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Turtles/Tortoise making squeeking sound


I have two 7 month old russian tortoises. I got them from a family Fred who has been raising tortoise for 29 years. They have both been wealthy and eating well. I noticed that one if them is making a squeeking noise and scratching his face. I think when I looked closet, I saw a bubble from his nose but I'm not sure. They have a long Tupperware container (fits a Christmas tree). They have untreated wood bedding. I don't know the exact name if it but it comes highly recommended. They have a mixture of greens daily, with calcium powder few times a week. I don't have a thermometer in there which I will be getting tomorrow. They have a custom box they sleep in. They get daylight and nightlight. They have a water dish that they sometimes soak in. I have him a soak today and am wondering if he got too cold.

Hi Samantha,

With the substrate you're using and the symptoms, I'd suspect dehydration, which can mimic the symptoms of RI.  Hatchling and juvenile Russians dehydrate very easily unless there is quite a bit of moisture n their enclosure, because basking lights are very drying.  I'd switch the substrate to a 50/50 mix of coir (Bed-a-Beast or Ecoearth) mixed with playsand.  You need to keep it a little damp all the way through, all the time.  This will not cause RI or shell rot (I've raised a lot of hatchlings on it), but it will go a long way toward preventing dehydration.  Keep an eye on their urates (the white part of pee)--if they become dry and gritty at all, you need to increase moisture or soaks (or both).  Urates should be creamy or liquidy.  In my experience, Russians don't get respiratory infections very easily unless they're new imports, but they do develop bladder stones from dehydration, so the moisture is important.  

They don't need a light at night, nor do they need heat unless your house temperatures drop below 50.  They do better with a night temperature drop, and even hatchlings do fine with cool night temperatures.  You didn't mention if you had a UVB bulb, though, and that's very important.  When you check your temperatures, you want a basking temp (on the substrate, not air temperature) of 88-90 degrees, and then cooler areas around 70.  They need to be able to warm up, but if they become too warm they won't eat.  


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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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