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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11459
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Our cherry head red leg tortoise has started making noises,

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Our cherry head red leg tortoise has started making noises, like a grunt. He is eating well, moving around, seems to be fine. However, the vocalization is something new and I am worried that it might be a sign of distress.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this problem.

You are right to be concerned. The noise, and stretching the neck out are signs of respiratory distress - difficulty breathing. They often accompany pneumonia. A tortoise will stretch out like that as a way to get more air into the lungs. Strange noises are often due to congestion in the lungs. While other, less serious, conditions could be causing this, pneumonia is one of the more common illnesses affecting tortoises, and it can be quickly fatal. For that reason, I'd rather be safe than sorry with symptoms like these. I recommend that Rosie be seen by a reptile vet. These links will take you to directories of such vets:

If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope Rosie will be fine.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Anna and 2 other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX him in today.

You're welcome. I actually hope I'm wrong, but if not, I wish Rosie a speedy recovery.