days where it will drop to 18°C this time of year, but it also will rise to 31° that next afternoon. The daily average for January there is 28°. That would mean where a tortoise is hiding, the temperature is really only dropping to 25° (1/3 the air temp drop) for its core body temp and then it can quickly warm back up in the morning as the sun rises.

    Non-hibernating tortoise have not been able to survive and develop ranges into parts of the world anywhere that daily average temperatures drop much below 20°C (68°F) and even then, only if the daily max rises significantly and it cooresponds to a dry season. So they use cover and the ground temperatures far more that air temperatures.

    You ask "what happens to their wild cousins" when temperatures drop (or rise) beyond the healthy range we know tortoise do best in?? Here's a picture posted by one of our members of some wild, young aldabras:

    aldabra yearlings crowding for shade in wild.jpg

    So even though you may live in the "natural range" of a tortoise, as soon as you remove it from the choices it would have of microclimates in that range, we are at risk of heath issues if we do not understand what the tortoise naturally is able to find to survive. A sulcata put in a pen but kept in its natural range will pyramid and is at risk of drying excessively and kidney and organ problems developing. An India Star put in an open enclosure inside a home, or on the patio of a garden cannot find that microclimate it needs. It can develop a respiratory infection quite easily on a cool morning. It will pyramid badly as it cannot find places to keep from drying excessively as it grows.

    Yes, it is still in it's "natural range" but it cannot find the places it needs to be able to thrive there.
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  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    18 is much too cold. This tortoise needs to be in a large enclosure that never drops below 30C day or night. It also needs a basking area around 37 in one part of the enclosure.

    Failure to provide this is likely to result in the death of this tortoise.
  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Some of them get sick and die. The hardier ones may live through it.
  7. Dharam

    Dharam Member

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    Hello @Markw84 , it seems tht you got a bit angry on me, well i was just asking what happens to “their wild cousins” out of curiosity.

    I had already taken measures tht YvonneG had suggested and my little tort has started to eat once again..

    Still she comes in for night to sleep and gets a sunbath every morning.!

    My place is a little warmer than southindia and only just before sunrise is the temp down to 20 but than it shoots up to 30 within 9am again

    I do care for my animals and would try my best for their healthy and happy life..!

    Thnx @Tom @Yvonne G @Markw84 for your help appreciate it...!!
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