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SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 16/01/2015 by MattPitt


I hope you can help.

My Tommy isnt well!! i have only had him a few weeks, but he has stopped eating, and i believe he has a calcium issue, i have taken him to the vets and he gave him a calcium injections, but didnt really offer any advice, and i would prefer help incase i am doing anything wrong.
You can see a picture of my set up, heat lamp regulates the temperature to about 32, and the UV light is a Repti-Glo 10.
The substrate i am using is Happy Pet - Coconut Terrain and the have said that should be fine for him.
I am bathing him daily to keep him hydrated, when he was eating i was giving him the mixed lettuce bags,florrette is is or something, with red stuff in etc and some lambs lettuce, i sprinkle on the calcium stuff and also some vitamin powder. He is only about 3 months old and i dont want him too die.

Does anyone know a vet specialized in tors around Lancashire?? 

I am a beginner, never kept tortoises before, i have a musk turtle and had him for quite a few years, but he is easy to look after in comparison.


Re: SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 16/01/2015 by Tom

Hello Matt,

Where did you obtain it ?

If it's only 3 months old, it's 'shell' will not have hardened.
28-30C below the bulb is sufficient (measured at tort level). The heat/light only needs to be on for 8-10 hours a day.

The 'red stuff 'which you refer to, is radichio - it's not a bad food, but be careful to use within date. Don't overdo the supplements.

If you click on the "Vets & Health" box, they are two listed in Cheshire, they are, I think, the nearest.

Have you contacted the seller about the problem.


Re: SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 17/01/2015 by MattPitt

Thanks for the reply Tom, just a local pet shop to me. They have branched to reptiles, although they used to just do aquatics.  

I havent spoken to them, as they are friends and its a bit difficult.  
He was eating, and then stopped and now just buries himself and sleeps, if I pick him out and then put him somewhere else the moves back to under his heat lamp and goes to sleep. This is what is making me think I am doing something wrong. I have been leaving the heat lamp on all night as I was worried he would get cold. I am guessing this incorrect and I should probably change this??


Re: SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 17/01/2015 by MattPitt

Bit of good news Tommy, actually ate something tonight. Still taking him to the vets on Monday. 

A friend who keeps horsefields recommended Pennine Vets, so going to give them a try. :)

Re: SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 17/01/2015 by Tom

That's good Matt, 

It may not be a veterinary matter. Although not cheap (37ish), I suggest that you change to a 100W "Megaray" bulb (heat & light), & suspend it at 90 degrees, 30cms above tort. level.

The bulb you have seems, in the photo, to provide a reddish glow.

Friendships work both ways, your friends are responsible for providing good advice, as well as a healthy tortoise. 

Try for food plants & ideas.

Most horsfields have problems, as they are all imported, mostly from dubious backgrounds.

Let us know how it progresses.


ps Yes correct - no light / heat at night - 8 to 10hrs is sufficient.

Re: SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 18/01/2015 by MattPitt

Ok thanks Tom, I will look at that bulb. 

I have another lamp holder that is rated up to 250w I think, so that should be fine for that mega ray. 

I'll let you know how I go on. 


Re: SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 19/01/2015 by MattPitt

Tommy has been eating, had some on sat and then today. 

Have ordered the Arcadia equivalent of that mega ray lamp. 

Hopefully he will continue to improve!


Re: SoftShell - Horsefield
Posted: 26/01/2015 by MattPitt

Just thought i would keep you updated,

Tommy seems to have improved, he is eating every day (not too much though) i dont want to "overfeed" him.

He is more active, and loves having a wander around when he has had a bath.

Its far too cold for him to go outside yet, as they have forecast more snow this week!

Thanks for your help Tom.

I now have the combined heat lamp set up, and he seems to be enjoying, in fact, he must be getting enough heat as he sits there for a while then gets up and moves into his house to cool down.


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