Drowning tortoise - how long can they survive?
I had the most horrible experience of finding my tortoise at the bottom of my garden pond 3 days ago. He had climbed over his obviously not so tortoise-proof barrier and I estimate that he could have been in there from anything from 20 miutes up to a maximum of 2 hours. Having searched the garden first, I then searched the pond and to my horror my hand touched his shell. The pond is 65 cms deep and he was at the bottom.
When I pulled him out he was still moving but his eyes were white and appeared all in the wrong direction. His head was also a bit floppy. I didn't know what to do but rubbed him dry and tried to stimulate breathing by blowing at his nostrils (not into them) and tried to open his mouth. I must admit I kind of freaked and put him in the sun. I was so upset and could hardly bare to look at him, thinking I had killed him.
Over the next hour or so I quickly consulted the internet but couldn't find much except sites telling me he would drown. His eyes began to clear but he didn't look a happy chappy so I took him the next day to my vet who said he looked as though he had "got away with it". I asked him for antibiotics which he gave him and also a one-off dose of Fusemide, which I understand helps with any water being drawn into the tissues.
That night he passed some water I think and a strange blob of pink fleshy stuff which worried me. I kept him on a slight incline as I was worried he may choke on anything he ejected from his mouth.
Today he finally ate a strawberry, having refused food the 2 days after it happened. I was so relieved. Tomorrow he goes back to the vets for his second antibiotic injection. Fingers crossed he is OK. Everything I read on the internet says a tortoise will drown under water, but my vet says they had one that survived 24 hours under water....?
My question is this....how long can a spur-thighed tortoise survive? Was he very lucky? Will he have sufffered any permanent damage? Can they get brain damage from lack of oxygen and how would this present itself. He seems to be able to see OK.