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Tortoise Wont Eat


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#1 J Bartley

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:37 PM

Hi

I have a Hermans tortoise which has lived with us for 42 years. Estimate it is over 50. Never been any problem, but this year he awoke from Hibernation on 10th March and has not as far as I can tell eaten since .Weight upon waking up 2.48 kg now 2.42kg.
Took to the vet about a month ago who gave a glucose feed via a tube. No improvement as still very lethargic. I am giving a tepid bath each morning and keeping indoors at night as weather is so lousy. Still seems strong and nipped me when I tried to open his mouth today. Usually feeds on lettuce, dandilion, biscuits, strawberries and very occasionally the absolute favourite Chappie dog food, but just not interested in any of these.

Only specialist vet is 35 miles way and local vets just refer me to him, but makig follow up visits is difficult and am being quoted upwards of £400 for for blood tests and a few nights stay for observation.

Any advice gratefully received

Thanks

John B

#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:54 PM

hi john welcome to the forum :) im no expert but will try and help a bit till someone comes on,when hes in the house do you provide him with any sort of heat lamp for him to warm? or does he just use the heat of the house :)

#3 Freddy

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:06 PM

Hi John,
I also have a 50 year old hermanns. She came out of hibernation a little early this year because of the warm weather in March. She hasn't eaten so good since. I put this down to the bad turn in the weather and a shorter than usual hibernation which may have upset her system. If you are keeping your tort indoors I would suggest keeping him in a warm room with a heat lamp. This will encourage eating. Lighting is not as important as heating for older tortoises so you need to get this right. As regards your torts diet. It is not a very good one. Lettuce provides very low nutritional value and fruit, biscuits and dog food are a definite no no. You have probably fed him on this most of his life and think it is OK but I'm afraid it is not. Best to feed your tort edible weeds and plants. These contain the nutrition and fiber a tort needs to keep him strong.There are plenty of edible plants and weeds to be found outdoors at this time of year. See also the edible weeds and plants section of this forum for ideas. Normally tortoises can go a month without eating, provided they drink water. After that malnutrition and illness sets in. In these circumstances the intervention of a vet is necessary. Hopefully your tortoise starts to eat soon. For now I wish you the best of luck with him. Hopefully, there will be others along shortly to offer you more, helpful advice. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#4 J Bartley

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:06 PM

Thanks for the advice so far. I do have a small 100w heater which keeps the indoor temp around 17-20C. He seems much happier outside in his run but weather is so poor he is staying inside for the moment. Food of choice is dandelion leaves or runner bean leaves when available, but just not interested. Seems to take a drink when being bathed and still manages to hiss at me when being examined. Hopefully things will improve but at somewhere over 50 years old it may just be old age taking its natural course. Have been tempted to give him a couple of drops of water containing a bit of dissolved sugar through an eye dropper to keep him hydrated and that may be the next move.

John B

#5 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:08 PM

Welcome to the forum J Bartley. I am afraid I must agree with Freddy, your torts diet has not been the best until now, please stop the lettuce, biscuits, strawberries & most definitely the dog food.

Try him with some common weeds from your garden, or near by, clover, plantain, sticky weed or even raddiccio from the supermarket, mine loves it.
The weather is now awful for any tort to be outside and the bank holiday weather forecast is dismal as usual. I think that lovely week in March confused the poor torts.

He is getting on and will feel the cold, indoors he needs a basking temperature of at least 30°C, as do all torts. If he doesn't have an indoor basking lamp already he will need one.

Do keep in touch and lets us know how he gets on with his warmer temps and weed only diet.

#6 Greenslider

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:32 PM

High protein diets and especially the animal protein could cause organ failure (kidney and liver diseases) if fed over time. That said ,this is a mature animal who has survived very well thus far, in what are considered less than ideal conditions today. Remember that until 15 years ago many books recommended an amount of dog food etc in the diet! This is not considered good practice today..showing how practice changes utterly over a short period of time. However, increasing temps into the mid twenties during the day and letting them drop between 7-10 during the night and providing UVB light might encourage more positive activity if iit is just a matter of temperatures and inclement weather. Best of luck with the old fellow

#7 Greenslider

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:35 PM

I agree with Chris as regards the temps for the average more recently procured/bred tortoise..I'm not sure i would apply it to to an older "garden tort" though..who might me more comfortable with temps between 23-27c. A matter for conjecture and debate maybe..

