Does our tort need a new home

BernieL

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We're concerned that our tort, Pete, needs a new home. He made it through the blistering July and August temperatures here in the Coachella Valley remarkably well, with the regular hourly cooling sprinkler: he ate quite a bit, slept a lot, and was otherwise fairly sedentary. But since the weather changed from 90-110s to the current 70-100s, which happened about a week ago, he's had these days of what seem like panic, circling the perimeter of our whole 1/4 acre property at high speed, constantly looking up the wall, and often trying to climb the stucco surface--presumably to get out. He flipped himself over onto his back a couple times trying to do this. He still sleeps a lot, but he's eating a lot less, and more often than not if we offer him his food (mostly kale and mushroom) he very rarely seems interested, and either turns off or climbs right over it, without eating a bite, and heads back to the wall. This has calmed somewhat, but he seems so unhappy. We're very worried about what's going on, and wonder whether he'd be happier at a place like the Living Desert, up in Palm Springs.

Has anyone out there had issues with their tort(s) wanting out? Being frustrated? Pete has a lot of places to roam here, including at least 3 protective 'burrows' and no risk of predators. But are we doing the right thing keeping him from 'getting out'--not escaping, but finding him another home?
 

wellington

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First he needs a much better diet then mushrooms and kale.
Spring mix, riddichio, broad leaf weeds, occasional kale, romaine, mustard greens just to name a few.
As for the acting. A lot of Russians are acting different this time of year. Their time for brumating is inching in. The temp change may have him a bit confused.
Be sure to give him lots of shade, water to drink and using the sprinkler system to keep him cooler and get the diet improved and he'll be fine.
Sounds like he has a good home
 

BernieL

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First he needs a much better diet then mushrooms and kale.
Spring mix, riddichio, broad leaf weeds, occasional kale, romaine, mustard greens just to name a few.
As for the acting. A lot of Russians are acting different this time of year. Their time for brumating is inching in. The temp change may have him a bit confused.
Be sure to give him lots of shade, water to drink and using the sprinkler system to keep him cooler and get the diet improved and he'll be fine.
Sounds like he has a good home
Thank you very much. Your advice is reassuring. We'll change the diet, continue the cooling and supply of water, and keep our fingers crossed.
 

Yvonne G

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This is the time for him to be looking for his ideal brumating location. He'll slow down his eating or stop all together. If you don't want to lose him to his own brumating location you should set him up where YOU want him to brumate. If you get much winter rain it's not a good idea to leave him to his own devices.
 

Tom

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We're concerned that our tort, Pete, needs a new home. He made it through the blistering July and August temperatures here in the Coachella Valley remarkably well, with the regular hourly cooling sprinkler: he ate quite a bit, slept a lot, and was otherwise fairly sedentary. But since the weather changed from 90-110s to the current 70-100s, which happened about a week ago, he's had these days of what seem like panic, circling the perimeter of our whole 1/4 acre property at high speed, constantly looking up the wall, and often trying to climb the stucco surface--presumably to get out. He flipped himself over onto his back a couple times trying to do this. He still sleeps a lot, but he's eating a lot less, and more often than not if we offer him his food (mostly kale and mushroom) he very rarely seems interested, and either turns off or climbs right over it, without eating a bite, and heads back to the wall. This has calmed somewhat, but he seems so unhappy. We're very worried about what's going on, and wonder whether he'd be happier at a place like the Living Desert, up in Palm Springs.

Has anyone out there had issues with their tort(s) wanting out? Being frustrated? Pete has a lot of places to roam here, including at least 3 protective 'burrows' and no risk of predators. But are we doing the right thing keeping him from 'getting out'--not escaping, but finding him another home?
You already got excellent advice from Yvonne and Barb. Here is some more:

Russians are wanderers. The living desert isn't all that great from what I hear, and they won't do a better job than you. Questions are welcome.
 

BernieL

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You already got excellent advice from Yvonne and Barb. Here is some more:

Russians are wanderers. The living desert isn't all that great from what I hear, and they won't do a better job than you. Questions are welcome.
Thank you, Sensei. Very much appreciate your help.
 

Sarah2020

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As mentioned Russians are born escape artist's . I think you have provided ample space I suggest reviewing, diet, enclosure, substrate and hydration and also have a look at the enclosure and block end to end vision with low stones or low logs / branches etc.... and slate.
Keep all items central to avoid being used as a climbing ladder and perimeter clear. Once you have added interest and enrichment then they explore that and not so interested in whats outside. I say keep him if you can :tort: :) :) :tort: and enjoy. Ask questions as required.
 

Lyn W

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I think you're doing a better job than any zoo/sanctuary could do.
If you are going to let him brumate/hibernate make sure he is safe and not let to his own devices in the garden - there is recent thread about a tort whose limbs have been chewed by rats and given terrible injuries. That sort of thing happens quite a lot. Some people use fridges to make sure the temps stay consistently low and to make sure the tort doesn't wake in a mild spell, eat and then go back to sleep if it becomes colder. If there is food in his gut it could turn toxic.
There are threads about hibernation but it's not without risk.
 

BernieL

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Thank you all so very much for your kind and very helpful advice. We took it all to heart, including every pertinent bit of the lengthy piece good Tom sent, the reassurance from Wellington and Yvonne, Sarah's great detail, and the extra dose of kind words from Olive and Lyn. We then set out to change things, and hope returned to our household. Lo and behold, after two days of the new program, with better food, careful surroundings and water, Pete was transformed.

He came marching by us that first day, as Jeannie (my wife) put it, looking "like Washington crossing the Delaware," head high, in charge of our place, moving here and there to inspect this and that (but not the wall anymore), as energetic as we'd seen him--almost as if on geritol (anybody remember that?). After a day of back and forth he finally settled back in the one of his old burrows, we call his Villa. Next morning he was out on inspection again all over the place, not in panic, just with purpose. I checked on him as I always do, and when later in the day I found him slowing on the far side I offered him his 'transport'. His head came up, his gear shifted, and he came running (so to speak), climbed in, and allowed me to take him back to his feeding grounds. Once there he marched out, expecting and getting one of his 'new' meals. He devoured most of it.

Very gratifying.

So thank you all again, from Jeannie, me, and Pete.
 

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