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We bought a tortoise from someone who had bought 2 of them…

Customer Question
We bought a tortoise...

We bought a tortoise from someone who had bought 2 of them from pets art and they were fighting so I took one from her. We think it is a Male Russian tortoise. He is eating ok but just wants to sleep in his house all the time. We soak him once a week and have a basking light and UVB light.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the tortoise. What is the tortoise's name and age?

His name is ***** ***** I am not sure how old he is. His shell probably is around 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Bernard?

How can you tell if they have parasites?

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Reptile
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
10/1/2017
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,943
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 20 years of experience keeping reptiles. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take to help Bernard.What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the enclosure?Have you noticed him yawning a lot?Have you seen bubbles from his nose or mouth?What do you feed him?Did he have a UVB light at his previous home?Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
The temp under the basking light averages around 88 degrees and the cool end averages around 68 degrees maybe a little cooler at night. I have not seen any bubbles from his nose or mouth. I feed him a mixture of greens, spring mix, kale, lettuces, dandelion. Yes he did have a UVB light at his previous home. Could he be lonely? Even though he fought with the other tortoise could he still be missing him?
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago
Thank you for getting back to me. I'm working on some information for you now and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.
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Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago

Thank you for waiting. In nature, Russian tortoises are solitary except during the mating season. In captivity, it is recommended to keep them alone because fights can be vicious I have seen cases of deep wounds, torn off legs, etc. It's very unlikely that Bernard is lonely.

As for parasites, they are detected by a fecal exam. You would need to take a fresh sample of his droppings in a clean plastic bag to a reptile vet for that. This link will take you to a directory of vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

Your temperatures are a bit too cool. That can result in inactivity and hiding. The gradient in the enclosure should be 75*F to 85*F, with the basking area warmer yet, at 95*F. Night temperatures can go down to 70* to 75*F. You can increase the temps by lowering the light fixture (but not so low he could be burned by it), using a higher wattage bulb, or adding a second fixture.

I would adjust the temps as soon as possible. I’ll give you a first aid measure.Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak Bernard for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their skin and vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely.

The diet should also be adjusted. Tortoises need a high fiber diet. Hay and grasses should be a big part of the diet. If you don’t spray your lawn, take him outside to graze when you can supervise him. Grass hay should be available at all times. You can buy bags of timothy hay in pet stores in the rabbit section. Greens such as dandelion, collards, and turnip greens are also good. You can read much more about diet at the following site:

http://russiantortoise.org/russiantortoisediet.htm

The same site has a good care sheet:

http://russiantortoise.org/care_sheet.htm

I’ll also give you a link to the site map. This site is a reliable source of information on Russian tortoises, so I hope you’ll go there and explore.

http://russiantortoise.org/site_map.htm

If warmer temperatures and soaks don't help, it would be best to see a vet. In summary, I would adjust the temps, start soaks, and have a stool sample checked. If necessary, schedule a vet appointment. If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope Bernard will be fine.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star 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 after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!

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