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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18653
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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My Russian Tortoise is not moving her back legs. I am been

Customer Question

Hello my name is ***** ***** Russian Tortoise is not moving her back legs. I am been soaking her in warm bath to help flush her out. From reading your forum ...maybe I'm not dong the right thing. She played two eggs around 8weeks ago. I thought maybe she was have another. Usually after i put her in the water for a while, she deficates. she does live outdoors during the spring summer and fall. so she gets enough sunlight. I give them all kinds of fruits and veggies.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.


Thank-you for requesting me. I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in reptiles and reptile rescue.

Can you tell me if the tortoise gets any type of calcium supplement?

Is it possible she ingested a foreign body?

Was this her first clutch of eggs?

If you pinch her back feet does she try to retract them?

Does he act like she want to lay more eggs or is she nesting?

State to locate a Herp Vet?


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She does't get any supplements. She sometimes eats a pebble or two and she excretes it when she gets a bath. this is not her first eggs. Yes she does retract her legs when touched. Staten Island, New York 10314
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.

The direct sunlight is good for the tortoise, but without a calcium supplement the tortoise can get Metabolic Bone Disease. The rocks that are being ingested can cause blockages, so it is wise that you try and pick them up if around. We scatter Cuttle bones out for the tortoises to chew on.

We know there is movement, so lets try giving her some baby food prunes and wait 45min-1hour and then give a nice warm soak. This should help her produce a stool. Sometimes we see stool compacted and it can put pressure on the spinal cord. If we get her to pass some stool, we may be able to get her legs going.

I do want you to start her on a plain calcium and to use the Cuttle Bones. I am going to give you some links to Herp Vets in NY: and

It is also important for a tortoise who lays eggs to have the Calcium as that can cause egg binding.


Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.

I will be here all evening, so if you try the prunes, let me know the results if she passes stool.