Please talk some sense in to me: I did something stupid and looked up the systems of tortoise diseases. It was stupid because it mentioned them being lethargic is a sign of something wrong. And my dear tort’s been a little lazy lately (except when there’s food). I’m pretty sure it’s because of the time of year, but I’m tired and easily paranoid, so now I’m going to be worrying about him. -__- In other words, is it normal for a tortoise to have long periods of not really wanting to do anything?
Hey there Anon!
Well, I am here to talk sense into you! in a helpful and not helpful way?
It is normal for tortoises to have less active periods, especially during winter time. I’m not sure where you live, but if the weather is cold or cloudy, our torts sometimes decide to sleep in. Sometimes they just want to nom and soak up some UVB rays. Thats normal.
The number of times I’ve become overly concerned that Zoya hasn’t caused any real trouble in a week or so is.. ridiculous. I would be the most obnoxious parent ever with the worrying and checking. Seriously, I feel where you’re coming from.
That said, its true that long periods of lethargy are often the first real signs that something is amiss. So… how long are we talking? Is it a big change from his previous behavior?
Heres the thing, there are some things that definitely scream “OMG VET NOW!”, others are much less cut and dry. Annoying right?
You have to think about everything in context.You know your pet best and you can identify behavior changes. Always check to make sure your temps are right, diet is right, substrate etc. One of these things being off can cause lots of problems now and over time.
Hydration is a big one. Is he getting enough soaks? Check the urates (that white stuff in the pee). If its creamy looking that’s normal, if its rocky then he’s not hydrated enough and definitely keep an eye on him and give some extra soaks. Eyes sunken in is a big sign of dehydration.
After that you have to think about things like weather, time of year (they’ve got some amazing body clocks in them), and how long the changes are happening. A week or two of just basking and eating instead of trying to climb his log is normal in context (though it does work well to make us humans nervous). If it goes on for longer, with no contextual reasons, if you notice any other strange behavior, then I’d say, better safe than sorry. Vet time.
I really hope this is helpful! I totally know that freak out moment and still have them. Our shells will drive us crazy when they are causing trouble and when they’re not. hah.
Gotta love them tho!
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