a few questions about my new Russian

Littleredfootbigredheart

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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?
Ugh that’s such a shame😞there’s no telling if we can make the big change we want to here for such a long standing tradition, it’s a huge battle, but even if we can get them to improve/update their care to decent standards for some of the tortoises, it’ll change those individuals entire world, which will still be a win❤️
Also at least with getting some information out there, we might get lucky in that more caring students like yourself take notice moving forward, perhaps coming to the forum themselves, little by little that could lead to change. At least for the tortoise in their care.
You can either post the evidence on this thread or message me here, I don’t mind🙂

Honestly though I understand your a student with a very busy schedule and social life, so don’t stress if you can’t put time into getting evidence and drafting messages.. I listed all those things off without thinking of how much time and effort it could take for you🥲
I just can’t believe I didn’t know this was a thing here on college campuses.. Maybe I’m just naive to these matters🥲I knew about class pets like small furries.. which are also terrible.. but when I first read your thread I was first thinking bless this person, then thinking this one college tortoise is bad enough, but when you said ten.. its also the university..then the races I was just😳

Anyway one step at a time I guess, let’s make the first priority this little guy you’ve kindly taken on🥰

I think moving forward this week, if you could order the bulb we posted(they aren’t expensive)maybe get a temp gun(again aren’t too much) so you can be sure you’re getting your temps and basking spot right, get some orchid bark if you can(pic included, it’s a uk site) and try to get that bulb secure, I think people tend to screw a hook in and use cable ties to secure the wire in place at the height you need it for the temp, you can still clamp it if it’s high enough but I wouldn’t rely solely on the clamp, it can be an accident waiting to happen.
What his diet been like so far do you know? What kind of things have you been feeding since having him? I only ask because I’m conscious of changing too many things at once, he’s probably a bit stressed as is, if there’s anything that jumps out you shouldn’t be feeding we can advise what to stop and go from there on some things to try🙂
Just one more question on lighting -- I should get him both the T5 12% strip light, and the basking floodlight, right?
The UV strip light would be a great addition but the ones I recommend aren’t cheap😕they’re worth the investment but I understand you might not be in the position.
Hopefully some other members can chime in on alternatives that are reliable but a bit cheaper, I forgot to mention this goes on a separate 4hr timer, we set out from noon till 4ish.
A few hours of natural sun(not through glass) is also sufficient, but obviously our climate doesn’t always allow for that, and idk if your campus has a balcony you could secure or a suitable outdoor space(have to be conscious of weed killers and fertilisers)

As for the travelling, a plastic tub that’s a comfortable enough travel size for him, I’d poke a few holes in the lid(I heated a screw driver and melted a few😂 go outside to do it though lol) then pad the bottom out with a towel you’re willing to sacrifice🥲then on top of the towel a few puppy pads, just maybe try to pop the lid every now n then to make sure he’s not trying to nibble them, he will also very likely poop(they hate car rides lol)so you may want to pull over at least the once to change the pads, that’s for you as much as him cause it stinks🤣so definitely bring bin bags, also I’d keep the windows&air con off in your car(sorry if it gets warm😬)to avoid a draft on him, if it’s a really warm day though obviously crank the window for yourself lol. I’d give him a half hour soak before and after travelling as he may get a little dehydrated from the journey. If the tub is see through, put a blanket over top, with any luck the darkness will help him nap for some of the journey.

Hope this all helps🙂
 

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Tom

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Just one more question on lighting -- I should get him both the T5 12% strip light, and the basking floodlight, right?
Hello and welcome.

Here is a breakdown of the four heating and lighting essentials:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
More here:
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Hello and welcome.

Here is a breakdown of the four heating and lighting essentials:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
More here:
@Tom do you happen to know another reliable t5 uv brand they could use other than aricadia? They’re a student in a really difficult situation but I couldn’t think of another one to recommend.

This tortoise is one of ten college tortoises, kept in tiny tables in loud common rooms! All tortoise of different ages and species are gathered together near the end of the year to race☹️ I knew these cruel races existed, but couldn’t believe it was a thing on these campuses at both the colleges and universities🙃it’s the craziest ‘class pet’ situation I’ve ever heard personally lol
 

Tom

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@Tom do you happen to know another reliable t5 uv brand they could use other than aricadia? They’re a student in a really difficult situation but I couldn’t think of another one to recommend.

This tortoise is one of ten college tortoises, kept in tiny tables in loud common rooms! All tortoise of different ages and species are gathered together near the end of the year to race☹️ I knew these cruel races existed, but couldn’t believe it was a thing on these campuses at both the colleges and universities🙃it’s the craziest ‘class pet’ situation I’ve ever heard personally lol
The only decent ones are HO type from Arcadia or ZooMed. If there are other brands available in the UK, I don't know about them.

I doubt the noise of the common rooms will bother them, but enclosure size, heating and lighting, and diet would be my concerns.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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The only decent ones are HO type from Arcadia or ZooMed. If there are other brands available in the UK, I don't know about them.

