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Water Or Not?

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by buglady, Jun 21, 2019.

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  1. buglady

    buglady New Member

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    I have a debatable question. I live in the North of Mozambique; any wild tortoise would probably not have water available for most of the year. But i read a thread claiming that tortoises need to be soaked every day?????
    Im worried that they're dehydrated but i want their homes to be as close to the wild as possible. Any suggestions?
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  2. Ben02

    Ben02 Well-Known Member

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    Adults don’t need to be soaked daily.
  3. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    They definitely need water. They might not have water in the wild, but more 95% percent of hatchlings in the wild will die before reaching adulthood though. I'm trying to give my guy better odds than that in captivity.
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  4. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Yes, they benefit from the addition of water to their enclosures and routines.

    Jamie
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  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Once they're big enough to be moved outside I no longer soak them, but they have a large waterer in their yard.
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  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Tortoises in the wild have ways of managing water retention and ways of finding and conserving water that a tortoise in a captive environment do not.

    Also, wild tortoises might be able to survive long periods of drought, but that doesn't mean it is good for them or optimal. I've seen numbers from different studies that indicate somewhere between 300 and 1000 babies die for everyone that makes it to maturity. Dehydration is one reason why some of them don't make it.

    Babies of all species should be soaked daily. Survival rates are greatly increased by this practice. Adults do not need to be soaked all that often, but drinking water should always be available. I don't want my pet tortoise to merely survive. I want them to thrive. Keeping them well hydrated is one element of my "thrive" strategy.
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  7. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Of course, 100%.
  8. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    If I find a starving, dehydrated mongrel dog on the street where it has always lived, and took it home for myself to keep, how would I treat it? That's right.
    Give them the best because we can!
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I think this is a pretty good analogy. Life in the wild is extremely tough for all species. Predators, parasites, disease, territorial fighting, encroachment by humans and their poisons, hazards and roads, starvation, drought and dehydration, etc...

    The point is: Just like a mongrel surviving in the streets, surviving in the wild isn't easy. The wild isn't the model I want to use for my tortoise enclosures or care routines. I pick and choose the elements of the wild that I think are good and helpful, and attempt to discard all the other stuff.
  10. puffinboots

    puffinboots Member

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    When I first got by baby tortoises in the early 90’s I had read that they would get all the liquid they need from their diet, so they were never given water. If I placed water in their enclosure they would ignore it. Now they have multiplied & moved to a larger outside place the sun is so hot , I have to water the young trees there & papyrus plants . The tortoises congregate under these plants where the earth is wet & cool.They have a concrete drinking vessel which they often use as a toilet . On occasion I see the heads go down for a drink but not often.
  11. Hoka's Mom

    Hoka's Mom Member

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    I can survive with no food for days and a day or so without water but I would not want to.
    Since my little guy can't speak I let him decide by making sure water is available for him (he's an adult)
    Animals are very good at deciding what they want and knowing what they need. Being as "close to the wild" as possible
    is really not optimal and ,likely, not as enjoyable either.
  12. C. Nelson

    C. Nelson Active Member

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    If I have time, I still soak my adults daily. It is the perfect chance to check out their health besides giving me peace of mind that they are well hydrated. I'd rather be safe than sorry. That said, when I go on short vacations they pet sitter doesn't need to bath them.
  13. kazjimmy

    kazjimmy Active Member

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    If your tortoise is a small specie, get them a large water blow. If you have giant tortoise. Get a sprinkler timer system. The reason for soaking tortoise is to avoid dehydration. As a human keeping tortoise as a pet you are determine its life. Out there in the wild, the nature determine.
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  14. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    HOWEVER... Desert species are, by design, best off flushing their bladders all at once rather than just a bit of urate more often. Otherwise, they are prone to bladder stones. Virtually all of the Sonora desert tortoise rescue and adoption sites recommend offering water only once or twice a week. What about that? o_O
  15. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    They are wrong. That information is based off of ill-conceived incorrect assumptions, it has been parroted for decades, and it is the primary reason that most of the baby DTs that hatch annually do not survive. I've rehabbed and raised dozens of them over the years. All of them thrive on daily soaks. There was only one that I couldn't save because it was too far gone when it came to me. I can't undo damaged kidneys past a certain point.

    Repeated side-by-side experiments with other species also verify this fact. Yes, adult tortoises can survive long periods with minimal water. Babies cannot. Further, soaking a DT more often than needed does no harm. Soaking too little an kill them.
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  16. Dovey

    Dovey Member

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    Good to know! My juvenile seems to enjoy a brief soak on occasion.

    Can tortoises take in moisture through their vents like lizards do?
  17. daniellenc

    daniellenc Well-Known Member

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    It is believed so and hydration is so key it just seems worth it to soak.
  18. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    No one can seem to find a peer reviewed scientific study to prove this, but anecdotal evidence suggests that , yes, they can. It s my personal option based on decades of experience housing tortoise in many ways and observing what other keepers do, that they do absorb water through the cloaca.
  19. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I read that there is only one species of turtle that 'drinks' through the cloaca and that is a turtle native to Australia.
  20. jbuenavides

    jbuenavides New Member

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    Aquatic turtles should have a habitat that is 75% water, while semi-aquatic turtles should have an enclosure that is 50% water. Tortoises are land-dwelling, but they still need water for soaking—25% of the habitat can be water, provided it is very shallow, as tortoises can drown.
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