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Tipping over?
Posted: 23/02/2011 by KNS

After hibernation, I put my two torts together for the first time in their indoor enclosure, and the more active one is constantly trying to bust out and climbing on or digging under the other, usually under the heat lamps because that's where the other one spends a lot of her time!  This morning my worst nightmare came true as she ended up on her back under the heat lamps, just before I left for work, having fallen off the other one who started moving mid-climb.  I left her for a very short while to see if she could get up, but she made no attempt so I righted her myself.  Within a couple of minutes she was up to her tricks again - clearly no lesson learned Click and drag me down to the editor

They don't have a massive amount of space in their winter enclosure as it is only to take them from the end of hibernation to the warmer weather when they can go out in their shed/garden, and I have made sure there is room for both where they eat and bask.  There are times when I am away from the house for a long time (eg work) and I'm very worried that either could end up on their back, probably where it's hottest, for many hours.  I've put stones in to give them something to help them right themselves, but don't know if this would be enough.  I am so worried that I'm currently contemplating separating them, which kind of defeats the object of having two. 

Is this normal behaviour in a multi-tort household?!  For roughly how long could a tort survive upside down?  Should it be able to right itself?  What actions should I take if I find either of them like this - presumably a bath to rehydrate would be important? 

If you've experienced similar problems and/or have any advice for me, I'd be really grateful.  Thank you.

Re: Tipping over?
Posted: 24/02/2011 by TPGDave


The placing of stones around the enclosure should help. If you press yhem half down into the substrate this will give the tortoise something to push against. A fairly solid substrate also helps, quite deep. You might also consider sloping the area under the lamp away from the hottest spot. A tortoises attempts to right itself should cause it to slide away from the lamp.

What kind of temperatures do you have? If its possible to up the ambient temperature away from the lamp the tortoise may spend more time elsewhere.

Re: Tipping over?
Posted: 24/02/2011 by KNS

Thanks Dave.  Last night I shifted things around a bit to try and reduce the risk, including putting some stones in what I hope are key places.  I'm fairly sure it's not a heat issue as "the climber" is a very active tort who stomps around every inch of the enclosure - I do wonder if climbing on the other one is just part of her busy schedule!  I'm longing for an early and warm Spring so they can stretch their legs out in the garden - much like most other owners I suspect.


Re: Tipping over?
Posted: 24/02/2011 by tortoise7

The torts are very active after hibernation, they will a probably settle down. Yes roll on the warmer weather, it will be lovely seeing them outside where they are happier


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