I doubt the noise of the common rooms will bother them, but enclosure size, heating and lighting, and diet would be my concerns.
Fair enough no worries, I figured the noise might be a bit stressful, but the size, heating and lighting is definitely what’s worst☹️
 
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Honestly though I understand your a student with a very busy schedule and social life, so don’t stress if you can’t put time into getting evidence and drafting messages.. I listed all those things off without thinking of how much time and effort it could take for you🥲
Don't worry about this at all-- I'm completely committed to it! This weekend I'll be able to get everything sent through to you, and we can work out some wording.

I think moving forward this week, if you could order the bulb we posted(they aren’t expensive)maybe get a temp gun(again aren’t too much) so you can be sure you’re getting your temps and basking spot right, get some orchid bark if you can(pic included, it’s a uk site) and try to get that bulb secure
Orchid bark and the bulb are ordered, and will be here by Saturday! I'll keep you posted when I change them over, just so we can make sure I've fixed everything properly. I'll get a temp fun sorted, too.

What his diet been like so far do you know? What kind of things have you been feeding since having him? I only ask because I’m conscious of changing too many things at once, he’s probably a bit stressed as is, if there’s anything that jumps out you shouldn’t be feeding we can advise what to stop and go from there on some things to try
Definitely! I have no idea what he was on before, but I've done the best I can with other info on here / on the tortoise table since getting him. At the minute I don't have access to a garden (again, this will change literally by this Saturday when we're both home!) so it's been pretty based on supermarket greens -- lambs lettuce (I grow my own), watercress, sometimes romaine but I know that's not very nutritious, occasionally rocket, coriander. From what I gather they're all safe to feed. I also bought some mixed dried leaves (dandelion, plantain, echinacea, mulberry) which I try to mix in, though he isn't the biggest fan of them. I use the Arkvits ace-high supplement -- please let me know if any of this is wrong, and what I can grow for him at home!


Thanks for advice on travelling too, hopefully he can sleep through the journey.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Hello and welcome.

Here is a breakdown of the four heating and lighting essentials:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
More here:
THANK YOU!! Interesting to know he doesn't need indoor UV if he can get outside for a few hours, that'll definitely be possible. Just ordered a new basking bulb so will have another look for ambient LED lighting too :)
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Don't worry about this at all-- I'm completely committed to it! This weekend I'll be able to get everything sent through to you, and we can work out some wording.


Orchid bark and the bulb are ordered, and will be here by Saturday! I'll keep you posted when I change them over, just so we can make sure I've fixed everything properly. I'll get a temp fun sorted, too.


Definitely! I have no idea what he was on before, but I've done the best I can with other info on here / on the tortoise table since getting him. At the minute I don't have access to a garden (again, this will change literally by this Saturday when we're both home!) so it's been pretty based on supermarket greens -- lambs lettuce (I grow my own), watercress, sometimes romaine but I know that's not very nutritious, occasionally rocket, coriander. From what I gather they're all safe to feed. I also bought some mixed dried leaves (dandelion, plantain, echinacea, mulberry) which I try to mix in, though he isn't the biggest fan of them. I use the Arkvits ace-high supplement -- please let me know if any of this is wrong, and what I can grow for him at home!


Thanks for advice on travelling too, hopefully he can sleep through the journey.
The vitamin supplement you mentioned is only used for animals with a defiency. The only supplementation a healthy adult russian would need is calcium (prefeably calcium carbonate) and vitamin D from UVB light or from the sun. Over supplementation can cause a multitude of problems. Did the vet do any bloodwork?

At home you could try growing fresh dandelion etc. The tortoise table is a great source to find plants to grow: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/plant-database/
 

Tom

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THANK YOU!! Interesting to know he doesn't need indoor UV if he can get outside for a few hours, that'll definitely be possible. Just ordered a new basking bulb so will have another look for ambient LED lighting too :)
That will be difficult in your climate except for a few days in summer. In more northern latitudes, it is advisable to run an indoor UV tube year round.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Don't worry about this at all-- I'm completely committed to it! This weekend I'll be able to get everything sent through to you, and we can work out some wording.


Orchid bark and the bulb are ordered, and will be here by Saturday! I'll keep you posted when I change them over, just so we can make sure I've fixed everything properly. I'll get a temp fun sorted, too.


Definitely! I have no idea what he was on before, but I've done the best I can with other info on here / on the tortoise table since getting him. At the minute I don't have access to a garden (again, this will change literally by this Saturday when we're both home!) so it's been pretty based on supermarket greens -- lambs lettuce (I grow my own), watercress, sometimes romaine but I know that's not very nutritious, occasionally rocket, coriander. From what I gather they're all safe to feed. I also bought some mixed dried leaves (dandelion, plantain, echinacea, mulberry) which I try to mix in, though he isn't the biggest fan of them. I use the Arkvits ace-high supplement -- please let me know if any of this is wrong, and what I can grow for him at home!


Thanks for advice on travelling too, hopefully he can sleep through the journey.
That’s brilliant! Yes definitely keep us posted🥰diet doesn’t sound too bad at all, the tortoise table is definitely a great place to look and see if there’s anything new you can try him with😊we personally grow some broadleaf plantain and dandelions, I’m still in the process of sourcing some more safe weeds to up root and grow, there’s lots of safe ones that grow wild here! The key is finding a spot you can be sure hasn’t been touched by fertilisers or pesticides, but there’s plenty of secluded spots that haven’t🙂if you go on the wildflowers part of the tortoise table, there’s so many to look into😁just maybe post any you aren’t sure about on here first before feeding, there can be lookalikes out there that could be unsuitable.
Also as for the uv, unfortunately as much as you’ll be able to get him out in summer, our climate just doesn’t allow a few hours of sun each day year round, he will definitely need some indoor uv adding, I like to think once we get the ball rolling with the college situation, that they could stump up for the uv, it shouldn’t be your responsibility. However if you do go for it, the aricadia brand is a good investment👍🏻
 

Cathie G

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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?
I wouldn't blame the fellow students at all for not realizing that the tortoises weren't getting proper care. They're just young people trying to go to college and are assuming their college is giving them correct care information. You obviously became more interested and have a unique interest in torts and started searching for truth.. I'm so glad you found TFO early on. What about you being the permanent home.🙏🤗🐢
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I wouldn't blame the fellow students at all for not realizing that the tortoises weren't getting proper care. They're just young people trying to go to college and are assuming their college is giving them correct care information. You obviously became more interested and have a unique interest in torts and started searching for truth.. I'm so glad you found TFO early on. What about you being the permanent home.🙏🤗🐢
I don’t blame fellow students per say, I do however find it sad that it appears hundreds of students over the years haven’t thought to look into their care a little further giving the fact they essentially give the students responsibility for them.

I understand it’s harder to tell the obvious signs of neglect with tortoise care vs small rodents for example.
But I don’t doubt if this op noticed something wasn’t quite right, that others have and chose to turn a blind eye, I don’t think you have to necessarily have an interest in tortoise to want to look into things a little further when looking after an animal, I think it just takes an animal lover in general, which again I’m sure many students here are, yet this appears to be the only one willing to try and step up to do something.
Maybe others have tried though who knows..

Again don’t I blame them, I just find it a bit disappointing☹️I think the students are key here in trying to get the college and universities to start changing their ways🤞🏻
 

Cathie G

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I don’t blame fellow students per say, I do however find it sad that it appears hundreds of students over the years haven’t thought to look into their care a little further giving the fact they essentially give the students responsibility for them.

I understand it’s harder to tell the obvious signs of neglect with tortoise care vs small rodents for example.
But I don’t doubt if this op noticed something wasn’t quite right, that others have and chose to turn a blind eye, I don’t think you have to necessarily have an interest in tortoise to want to look into things a little further when looking after an animal, I think it just takes an animal lover in general, which again I’m sure many students here are, yet this appears to be the only one willing to try and step up to do something.
Maybe others have tried though who knows..

Again don’t I blame them, I just find it a bit disappointing☹️I think the students are key here in trying to get the college and universities to start changing their ways🤞🏻
And well I think even dog and cat owners don't look deep enough into proper care. They assume they know. You're right that the students are the key though. So maybe you can try to write an article to spark interest in actual proper care and post it 😜 and invite discussion 🤗😊
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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And well I think even dog and cat owners don't look deep enough into proper care. They assume they know. You're right that the students are the key though. So maybe you can try to write an article to spark interest in actual proper care and post it 😜 and invite discussion 🤗😊
Yeah very true I agree, I think college students should be entitled to focus on their studies and take for granted that the college is giving the right care.
I just find it sad that there’s likely many, especially those with the tortoise in their common rooms, that know something is off/could be done better, but are choosing not to say anything😕and again I don’t expect them to put a tonne of time or money into changing things for the torts, they should be focused on their studies and social lives, I just think speaking up a bit here wouldn’t go a miss, it’s kind of shocking no one but this person seems to be☹️

But yeah I’m hoping me and op can write something up together with the help of some other members to hopefully push things in the right direction, even if we’re just creating awareness for future students it’s a win🥰
 

Cathie G

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Yeah very true I agree, I think college students should be entitled to focus on their studies and take for granted that the college is giving the right care.
I just find it sad that there’s likely many, especially those with the tortoise in their common rooms, that know something is off/could be done better, but are choosing not to say anything😕and again I don’t expect them to put a tonne of time or money into changing things for the torts, they should be focused on their studies and social lives, I just think speaking up a bit here wouldn’t go a miss, it’s kind of shocking no one but this person seems to be☹️

But yeah I’m hoping me and op can write something up together with the help of some other members to hopefully push things in the right direction, even if we’re just creating awareness for future students it’s a win🥰
What are you studying? That will be a subject you can inject some controversial subject matter into 😉🙃😊
 

Cathie G

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Ok well then maybe tortilla -the -tortoise will 🙃🙏🤗🙏
 

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