Land-dwelling reptiles called tortoises are rising in demand as unusual pets. The enormous Galapagos Giant Tortoise, which may weigh more than 220 pounds, is one type of tortoise species, while the tiny Speckled Cape Tortoise, whose shell is just 2.7 inches long, is another. Nutrition and digestive health are two crucial aspects of pet care. Like other reptiles, tortoises have a vent that lets out three different waste products: urine, feces, and urate.
Although they frequently perform it together, tortoises occasionally vent them independently. Depending on its age, size, nutrition, and general health, a tortoise may poop daily or maybe once every two to three days. Dehydration or a bad diet are two additional reasons that may impact how frequently a tortoise poops, so it’s critical to understand what’s good and harmful for your pet.
What Does the Poo of a Healthy Tortoise Look Like?
The precise form and composition of a healthy bowel movement will vary between species. A healthy tortoise’s feces often looks like a hard, brownish-green pellet with visible fibrous material inside. By design, they stink, and some of them may get rather big! It’s important to understand how your tortoise’s typical fecal matter appears for comparison because tortoises occasionally urinate when they poop or poop in the water.
It’s crucial to recognize loose, watery stool as an indication of diarrhea because it can swiftly lead to dehydration. Even if your tortoise craps in the water when taking a bath, the solid form of excrement should still emerge. The feces are dry but not excessively so; if your tortoise has to strain to defecate and only produces tiny, dehydrated pellets (or none at all), it may be experiencing constipation or impaction. You should always alert your exotics vet to any unusual stools.
On occasion, turtles will also emit urates, which are the body’s typical and healthy ways of getting rid of uric acid waste. Urinary excretions appear as a white smear or paste that can range in viscosity from watery to toothpaste-like. Gritty urination is a sign of dehydration and is never desirable.
What Is a Normal Poop Size?
Depending on their size and food, your tortoise may create a surprisingly large amount of excrement. Big poops are often nothing to be concerned about as long as they are firm, have a good color and consistency, and your tortoise is eating healthily.
There may be a problem if your tortoise excretes a lot of watery excrement or very little at all. If your tortoise has diarrhea, dehydration is a real issue, and very little or no feces production can indicate constipation, which can have some risky effects.
Constipation and Diarrhea
Contrary to popular belief, tortoises survive on nearly entirely fibrous diets consisting of hay and select plants such as flowers and weeds. Diarrhea can be triggered by a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Diarrhea can also result from bacterial or worm diseases. Get your tortoise to the veterinarian’s office as soon as you suspect it has diarrhea since it can get rapidly dehydrated.
On the other end of the scale is constipation. A tortoise with constipation will either cease producing poop altogether or will only produce dry, tiny, hard stools (sometimes with difficulty). Constipation can be difficult to diagnose since it can be challenging to distinguish between regular and abnormal motions in a tortoise.
Constipation is frequently caused by dehydration, and obstructions in the digestive tract have the potential to be fatal. Blockages are frequently brought on by the tortoise ingesting indigestible substrate, such as bark or woodchips, which results un an intestinal obstruction and stops defecation.
Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage
If you suspect your tortoise may have a bowel obstruction, you should get them checked out by a veterinarian right once. This condition frequently results in constipation as well as other symptoms of sickness, including:
- Loss of weight
- Inability to eat, anorexia
What Can I Do to Make My Tortoise Poo?
Consider giving your tortoise a bath if they appear otherwise healthy but you haven’t seen them poop in a few days. However, it’s essential to get in touch with your vet first and let them know how your pet is doing.
Bathing in water is crucial to the care and husbandry of tortoises since it hydrates them and helps with shedding, going potty, and maintaining hygiene. Sometimes all a tortoise needs to excrete is a warm bath, and they frequently urinate and drink simultaneously. Both constipation and dehydration may be treated with this. For adult tortoises, soaks should last at least 30 minutes and be administered once or twice per week (more frequently for juveniles). Because they can quickly drown, never leave your tortoise alone in any amount of water.
When Should I Worry About My Tortoise’s Poo Routine?
Since tortoises typically have their own poop habits, you should learn about yours and learn where it like to go (like in warm baths). In most cases, diarrhea is a sign of a dietary or digestive issue that needs to be resolved; if you find any worms in your tortoise’s stool, you should take them right away to the vet.
Some tortoises have a high parasite burden, which can result in other problems like constipation and starvation. Due to the risks of gastrointestinal blockage, your tortoise should be taken to the vet as soon as it stops defecating, especially if it also shows other symptoms of illness like not eating or lethargy. The best course of action is always to get guidance from your exotics vet if you have any worries.
Even though tortoises defecate differently than many other species, they still have a baseline that owners should be aware of to keep an eye on their wellbeing. Normal feces are often smelly, completely formed, and fibrous. Constipation or diarrhea are problems you should watch out for in your tortoise since they may lead to more serious difficulties or be a symptom of dangerous medical conditions.