my spur thigh isnt lying under her heat lamp

by lauren


Im a new tortoise owner (only had her a week) but Im a bit worried....
Shes a spur thigh- think shes about 9 yrs old and she doesnt seem to eat very much and isn't very active. Some days she will be awake and active for a few hrs but other days she doesnt really move at all.
Also for the last couple of days she hasnt been lying directly under her heat lamp. She digs a hole to the side of it and lies in that- is this normal?
Im worried that shes nt keeping her temp up.
Any help that anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated!

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Feb 28, 2011
thank you!
by: lauren

Thank you both very much for all your help!
I got her from a pet shop and I dont think she was actually being properly looked after there and the advice they have given me since seems to be useless.
I put her in a larger enclosure around the middle of last week and having taken advie from the shop where I bought her replaced her 40w bulb with a 60w blue bulb.....
I spoke to a specialist reptile shop yesterday and they told me a blue bulb is no good for daytime and that I needed a 100w white bulb as they thought it sounded like she had gone into a sort of hibernation stage after nt having enough heat.
I replaced the bulb straight away and within half an hour she was much brighter and eating some food!!
Shes also been a lot better today so fingers crossed- I will definately be booking a vets appt tho to get her checked out!!
It all seems so complicated at the moment so thank you for your help!!

Feb 28, 2011
Spur Thigh
by: Anonymous

I totally agree with the first comment from the very wise Tortoise owner above...I follow the Tortoise Trust web site on a daily basis, I have learned so very much from the intense research and amazing knowledge from the wonderful people on this web site and The Tortoise Trust site as well. Having a Tortoise in my family has been so wonderful, and I have enjoyed it so much that I have added a few more Captive Bred Tortoises to my home as well. They take so little and give so much to your life, but pls before you do anything else, take your new Wonderful Tortoise to a reputable Vet, and get him a complete check up. Then do all of the research you can on the habitat, food and exercise needs, and then sit back and enjoy how they go about their world with you a big part of it.
I have owned many pets, but I am always fascinated by these wonderful little and or not so little dinosaurs (Tortoise's) that we get to share in our life. Don't ever believe that they won't come to love you too...they will!

Feb 27, 2011
Welcome! There's a lot to know!
by: The Greek Tortoise Guild

Welcome to the world of Tortoise Husbandry! It's a fun thing to be involved in, but there's a lot to know!
An excellent source to which you will want to frequently refer is They have very reputable research that has been going on for decades. I recommend starting with the articles that you will find under their Husbandry section at this address:

There's a problem that most new tortoise/turtle keepers run into. Most people have some experience with how to take care of a dog or a cat or maybe a hamster. These are all mammals and you can pretty much bet that if you're comfortable in your house or yard then your pet is comfortable too. Reptiles are different. They don't generate their own body heat (hence your heat lamp) and they exhibit outward signs of illness a little more slowly and heal from injury and illness much more slowly than your dog or cat would. Therefore, you have to really do your homework to know what kind of housing (square-footage, temperature, humidity, substrate, etc.) and food to provide your tortoise. You have to train yourself to leave behind the mindset, "I'm comfortable in this room and I eat the food that I'm feeding you, so why aren't you comfortable in that glass box and why aren't you thriving on that iceburg lettuce?"

So you've only had your tortoise for a week. Do you know what kind of housing, food, exercise, and general care he was getting with his previous keeper? This may be a good place to start in finding out why your tortoise's behavior is a little atypical. See if you can find that out (do you still have the phone number of the previous keeper?) and read some (eventually all) of the articles at the Tortoise Trust website. If you don't discover the answer to your tortoise's behavior that way then you can certainly contact me via my blog ( and maybe we can troubleshoot it together.

Tortoises are a lot of fun and my wife and I have really enjoyed the tortoises that we have kept over the years. But we have made mistakes and learned some hard lessons and we have had to do a lot of research. I would be lying to say that these pets are not work, but they are very rewarding.

Hopefully this helps. Good luck!

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