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Member Since 09 Apr 2015
Offline Last Active Apr 12 2015 10:53 PM

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A Scary Experience With My Tortoise - Be Careful

10 April 2015 - 08:38 AM

He's only five years old and I've only owned him since September - my first ever pet tortoise.

I let him outside yesterday under supervision (so that he wouldn't eat things he shouldn't/get lost/other animals not eat him Ect). I let him out under some shrubbery where the soil is nice and dusty and there ate some naturally growing dandelion weeds.

I noticed immediately that he liked to pick up small stones with his beak. I looked a little closer and I wondered if he was trying to sharpen his beak (as he used to like picking them up then dropping them). I have used a cuttlefish before So I thought as long as he wasn't swallowing them he'd be fine.

Well he picked up one big one and and he got it stuck in his mouth! It was wedging his beak right open. I jumped in to get it out but the tortoise was frantically flailing his arms about and his head had popped in really deep in his shell. He was in a lot of pain I could tell, as he was choking, squealing, and blood starting dripping down his beak where the stone was perhaps cutting inside his mouth or tongue. I ran with him indoors and luckily my mother was around to help. We fetched some pliers and we managed to get the stone out. We also cleaned him up, and I managed to move him back in his little vivarium indoors. He had a complete change of water in his bowl and food bowl were also wiped over after using reptile friendly disinfectant.

I've observed him and he seems okay. He did retreat to his log cave, but from what I've seen from him he's showing no sign of sneezing, coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulty. I hadn't yet since him drink water but he did immediately tuck in to some kale that I put in, so that I could see inside his mouth for more debris or damage. All seems okay, he's appetite hasn't changed, I soaked the kale in supermarket water so he is at least getting something to wash it away/down?

Anyway, I'm going to keep an eye on him Over a few days. It seems more of a lesson to be learned than anything more serious, but yet still I'm worried about the risk of infection. As it's inside his mouth that got a little cut up I don't really know what more I can do to avoid infection than to keep him indoors, change water and food regularly, clean vivarium regularly ect. I'm open to suggestions. Maybe a nice tasty plant with anti-bacterial or healing qualities? I don't know, but anyhow at the moment he seems to be fine.

Just thought I'd pass on the experience to warn and educate others. I knew they'd eat things they shouldn't, but I certainly didn't read or expect my tortoise to get a stone wedged inside his mouth. Maybe I'd only keep him on the grass in future.