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The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 16/05/2009 by TPGDarren

One of the most common misconceptions in tortoise keeping is that tortoises come from a dry arid environment and so do not require water. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Hatchling and juvenile tortoises kept in captivity under lamps require access to fresh water at all times and should be bathed every day, ever other day at least. Unfortunately this is rarely relayed to new keepers and we regularly see and hear of the formation of bladder stones in captive hatchlings, juveniles and even adult tortoises, due to water not being offered, lack of bathing, not being able to burrow down to reduce loss of water through evaporation, not being able to cool down properly etc. This is undoubtedly one of the most frequent causes of death in captive tortoises, yet is easy to avoid.

Kevin Eatwell BVSc (hons) DZooMed (Reptilian) MRCVS RCVS has kindly given us permission load up some photos onto our website of an operation showing the removal of a bladder stone. The stone was too large to pass and the only solution was to remove it using surgery. Many tortoises are not so lucky and it's too late before it's realised a bladder stone has formed.

These are photos of an operation and so are quite graphic:-
http://www.tortoise-protection-group.org.uk/site/163.asp

Hope you're having a good weekend

Darren

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 16/05/2009 by wilsonathome

wow  that stone was huge! my tortoises have permanent access to water and i regularly see them drinking but are bathed only twice to 3 times a week. I will certainly be upping the bathing after seeing those pics

sue

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 17/05/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Sue,

Me TooClick and drag me down to the editor

Good to hear from you:-)

 

D

 

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 17/05/2009 by tortoise7

Hi TPG

Thanks for sharing that with us, certainly makes sure that you don't slip with the baths, although I think my 2 think they have mutated into turtles!!
Jane

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 17/05/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Jane,

When you see the photos it does make you realise just how important it is to ensure a tortoise is well hydrated.
Unfortunately we've heard of many cases where pet shops have told people they don't even have to have a water bowl in their vivarium:-(

Good to hear from you

Darren

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 19/05/2009 by winnie

I am a new tort owner with a 6+ year old Russian. I bathe her every other day in warm water and she always has access to drinking water yet I've never seen her drink. Her wee looks ok when she goes and she always does a really big one straight after her bath. Is this ok?.

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 19/05/2009 by tpgNina

Hi Winnie,

Sometimes tortoises are sneaky with their drinking. I often come upon my Doris near the water bowl and she looks up at me as if to say 'I never touched it', but then I see a dark line around her mouth and I know she has been drinking! One thing you can do is to give her her weeds and flowers, etc. really wet. What do her urates look like (the white stuff that comes out with the wee)? If they are runny like egg whites, or even creamy like toothpaste, then she is well hydrated, but if they are sandy or gritty then she is dehydrated.

Nina

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 20/05/2009 by winnie

Hi Nina,

The urates that Queenie is passing are fine I think. They are not gritty looking, they remind me more of a big bird poop if you know what I mean and there isn't loads of white stuff, just a little in a big puddle. I think that's a healthy wee isn't it?

Re: The importance of avoiding dehydration in Tortoises
Posted: 20/05/2009 by tpgNina

That sounds fine to me, Winnie. A little creamy soft white blob in a puddle is fine. So she must be getting her water somewhere (she's just trying to keep you on your toes)!

Nina

 

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