New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

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Georgie82
Posts: 3
Joined: 29 May 2018, 17:32

New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by Georgie82 » 29 May 2018, 17:43

Hi everyone.
I'm new to forums & Tortoise care. So any advice would be greatly received.
I bought a 2 year old Med Spur Thighed tort yesterday. With a whole new table etc. (The pet shop were great.)
The little guy hasnt eaten anything yet. Or moved much. Is this normal? Is he just getting used to his new place?
He seems (i say he, but who knows yet) a bit reluctant to move. And almost looks like he's panting. He wiggles his legs if i pick him up.
Should i be worried?
Thanks
Georgie

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lin
Posts: 263
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by lin » 29 May 2018, 18:03

For the first few days to a week I wouldnt worry Georgie. Settling can take some time and if you still offer natural weeds daily, only one or two leaves and then back out of the room and leave it an hour before returning I bet he will be eating in a few days. He is acting like he is a newcomer to being owned with the wiggly legs and panting but that will calm down in time as he gets used to you.
Just as a double check you can send in a photo and the temps he is getting in his table if you like.

Lin

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Nina
Posts: 437
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by Nina » 29 May 2018, 18:34

Hi Georgie, and welcome to The Tortoise Table from me too! Congratulations on your new little fellow -- does he have a name yet?
I agree with Lin that your new little one is probably just settling in, but sometimes there is just something small that needs tweaking to put things right, so I agree with her that a photo of your set-up would help. And, as Lin said, temperatures are really important as far as activity and appetite are concerned, so if you could take the temperature directly under the heat source at tortoise shell height, that would be great (a thermometer mounted on a nearby wall will give a very inaccurate reading), and also a temperature reading at the cool end of his table as well.

I think you're at the start of what is going to be a lovely time with your tortoise, and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any other questions.

Cheeers,
Nina

Georgie82
Posts: 3
Joined: 29 May 2018, 17:32

Re: New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by Georgie82 » 29 May 2018, 23:52

Thanks for getting back so quickly.
The temp under the lamp is 37°C
The cool end & general room temp is 25°C.
I tried to attach a pic but the file size is too big.

It is a 35 inch x 17 inch table with a built in hide at one end. Substrate is a sand/topsoil mix from pet shop. Water dish, cuttlefish, food dish & small log bridge are furnishing the table.
Is it too bare?

I hope he's just settling in. He hasn't come out of the hide unless i take him out. But he goes straight back in when I'm not looking. I hope he's ok.

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Nina
Posts: 437
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by Nina » 30 May 2018, 08:50

Hi Georgie, and thanks so much for getting back to us. I think you have identified the problem. 37C is way too hot for him, so he is sort of aestivating (which is a bit like hibernating, but in the heat instead of the cold). Actually 37C almost dangerously high and he could easily dehydrate very quickly. All you need to do is to raise the lamp further away from the table to bring the temperature down. You want a temperature of about 30C directly under the lamp and about 20C at the cooler end. If a day is very cool then you might need to lower the lamp to get the temperature warmer in the table, and if it is hot then you need to move it further away (the ambient temperature in a room does affect the temperature in the table).

In the meantime, give him a good long soak for 15 or 20 minutes, in a container that he can't see out of (like an old washing up bowl) in lukewarm water that comes just up to where the top shell meets his bottom shell (or his chin). Tortoises can go for a long time without food, but they can deteriorate very quickly if they become dehydrated, and of course little tortoises get dehydrated more quickly than bigger ones. Tortoises quite often don't drink from their water dish so it's always a good idea to bathe him every other day or so, and the benefits of that are also that they usually wee and poo in the bath, so there is less to clean out of the table.

It sounds like you have set up an excellent table for him, so well done! You can add things to it if you like -- a tortoise-friendly plant (we can suggest some), or even just rocks or things for him to walk around. It's odd, but tortoises can get bored if they can see from one side of their table to the other without interruption, so breaking up the sightlines with objects that he has to walk over or around can help. And when the sun comes out (if it ever does), then giving him access to the outdoors will be very beneficial, as the UVB from the sun is the best quality he can get (plus they love to explore).

I think you have made a really good start and that you will be an excellent tortoise keeper. If you don't already have a care sheet for Spur-thighs, here is a link to one (just click on the link in the middle of the page to the care sheet): https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... ra_122.asp
And do let us know if lowering the temperature has an effect on his behaviour.

Nina

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lin
Posts: 263
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by lin » 30 May 2018, 11:01

Hi Georgie.
Here is the link that takes you directly to the Ibera caresheet.
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

Lin

Georgie82
Posts: 3
Joined: 29 May 2018, 17:32

Re: New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by Georgie82 » 30 May 2018, 14:31

That's great advise, thank you.

I will get that lamp raised up even higher and keep an eye on the temp.
I will give him a soak this evening when i'm home from work, & look for some furniture for him. lol
What plants would you suggest I could keep in there with him?

I'm in the process of constructing an outside run for him. (he will always be supervised when outside.)
And your plant database has been a massive help. I will be growing some plants for him to munch now i know which are safe & what to stay away from.

Thanks again for the advice & the caresheet link.
I will keep you posted.xx

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Nina
Posts: 437
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New tortoise hasn't eaten yet.

Post by Nina » 02 Jun 2018, 14:02

Hi Georgie,

So sorry -- for some reason I wasn't notified when you latest post came in. I hope all is well with the temperatures now, and that he has started eating too. There are lots of plants that you can plant in the enclosure, but remember that the substrate will be on the dry side (it's a good idea to spray it every day or to, to keep it from getting too dusty), so you want plants that will tolerate a dry environment. I grow one of the ornamental grasses in mine (it's called Carex 'Frosted Curls'), but any of the smaller ornamental grasses will do. Most tortoises won't eat them, which is not that bad thing because if you plant something really tasty in there, it will be mowed down to the ground in no time.

Spider plants are another plant that grows well there. I sometimes plant them in the table, and I also have one growing in a pot outside the table. The plant sends out long wiry stems with baby plantlets on the end, and the tortoises can reach up and nibble them if they want (have attached a photh where they are coming down the ramp and one is reaching up to nibble on a spider plantlet that is hanging down into the table).

The other thing you can do is to have the plants in pots in the table, so that the tortoise can't reach all of the plant (and thus can't destroy it in one go), but can reach up and nibble leaves. So almost any plant (or weeed) that is not toxic or harmful can be put there. It would be nice to just dig up dandelions and re-plant them in the table, but unfortunately they have long tap roots and so the substrate wouldn't be deep enough for them, but other weeds can be dug up and tried. I have to say that my current arrangement isn't as pretty as it has been in the past, but it can give you some idea.

Nina

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