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I have a bells himged back tortoise. He is at least 12 years…

I have a bells...

I have a bells himged back tortoise. He is at least 12 years old. I just got him from people who didn’t take very good care of him a few days ago. I bought him a bigger tank and made him a fresh new habitat with new soil. I put a red 100watt heating lamp over him. Once I put him in his new tank, he started walking around a lot. He ate a few bites of food and then started opening and closing his mouth consistently. He stopped for a few minutes and then started opening and closing again. I’m not sure how to tell if he is stressed, or if he’s just hungry and not seeing his food so he tries to bite the soil.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if the tortoise will be able to digest that. What is the tortoise's name?

Timmy is his name.

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

Just that the people didn’t take very good care of him so his skin is very dry and that sometimes I can hear him exhale a lot

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Answered in 3 hours by:
1/20/2018
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,949
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. It was kind of you to take in Timmy. From what you have described, I believe he is sick, and will need to see a vet. However, I'll start you out with a first aid measure. He is dehydrated, buy some Pedialyte ( yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of half Pedialyte and half water at about 84*F. Soak Timmy for 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to supervise closely. If he wants to drink some of the water, that's fine, but don't try to force him to. Reptiles can absorb fluids and electrolytes through their skin and vents, so he can be rehydrated that way. Go ahead and take this step. Then, let me know if there is any change, and we'll decide what to do next.Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Hi Anna,
Thank you so much for helping me. I put a heating pad under the water so it would be warm for him. I also used the pedialyte with water for him. He seemed to enjoy it. I saw him open and close his mouth continuously again though, however, it was right after he had ate. I am feeding him the trex tortious food. I thought maybe they were too big for his mouth but then again they’re relatively small and moistened.
Hi. You're welcome for the help. I'm glad to hear Timmy is doing better. I'm going to work on some more information for you that may help him. I'll post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Ok no problem. Thank you. He has been soaking since about 1 this afternoon so about 8 hours. Is there anything I can do to help the humidity increase in the tank? The tank has a heat lamp, a heating pad underneath and cellophane across most of the top.
Thank you for waiting. He has been soaking long enough, so you can take him out. You'll need a good thermometer to measure temps. The cool side should be 75*F, and the basking spot should be 90*F.It's also important to buy a UVB light. I recommend the Reptisun 10.0. If you choose another brand, make sure it provides 10% UVB. UV, UVA, full- spectrum, SunGlo, etc. are not the same thing. UVB lights must be changed every 6 months, even though they still look fine because they continue to emit other types of light. Without UVB light Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop. Also place a cuttlebone in the enclosure to provide calcium. Cuttlebones are sold in the bird departments of pet stores.I would discontinue the Trex tortoise food. It may well be the cause of him opening and closing his mouth after eating. The pieces may be hard to swallow, and make him feel like he has to gulp for air. All of the commercial foods are nothing but junk. Tortoises need real food. A variety of greens and vegetables are best. Also provide some hay. He may burrow in it and/or eat it. You can buy bags of grass hay in rabbit departments. Fruit can be given as a treat. Collards, turnip greens, dandelion, and spring mix are good greens. Summer squash and green beans are also fine. Since Timmy is used to eating the commercial food he may take some the to get used to the healthier foods. Just keep offering them.You don't want the humidity to be too high. If you feel it is not high enough, you can leave a shallow bowl of water in there, or use a substrate that holds moisture.If you have more questions, just let me know. I'm glad to help. I hope Tmmy will thrive for you.Anna
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,949
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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