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Runny Green poop
Posted: 15/03/2016 by JMDavey

Evening, my mother has left us to look after the tortoise whilst she is on holiday. He woke up very early this year due to the mild winter and has been awake for a number of months. Just discovered a large pile of what can only be described as Green Gloop. Not sure if I should be worried? I know when he woke up last year he did something fairly similar and that it was considered ok as any bowel movement was good movement. He does not seem to be eating much, but we had put this down to being awake early. I feel a bit out of my depth at the moment so any help would be appreciated

Re: Runny Green poop
Posted: 15/03/2016 by JMDavey

Photo attached (hopefully)

Re: Runny Green poop
Posted: 15/03/2016 by Tom


It has been up a number of months ? If so the hibe system is wrong.

Please explain the temperature regime & type of heat/light you are using.

What food is on offer ?

Some photos of the tortoise would be useful as you don't state the species.

What written instructions has your mother left ?


Re: Runny Green poop
Posted: 16/03/2016 by JMDavey

Hi Tom

I fear that you're assuming a far greater level of 'doing things properly' than has been going on in our family for the last 35+ years, so most of your questions don't really have meaningful answers, but I'll try my best.
Our family are accidental tortoise-keepers who ended up with an adult tortoise of indeterminate age when my uncle found him on the street, and couldn't find the owner, in about 1970. He was cared for by my grandmother until about 2008, who did more-or-less everything 'wrong' (but he seemed fairly happy). 

The hibernation system consists of a box with some insulation, kept in an unheated part of the house. Unfortunately, since he's moved to a new house, 'unheated' is no longer all that cool - the room is not heated, but the next room is - there's just isn't the sort of genuinely cool room that there was at his old home. We have dropped the ball a bit this year on how warm it was allowed to get and we'll need to re-think next year, but that's where we are at the moment. 

The temperature regime (now) is 'whatever the temperature of the house is' (thermostat is currently at 20C). We have tried using a spot bulb in a desk lamp (not ideal) as heating, but are not really sure as to whether it's better or worse than nothing.

Food, we use pretty pets tortoise pellets as the staple. We've tried offering cucumber, lettuce and kale, but not very interested. To put this in context our late grandmother normally fed him warm bread and milk, so we're trying to move him to a better diet, but he's never seemed all that keen.

We've been left no written instructions; but then she's almost as out of her depth as we are. 

I've attached a photo from a few years ago. 


Re: Runny Green poop
Posted: 16/03/2016 by Tom

OK thanks.

20C is not warm enough to feed properly or to digest the bit it's eating. It is at serious risk, as it will be quite a time b4 the outside temp increases. You need to act urgently if it is to survive. It needs to be at 28-30 for 12hrs a day.

You need a 100W Megaray bulb, with a Clamp Lamp fitting. Suspend the bulb 30cm above the top of the carapace, angled at 90deg's. A spot bulb is a waste of time.

Click on "The Tortoise / " for all the info you need to give it a decent life - it deserves it. Avoid lettuce & brassicas (cabbage family, inc. kale.)
When fully warm, place it for 10mins or so, in tepid water daily for a week or two.

Although 'around' for 47 years I can see that it is probably double that age. It is a Spur-thighed tort..

It will need a draft proof wooden night house, for when it goes outside in May.



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