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Tortoise Upside Down :(

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by Lucysfriend, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Lucysfriend

    Lucysfriend Elite Member

    I would like to know if a tortoise can breathe when they are upside down? I was watching Penelope this morning and I saw her climbing the wall of her enclosure. All of a sudden she fell backwards and was on her back, limp. I waited and watched and she didn't move. So I ran and righted her. She seemed really stressed. A minute later she was climbing again,lol.
    Then it dawned on me that I didn't know the answer!
    I remember that CWD can't breathe that way, so can a tortoise?
    Thanks :)
    Gabrielle
     
  2. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    No, they will eventually suffocate. Not that I have ever tested that theory though, lol.

    I would give you all the technical terms as to why, but hey you got me on my first sip of coffee,lol.

    However like the iguanas, water dragons and all that, they will eventually die from it.
     
  3. Lucysfriend

    Lucysfriend Elite Member

    Thanks for answering. Great...the stinker was just walking the side(perimeter) of her enclosure and decided to change direction, crawled UP the wall as in a huge pivot and tipped over. :(
    Lucky I was there!
     
  4. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Okay, a little more coffee in me, and to make sure I had the right technical terms. Their lungs are located near the top of their carapace, so the weight on them from being on their "back" can eventually lead to suffocation.
     
  5. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Shouldn't she be able to right herself?
     
  6. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Most of the time they are, but upon that rare ocassion they get themselves in a predicament, they will suffocate.

    Oscar has fallen off the back porch before, because he chose not to use his ramp, and I have come home to him like that. It takes a while to get themselves righted, but they usually can do it.

    However when you are dealing with smaller torts in aquariums or cages, sometimes they get themselves in a corner and stuck between the glass and some other object, then they cannot get up. Russians are notorious for being troublemakers, lol.

    I just learned to put nothing in corners, so they could not get stuck like that.
     
  7. Orca

    Orca Elite Member

    That is good information to know! Do all reptiles have that problem? Or just some groups?
    And, Liz, from what I've read, the Hermann's tortoise has a very hard time righting itself when it falls over. (someone correct me if I'm wrong)
     
  8. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Sailors used to stack giant tortoises upside down on ships to keep them alive for weeks or months after departing from islands where large species lived (which is why many of them declined so rapidly.) because they would keep for months without food or water, and usually died a very slow death (by eventual suffocation.) Their ability to go without food and water made them a valuable source of fresh meat. They can go some time, but it is a hazard.
     
  9. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    I remember hearing that! I think those were the Galopogus if I recall?

    That is a hideous thought!
     
  10. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    I think it is the same for most reptiles none that I know of lay on their backs ever by choice.

    I saw one armidillo lizard that climbed up the screen on top of his cage, his little toenails hooked and he sufficated. (At a pet store, already dead by the time I saw him, could have been something else that killed him but this is my best guess and I think I am right)
     
  11. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Galapagos, Aldabra, and most of the other large species of tortoises that happened to have the misfortune of living where a ship might stop to take on water.
     
  12. Orca

    Orca Elite Member

    My gargoyle gecko used to hang upside down on the screen cover when she was young and my new leachie does that now all the time. So I'm guessing that not all reptiles are like that...
     
  13. Jacqui

    Jacqui Elite Member

    When they fall on their backs, they often don't die of suffocation. Instead, often it's the fact they are exposed to heat or in water and drown that actually kills them. Suffocation takes a bit longer.
     
  14. Lucysfriend

    Lucysfriend Elite Member

    I removed everything but her hide and water bowl and she still does it! At least once a day off a smooth surface/side of the enclosure.( not a corner) But yesterday I saw her right herself. *rolls eyes*
    She sure likes giving me heart attacks...
     
  15. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    How big is her enclosure?
     
  16. Gibson90kb

    Gibson90kb Elite Member

    The only reptile I have seen take a liking to hanging on the cage roof were my anoles. They tend to sleep that way, so I'm taking it for granted this spicies can breath upside down.

    However, I was alwase taught that turtles were reptiles but completley different. Turtling isn't in my department, what would I know. :p
     
  17. Lucysfriend

    Lucysfriend Elite Member

    It's 4 feet long and two feet wide.
     
  18. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Well that's plenty big enough for her, lol. Sounds like she just wants to be a troublemaker, lol. See I told you they were little troublemakers, lol.
     
  19. Lucysfriend

    Lucysfriend Elite Member

    Yes, yes you sure did! LOL
    When she sees me she starts up, it's like she's trying to follow me or something. If I let her out she's fine and seems content,lol.
    She just crawls all over me,lol.
    My daughter is writing a small book about the tort so she can take it to show and tell (she's in second grade) I am sure that she's putting this factoid in there! haha
     
  20. Jacqui

    Jacqui Elite Member

    But at least you can breathe better, knowing she can right herself if she wants.
     

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