Humidity levels???? - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy Humidity levels????

Almost everything I have read says that humidity should be kept low and not to moist. This was also stated at the reptile/exotic pet shop I purchased the Russian tort. However, I found one group, I think recommended by someone here, that said to keep things moist... so what should it be at moist or dry? Isn't the climate they are from dry?

This is the link to my question and the responses; http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Russia.../message/57184.

Thanks!
~Theresa
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 10:53 AM
 
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I recommended that group to you! Well, Im not part of that group anymore but I do remember that they said you should have a mixture of sand and bed a beast or jungle mix as bedding. You should also have a shallow dish for them to get in a soak if they want. I didn't think that you should keep it too moist. Who was it that posted it? There are a few really knowledgable people on there and some that are learning so mabye it was just someone who didn't know.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 11:40 AM
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Dry, without a doubt.

And if they recommend sand as part of the substrate, I'd pretty much ignore them. Sand can cause impaction ...and death.

You should pick up some good reference books on the subject. Things like humidity and substrate are things you should have an understanding of before you get the animal. Using pet store employees is a dangerous practice. Most have little or no real training, and it's hardly in their best interest to recommend something you NOT buy the animal, or use something they don't carry.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2006, 12:23 PM
 
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http://russiantortoise.org/care_sheet.htm

I think what they may have said to keep the humidity up is because they don't want to cause dehydration. I would not keep it humid at all but I would soak them is lukewarm water once a week to prevent deydration. Its so hard when you get a new animal, there is so much confusing information out there.

What are you housing your guy/gal in?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 06:41 AM Thread Starter
 
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I purchased my Russian Tort from a reptile specialist who owns a pet shop, which also specializes in reptiles and exotics. There is no overhead in his shop so prices are good, even so, if I could get something cheaper somewhere else he told me that.

**There is a special reptile sand, is this any different from the playsand?**

The person on the other group was saying they dump a pitcher of water into the cage every week to keep the humidity up... I'm new to this and even I was like WHAT?

I have been soaking him in luke-warm water about every other day for 10-15mins.

Right now he is in a 20 gallon, long "critter cage". I do plan on moving him to a bigger enclosure once he is bigger but he's so small right now it would be silly to have him in something bigger. He only uses about 1/2 the cage too.

I haven't been able to find any book on tortoises, let alone just the Russian Tortoise... any recommendations? Every book I've found is turtles and tortoises and then say very little about the tortoise.

Thanks again for all your help!
~Theresa
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 01:51 PM
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They may be from what we consider a dry habitat, but more recent research is showing that many tortoise species that have been kept in almost arid conditions in captivity, in actuality spend much of their time down inside humid burrows in the wild. You don't want them to be wet or moist all the time, that can lead to bacterial issues on the skin and respiratory system, but you do want water to be readily available and to soak your torts in a shallow pan on a regular basis to keep them well hydrated. I've found that if I try to leave a large pan in the cage, they just make a big mess of it, so pull them out a few times a week to soak them. It is especially important with young tortoises. Warm water often encourages them to go to the bathroom too, which is a good thing to keep track of with torts, as they can sometimes be prone to constipation.

Even desert species like sulcatas benefit from regular soaking, especially when their primary diet is coarse grasses which don't really have a high moisture content. Some have even gone as far as to link hydration levels to pyramiding - more so than protein levels even. There was a pretty detailed article on it in Reptiles magazine last year.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 04:54 PM
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I agree with Rav that many desert and savannah tortoises have higher relative humidity in their burrows than outside them. However, it's not clear whether the humidity is anywhere near as important to the animal as is the temperature temperature reduction of the burrows. For some animals, like scorpions and tarantulas, humidity is of utmost importance, for tortoises, it may not be.

There is little doubt that too high of a humidity is one of the major contributing factors in what is sometimes called Runny Nose Syndrome (RNS). This can be a significant health issue for many tortoises and their keepers.

