Sleeping turtle
Sleeping turtle  
QUESTION: Hi, I talked to you yesterday my turtle went into shock and we'll I put him in the box with a towel like you said and he's been in there all day and night. When I check on him every few hours he opens his eyes then goes back to sleep. When do you suggest I put him back into his cage? And I noticed that his claw is bleeding now. What should I do? And then how should I keep him warm?

ANSWER: Hi Randa,

It's a good sign that he's survived this far.  Is he moving around at all?  Does he struggle if you pick him up?  Unless you are absolutely sure he has the strength to swim and climb onto his basking area, I would keep him out of the tank for now.  You should soak him in clean, lukewarm, shallow water once a day for about half an hour, though.  If you can't keep the box in a warm enough area (75-80 degrees), you can use a lamp for basking heat--just make sure it can't cause a fire.  If he seems better in the morning you can put him in the tank then.  The claw most likely got torn a little from crawling around in the box, but it's not a big deal.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I tried picking him up and it take a min or two but he stretches out his legs and kind of moves them. He hasn't been moving in the box all day he has been in the same spot I left him in this morning. Should I try putting him in the tank and seeing what he dose? Is it ok that he seems tired and not himself... Like will he get better?

I would keep him in the box for another day and see how he is.  You can soak him tomorrow when you get back from school.  Just make sure he doesn't get too cool (or too warm).  The lethargy is a concern, but there's no way at this point to say whether he will get better or not.  You just have to wait and see if he recovers.  Let me know how he is tomorrow.


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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