Hi, i need some help. My 5 month old russian tortoise seems to sleep a lot, and i’m not sure if this is normal. Also, he has some trouble opening one or both of his eyes sometimes, i’m wondering if i should take him to the vet for a checkup? He’s in a wooden table with aspen bedding under a D3 basking lamp. Is it the bedding that’s causing the problems?
Well, the little ones do sleep a lot, on and off, but trouble opening his eyes is a big sign of serious dehydration. Are they swollen or sunken in?
I can’t know the severity of the issue and I’m not a vet so I’ll say this: If these issues have been on going or you notice it worrsening, you should definitely get him checked out by a vet.=== Dehydration is a big issue that can’t be ignored. When it gets to eyes swollen shut from dehydration tortoises sometimes need to be given fluids ( in severe cases).
Some questions: Is he eating? Active some of the time? When he pees do you see a lot of white grainy stuff or is it more liquid and creamy white stuff (the latter is what you’re going for..)
I would definitely increase the number of soaks you’re giving him (maybe try daily for a couple days and see if he perks up). Set him in warm water ( up to where the carapace and plastron meet) for about 20 minutes.
I do think the bedding could be assisting in the problem. From what I’ve read, Aspen bedding isn’t the best choice for a Russian tortoises. It doesn’t hold the proper humidity levels needed in the enclosure and can be irritating. This could be adding to the issue.
I would switch up the substrate to coconut coir or a coconut coir/play sand mix. With indoor tortoises, its hard to maintain the proper humidity and the coconut coir mix holds a certain amount moisture well without being soppy, and doesn’t mold as easily as say aspen bedding.
The lamps in the enclosure dry things out quickly so make sure to moisten/clean the substrate regularly.
I would also check your temperature and bulbs. What type of bulb do you have. is it a heat/basking combo lamp? How strong? Ideally you want a gradient in the enclosure. A basking spot of 95 and cool areas that go down to 70. That way he can choose which end. Cooler temps can cause lethargy in tortoises as can lack of UVB.
I really hope this helps and remember its always better safe than sorry when it comes to deciding to see a vet. send us pics of your shell baby.