A Couple of General Questions

Use this forum to discuss general questions about any aspects of tortoise care.
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LittlePenBigHeart
Posts: 17
Joined: 27 Oct 2017, 18:32

A Couple of General Questions

Post by LittlePenBigHeart » 07 Nov 2017, 17:49

How long do tortoises sleep this time of the year? I spent some time with Dusty yesterday afternoon about 5.30pm and she was yawning a fair bit!

Also, how much should she be eating? Because the last couple of days I've put a handful of leaves in her enclosure and when I've got home from work, they're scattered all over the place but not a lot has been eaten. She will, however, munch happily as long as I hold onto the leaves for her! Should I be worried something might be wrong, or is she taking advantage and just refusing to put the effort in when she knows I'll hold the leaves for her?

Lastly, she did two perfectly solid poos yesterday (a relief, since I bathed her first thing in the morning and she did nothing at all) but today there appears to be one smeared across a rock in the enclosure. I have only been giving her 'safe to eat' leaves so should I be worried??

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Nina
Posts: 259
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: A Couple of General Questions

Post by Nina » 07 Nov 2017, 19:14

Hi,

Tortoises do sleep a lot all year round, but at this time of year you will also find that they might be sleeping a bit more. 5.30? That is good! Mine, even at the height of summer, unless they are outdoors, will take themselves off to bed about 3 or 4 p.m. -- so I don't think you have anything to worry about on that score.

Re eating. Tortoises LOVE to be hand fed, and they are also clever and will go on strike and not eat, hoping that you will give in and hand feed them. So you have to be a bit hard hearted. No healthy tortoise will starve itself, but they can go a long time without eating. If you want to have her to start eating again naturally, then I think you just have to leave the food and wait until she gives in (it will be a battle of wills).

Re the poo -- it's difficult to say. She might have just had a slightly softer poo and then walked in it and smeared it around. I would just keep an eye on her and see if it happens again.

It sounds to me like she is doing just fine -- but I do know how anxious they can make us (it still happens to me, and I think they do it on purpose!).

Nina

LittlePenBigHeart
Posts: 17
Joined: 27 Oct 2017, 18:32

Re: A Couple of General Questions

Post by LittlePenBigHeart » 07 Nov 2017, 20:01

Hahaha!

Thank you so much. I feel a bit better about it all now. It's such a huge adjustment for someone who's only ever had cats, guinea pigs, bunnies, hamsters and (for a while) a dog around. Even if I know the common illnesses they have and how to spot them, even if I am 100% sure that I'm following all the advice I have been given about food, light, bathing, handling, etc, I still don't feel confident yet that she's okay. After 32 years around cats, I can sense illness very easily in them and can react quickly but I'm so unfamiliar with reptile physiology that I don't have that sense yet and I'm afraid of missing something that's key.

You ladies always manage to reassure me and I thank you so much for your patience with that! It's the next best thing to having a tortoise expert living next door. ;)

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Nina
Posts: 259
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: A Couple of General Questions

Post by Nina » 07 Nov 2017, 22:11

It's really interesting what you say about reptile physiology, as opposed to that of mammals like cats and dogs. It's often pretty obvious when a cat or dog is unwell or off colour, although there can be underlying conditions that take a while to show themselves. Reptiles also sometimes can appear unwell fairly quickly (for example if they have eaten a very toxic plant) -- but there are also can be underlying conditions, quite often to do with the development of shell and bone, and kidney problems as well, that can take a very long time to be evident, and many tortoises live under the most horrendous conditions for many years without outwardly showing the effects, whilst inwardly they can be very unwell indeed.

So what you are doing is absolutely the right thing -- you are observing your tortoise's behaviour and habits and asking questions (and think that asking questions can sometimes be the best way to learn). We often tell people not to hibernate their tortoise until they have had them for at least a year. One of the reasons for this is that over that year you can get to know your tortoise's little habits and ways and become able to sense if she is not completely herself or might be unwell. It's sometimes only after spending time with a tortoise and observing them closely that you can sense when they are not quite right, so you are already a very good tortoise keeper and keep up the good work!

Nina

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