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Edele Grey
Edele Grey, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 417
Experience:  BSc, MVB
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10 month old Herman’s tortoise. Has been in his own

Customer Question

10 month old Herman’s tortoise. Has been in his own ‘lockdown’ for 10 weeks at least. We have to prize him out from his apparent sleeping to feed and bathe him. He appears to have no pyramiding or breathing problems & has gained 2g in the last month. We cannot see any worms in his faeces but passes some whitish jelly when pu his bath water. We have restricted the cuttle and only feed him natural weeds as advised. He is generally very lethargic, we have followed all advice with habitat, heat lamp, temp etc, but nobody can explain why this might be happening. Any suggestions please?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know how to help the tortoise. What is the tortoise's name?
Customer: Sherman, obviously could be male or female!
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Sherman?
Customer: only that he came from a reputable breeder
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Edele Grey replied 1 year ago.


You're through to Dr. Edele, a UK vet.

Please ignore any requests for a call as the site sends these automatically.

I have some questions to help me best advise you about Sherman.

Can you tell me his temp/basking temp/humidity etc inside his vivarium, please?

What weeds is he eating?

Is he receiving any supplements?

What heat lamp and substrate does he have?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is in a wooden open box with topsoil.
The temp is around 30-33c uv/heat lamp.
He is eating dandelion, plantain, bristly ox tongue, occ pansy flower, wild geranium, occ lambs lettuce, he is quite fussy!
I have neutrobal but worry about giving it as unsure about amount?
Expert:  Edele Grey replied 1 year ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** have any swelling around his eyes?

Does he seem weak or just lethargic?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Nothing looks different - her seems lethargic & just wants to disengage!
Expert:  Edele Grey replied 1 year ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** a few things that can cause this, so there are a few things to try:

Keep a close eye on his temperature in his enclosure at his level to ensure it's between 28-35 (35 basking area).

Start bathing him once per day for 15-30 minutes in warm water. You can add some Dioralyte (over the counter from a chemist) as he may drink a little.

He may be developing hypocalcemia (low calcium) which can be due to either low dietary calcium or not enough vitamin D (he should get this from a UV-B lamp) and diet.

Start feeding him Nutrabal every other day (1pinch/kg body weight) or a light dusting on his food. On the days you're not giving him that feed him a light dusting of calci-dust on his food. If you chop up his food it will help reduce preferential eating of some greens and not others. If this doesn't work then you can try using commercial pellets (the first ingredient should be hay and they should be high fiber) for a short time.

The white you're describing is most likely him excreting urates (essentially his pee).

You should start to soon see a difference. We don't usually see worms in their poop and high parasite burdens tend to cause diarrhoea (not always though) so if you're not seeing an improvement over the next 1-2 weeks then I would advise you get a sample of his poop examined for worm eggs (done through your vets) and also a full check-up and blood test to ensure there's nothing else going on with him.