Why are my Hermanns tortoise's eyes closed all the time?

by Carol H

I got my Herman's tortoise last October when she was 18 months old. She is in a terrarium with a heat lamp and a water dish for drinking and bathing. The floor of the terrarium is covered in Chipsi wood chips. Her diet consists of cabbage, lettuce, grapes, tomato, cucumber etc. Lately I have noticed that she never opens her eyes. She walks around with them closed all the time. They do look as if they might be slightly puffy and yesterday one looked as if it had "sleep" in it. I have been bathing them with cool water to see if this helps but so far they are still closed.

Any suggestions as to what I can do or should I just take her to the vet and see what he has to say?

Comments for Why are my Hermanns tortoise's eyes closed all the time?

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Jun 06, 2018
Seeing the vet
by: Shelly

The question to ask is, Why is the vet unconcerned? Is it possible there is no actual medical problem? Sometimes when I see my family doctor I'm told there is nothing to worry about. That's usually a good thing.

Another question is whether you are seeing a reptile vet. Not all vets are trained to deal with reptiles, and since reptile bodies are significantly different from mammal bodies or even bird bodies, not all vets will know what to do with a sick tortoise.

This is why my recommendation is that a person who is planning to get a chelonian find a reptile vet before getting the animal. So many chelonians die because the owners don't really know enough to care for them properly and don't have access to good medical care for them.

My advice is often to take the animal to a vet because just as a doctor can't accurately diagnose a person without seeing the person, no one can accurately give medical advice about a chelonian without seeing it.

The advice is not because we don't care but because we do.

Jun 01, 2018
by: Anonymous

Everytime you post on these forums you'll get the same sort of replies... Someone will go "ZOMG SEE A VET ASAP" and you'll get someone who criticises your setup and blames that.

I'm curious what came of this? My tortoise has the same issues and I did see a vet, but they weren't concerned.

Aug 10, 2016
by: Anonymous

Thanks for that what do you think I should a's when I got my tortoise they giving us the vivarium with the tortoise as they didn't sell open top ones thanks any advice gratfull steven

Jun 19, 2010
Your Tortoise.
by: Anonymous


Sad about your Tortoise, but by sounds of it, it could be Suffering from Humidity Problems. I say this because, Your Tortoise is kept inside a Terrarium (Vivarium), Which is Un-healthy for a Tortoise, a Tort needs to be Kept in an Open-Top Encloser (like a Tortoise Table), They cannot be inside Glass, as it makes it very Humidity in there, its like a Sauna to Torts. For Example here is a picture of a Perfect Encloser they don't all have to look the same, as long as its "Open top" no Glass at all, here http://www.petzoo.co.uk/images/torttable6big.jpg

Your Tortoise also needs a UVB light to give him Vitamin D, its healthy for his Shell, UVB acts like the Sun. Plus Heat Lamp (which you mentioned)

The floor of your Tortoise House should have "Hemp" which is a thin Horse Bedding, or something similar. Best Diet to get is (no cabbage) and Lettuce (NO ICEBERG) I say no Iceberg because that will Kill your Tortoise slowl, Give him some Dandelion Leaves, They love them, also I give mine Florette which they Love, Also Romaine Lettuce is nice (that lettuce is safe) Cucumber should be fed as a Treat and Grapes.

I think your Tort could be lacking in Vitamins, also when you feed her its reccomended to use some Vitamins a few Shakes over her Food, every day you feed her on her Fresh Greens. Nutrobal http://www.rd2000.com/shop/Vetark%20Nutrobal%20100.jpg also you can use other ones, but I usually use T-Rex and Komodo here is a pic of those http://www.reptile-food-direct.co.uk/acatalog/TORTOISE_VEG_DIET.jpg (you can get this from any Reptil shop or Jollyes Pet shop. Also T-Rex is: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41K9Fi9WtaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

With a Shack of one of those on the Greens everyday, I also add a few Shacks of "limestone flour" which is really, really cheap to buy from Ebay! "Tortoises need calcium along with a proper environment and diet for their bones to grow strong, without calcium shells can get soft and very lumpy, so Limestone Flour does this.

I fully understand how your going because we was the same, when we first got ours, People telling us what to do (which was wrong really) until I joined a proper Tortoise Forum. which can Advice you really good too.

I hope from what i've told you, helps you understand abit on how to care for her a little bit more!

Hope goes well :)

Apr 14, 2009
by: Anonymous

she could have a eye infection

Mar 28, 2009
Hermann's Tortoise with closed eyes
by: Shelly

You have tried bathing the eyes. The only improvement in the home remedy department, would be to use a saline solution.

But the very best thing you can do is take your friend to the vet.

Infections in tortoises can be dangerous, so you don't want to wait around too long.

Keep it slow and steady.

Mar 28, 2009
by: Anonymous

She needs to see a vet immediately!!!! Do not waste time on this!!!

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