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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11428
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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We got a 3 year old Horsfield (male) a few weeks ago. We got

Customer Question

Hi, We got a 3 year old Horsfield (male) a few weeks ago. We got a tortoise table, UVB lamp and tempertures measure 21 in cool spot and 32 under the lamp. We're feeding weeds and some cabbage/spring greens. I have to wake the tortoise every morning, as it doesn't seem to wake up on it's own (inside his house, so he won't be able to see the light being turned on). He's often only awake for a few hours, mostly sitting underneath his light, and then takes himself to bed again. Is this normal? I was expecting him to be a bit more active. He was shy when we got him and didn't eat for about a week due to settling in. We bath him every other day. Any ideas? thnks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. Thank you for requesting me. This is not normal behavior. I suspect something has been wrong with Napoleon from the beginning. I'm glad to hear you have a tortoise table and UVB light. I suggest you increase the temperature under the basking light. The gradient in the enclosure should be 21*C to 29*C, with the basking area warmer yet, at 35*C. Night temperatures can go down to 21*C to 23*C, so you probably don’t need to leave the heat on at night. Tortoises need the night time drop to stay healthy. If temperatures are a little too chilly in the daytime, lethargy and appetite loss will occur. This may be what is wrong with Napoleon. A good digital probe thermometer is needed to accurately measure temperatures. You can increase the temperature by lowering the lamp (but not so low he could be burned by it), using a higher wattage bulb, or adding a second fixture.

I will also suggest a first aid measure.

Buy an electrolyte solution. In the USA, that would be Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). In the UK, it would be a product called Lectaid, which is sold in pet stores. In Australia, it’s a human product called Dioralyte. Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 electrolyte solution. Soak yNapoleon for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely.

If the warmth and soaks don't result in an improvement, it would be best to see a reptile vet. Many tortoises are wild caught and are shipped long distances in poor conditions. Many arrive sick or parasite infested. In the USA these sites have directories of vets:

In the UK:

In Australia:

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


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