#8 Freddy

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:43 PM

Temperatures of 20 degrees or so are fine for older torts outdoors. My 50 year old hermann has no problem eating and going to the toilet. So her metabolism is fine. I think when sun temps are lower outside, torts just take a little longer to warm up. Having said that I can't get my tort to eat at the same temperatures indoors which probably proves Ozric's point! ;)
Kind Regards
Freddy

#9 Greenslider

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:31 PM

So maybe better to bring the critter indoors under lights and relatively higher temps to stimulate appetite?

#10 Freddy

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:43 PM

Try keeping a fully grown adult tortoise in a restricted area of the house under those conditions. It's not easy, I'm afraid....... :(
Freddy

#11 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:43 PM

Are you still around J bartley? You have had lots of input on your thread, but I notice that you last posted on 3rd May & last visited the forum on 6th May. We all care and want to know how your fella is doing, has he improved?

#12 J Bartley

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 10:02 AM

Hi All,
Thanks for the advice especially about temp being the key. Things seem to be improving with a bit of a nibble at some moistened tortoise pellets and choice salad leaves. Staying indoors at night and during wet cold weather but showing a bit more interest in life. A tepid bath and a little sugar water via an eye dropper every couple of days will hopefully prevent dehydration. Can still produce a powerful nip and an indignate hiss if I take too many liberties so hopefully things are improving.
Computer playing up hence delay in replying.

John B

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 10:33 AM

Thanks for the update, so glad to hear that the old fella is slowly improving. :) Let's hope for some better weather soon, although it is sunny Posted Image today in the NE, it's still only about 11º C, I hope it's warmer where you are.

Your torts diet is still less than ideal, a lot of experts do not recommend those pellets, what are the salad leaves you are giving him?

Weeds only are still the best diet and to be honest, with all this rain, there are lots of them about at the moment.

If you have facebook you you might find this useful: http://www.facebook....37251433&type=1

The Tortoise Trust is always a reliable source of info on what is the correct diet for torts: http://www.tortoiset...plantfoods.html

#14 Freddy

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 01:02 PM

Hi John,
Glad to hear your tortoise is slowly improving. Although pellets are not ideal nor are salad leaves any sustenance is better than nothing. Please keep in touch and let us know how the old fella is doing. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#15 J Bartley

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 05:16 PM

Just to advise that the tortoise has lived outside every summer in a large run which is a mass of dandilion, clover and other weeds. Usually feeds well on these with the occasional supplement of apparently unsuitable food,but just not interested in fresh weeds so far this year. A warm day today and he has polished off quite a few pellets, which the vet said were useless, but that is really all that can tempt him at the moment. When he acquired us in 1970 by wandering into the garden from the road, the books of that era said give dog food as an occasional treat which he loved. (The border collie was not so impressed at sharing).We cut this back to once fortnight plus the odd strawberry, grape a bit of tomato, all the things he should'nt eat . Rest of diet was the dandilions growing in his pen and some clover. Perhaps like myself he thrives on things that are bad for him?
Despite locally advertising 'Tortoise found' at the time nobody claimed him and back then you could buy a tortoise in the pet shop for a couple of quid. Each year he has hibernated in October, woken up in March and after a couple of weeks got into his usual routine. This year the weather played up and perhaps, given the state of the economy, he just decided to give the whole thing a miss. We shall see how things progress.

Thanks for all the helpful comments.

John B

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:16 PM

That makes things clearer about his normal diet, how wonderful that he wandered into your garden. :)

pellets may be not the best nourishment, but as Freddy said at least he has eaten, so must be improving. I think all us tort owners are just praying for some sunny and warm days like we had in March.

#17 Freddy

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:55 PM

What a wonderful story. I must admit I love hearing about the 'oldies'. The fact that you have him since 1970 proves that you must have got most things right. Best of luck with him John. ;)
Kind Regards
Freddy :D

#18 mildredsmam

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 02:16 PM

hi john lovely story :) im glad to hear things are getting better with your tortoise, hopefully as the weather gets better so will his eating let us know how hes doing :)

#19 J Bartley

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:52 AM

Not sure whether my last post go through as the computer is proving to be as temperamental as the tortoise. However here is an update. Following the last few days of hot weather Henrietta ( just found out he is male but after 42 years it is too late to change names) has decided that life is worth living after all. Wolfing down salad leaves and charging around in his outdoor pen, just in time for visit from the grandchildren. Seems it was all about Temperature. Just amazed that after 5 months hibernation he could go 10 weeks without eating. Perhaps the sugar water and tepid baths helped prevent dehydration. Anyway thanks for all the useful advice.

John B

#20 mildredsmam

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:19 PM

thats brilliant news john hopefully the weather stays with us and he can be happy out side :)




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