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Sleepy Tortoise - Not Eating Or Coming Out All Day


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#1 Lorianne

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 09:50 PM

Hi there everyone,
I was just after some advice. My tortoise is about 3 years old and has been spending the last few weeks outside (we're in the Channel Islands so temps around 10 degrees at night and up to 28 degrees in full sun during the day at the moment). If it's horrible I bring him back in and turn on his lamp for the day. On the most part he's been out in the last two weeks though. He's burying himself more than he ever has done before and even when I get him out and put his weeds in front of him he's refusing to eat and just goes straight back and digs down again. I'm guessing he's just not warm enough for a long enough chunk of the day but how do you get them outside (which everyone recommends) and still give them the heat that they require? I tried bringing him and putting him under the lamp for a few hours daily but I think he didn't like the change much and he still just slept under his log tunnel.
When he came out of hibernation in February he was really thriving and eating loads. I'm bathing him every other day and he is passing urine and faeces.
If I go back to him being inside would it still be worth putting him out overnight so there is an obvious temp change as the house is quite warm at night in the summer?
Is anyone else experiencing the same problem?
He's in an enclosure in the garden with soil, a gravel area and some grass which I have seen him eating occasionally (is this harmful?). He's got fresh water and plenty of plants and shrubs to hide away in. I fetch him weeds from our main garden and in the hedgerows because there aren't really any in his enclosure.
Last year he was outside and seemed so much more active but we have had a much cooler May than we're used to.
Any advice gratefully received, especially on how you make the transition from inside to out and what you then do if the weather turns grotty mid-summer.
Thanks, Lorianne.

#2 wizzasmum

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 11:12 PM

Whatever the change, either for better or worse, his natural,instinct is to hide away, even in good weather. It's a survival technique they are born with. Just keep popping him in the sun and he will settle eventually. As you have found taking him back in doesn't work, so it's best to just observe him and keep on encouraging. Is he one of Shirley's babies?

#3 Lorianne

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:05 PM

Hi Sue,
He came from a friends son who basically wasn't interested in him but I'm not sure where they got him from. I keep saying he, in actual fact the vet told me that he is a she!!! So Dominic becomes Dominique!! With a bit of jigging about I think I could adjust his (sorry, her!) enclosure to reach the kids Wendy house where I could put a lamp and also the greenhouse which might help. I think it would also solve the problem of the house shading the enclosure late on in the afternoon.

Is the grass-eating ok by the way?

You mentioned Shirley to me a long time ago and I feel guilty because I never did contact her. I must do that.

Thanks

#4 wizzasmum

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 10:28 PM

Is he a hermanni? They are not grass eaters as they don't digest it well. If he is a normal size for his age, he is too small to sex as they all show as female until they get tomaround 4-5 years of age. If you have shade then don't expect him to emerge as they need the sun to warm up ;) There is a Facebook page for the Jersey Tortoise Sanctuary if you use Facebook, which Shirley runs ;)

#5 Lorianne

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 09:06 AM

Oh great, I do have Facebook so I'll take a look thank you.

He is a Hermann and he weighs about 290g and is about 11cm long. He's about three to four years old and has hibernated three times. Is that an ok weight?

So he could be a Mr yet!!! Think we may go for a generic re-naming!!

I think if I change the enclosure a bit I can get the sun for longer in the afternoon. It currently loses the sun at about 4pm, but short of having two enclosures (not impossible) I can't do much about it.

I actually brought him in this morning as it's windy and cold out and he's busy munching on campanula, bindweed and violas so not too much wrong now he's warmed up.

#6 wizzasmum

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 01:09 PM

So long as it's sunny, the wind and temps make no difference. They don't warm up like us mammals. If you put picks on of his underneath showing tail end we can give an educated guess at sex. 4pm is a good time to retire at the end of the day and conducive with wild ones. 290 grams is about the weight of my five year olds. His cert will give correct age ;)




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