russian tortoise care - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-12-2007, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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russian tortoise care

any one know about the care of these animals
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-12-2007, 01:10 PM
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Russian tortoises are pretty commonly kept and, as with the bearded dragons, there is abundant information about their captive care on the internet. Google is always my friend in times like this, as well as the search on this forum

As for personal experience, I can't help you. The only tortoises I have and have kept are from the African mainland, and I have not specifically looked into Russians. I imagine care is somewhat similar, though I'm sure there are some pretty large differences as well. However, it should always be considered that all reptiles require a lot of time and money (I know I've said it before, but it's very true), and tortoises especially so. Much specialized care is involved and great care should be taken in preparing diet and providing proper amounts of light. Anyway, it should be pretty easy to find the information you're looking for. Here are a few sites to get you started, though.

The Russian Tortoise

RUSSIAN (testudo horsfieldii) CARE SHEET

Russian Tortoise Care Sheet and Information - WNYHS

Good luck with your research!

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2011, 08:22 AM
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Brought home a Russian tortoise yesterday, and he hisses whenever my daughter puts a hand in the tank to adjust his food or water dish. He also moves along the back of the tank as if he's trying to go through the glass. He hasn't shown any interest in turtle pellets or Soft Gel.

I understand we need to put in a substrate he can dig in, and feed him mostly grass -- no fruit. How about leafy veggies in addition to dandelion heads/leaves? We are planning to get a half log if he doesn't dig a burrow under his basking rock.

Any suggestions? My daughter is convinced he hates her and his new home.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2011, 10:16 AM
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2cute4you, The original poster was in 2007. I suggest you open a new thread introducing yourself and your tortoise. Also, turtles and tortoises have different dietary needs, so turtle pellets may not be beneficial to a tortoise.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2011, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cute4you View Post
Brought home a Russian tortoise yesterday, and he hisses whenever my daughter puts a hand in the tank to adjust his food or water dish. He also moves along the back of the tank as if he's trying to go through the glass. He hasn't shown any interest in turtle pellets or Soft Gel.

I understand we need to put in a substrate he can dig in, and feed him mostly grass -- no fruit. How about leafy veggies in addition to dandelion heads/leaves? We are planning to get a half log if he doesn't dig a burrow under his basking rock.

Any suggestions? My daughter is convinced he hates her and his new home.
Hissing is quite common in new torts. The pellets and soft gel are rubbish....see the links above for some good diet suggestions. If you wish to keep him in a glass-sided aquarium, I suggest painting the bottom 4" of the outside of the glass with an opaque acrylic paint...it will keep him from trying to go through the glass.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2011, 03:18 PM
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Thank you for the timely help!

As per your suggestion, we'll cover the lower half of the back wall so he doesn't keep butting it. Sad to hear we wasted money on turtle pellets and soft gel--no more purchases without checking online first! He's eating the grass and pooping so I guess he's adjusting. My daughter named him Vlad--
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2011, 06:24 PM
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What sort of lighting do you have? Your temperatures within the vivarium? Ambient humidity and access to a higher-humidity area? Having abandoned the pellets, etc, what is he eating besides grass?

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 07:46 PM
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Hello Toirtis

We have a clip-on spotlight with a daylight-simulating bulb that keeps the temperature at about 80F for 12-14 hours a day. At night it doesn't go below 65F in her room.

The water dish is big enough for him to soak in, and my daughter changes the water daily, as Vlad mucks it up with substrate (ground coconut fibers mixed with pebbles to give him plenty of stuff to dig in). He also gets a couple of spritzes with a spray bottle daily. We continue to put out pellets with the timothy grass, and are now trying shreds of romaine lettuce.

Vlad takes long naps in his burrow under the basking rock. It's big enough for him to turn around in. Taping brown paper to the side and back of the glass has helped him settle, so he's not hissing as much.

His vision is amazing--he notices as soon as someone walks into the room.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 09:36 PM
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We have a clip-on spotlight with a daylight-simulating bulb
Brand and model? Many 'full-spectrum' bulbs do not emit appreciable UVB.

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that keeps the temperature at about 80F for 12-14 hours a day. At night it doesn't go below 65F in her room.
Is there a temperature gradient in the enclosure that permits the tortoise to self-thermoregulate?

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The water dish is big enough for him to soak in, and my daughter changes the water daily, as Vlad mucks it up with substrate (ground coconut fibers mixed with pebbles to give him plenty of stuff to dig in).
I trust that the 'pebbles' are far too large to be ingested?

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We continue to put out pellets with the timothy grass, and are now trying shreds of romaine lettuce.
99% of pellets are rubbish...stop. He needs more than just grass and lettuce.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 09:57 PM
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Appreciate the help!

I'll have to check on the brand and wattage, as the packaging went in the trash. The temperature is warmest on the end where his rock is, and I've noticed he goes back and forth in the tank to thermoregulate. The pebbles in the substrate are too big for him to eat. Perhaps you could suggest a healthful diet for him? I understand you have a large menagerie.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011, 10:19 PM
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I'll have to check on the brand and wattage, as the packaging went in the trash.
There should be information on the base or neck of the bulb, sometimes on the apex.

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The temperature is warmest on the end where his rock is, and I've noticed he goes back and forth in the tank to thermoregulate.
Invest in a couple of accurate, quality thermometers, so that you can place one at each end to monitor both extremes...digital ones with probes work well, but mind you keep the wires out of tortoise reach.

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Perhaps you could suggest a healthful diet for him?
This one works well, but I would avoid kale and cabbages altogether: http://www.russiantortoise.org/russiantortoisediet.htm

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I understand you have a large menagerie.
Not any more...I one time I ran 70 aquaria, had 140 reptiles of assorted types (including 35 tortoises), 2 parrots, 3 ferrets, and two cats. Over the years, I have had literally thousands of animals of all descriptions under my care, both personally and professionally. Currently, my 'menagerie' consists of 24 assorted tarantulas, 3 red tegus, two cats, one green-cheek conure, one bearded dragon (actually my daughter's), and 3 aquaria (one planted FW tank and two mini-reefs).

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 01:47 PM
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To Toirtis Re: Lighting

You inquired about the light we're using for our tortoise's tank. It's an Exo-Terra Sun Glo bulb, 120V and 100w. I hope that's acceptable for a 20-gallon long tank.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
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You inquired about the light we're using for our tortoise's tank. It's an Exo-Terra Sun Glo bulb, 120V and 100w. I hope that's acceptable for a 20-gallon long tank.
I can't help you with your tortoise but I do know that those bulbs don't provide any UV-B. You'll need a separate UV-B bulb.




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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 09:32 PM
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I can't help you with your tortoise but I do know that those bulbs don't provide any UV-B. You'll need a separate UV-B bulb.
Correct...you either need a 8.0 or 10.0 UVB fluorescent tube (which needs to be within 14" of the tortoise), or replace the current bulb with an 'active UV' type of mercury-vapour bulb, which has better-quality UV, deeper penetration, and will provide both light and heat.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 06:17 PM
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Thanks, guys--
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