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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11281
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My tortoise is making weird squelching noises, sticking her

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My tortoise is making weird squelching noises, sticking her tongue out, and walking around. What's wrong is she choking? Trying to swallow? I cant get her mouth open. She seems to be breathing. She was just eating.

I'm sorry to hear your tortoise is ill. Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

What was she eating?

Is she walking around right now?

How long has she been like this?

Has she ever made this noise before?

Does your tortoise live indoors? If so, what are the temperatures on the warm and cool sides of the enclosure? What substrate is on the floor?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She has been like this for two - five minutes now. She is walking. She lives indoors. She makes this noise when she swallows. I know temps and substrate is good.
Thank you for getting back to me. Since it has been going on for several minutes now, it doesn't appear that her air passage has been blocked completely. However, she is clearly in distress. There may be some food caught in her throat, that while it isn't blocking the airway is uncomfortable. Food could also be caught in the roof of her mouth. If you can get her mouth open, you may eb able to see what is going on. The Tortoise Trust gives these instructions for opening a tortoise' mouth:

"Grasp animal firmly behind the ear-flaps and jaw with the thumb and second finger of one hand, and firmly force down the lower jaw with the thumb and first finger of the other hand."

If you see something on the roof, you can remove it. However, if something si lodged in the throat, it's best to leave it to a vet to remove. If you dislodge it, it could end up blocking the airway. If you can't get her mouth open, or you find something in her throat, your best choice would be to take her to a reptile vet. If you don't know of one, give me your zip code and I'll locate a vet for you.

If you have more questions, or want help locating a vet, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your tortoise will be fine.


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