Tortoise might be sick or trying to hibernate

Rusky

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Rusky is a young tortoise, living in a temporary 1 1/2 x 3 ft tank. I got him about a month ago. He was not eating much, but he ate every day. However, he has not eaten for three days now, and has been sleeping almost nonstop, burrowing in different areas around his enclosure. I think he may be trying to hibernate. He has cypress mulch, a uv bulb and basking lamp. Basking area is 100 degrees, cool side is 80 degrees, humidity 45%. I feed him spring mix, spinach, dandelion greens, kale and romaine lettuce, but he has refused all of this no matter how many times I put him in front. I have only given him two baths since I got him, but I bathed him yesterday and I'm about to bathe him now. I have added an hour to his daytime (now 14 hours) in order to try to keep him awake, and I have increased ambient room light during his day while our sun has set. Could he be sick? I have a fecal sample which I am hoping to be able to bring to the vet tomorrow. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome
The enclosure and diet needs drastic improvements. The diet needs better stuff added and a bigger variety and the enclosure is way too small for anything bigger then a new born hatchling.
Please read the caresheeys under the Russian section and make the needed improvements. I would not let him hibernate as you have not had him long enough and he hasn't been housed properly.
 

Rusky

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Hello and Welcome
The enclosure and diet needs drastic improvements. The diet needs better stuff added and a bigger variety and the enclosure is way too small for anything bigger then a new born hatchling.
Please read the caresheeys under the Russian section and make the needed improvements. I would not let him hibernate as you have not had him long enough and he hasn't been housed properly.
I am in the process of building a larger tortoise table, and I have read the caresheets. I hope to try some new foods next time we shop for groceries. In the meantime, what can I do to help his appetite?
 

Yvonne G

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Hi and welcome!

You said "young," but exactly how young? Full grown russian tortoises should not be kept at those temperatures, cooler is better.
 

wellington

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As Yvonne asked how young are we talking?
In that small of an enclosure it's very hard to get a variety of different temp zones. What are you using to read the temps and do you have temp gun? How often do you soak him and does he have a water dish available?
 

Rusky

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As Yvonne asked how young are we talking?
In that small of an enclosure it's very hard to get a variety of different temp zones. What are you using to read the temps and do you have temp gun? How often do you soak him and does he have a water dish available?

The pet store said he was only about a year old, but I think he is older because his tail is long and carried to the side like a mature male, and his carapace is around 4 1/2 inches. He has a water dish which he has never touched, and I measure the temps with two thermometers which I lay on the substrate. I have only soaked him 3 times in the past month that I've had him.
 

Rusky

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I quickly finished his new 2 1/2 x 4 ft enclosure and put him in today, but he refused to eat and just burrowed completely under the substrate. Here he is, top and bottom.
IMG_1118.jpg IMG_1119.jpg
 

wellington

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I'm going to guess he is older and possibly wild caught.
Putting him in a new enclosure will make him want to hide away too. I would give him a warm soak for 20-30 minutes every day until he decides to start eating. Be sure temps are correct. Give him some time to get adjusted. Some will take weeks even upto a month. Keep him hydrated during this time. Also need to work on building his enclosure large. An adult needs a minimum of 4x8 foot.
 

Rusky

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I'm going to guess he is older and possibly wild caught.
Putting him in a new enclosure will make him want to hide away too. I would give him a warm soak for 20-30 minutes every day until he decides to start eating. Be sure temps are correct. Give him some time to get adjusted. Some will take weeks even upto a month. Keep him hydrated during this time. Also need to work on building his enclosure large. An adult needs a minimum of 4x8 foot.
OK, thank you. I'm going to keep soaking him and wish for the best. However, I also read somewhere else a trick to wake them up by making a 'winter' for a week or so by shortening the light hours and cooling the temps, and then raising them afterwards to start their 'spring.' What do you think about this?
 

wellington

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OK, thank you. I'm going to keep soaking him and wish for the best. However, I also read somewhere else a trick to wake them up by making a 'winter' for a week or so by shortening the light hours and cooling the temps, and then raising them afterwards to start their 'spring.' What do you think about this?
I don't know anything about that. I don't hibernate my Russian. Maybe @Tom can help with that.
 

