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Ask Joan Your Own Question
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18210
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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Box turtle about 3 years old. was outside in its cage

Customer Question

box turtle about 3 years old. was outside in its cage overnight. now not moving. currently soaking in small amount of water. wife goign to get electrolytes to try to help.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the box turtle. What is the box turtle's name?
Customer: tortuga
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Torture?
Customer: no. generally not kept outside but was getting big enough that we thought we should be introducing
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
are you still there?
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.


My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in Reptiles and reptile Rescue.

Can you tell me about habitat?



UVB light, Linear tube or compact coil, strength, age and brand?

Basking light?

How long has be been this way?

If you pinch back legs can he feel pain?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
regular glass aquarium type cage.
normally indoors with window sunlight
diet is generally lettuce fruit berries etc.
just found the turtle unresponsive in cage outside
have not tried to pinch back legs; will do so
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

I will wait for reponse.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
unresponsive to pinch of legs
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
extremeties do not seem rigid and head is not out
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am waiting on your response
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Not good that he is unresponsive. Reptiles when passing have flaccid limbs. Please poke the tail to see if his head comes out. You have some major husbandry issues, that are in play. what type of turtle is this? red eared slider, box turtle painted turtle?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
im sorry to clarify it is a desert tortise, not a box turtle
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you there? Please respond
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Please give me a min to type an answer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Husband was answering previously and didn't include all info, especially that it is a tortoise. Normally kept indoors and sometimes with UVB and supplements. Has a hiding shelter in habitat as well... We were attempting to gradually transfer to outdoors and decided keeping in regular aquarium in new spot and shaping the new habitat would work best. We do live in AZ so heat must have been too much.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Still there???
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Thank you! I tortoise should never be kept in a tank. The better habitat is a tortoise table or a Large Rubbermade. They require two type of lighting. a Basking light for heat and a UVB light to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease which can cause Paralysis, organ failure and pain. You also need a Calcium supplement to work with the UVB light. This is metabolized by the UVB into D3 in the body. The UVB cannot penetrate glass, you the sun from the window did nothing.

The diet is wrong too Lettuce is dehydrating. The need grass hays and weeds as a staple diet. They need a daily soak. The UVB needs to be run 12-14 hours a day. I would like you to try the soak, but without a reflex pain reaction it sounds like he may be gone. I am in hopes he will respond to the soak, but with all the husbandry issues, I am afraid it may have been too much on his system. This is a Care sheet: