a few questions about my new Russian

Joined
Jun 10, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Oxford, UK
Hey!
I'm a certified forum lurker, but finally decided to actually ask the questions I need answers to myself!
I've never cared for a tortoise (or any reptile, for that matter) before about 3 weeks ago, when I took over the care of my Oxford College's tortoise. Don't ask-- it's a university tradition that goes back a long time. He's a 12 year old Russian, and I'd done an awful lot of research before getting him for the next year.

However, I have some concerns that he hasn't been properly cared for in the last 4 years of him being owned by my College.

For one, his enclosure's substrate when I took over was purely aspen bedding. From my understanding, that's offering him absolutely none of the humidity he needs. Could anyone in the UK please let me know a safe soil alternative? He loves digging, so I know I'd need a good depth.

Light and heat are set up well -- warm side at 33, cool at 20.

My other concern at the minute is that he will not wake up unless I get him out of his hide and put him under his basking lamp. I've never risked seeing how long he'd sleep for without me interrupting him, but is it normal for a Russian to be so sleepy? Once he's up he'll be pretty active for a few hours, especially after a bath, so it's not like he's completely lethargic. I took him to the vets last week, and was told he has very good muscle tone, so not particularly concerned about that.

And one more thing -- earlier today I noticed he twitched his head really hard from side to side, and has done so a few times. He seems to be shedding some skin from his neck at the minute, so could it just be discomfort from that? I've read that calcium deficiency can cause twitching like that, but I use Arkvits ace-high on his food regularly and he has a cuttlebone in his enclosure (which he barely even looks at, to be fair). He has some pyramiding from years ago, so I'm just worried there's a looming deficiency of some kind...

Really trying to get my little guy back in good shape, and make sure he's properly cared for by the Uni for the rest of his days. I really appreciate any help you can give :)
 

_The_Beast_

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It's really great that you're here working to improve this tortoises life! Thank you for asking these questions 🙂

Raising the temps so that basking is 33-35 and cool side is 23-25 may help, along with some good soaks if you're not already doing so.

If you can share more info about the set up your looking to improve upon, including current lights (specific bulb and fixture information if possible), along with more detailed diet information, folks will be able to provide much more tailored answers 🥰 Pictures of the tortoise and the enclosure would be wonderful.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Oxford, UK
It's really great that you're here working to improve this tortoises life! Thank you for asking these questions 🙂

Raising the temps so that basking is 33-35 and cool side is 23-25 may help, along with some good soaks if you're not already doing so.

If you can share more info about the set up your looking to improve upon, including current lights (specific bulb and fixture information if possible), along with more detailed diet information, folks will be able to provide much more tailored answers 🥰 Pictures of the tortoise and the enclosure would be wonderful.
Thank you!

Photos attached -- including his very impressive ability to stand on two legs. You can really see the pyramiding, which I'm hoping won't get any worse.

Thanks for the advice on temps. Not to sound inept, but do I raise temps by just moving the lamp closer to enclosure?! Current bulb is Komodo Solar D3 UV Basking Bulb, and you can see fixture in the photo of his set up attached. And yes, he gets about 3 soaks a week which always raises his activity levels.

Biggest question re: set-up is whether or not it's big enough for him! He spends a lot of time scrabbling around on the walls, not sure if he's just trying to climb or telling me he needs more space. And also substrate -- convinced he's got the wrong thing at the minute. I try to spread his food out a bit as I've heard it's best to make them walk for it. And of course always fresh water, even though he won't go anywhere near it!

Diet wise, he has lambs lettuce (home grown), watercress, dried dandelions / plantain leaf / echinacea (though he doesn't particularly like eating dry leaves), occasionally rocket, kale, coriander. It can be quite hard in the UK to find anything other than supermarket greens, so I hope this is all okay.

My only other question- and I realise there's been a lot, sorry- is why I can sometimes hear him exhaling really sharply, even when he's asleep. The same sound they make when they're pulling their heads into their shells or frightened, but I'm nowhere near him when he usually does it!

Thanks again!
 

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The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Do you have your lights on a regular schedule? What specific lamps do you use? Since you have only had him for 3 weeks, even with better care you won't see any improvements yet. Tortoises don't like change and it might take them weeks to settle down. This may also cause scrambling out, trying to find thei way back to their old home. Read this for example: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/turtles-and-tortoises-dont-like-change.179518/

The breathing might be caused by the wrong, dusty substrate and too low humidity.

I recommend you change you waterbowl to a terracotta saucer. Your current waterbowl looks too slippery and high edged and needs to be taken out. Especially with him scrambling that waterbowl is a flipping risk.

But what is the size of his re setup?
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Oxford, UK
Do you have your lights on a regular schedule? What specific lamps do you use? Since you have only had him for 3 weeks, even with better care you won't see any improvements yet. Tortoises don't like change and it might take them weeks to settle down. This may also cause scrambling out, trying to find thei way back to their old home. Read this for example: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/turtles-and-tortoises-dont-like-change.179518/

The breathing might be caused by the wrong, dusty substrate and too low humidity.

I recommend you change you waterbowl to a terracotta saucer. Your current waterbowl looks too slippery and high edged and needs to be taken out. Especially with him scrambling that waterbowl is a flipping risk.

But what is the size of his re setup?
Yep, lights are on automatic timer 9AM - 9PM. I can't tell you much more about the lamp than the bulb I use (Komodo Solar D3 UV Basking Bulb), everything else is just what I inherited from the last person to look after him.
Good to know I shouldn't expect improvements straight away, thanks!
I'd wondered whether his breathing might be down to the dusty substrate. What should I be using instead? And how do I increase humidity?

I'll get a terracotta saucer asap, thank you very much.

Size of set up is 120 x 50cm, and 20cm deep. Doesn't feel big enough to me, but would be good to know.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Thank you!

Photos attached -- including his very impressive ability to stand on two legs. You can really see the pyramiding, which I'm hoping won't get any worse.

Thanks for the advice on temps. Not to sound inept, but do I raise temps by just moving the lamp closer to enclosure?! Current bulb is Komodo Solar D3 UV Basking Bulb, and you can see fixture in the photo of his set up attached. And yes, he gets about 3 soaks a week which always raises his activity levels.

Biggest question re: set-up is whether or not it's big enough for him! He spends a lot of time scrabbling around on the walls, not sure if he's just trying to climb or telling me he needs more space. And also substrate -- convinced he's got the wrong thing at the minute. I try to spread his food out a bit as I've heard it's best to make them walk for it. And of course always fresh water, even though he won't go anywhere near it!

Diet wise, he has lambs lettuce (home grown), watercress, dried dandelions / plantain leaf / echinacea (though he doesn't particularly like eating dry leaves), occasionally rocket, kale, coriander. It can be quite hard in the UK to find anything other than supermarket greens, so I hope this is all okay.

My only other question- and I realise there's been a lot, sorry- is why I can sometimes hear him exhaling really sharply, even when he's asleep. The same sound they make when they're pulling their heads into their shells or frightened, but I'm nowhere near him when he usually does it!

Thanks again!
Unfortunately as with most ‘class pet’ situations, this tortoise has received incorrect care its entire life so far, I understand it’s a college tradition or something, but a ‘college tortoise’ is such a bad idea! These guys are so sensitive to travelling and new environments, this tortoise desperately needs a permanent home where their needs can be met. It must be so stressful for it going from home to home.

So far yeah substrate isn’t right, for a Russian that likes to dig id personally go with a mix of coco coir, which needs to be dampened and firmly packed down, if allowed to get too dry it will become dusty and could cause respiratory problems, I’d also personally add some orchid bark(fir not pine) for some different texture.

They're lighting is also incorrect, they need a iridescent flood bulb for basking(pic attached) the bulb you described is a compact uv bulb, the problems with these is they’re notorious for not giving off enough uv which is absolutely vital for a tortoise and their growth, the best uv bulbs you can go with are t5 strip bulbs with a built in reflector, it disperses the uv light over a larger area. I’d personally recommend the aricadia brand, many people use that brand here, you’ll need 12% and to fix the bulb roughly 18inches from the substrate, I’ll include pics on how people attach them to a tortoise table.
With the basking bulb, directly underneath it aim for a temperature of 95-100f(36-37c) you can adjust the temperature by playing around with the height of the bulb, it will need to be on a 12hr timer. I’d also recommend a standard screw in LED for ambient lighting in the colour range 5000-6500k. Hang this bulb so it’s lighting the entire enclosure on the same 12hr timer, you can create shady spots with hides and plants.
If temperatures drop below 60f(which I know our UK winters can be) then install a CHE(ceramic heat emitter) it’s a non light emitting bulb that doesn’t need to be on a timer but will need to be on a thermostat.
A good way to check temps to have both the monitors and a temperature gun, you can find the guns reasonable on Amazon, they’re very handy to make sure the temperature monitors are reading correctly.

I did also notice that’s a clamp lamp fitting, they have been known to fail causing the bulb to fall into the tortoise enclosure which is a huge hazard, I’d recommend screwing in a hook and using a chain/cable ties to hang the lights.

Unfortunately the size of this enclosure looks far too small, hence this poor little one is constantly climbing the walls, they ideally need a minimum of an 8 by 4 foot enclosure, space to roam is absolutely vital to aid a tortoise’s digestion and keeping them healthy. They walk for miles each day in the wild. If this guy is to be kept in this size much longer he will start to deteriorate over time. His claw are already looking on the longer side😕

Definitely switch out his water bowl for a terracotta saucer, large enough for him to soak, but still shallow.

His lethargy could be down to too cooler temps, stress from a new environment or maybe a combination of both.

I’ll include a few useful links here you can read through.



All in all this guy could do with finding a permanent new home, perhaps if your college is reluctant, explain to them why it’s vital for this torts well being and all the environmental changes that desperately need making. You can include links to information you’ve found here.

I’m also going to tag these guys in case they see anything I’ve missed/need to go into further @wellington @Alex and the Redfoot @Tom
All the best🙂
 

wellington

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Very sad and sick tradition to put an animal thru neglect!
The day temp should range from 75-80
Basking 95-100
Night upper 60's.
Orchid or fir bark for substrate.
The enclosure is way to small for an adult Russian. Minimum is a 4x8 foot.
Follow what has been said needs improving and try to talk the college in breaking this animal neglect tradition!
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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The basking lamp is a mercury vapour bulb. On average they stop giving enough UVB after 6 months of use, sometimes in 90 days. Also with some models it's tricky to get required basking area temperature and UV level at the same time.

Perhaps, this is number one problem for now.

1. If you have a balcony with some direct sun you can set him up a temporary daily enclosure there. This will solve the trouble with UVB (2-3 hours a week is probably enough, but more is probably better with weak UK sun).
2. Replace the bulb with an incandescent lamp to make a basking area. Arcadia Solar Basking Flood Lamp or ExoTerra Daylight Heatlamp (pear-shaped) or ExoTerra Basking Spot Light (not Intense Basking Spot!).

Be careful - he can climb out of the enclosure (he is really close to that on the photo).

By the way, if you have room space - IKEA (or any alike) bookcases can be repurposed into a cheap tortoise table with minimal DIY skills.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Totally forgot to attach the pictures sorry😂
This is the heat bulb you need for the basking area, and this is how to attach the uv(not that I’m saying it should be up to you to fork out for that when you’re just looking after the tortoise, but a future owner needs to add it, our uk sun is too unpredictable imo)

Also the bookcase idea Alex mentioned isn’t a bad shout! Simply line it with some pond liner! Again you can find that quite cheap, I’ll see if I can find the one I got. But yeah I’m sure you or future owner could find a 8x4 to lay flat
 

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Joined
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Oxford, UK
I seriously cannot thank you all enough for your help.
I’d worried the right answer would be to find him a new permanent home, and in fact I already had an email drafted to send to the head of college about rehoming.
Those of you talking about tradition of neglect- you’re completely right! What’s worse is that a number of Oxford’s tortoises (there are over 10 in all) live in common rooms— as did this guy before I took him on, and he was absolutely terrified of people looming over him all day. I’d already asked for a permanent enclosure to be built for him, and the answer was no (“it would be an eyesore”, if you can believe it. This university can be incredibly cruel)
I’m going home for summer next week, and he’s coming with me. I’m going to make all the changes you’ve suggested while I make plans with college for his permanent care.

You’ve all inspired me to write some very snarky emails this week, and get Oxford’s tortoises some proper homes. I asked his vet for a report last week on improper care, so I should be able to use that too.

Thank you all again, and I’ll do the absolute best I can for him in the meantime. Oxford can pay, so best believe he’s going to have a luxury set-up this summer! Any more links would be very welcome <3
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I seriously cannot thank you all enough for your help.
I’d worried the right answer would be to find him a new permanent home, and in fact I already had an email drafted to send to the head of college about rehoming.
Those of you talking about tradition of neglect- you’re completely right! What’s worse is that a number of Oxford’s tortoises (there are over 10 in all) live in common rooms— as did this guy before I took him on, and he was absolutely terrified of people looming over him all day. I’d already asked for a permanent enclosure to be built for him, and the answer was no (“it would be an eyesore”, if you can believe it. This university can be incredibly cruel)
I’m going home for summer next week, and he’s coming with me. I’m going to make all the changes you’ve suggested while I make plans with college for his permanent care.

You’ve all inspired me to write some very snarky emails this week, and get Oxford’s tortoises some proper homes. I asked his vet for a report last week on improper care, so I should be able to use that too.

Thank you all again, and I’ll do the absolute best I can for him in the meantime. Oxford can pay, so best believe he’s going to have a luxury set-up this summer! Any more links would be very welcome <3
My god I had no idea this was a tradition at Oxford college! This is beyond appalling😭those tortoise are beyond suffering, even if their set up wasn’t as dire as they are, to be placed in loud common rooms is an atrocious place for a tortoise enclosure to be, I can’t even imagine their stress levels! They are SO sensitive💔
May I ask what vet it is you use? Because I happen to know a really good one in that area! It’s so hard to actually find vets with the most up to date treatment methods. The one we used is called chipping Norton, the exotic vet is called Natalie, she’s honestly brilliant and well worth the trip!

As for this horrible tradition, is there any way you’re able to get photos of some of the other torts as evidence? If they refuse to change their ways, I don’t mind helping you draft some sort of petition, including photos and brief information as to why they’re cruel set ups& environments, most people don’t even realise it is.

I’m also down to email the college myself, as I’m sure many members on here would be too! The best way to go about this, would to be getting a strongly worded email written up on why what they’re doing is cruel, the changes they need to make and links to this forum(most information online outside this forum is very outdated and incorrect) copy and paste it to a new thread(or this one) and include a link to the email address we can send it to, then we as members can one, help you word anything we think needs changing, and two, copy and paste it ourselves to the email address, it doesn’t matter they’ll be receiving the same one over and over, what’s important is they realise people have took notice and aren’t happy with what they’re doing, hopefully adding pressure to get things changed🙂
 
Joined
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Oxford, UK
My god I had no idea this was a tradition at Oxford college! This is beyond appalling😭those tortoise are beyond suffering, even if their set up wasn’t as dire as they are, to be placed in loud common rooms is an atrocious place for a tortoise enclosure to be, I can’t even imagine their stress levels! They are SO sensitive💔
May I ask what vet it is you use? Because I happen to know a really good one in that area! It’s so hard to actually find vets with the most up to date treatment methods. The one we used is called chipping Norton, the exotic vet is called Natalie, she’s honestly brilliant and well worth the trip!

As for this horrible tradition, is there any way you’re able to get photos of some of the other torts as evidence? If they refuse to change their ways, I don’t mind helping you draft some sort of petition, including photos and brief information as to why they’re cruel set ups& environments, most people don’t even realise it is.

I’m also down to email the college myself, as I’m sure many members on here would be too! The best way to go about this, would to be getting a strongly worded email written up on why what they’re doing is cruel, the changes they need to make and links to this forum(most information online outside this forum is very outdated and incorrect) copy and paste it to a new thread(or this one) and include a link to the email address we can send it to, then we as members can one, help you word anything we think needs changing, and two, copy and paste it ourselves to the email address, it doesn’t matter they’ll be receiving the same one over and over, what’s important is they realise people have took notice and aren’t happy with what they’re doing, hopefully adding pressure to get things changed🙂
You may be the nicest person ever, thank you SO much. I’ve got exams for the rest of this week (trying to help / look after this tortoise while only being 19 is also incredibly tricky!!), but as soon as I’m home next week I’m going to draft up an email. Any help from you and any other members would be beyond appreciated. I’m hoping it won’t take much to get my particular college to change their ways, but on a university-level it’ll be much harder— and that’s hopefully where the tort forum community can help back me up!

I’ll make a new thread next week and maybe some of you can help me pool some resources and wording.

Yep, I’ll definitely work on getting photos of enclosures. I know there’s one tortoise out there that was severely malnourished last term, so I can put that in there too.

I’m also a student journalist and have been working on an article on this issue. I’ve been focussing on the absolute worst part — the tortoise race (this will really get you…) Every year they get all the tortoises into one place and make them all race against each other— all different species, males and females mixing, some incredibly young. Didn’t let mine compete, obviously. So if anyone has any information on how putting over 10 tortoises in the same space (this year INSIDE!! in a room with about 100 noisy people watching!!!) is an awful idea, I’d love to hear about it.

Really glad you’re willing to help me out with the slightly mammoth task of getting Oxford to change its ways. It’s not easy, but I have to do the best I can for my poor boy.

Our current vet is HerpVet (based in Hinksey Heights) but I’ll definitely look at moving over to Chipping Norton!! At least just to contact Natalie for any advice I really appreciate the suggestion, cheers

Thanks again, everyone
 

TammyJ

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Unfortunately as with most ‘class pet’ situations, this tortoise has received incorrect care its entire life so far, I understand it’s a college tradition or something, but a ‘college tortoise’ is such a bad idea! These guys are so sensitive to travelling and new environments, this tortoise desperately needs a permanent home where their needs can be met. It must be so stressful for it going from home to home.

So far yeah substrate isn’t right, for a Russian that likes to dig id personally go with a mix of coco coir, which needs to be dampened and firmly packed down, if allowed to get too dry it will become dusty and could cause respiratory problems, I’d also personally add some orchid bark(fir not pine) for some different texture.

They're lighting is also incorrect, they need a iridescent flood bulb for basking(pic attached) the bulb you described is a compact uv bulb, the problems with these is they’re notorious for not giving off enough uv which is absolutely vital for a tortoise and their growth, the best uv bulbs you can go with are t5 strip bulbs with a built in reflector, it disperses the uv light over a larger area. I’d personally recommend the aricadia brand, many people use that brand here, you’ll need 12% and to fix the bulb roughly 18inches from the substrate, I’ll include pics on how people attach them to a tortoise table.
With the basking bulb, directly underneath it aim for a temperature of 95-100f(36-37c) you can adjust the temperature by playing around with the height of the bulb, it will need to be on a 12hr timer. I’d also recommend a standard screw in LED for ambient lighting in the colour range 5000-6500k. Hang this bulb so it’s lighting the entire enclosure on the same 12hr timer, you can create shady spots with hides and plants.
If temperatures drop below 60f(which I know our UK winters can be) then install a CHE(ceramic heat emitter) it’s a non light emitting bulb that doesn’t need to be on a timer but will need to be on a thermostat.
A good way to check temps to have both the monitors and a temperature gun, you can find the guns reasonable on Amazon, they’re very handy to make sure the temperature monitors are reading correctly.

I did also notice that’s a clamp lamp fitting, they have been known to fail causing the bulb to fall into the tortoise enclosure which is a huge hazard, I’d recommend screwing in a hook and using a chain/cable ties to hang the lights.

Unfortunately the size of this enclosure looks far too small, hence this poor little one is constantly climbing the walls, they ideally need a minimum of an 8 by 4 foot enclosure, space to roam is absolutely vital to aid a tortoise’s digestion and keeping them healthy. They walk for miles each day in the wild. If this guy is to be kept in this size much longer he will start to deteriorate over time. His claw are already looking on the longer side😕

Definitely switch out his water bowl for a terracotta saucer, large enough for him to soak, but still shallow.

His lethargy could be down to too cooler temps, stress from a new environment or maybe a combination of both.

I’ll include a few useful links here you can read through.



All in all this guy could do with finding a permanent new home, perhaps if your college is reluctant, explain to them why it’s vital for this torts well being and all the environmental changes that desperately need making. You can include links to information you’ve found here.

I’m also going to tag these guys in case they see anything I’ve missed/need to go into further @wellington @Alex and the Redfoot @Tom
All the best🙂
Not "iridescent" flood bulb, but rather, "incandescent" flood bulb.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Dec 28, 2023
Messages
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UK
You may be the nicest person ever, thank you SO much. I’ve got exams for the rest of this week (trying to help / look after this tortoise while only being 19 is also incredibly tricky!!), but as soon as I’m home next week I’m going to draft up an email. Any help from you and any other members would be beyond appreciated. I’m hoping it won’t take much to get my particular college to change their ways, but on a university-level it’ll be much harder— and that’s hopefully where the tort forum community can help back me up!

I’ll make a new thread next week and maybe some of you can help me pool some resources and wording.

Yep, I’ll definitely work on getting photos of enclosures. I know there’s one tortoise out there that was severely malnourished last term, so I can put that in there too.

I’m also a student journalist and have been working on an article on this issue. I’ve been focussing on the absolute worst part — the tortoise race (this will really get you…) Every year they get all the tortoises into one place and make them all race against each other— all different species, males and females mixing, some incredibly young. Didn’t let mine compete, obviously. So if anyone has any information on how putting over 10 tortoises in the same space (this year INSIDE!! in a room with about 100 noisy people watching!!!) is an awful idea, I’d love to hear about it.

Really glad you’re willing to help me out with the slightly mammoth task of getting Oxford to change its ways. It’s not easy, but I have to do the best I can for my poor boy.

Our current vet is HerpVet (based in Hinksey Heights) but I’ll definitely look at moving over to Chipping Norton!! At least just to contact Natalie for any advice I really appreciate the suggestion, cheers

Thanks again, everyone
Wow, that’s honestly unbelievable and I can’t believe I’m only just hearing about all this! I’m relatively close to area and had no idea this was something being done, I’m heartbroken💔
You yourself are an incredible individual for bringing this issue to light here! I’m willing to bet over many years, not one student, who like yourself has the internet at their fingertips, has ever bothered to make their way to this forum, which in itself is so sad.

I can only imagine how intense your workload is, I remember my college days😕so I’m absolutely willing to help you in any way I can here!
If you can gather some evidence for me, I could start drafting something together, I can post it here for you to look at first and get the other members involved to help in any way they can.
I can certainly include information on why the racing is ridiculously cruel. If I could get some more info from you regarding how long these traditions have been in place, the malnourished tort, the different ages and species they’re keeping etc, that’d be great, the more information you can give me the better.

I can’t believe this is happening at university level too, I don’t understand how more students haven’t spoken up about this.. honestly good for you!! And well done for doing all you can for this little tortoise in your care❤️
I’m sure as a tortoise loving forum we can hopefully blow this up enough to reach multiple campuses!

Not "iridescent" flood bulb, but rather, "incandescent" flood bulb.
Also yes sorry that was autocorrect😣
 

SinLA

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Unfortunately Tortoise/Turtle races are extremely common - I see them at RenFaires and some bars. Of course its awful, but you may have more success focusing on appropriate care, and once you get that, then eliminating the races. If you try to ban the races entirely, you might have all your points dismissed as extreme and make no headway at all
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Unfortunately Tortoise/Turtle races are extremely common - I see them at RenFaires and some bars. Of course it’s awful, but you may have more success focusing on appropriate care, and once you get that, then eliminating the races. If you try to ban the races entirely, you might have all your points dismissed as extreme and make no headway at all
I’ve heard more about them in the US, had no idea a college and university were partaking here, truly disappointing😞
I agree care/housing should be the main focus, but I do think, if the college & university make it clear they have no intention of changing their ways, then the racing should be made public knowledge and how horrible it is, I think as much as we can try and get them to improve their care, I don’t think they’ll be bothered to personally, I think the only way will be public pressure, I could be wrong.
But ultimately I think the races show, even from an outsider point of view, just how little regard they have for the tortoise and their safety, if we focus solely on the care alone, I worry many won’t even see the set ups as cruel when they look ‘clean’ if that makes sense😕
I do get your point though, maybe we need to find a balance
 
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Wow, that’s honestly unbelievable and I can’t believe I’m only just hearing about all this! I’m relatively close to area and had no idea this was something being done, I’m heartbroken💔
You yourself are an incredible individual for bringing this issue to light here! I’m willing to bet over many years, not one student, who like yourself has the internet at their fingertips, has ever bothered to make their way to this forum, which in itself is so sad.

I can only imagine how intense your workload is, I remember my college days😕so I’m absolutely willing to help you in any way I can here!
If you can gather some evidence for me, I could start drafting something together, I can post it here for you to look at first and get the other members involved to help in any way they can.
I can certainly include information on why the racing is ridiculously cruel. If I could get some more info from you regarding how long these traditions have been in place, the malnourished tort, the different ages and species they’re keeping etc, that’d be great, the more information you can give me the better.

I can’t believe this is happening at university level too, I don’t understand how more students haven’t spoken up about this.. honestly good for you!! And well done for doing all you can for this little tortoise in your care❤️
I’m sure as a tortoise loving forum we can hopefully blow this up enough to reach multiple campuses!


Also yes sorry that was autocorrect😣
I'd have to agree on other students not doing much to change Tortilla's care: he's been here for 5 years now, and as far as I'm aware he's been living in this state the whole time. The other problem is, there's no one person responsible for him, so it's not even like I know his medical background, how he was two years ago, etc. It's basically an impossible job-- no one willing to help, no one even really knowing about him.

Yes, I'll get evidence to you asap. I know this year was the 50th anniversary of the tortoise races. I'm going to get in touch with the organisers, too, and get details from them as to what, if any, planning goes into the events. Species wise, I can't be sure until I've actually contacted everyone, but one slightly strange niche is pancake tortoises... yes, the Kenyan ones. There's a guy at one of our graduate colleges who breeds them (in a legitimate way, to the best of my knowledge) but is also currently selling two babies to other colleges. I'm really, really worried about how well they'd be looked after, given the minimal amount of care given to a Russian, never mind such a rare species!
Would you prefer me to post the evidence on here, or message you?

Thanks, I wouldn't really feel like a very good person if I didn't do something about blatant neglect! Excited to get him home (just a couple of hours up the road) next week and get everything sorted. Is there anything I can do this week to help him out? ie. any particularly good foods, etc, just to give him a bit of a boost before I revamp his set-up? Also, any advice on how he can travel with minimum stress?
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Oxford, UK
Unfortunately Tortoise/Turtle races are extremely common - I see them at RenFaires and some bars. Of course its awful, but you may have more success focusing on appropriate care, and once you get that, then eliminating the races. If you try to ban the races entirely, you might have all your points dismissed as extreme and make no headway at all
Interesting, I had no idea they were so common! I'll be careful in how we balance the care vs racing argument, then. Thank you!
 

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