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Urgent - Can Anyone Offer Advice?


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#1 Hermylady

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:12 PM

Hi everyone

For the last week to 10 days, my 2 year old Hermann has slowed completely down. All he seems to want to do is sleep even when he is outside in the sun or under his heat lamp. I have to wake him so that he can get some UV, heat and food. If I didn't wake him I think he would stay asleep all day. He has been staying out in his enclosure overnight for the last week.

Today however I woke him at 7am and decided to put him in his table rather than leave him out to make sure that he got some warmth. I placed him in the middle of his table to warm up (not directly under light). About half an hour ago when I went home to check on him, he was awake, but still stood in the same spot - he has been there for 5 or 6 hours! He doesn't appear to be moving around unless I move him.

He urinated ok yesterday and has been having baths. He also appears to be eating fine (once I lift him out and show him the food).

Can anyone help with any advice? About a week ago I gave him some sedum leaves and grape vine leaves, which he seemed to really enjoy, but he has never had these before. Could they be the problem because they are new to him? He has also got a lot colder the last week during the evening than what he has been used to as I have been leaving him outside and this is obviously colder than when he is inside. Could this be the problem?

Any help would be appreciated.

Many thanks

#2 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 04:03 PM

The outdoor overnight temps should not be a problem, so long as he gets warm in the day. It's a bit late to be starting it though as he will need to come in again overnight in a few weeks. Is he gaining or losing weight? Does he have access to water or damps substrate? What are the temps when he is in the table top, at either end? Is he pet shop or breeder bought? Do you have pics? Sorry for all the questions, just need to build a picture of what might be going on. I would take a faecal sample to a vets for tetsting in the first instance just to see if there are any parasites that need sorting before he slows down for the winter.

#3 jay

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:58 PM

hello
like Sue says,what are the temps in his tabletop home,when you say he's been staying out at night in his outside enclosure is he in a house?i would have a look at the temps,my torts are outside but they are in a house even though there heater is not on at the moment the warmth of there house with the insulation is enough,could your tort be getting too cold??
Jaynex

#4 Hermylady

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:39 PM

Thanks for replies. I have had my two year old tort for just over a year now and purchased him from a reputable local breeder. He has always been lively and eats/drinks normally (a bit greedy in fact). His sleep pattern has always been good. As he is only small (8cm) I have always kept him indoors overnight and temperatures indoors at night have been around 18-20 degrees. During the day his indoor basking area is around 35 under the lamp and 25 in the cool end. However, as we have had some hot and humid days I have been putting him outside during the day and decided to leave him out overnight as everyone said he would be fine. His enclosure is safe from predators and has a wooden indoor area with substrate (sand/soil) with a log which he sleeps under. The outside of the enclosure is covered in roofing felt to help wih warmth and stop the rain from penetrating the wood. I also cover the enclosure with a blanket for extra warmth. The temperature drops to between 13 to 16 degrees which I was told was absolutely fine. In fact, I was told to take the blanket off. I thought it might be too cold but was told by various tort experts that they could go a lot lower than that. Since putting him outside he has gone very quiet during the day. As I said in previous post this also coincided with trying a new food (sedum and vine leaves). Not sure what else the problem could be. After coming home from work today he had a few baths and had a large poo and wee. He had a good drink and ate a small amount of cucumber. He enjoys this as a treat once in a while. I find it helps with hydration. Seemed to be walking around ok on the floor. Once he goes back in his enclosure (indoor or out) he just stands still again or goes to sleep. He doesn't get ever so warm during the day as he has been sleeping and not under lamp - only when I lift him out. But before he is warm he goes back under log or buries himself so maybe he isnt getting warm enough, but i can't make him stay under his lamp or in the sun. Sorry to waffle. Any help appreciated.

Tracey

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 11:08 PM

Overnight temps shouldn't cause it. Mine are all outdoors and some don't go in at night every night. I think your problem is simply timing. To get them accustomed to nights outdoors, it needs to be done in early summer, not late. Tortoises can sense the shorter days and we are now well on the way to shorter cooler days. I always prefer to see torts outdoors, but in your case, I would go back to doing what you were doing before and try again earlier next year. Hope this makes sense.

#6 MeImNot

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 11:08 PM

I may be jumped on for this, but this is my opinion. When you consider that temps in the UK do not get constantly high during the day, 13C in the night is too low especially when dealing with a 2 year old. I would never let my tort outside in those temperatures...I've seen mine slow down drastically at much higher temps. Also low temps and humidity do not agree with tortoises ...I did this mistake myself and ended up with a sick juvenile tort (I was told off about this in this same forum and you were right)

Personally I would get him indoors to raise/control better his temps and offer as much light as possible at least until he seems to be better.

