Jump to content


Photo

Tortoise Losing Weight - Advice Please


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 crotchetybear

crotchetybear

    Tortoise Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 71 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Worcestershire
  • Interests:Tortoises, my dogs, animal welfare, conservation and environment, wildlife and travel.

Posted 22 May 2015 - 07:24 PM

Hi all,

 

I am concerned about one of my juvenile tortoises and would welcome any advice. Roobarb and Custard are 19 months old and, as has been discussed previously on here, rather large for their age.

 

Anyway, both were hibernated for eight weeks until end Jan when, on emerging on 21 Jan, Roobarb weighed 126g. (Her pre-wind down weight was 147g, 130g when she went into the fridge so only 4g loss over the 8 weeks). I try not to obsess about their weight so have weighed them periodically and her weight has been as follows:

27 Jan: 144g;

11 Feb: 148g;

25 Feb: 149g;

31 Mar: 166g;

06 May: 152g and today 146g.

 

Over the same period, Custard (who has always been slightly heavier and emerged from hibernation at 140g) has steadily increased in weight to 193g today. So now Roobarb feels significantly lighter when you pick them up.

 

I moved them about two months ago from a guinea pig cage indoors into a new, larger enclosure in the greenhouse and they go outside in the sunshine. Both appear to be eating OK - plantains, sow thistle, dandelions and the T-lady's mix - and I bathe them every two or three days.

 

Although she seems otherwise OK, I'm wondering if I should take Roobarb to a vet? There isn't a reptile specialist at my practice but we are not far from Manor vets at Halesowen or I believe there is another specialist at Shifnal, near Telford. Or is there any other action anyone would recommend? I'm conscious of the view that most problems are related to husbandry rather than medical problems but I'm actually quite worried.

 

As usual, any advice gratefully received.

 

Many thanks,

Chris

 

 

 



#2 JerryMaffz

JerryMaffz

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 103 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 May 2015 - 12:32 PM

Hi Chris,

 

 I would've thought that some of the more experienced members would've answered you by now. I'm not in a position to 'advise' you but sometimes things are easier to see from the outside, looking in, so I thought I'd share some observations.

If you take the March 31 weight out of the equation then the figures seem OK. This weight seems to be an anomoly. Is it possible that Roobarb may have just had a big drink, mud on her feet or something else that may have produced an increased reading at this weigh-in.?

 You should also bear in mind that now she's in a larger enclosure she will be getting more exercise and burning off more reserves.

 It might be worth having a feacal screen done for worms, just in case.

Hope this is helpful. :)

 

Keith



#3 wizzasmum

wizzasmum

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,133 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shropshire/Welsh Borders
  • Interests:Family
    Tortoise keeping and breeding
    Gardening
    Greyhound rescue
    Reading
    Walking
    Travelling

Posted 23 May 2015 - 01:41 PM

Only just seen this, but I AM having problems seeing which posts are read right now. To be honest I would say Roobarb is adjusting far better to her new outdoor life and I know you are not concerned about Custard but I would be far more concerned re her weight gain to be honest. Almost a quarter of her weight increased since hibernation is really not healthy at all. She should have gained more in the region of 15-20 grams max I n that time. As Keith says a faecal screen could be worth doing, especially if imports, but I would say the lighter one is adjusting beautifully and it's the other one you need to worry about. At that rate of gain, she is going to be adult size in a few short years :(

#4 crotchetybear

crotchetybear

    Tortoise Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 71 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Worcestershire
  • Interests:Tortoises, my dogs, animal welfare, conservation and environment, wildlife and travel.

Posted 24 May 2015 - 08:44 AM

Thanks both for your reassuring advice. They are not imports (bred just a few miles away) but I will get a faecal screen done to be on the safe side. (I know their breeder personally and she is very helpful but has a different opinion on growth rates - their parents were only five years old when the eggs were laid and these two were over 70g when I got them at three months - but I would rather mine did not grow so fast.)

 

This being a holiday weekend I was able to spend some time observing them more closely yesterday and noticed that Custard is still being something of a bully, despite the larger enclosure. She eats most of the food, then chases Roobarb around - pushing her and deliberately tipping her over (so she probably expends a lot of energy righting herself) - until she retreats into the hide where she digs down for the rest of the day. I'm aware the outdoor area of their enclosure is quite small and (although this behaviour seems more of a problem indoors) a larger one is under construction - but will take time as it needs to be secure (we have two large dogs). In the meantime I think maybe this is the area I need to address. I don't have the facilities to separate them permanently at the moment (we have another greenhouse with outdoor enclosure attached but it's occupied by my long-standing adult male) so will review the feeding arrangements. I was trying to regulate their weight gain and thought I was feeding them sparingly but obviously Custard is eating the lot.

 

Many thanks. I am less worried now (about Roobarb anyway) and will continue to monitor the situation.

 

Chris 



#5 wizzasmum

wizzasmum

    Advanced Tortoise Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,133 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shropshire/Welsh Borders
  • Interests:Family
    Tortoise keeping and breeding
    Gardening
    Greyhound rescue
    Reading
    Walking
    Travelling

Posted 31 May 2015 - 07:20 PM

I'd say you have hit the nail on the head with the area allotted to them. Tortoises are very territorial and will often bully one into submission. I'd address this as soon as possible as stress will lead to illness. I'm guessing the breeder is a novice as they would not be letting 5 year olds breed, much less letting babies grow so fast. There is always a consequence to this sort of keeping sadly as most novice breeders find out. Your little ones weight is fine and if kept from the bullying of the other one and less fed all round, they will grow into healthy torts.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users