We also know that the humidity levels in an enclosure can really rise when water evaporates from food, feces/urine, and any water sources the keeper has in there. In general it's been my experience that torts like Russians, Greeks, Egyptians, Sulcatas and Leopards do much better in low humidity enclosures with regular soakings than they do in enclosures with higher humidity.

Part of the reason is that trying to regulate the humidity in a tank or enclosure is a tricky thing. Unless you have developed the skills to do it accurately and/or have the proper equipment to monitor and maintain it, you will probably fail.

This is easily circumvented by maintaining low humidity in the enclosure, and taking the animal out for a soak once or twice/week.

I didn't see the article in Reptile magazine on pyramiding. I wouldn't be surprised though to hear that hydration plays a part in it, it's one of the many factors we often alter when we take animals into captivity. It goes against our grain let an animal be hungry or thirsty ...even if we suspect that we may be "killing them with kindness" in the long run by keeping their tummys and water bowls filled.....

bob



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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-26-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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If they are dumb enough to reccomend sand as substrate flooring they should be ignored. If you know ANYTHING about Torts of any kind you know not to use sand or gravel, they ingest it and it causes impaction. Also Russian Torts are not a Troical Breed. THEY DO NOT TOLERATE HUMIDITY OF ANY KIND. You can actually kill them by ading humidity.

They dont do great indoors. If indoors then need a space about 2ft by 4ft.

Outdoor temperatures should be about 80 Degrees during the day and no lower than 50 at night.

These tortoises like to burrow.

They hibernate.

And need more fiber than they do protein. Too much protein causes triangulation in the shell. and mal-formed organs.

Just to let you know.

You should check out:

www.anapsid.org

and the national chelonian trust.

also: Temperature is more important to these guys then humidity. DO NOT ADD HUMIDIDTY TO YOUR RUSSIANS!!!

Last edited by DVM12; 02-26-2006 at 12:58 PM.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-26-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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I guess im confused, if russian tortoises come from rocky or sandy deserts, then why wouldn't you use sand as a substrate?

http://www.chelonia.org/Articles/russiantortoises.htm

http://maturtlerescue.org/russian.htm
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 09:33 PM
 
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because they ingest it and get compacted!!!!!!

Even though thats where they come from they dont eat it in the wild they spend all most all of their time moving around eating, in an enclosure in your home they dont they get bored and sand to them tastes good because it has the calcium in it.

Just as a Vet Tech im warning you dont use Sand. Its your choice- but Im telling you as a VETERINARY TECHNICIAN------Its a bad idea. THEY DIE FROM IT. ask any herp vet thats their answer.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 04:27 PM
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Impacted is the term you're looking for.

I'm pretty much positive that play sand , Calcisand, and other things sold commercially for reptiles are nothing at all like native soils in regions where most of them come from, probably not even anything like the dirt in your own yard. Impaction is more common in young animals, but it can happen at any age.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 10:34 PM
 
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yea sorry i had a LONG day at work. lolz!

Yea impaction is the word.

Thats not exactly true about the younger animal s statement when it comes to Tortoises.

and your right comercial sands are nothing like your back yard sand and the sands in their natural environment.

DONT USE SAND!!!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 05:07 AM
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I'm pretty sure Rav is correct in his statement about younger tortoises being the main ones at risk from impacion. There are not statistics kept on many of these things, but I've kept tortoises personally for almost twenty years and professionally for about fifteen. In talking to exotic and zoo vets, keepers (zoo as well as hobbyists) ...I've heard far more stories about impaction in young (less than 4-5 years old) than in the older ones.

This could be attibuted to many things, the increasing size of the animals, ...making it harder to obstruct the gut, increasing experience of the keeper, or age bringing some discrimination to the eating habits of the animal itself ....it's hard to tell without some real research into the subject.

Most of the written sources out there, in print as well as online, tend to back this up also. I have predominantly older torts now and I've noticted they don't seem to ingest as much substrate now as they used to.... Of course, maybe they're just getting lazy .

bob



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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 02:35 PM
 
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Well the ones we see at the Vets office here that are impaced are older 35yrs and up. I am not saying that young ones dont get impacted im just saying that in my experiences they have almost always been older torts.
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