Baby Russian not eating very much

Ciera Stewart

New Member
Oct 7, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Hey so I've had my Russian baby for over a month now and he comes out during the day and I give him baths and feed him everyday but recently he hasn't been eating very much, I feed him kale and dandelion greens, turnip greens, spring leaf greens and collard greens so he has a variety, but ever since I started putting calcium powder on the leaves he hasn't eaten much. He also hasn't touched his cuttle bone. Should I be worried? He's very active and always goes in his water dish making a mess lol but is there something else I should feed him or do to help him eat more? He's about 5 months old.


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Oct 26, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
There are a few possible causes.

The first is that you are using too much calcium. You need a very tiny pinch sprinkled on food no more than 3 times a week.

Too much calcium can inhibit the uptake of other minerals so it is important not to overdose and the powder is pure calcium. Tortoises seem very good at detecting it, so wet the food, spread it out and sprinkle your tiny pinch as sparsely as possible ... then put the food in the enclosure.

The next is temperature. A tortoise must be warm enough to eat, digest food and be active. This means ensuring the enclosure temperatures need to be spot on. They’re best measured with a digital temperature gun type thermometer that you can buy most cheaply online from Amazon. You won’t get the consistent temperatures a baby needs in an open table; your enclosure needs to be a closed chamber. Foes yours have a roof/lid/cover?

The other problem is the changing seasons. Shorter days and cooler temperatures are detected by your tortoise even though it is indoors and kick off a hibernation instinct.

You need to keep the lighting as bright as possible, have it on for 14 hours (use a timer) and be absolutely sure the temperatures are perfect. You need to kid your tortoise that it’s still summer.

Your baby should still be soaked daily in warm water for at least 20 minutes. So give him no choices about getting up in the morning.

Get into a routine:
1. Have the lights come on using a timer
2. Soak your tort first thing before he has warmed up properly - the inevitable soak-poop will help to stimulate appetite
3. While your tort soaks, tidy the enclosure and place food... have your breakfast, whatever... :)
4. Replace your tort somewhere near the food.

Have we looked over photos of your enclosure and lighting? We are happy to do so to see if there are improvements that will help.

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