Tortoise Not Eating..

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5 Year Member
May 20, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
I got my russian tortoise last Sunday. It's been a little over a week and he has not eaten anything. He is very active. He wakes up at about 9 every morning and starts his day. He digs ALOT, and roams his home all day until about 8-9 at night. I haven't seen any worms in his poop or any signs of infection. I got him from petco and have seen him eat prior to buying him. I will be taking him to the vet tomorrow morning to get him checked out. I have reptisun 10.0 uvb light on him, basking temp 98-104 degrees depending on the temp of my house, cool side 75-80 degrees. I'm offering him kale, arugula, spinach, spring mix. I even got desperate and put watermelon in his food dish one day. Why isn't be eating? He also digs himself completely under ground, to the point where I couldn't find him one day lol! Is this normal for him to dig ALOT?


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Oct 26, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Tortoises take ages to settle into new surroundings and refusing food for a week or more is not uncommon when a tort is new. You ned to convince him that you and his home are safe.

Get him into a routine so that he knows what to expect and when. He can survive without food for a few weeks, but not water, so soaking is essential until he starts eating properly.

1. Put the lights on a timer so that they go on and off at roughly the same time each day.

2. Before your tort warms up properly, soak him in warm (not hot) water in a bowl that he can't see out of for a good 20 minutes. Experiment with water temperatures until you find the one that your tort likes. If he is fully warmed up before soaking, he will get stressed and want out. Soaking also gets your tort used to being handled.

3. While he's soaking prepare his greens and leave them, still wet from rinsing, on a flat slate or tile in his enclosure

4. Pop him back in his enclosure and walk away leaving him to be brave and start exploring and hopefully eating. Don't be tempted to stand and watch, it's intimidating.

He needs peace, quiet and time to decide that everything is safe right now.

It's not uncommon to struggle to find poop. It looks quite like the substrate and torts will eat it as well! Ask your vet to examine a fecal sample for worms... it's not uncomon for torts to poop on the way to the vet as journey-stress has the inevitable effect.

Your tort's diet should be mostly leafy greens. Fruit, tomato, bell pepper and carrot should only be fed occasionally as he can't digest sugars properly and too much will make him sick.

Russians dig and climb all the time. They spend a huge amount of time underground in the wild to escape the weather.
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