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GracieM

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Nov 8, 2014
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Hey all! So my step dad has 2 tortoises. One is a Russian tortoise, and the other one is unknown. They are living together in a fairly large cage. I don't really know much about tortoises.... so I decided to do some research. I need some help on the basics of owning a tortoise. Some questions I have are:
  • What substrate and bedding is safe and/or highly recommended
  • What is the best diet for a russian tortoise
  • How big does the indoor enclosure need to be for a tortoise?
  • How often does the enclosure need to be cleaned?
  • How often do the tortoises need to be taken out and played with?
  • How do we play with the tortoises?
  • Are there any specific diet supplements that we have to give the tortoises?
  • What main items do the tortoises need in their enclosure?
  • What other information do you guys think we need to know about tortoises?
Thanks so much guys! I really appreciate all of the help!!
 

leigti

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Welcome to the forum. If you can get us some pictures of the tortoises and the enclosure. First thing is separate the two. Tortoises do not need or want friends. And Russians especially do not get along well in pairs. Outdoors is always best, where do you live? For a Russian an indoor enclosure is recommended to be 4 x 8'. Russians eat broadleaf weed's and greens, like turnip greens collard greens and dive escarole, plan tame, dandelion, mallow. Coconut Coir is a good substrate, kept a little moist but not soggy. It is recommended to add a pinch of calcium to the greens a couple times a week, and to have a cuttlebone in the enclosure for the tortoise to Chuan when they want to. If kept indoors they need UVB source such as a mercury vapor bulb. Avoid the coil shaped bulbs.
As far as playing with the tortoises you don't really need to. They can get used to being handled but handling them too much is stressful. You can hand feed them sometimes. The best advice I can give is to recommend going to the species specific section and look up the Russian tortoise care sheet at the top of that section. It will tell you all you need to know. After you post pictures people can tell you what type the other tortoise is and you could look up that care sheet here also. There is a lot of conflicting information on the Internet, pet stores don't usually give good advice, and even vets don't always know much. I did a lot of research before and after I got my Russian tortoise and I can guarantee that this is the best for him out there for up-to-date information. So you've come to the right place. Welcome to the forum.
 

Gillian M

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A warm welcome to the :tort: forum! You'll get the help and avie you need and you'll have a great time here!
 

Tom

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Hey all! So my step dad has 2 tortoises. One is a Russian tortoise, and the other one is unknown. They are living together in a fairly large cage. I don't really know much about tortoises.... so I decided to do some research. I need some help on the basics of owning a tortoise. Some questions I have are:
  • What substrate and bedding is safe and/or highly recommended
  • What is the best diet for a russian tortoise
  • How big does the indoor enclosure need to be for a tortoise?
  • How often does the enclosure need to be cleaned?
  • How often do the tortoises need to be taken out and played with?
  • How do we play with the tortoises?
  • Are there any specific diet supplements that we have to give the tortoises?
  • What main items do the tortoises need in their enclosure?
  • What other information do you guys think we need to know about tortoises?
Thanks so much guys! I really appreciate all of the help!!

Hello and welcome Gracie.
1. Substrate recommendations vary with species and size. Generally orchid bark is my favorite and works well for all. I use it for adult russians.
2. Diet: Broadleaf weeds of the right type and chemical free. You can also add in certain types of leaves like hibiscus, grape, squash and mulberry leaves, spineless opuntia cactus pads, certain flowers and Mazuri tortoise chow. Diet of the other tortoise will depend on species. All of the above is good for any species, but some species need grass too.
3. Again, depends on species and size. 4x8' is a good minimum for an indoor russian enclosure. Outdoors: GO BIG!
4. If you soak the tortoise regularly and they poop in their soak, then the only "cleaning" will be removing leftover food and freshening the water. If they poop, simply remove it. That is all the "cleaning" I ever do.
5. The tortoises never need to be played with. It is a great idea to have a large, well designed outdoor enclosure with lots of shade available and plants for hiding and grazing. They can spend time outside basking, grazing and exercising daily when weather permits.
6. You don't play with tortoises. You feed them and make sure their enclosures and temperatures stay correct. If play is what you want, a tortoise is not for you.
7. Depending on diet, age and sex, it might be a good idea to offer a tiny pinch of calcium powder on the food a couple times a week and some reptile vitamins once a week. Never hurts to leave a cuttle bone in each enclosure either, so they can self-supplement their calcium.
8. Needed items: Basking area under a lamp with a flat basking rock, damp substrate, proper water dish sunk into the substrate, food dish, hide, humid hide. You can also add plants, potted plants, rocks, logs and other features as well.

Please read these for more info:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

If you post a pic of both tortoises we can ID them for you and make sure they are getting the correct care. If you post a pic of their plastrons showing their tails, we can sex them for you too.

Its pretty important that you separate these two ASAP. Tortoises should not be kept in pairs and species should never be mixed. Especially not russians.
 

Gillian M

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A very warm welcome to the tortoise :tort: forum!
 

Gillian M

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Hi. I just received an alert saying that you quoted my post. I did not post anything, unless there's a mistake somewhere.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi. I just received an alert saying that you quoted my post. I did not post anything, unless there's a mistake somewhere.

You told her she had a lovely tortoise and she told you thank you. However, the picture posted was not from the original poster.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Gracie, and welcome to the Forum!
 

Gillian M

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You told her she had a lovely tortoise and she told you thank you. However, the picture posted was not from the original poster.
Hi Yvonne. Thanks very much the above post as well as the explanation.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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The original poster of this thread doesn't have box turtles.
On the 8th November, Gracie posted a thread 'What to feed.....' in the Tortoise Food and Diet forum in which she asked what to feed her mom's boyfriends box turtles.
I was just asking Gracie if she knew if they were ok.
 

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