Russian Tortoise Beaks and Throat Breathing

by By Cheyanne

I have had a Russian tortoise for about 6 months now, and I just barely found out that your either supposed to clip their beaks for them or give them something too much on to break them down. I was wondering if to long of a beak could be harmful to him. He hasn't wanted to eat much lately. And for some reason I think that a long beak could keep him from opening his mouth or keep him from eating. So if you know about that it would be really helpful.

Also, my tortoise does a weird thing with his throat when he's breathing. (I'm actually not sure if this is a breathing thing.) It expands out and it looks like he's like a frog when he does it. I'm not sure if this is normal at all. Thanks.

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Jun 05, 2011
tortoise beak
by: Anonymous


your tortoise will find it extremely difficult to feed with an overgrown beak. no matter what tempting food you put in for it, the beak length will hinder it's ability to grasp food. so it will be exceedingly hungry but unable to feed.

There are several things you can do to help.

1. place your tortoise's food on a flat piece of stone (not too smooth) and this will help in keeping the beak short as it will rub the tip when grabbing food.

2. a piece of cuttlefish (the type you buy for caged birds)in the housing will also aid in keeping the beak short - along with the opportunity for it to get calcium.

3. you can file your tort's beak down your self but is easier if you also get a friend to help. The friend can hold the tortoise (as if it were standing on its back legs and head pointing towards the sky, with top of shell towards the friend) this tends to make the head stay out.

It is also easier if you pick a time when your tort is sedate. i.e first thing in the morning otherwise it's a nightmare holding the tort when active.

using a nail file (sand paper not metal) gently rub the tip only of the beak. you will be able to see how much you are filing down.

take things easy and aim for just a small amount taken off each day until you notice the tort is now able to comfortably grasp its food. DO NOT file too short as the beak is a living thing!

* If you do not feel comfortable filing the beak, then a vet who specialises in reptiles will happily carry this task out for you.

Good luck.

Apr 15, 2011
by: Anonymous

I'm not sure about the beak, i read that if you give then a chink if carrot it helps file it down. I have about the same thing with the breathing, it is normal, its just to help then smell better.

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