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 12:36 AM

I can understand the low temps and high humidity thing, but not the lower temps at night. At one time tort watching in the Med, the nights were so cold that I had to ask for extra blankets and yet the torts were out in the sun the following day, nesting and not in the heat of summer either, in March and April. The age of the tort is irrelevant really as if conditions are OK for adults then they are fine for little ones. No-one pampers the babies in the wild ;)
I do agree that this one needs to betaken back inside because it is not worth upsetting his routine at this time of year, but ordinarily, they should be fine outdoors. I have a little 40 gram one that is out and will be out until September. I also have two horsfields from last year, waiting to go to new homes, living in a converted boat ;)
I must add that I would never force these conditions on them, they always have the option to go back indoors if they so wish ;)

#8 MeImNot

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 07:31 AM

First of all I need to say that arguing on this forum is a pleasure, its different then on other forums where if you have a different opinion you get jumped on :D

Sue, I'm with you about the temp getting cold at night in the Med but even in April the days are still hotter than the avarage UK summer, and the sun shines almost everyday and heats up the soil rapidly. Torts in the wild will dig into the soil and so I presume they'll still be warmer than 13C. I intend to check all these things out next year and have something more solid to talk about.

I'm sure that most torts are able to withstand some hardships, but even in the wild there are torts that maybe a little weaker and perish, but will do good in our care if we just dont let them reach their limits. For example mine got sick last year in December, she was staying inside and given free access to my room with an ambient temp of around 16-18C (she also had a basking spot) and the high humidity we have in Malta. I figured that since all Maltese tort owners I know left theirs in the yard with lower temps and rain, mine would fare much better...obviously I was very wrong and she got an RI in a month (which might explain my bias towards higher temps).

Back to Hermy's original post, I've talked to many UK tort owners that this year had very similiar experiences with their torts almost showing pre-hibernation symptoms in the middle of summer...but then it seems that you didn't have the best summer ever, so it may just be that some torts just got fed up being a minute in the sun and the other in the rain :D

Sue, can you post a pic of your tort boathouse, I'm sure its a fantastic piece of work ;)

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 10:02 PM

No disrespect but it depends on what part of the Med. Different species evolve to cope with different climates, which is where different shapes, colours etc come in. I'm only basing my findings on research in parts of Turkey, where it really is quite cool in the day in March/April compared with other Med climates. I've changed things in the thirty or so years I have been keeping them and find less problems doing it the way I do now to be honest. As I say, they are never forced to go to the limits, I would be so upset to think that this was the case, they always have the choice and one little hermanni adult male absolutely refuses to stay inside overnight, much preferring to dig down under his favourite hebe. It's not until late September that he is happy to go indoors at night. I could force him to stay in, but we are talking of a little tortoise here that was not expected (by the vet) to live after suffering kidney problems with his previous owners. I'm always very careful not to let my torts get stressed and I'm pretty sure to make him change his ways would do just this, with possible resulting health issues. My vet rarely sees me, unless with a rehomer, so something must be going right ;) There are always the exeptions to the rule and maybe your tort which got a RI had a weaker disposition to begin with.
Here in the UK, there are often periods where tortoises surprise us by not eating when we would expect them to. Some of mine have done this this summer, when the heat has been kept at optimum temps in their covered light area. I personally think it has far more to do with barometric pressure than just ambient temps and temps under the basking spot.
I don't have any pics of hte boat right now, but can take some over the next few days if I remember, feel free to remind me. It's just a little grounded sailing dinghy, which I covered at either end with perspex and in the middle with netting. There are various weeds growing in there along with hebes and heathers and shelters are roof ridge tiles which contain coir substrate. Heat is via a pig lamp containing a 100 watt outdoor bulb. It works well for small horsfields :)

#10 MeImNot

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 01:24 PM

I take no disrespect in your replies and use forums such as this to learn and hear opinions from more experienced users. I have just a mere 18 months experience and base what I say on the single tortoise that I keep and what I note when I travel across the the Med countries (temperature wise) and what I measure in my own country which is exactly in the middle of the Med sea.

I may have the exception to the rule tortoise...it happens and is very plausible in my case, especially after she got very sick with temps never below 16C and after observing her basking for 45 minutes everyday in VERY HOT spots. I must say she's a unique torty :P

Tracey, is your little un doing better now?

#11 Hermylady

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 08:17 PM

Thanks for all replies. He (or she - not sure yet) seems to be slightly more alert today. When I popped home at lunchtime he had eaten all food which was hidden around table (he had to forage around) and he was basking under the lamp asleep with legs extended out getting the warmth. As soon as he spotted me he walked straight to me looking for more food which is what he usually does. He then went back to bed for rest of afternoon. Hopefully he just had a bit of a blip. I will see how he acts over next couple of days to be sure. I haven't given him any sedum for a few days (although people have said that it won't be that). I will keep you posted once I have given him a few more days.

Thanks everyone

Tracey

#12 Freddy

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:11 PM

Hi Guys,
As 'My Hermanns' is a public forum all posts are open to public scrutiny. We are a friendly, helpful bunch here. We are glad when users respect each other and the forum and try were possible to heed the advice of more experienced members. :)
Many thanks. ;)
Freddy :D

#13 dymmy

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:17 AM

I agree with the barometric pressure comment as my Hermann always lets me know by his behaviour and lack of appetite if it will rain later in the day. He has a stiny appetite for a 3 year old but is seemingly large for his age. He eats well when its really sunny and warm and hardly at all when the skies are grey. This summer has been so erratic and so has my tortoise as a result. He seems very happy for an indoor freerange Hermann.




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