Stressed tortoise?

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Shelley
Posts: 6
Joined: 23 May 2017, 15:09

Stressed tortoise?

Post by Shelley » 30 May 2017, 09:00

My seemingly otherwise healthy two-year old spur-thighed tortoise has started running a circuit around the same part of her table over and over again, during the last two days, typical behaviour of a caged animal. Does this suggest she is stressed? She's only been going into her outdoor enclosure during over the last two weeks as the weather has been warmer and generally stays out there from about 9am to 7pm. I've attached a picture of her table in case it helps.

If anyone has any advice about what this behaviour might be I'd be grateful. Thanks in advance.
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Oops the photo seems to be upside down but if you click on it, it seems to fix itself!

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Stressed tortoise?

Post by Nina » 30 May 2017, 15:43

Hi Shelley,

It's hard to say why your tortoise is running a circuit around one part of her table, but it isn't uncommon. Sometimes it's just something that they do, and other times there is a definite reason. It could be because she has so enjoyed being outdoors lately that she is protesting and wants to get outside again. It could be something to do with the temperatures in the table.

What is the temperature in the hot spot, directly under the lamp, at the height of your tortoise's shell? If you measure the temperature anywhere else you will not get an accurate reading of the hottest place in the table, so if you have a digital thermometer (the kind with a display unit and then a long wire with a probe on the end) then it is worthwhile trying to suspend your thermometer from above so that the probe hangs down as close to the lamp as possible and at the height of the tortoise's shell. Or if you have another type of thermometer then just hold it under the lamp for several minutes to get a reading. Ambient room temperatures can make a big difference to the temperature in the table, so if it is very warm in the room then the temps in the table might be too hot and she could be trying to escape. Having said that, however, you have a nice table and a good size, and it looks like there is room for her to get away from the heat if necessary.

Nina

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Stressed tortoise?

Post by lin » 30 May 2017, 20:13

Hi Shelly.
Along with Nina suggestions I would also say it could be that because your tortoise has had a slight taster for the great outdoors, it is now taking umbrage at being shut indoors.
I find mine climb the walls if they have to spend the odd day in during the summer if I am not around till after locking up time.

Lin

Shelley
Posts: 6
Joined: 23 May 2017, 15:09

Re: Stressed tortoise?

Post by Shelley » 01 Jun 2017, 09:17

Thanks Lin and Nina. I hadn't thought of checking the temperatures recently and have just found that the basking spot is a little too hot so I have now turned off my infra-red lamp and will just leave the UBV on for a few hours during the day. Weirdly it's in the hotter part of the table that she's been spending most indoors time but hopefully she'll be more comfortable now I've turned off the infra-red now the general weather is warmer. I didn't notice the stressed behaviour yesterday but she is generally eating less so hopefully this change will mean she can start feeling at a better temp indoors and enjoy the lovely sunshine outdoors too and get her appetite back.

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Stressed tortoise?

Post by Nina » 01 Jun 2017, 11:50

I'm sure the reduced temperatures will help her. When you say you 'infra-red' lamp -- can I ask which kind it is? Just curious.
Also, while she is indoors in the warmer weather, it's even more important to ensure that she has nice long baths (15 - 20 minutes at least), three or four times a week, as it is very easy for a tortoise to get dehydrated indoors (even if they have a water bowl).

Hope all is well and that she is back to her normal behaviour soon.

Cheers,
Nina

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