Getting to know your Russian tortoise, including what its poop looks like, can help you identify any problems early on. Tortoises don't poop as much as humans, but maybe your pet isn't pooping at all and you're concerned. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about Russian tortoise poop.
What Does Russian Tortoise Poop Look Like
Before we take a closer look into Russian tortoise poop, you will want to get a better understanding of tortoise waste in general. It's not uncommon for new Russian tortoise pet owners to confuse poop and urine. The most distinguishing thing about their waste is the white substance, that looks pasty and maybe with or without brown or dark green. This is not poop, but rather what is known as urates, a protein found in urine. It is stored and then released from the bladder. Urate paste may be released with liquid urine or it may be dry, which can be confused as poop.
Healthy poop is a smelly mass that is brown or green in color, based on your pet’s diet. The color, consistency, and amount of poop are determined by what your pet has eaten. The poop should be firm and well-formed.
If your pet’s poop looks drier than normal, maybe crumbly with lumpy or granulated urate paste, then your pet could be dehydrated. If the poop is dry and crumbly and is combined with lethargy, dry skin, weight loss, sunken eyes, and shell pyramiding, then you will want to increase humidity levels immediately. Provide your pet with fresh, clean drinking water and soak it in a lukewarm bath to help it hydrate.
Runny poop is no laughing matter and more serious than dry poop, which can be prevented by maintaining humidity levels. Runny poop can be caused by diet or parasitic infection.
Your pet is an herbivore in the wild and their diet should consist of leafy greens and some vegetables. Fruits should be given as a treat and in moderation. Too much fruit can cause watery poop.
Another cause of runny poop in Russian tortoises is a parasitic infection. It is important to speak to the vet if you suspect a parasitic infection to ensure that you start the right course of treatment immediately. You may notice worms in your pet’s poop, which is a threadworm, this can make it easier to identify the problem. Your vet will require a feces sample for diagnosis. Parasitic infections are often accompanied with lethargy and lack of appetite.
How Often Does A Russian Tortoise Poop
You may be surprised, based on the amount your pet eats compared to the amount it poops. Tortoises don't have fast digestion, with the temperature in their enclosure helping them with digestion. As a result, you can expect your Russian tortoise to poop every two to three days.
Why Is My Russian Tortoise Not Pooping
Your tortoise has specific warmth needs. Tortoises rely on the heat of their enclosure to regulate their body temperature and assist with digestion. If your temperatures are too low, digestion will slow. Keep your temperatures at 68 ºF to 80 ºF with a basking lamp which ranges between 90ºF and 100ºF.
It is possible that your pet is constipated, the same as humans become constipated and unable to poop now and then. Constipation is often caused by conditions that put pressure on the cloacal vent, such as tortoise that are egg-bound or those with urinary stones in their bladders. The fastest home treatment you can provide is to give your pet warm water soaks, helping to warm and hydrate the tortoise, encouraging it to pass the poop.
Impaction is a serious problem, that needs veterinary treatment. Impaction is often caused by an incorrect diet or your pet has eaten a foreign substance, such as some of its substrate or a stone that has blocked the gut. Impaction can become septicemia if it is ignored. Severe parasitic infections have also caused impaction in the past. This can be fatal if not treated. If your pet is unable to poop, is lethargic, and having problems breathing, then soaking them is the first course of action, while you wait for your veterinary appointment. In some severe cases, surgery may be required.
How to Clean Russian Tortoise Poop
Cleaning your tortoise enclosure should be done daily with spot cleans and a thorough clean every week. A clean enclosure reduces the risk of bacteria growth and helps to keep your pet happy and comfortable.
Daily Spot Cleaning
You should just do a spot clean daily. Look around the enclosure, remove any urates and poop you see, also remove any soiled substrate, leftover food, and debris. Replace the water with fresh, clean water.
Once a week you are going to want to give the enclosure a deep clean. This means removing your tortoise and placing it in another container for now, while you remove everything from the enclosure. Wash, disinfect and rinse the enclosure and all accessories and decorations. Allow to dry.
Once dried, you can add fresh bedding/substrate, accessories, and decorations. Ensure the food and water bowl is also thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Provide fresh, clean drinking water. Allow the enclosure to reach optimum temperature and humidity and return your pet to its clean home.
Your Russian tortoise poop can tell you a lot about the overall health of your pet. Knowing the difference between a healthy and an abnormal poop, quickly helps you identify any health issues. In addition to this, taking note of how often your pet poops, helps you identify when it hasn't been for some time, which could be a health problem. Ensure you provide a healthy well-balanced diet, fresh clean drinking water daily, and a clean enclosure to keep your pet happy and healthy.