Tom

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I think your temps are fine for day time, as long as he gets a night drop down to 65-70.

I think your tortoise is more likely 8-10 years old and wild caught. The urge to hibernate is strong in WC tortoises. It is controlled as much by light as it is by temperatures. What type of basking bulb and what type of UV bulb are you using?

You might need to add a couple of florescent tubes of the correct color temp over the top of him to make it look brighter. Regular ZooMed 10.0 tubes work well for this purpose. The newer HO type tubes are very good for making UV. A combination of one of each, along with the heat lamp should make your tortoise think its time to wake up and get active.

I would do a daily warm soak too. These seem to snap them out of their hibernation funk. 20-30 minutes in a tall sided opaque tub, or your bath tub. Keep the water warm for the whole soak.
 

Rusky

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I think your temps are fine for day time, as long as he gets a night drop down to 65-70.

I think your tortoise is more likely 8-10 years old and wild caught. The urge to hibernate is strong in WC tortoises. It is controlled as much by light as it is by temperatures. What type of basking bulb and what type of UV bulb are you using?

You might need to add a couple of florescent tubes of the correct color temp over the top of him to make it look brighter. Regular ZooMed 10.0 tubes work well for this purpose. The newer HO type tubes are very good for making UV. A combination of one of each, along with the heat lamp should make your tortoise think its time to wake up and get active.

I would do a daily warm soak too. These seem to snap them out of their hibernation funk. 20-30 minutes in a tall sided opaque tub, or your bath tub. Keep the water warm for the whole soak.
I'm using a 100W Exo Terra Intense Basking Spot Bulb, and an All Living Things uv bulb which came with the previous tank. It is pretty bright inside, but I will probably have to get a tube for this larger enclosure. Also there is a possibility that the uv bulb isn't that great because unfortunately the heat bulb that came with the tank died really fast and the thermometer was inaccurate. After digging him out this morning, he woke up and moved around a little and finally ate a few small leaves before retreating again to his hide. Now I'm bathing him again.
IMG_1132.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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The pet store said he was only about a year old, but I think he is older because his tail is long and carried to the side like a mature male, and his carapace is around 4 1/2 inches. He has a water dish which he has never touched, and I measure the temps with two thermometers which I lay on the substrate. I have only soaked him 3 times in the past month that I've had him.
Yeah, some pet store clerks haven't a clue. They figure because the tortoise is small in size he must be very young. Your tortoise is full grown.
 

Yvonne G

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OK, thank you. I'm going to keep soaking him and wish for the best. However, I also read somewhere else a trick to wake them up by making a 'winter' for a week or so by shortening the light hours and cooling the temps, and then raising them afterwards to start their 'spring.' What do you think about this?
This sometimes works. However, I'd go for two weeks.
 

Rusky

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This sometimes works. However, I'd go for two weeks.

So the question is, should I keep trying to wake him up now, or should I do that (a two week winter), because those are pretty much two opposite directions right now and I don't want to confuse him too much.
 

Yvonne G

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Try to keep him awake, but if that doesn't work you may have to resort to a mini hibernation.
 

Tom

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I'm using a 100W Exo Terra Intense Basking Spot Bulb, and an All Living Things uv bulb which came with the previous tank. It is pretty bright inside, but I will probably have to get a tube for this larger enclosure. Also there is a possibility that the uv bulb isn't that great because unfortunately the heat bulb that came with the tank died really fast and the thermometer was inaccurate. After digging him out this morning, he woke up and moved around a little and finally ate a few small leaves before retreating again to his hide. Now I'm bathing him again.
View attachment 225604
Two incandescent bulbs of the wrong color temp is not bright enough. What type of UV bulb are you using?

If you need UV, I'd get a 10.0 HO tube and reflector hood fixture from ZooMed or Arcadia. I get my Arcadia stuff here: http://www.lightyourreptiles.com

You can use a regular T-8 10.0 ZooMed bulb for some nice light, but they don't give off much UV and must be mounted within 10-12" from the tortoise for a little UV. They make nice light when mounted higher up, you just don't get any UV.
 
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