Florida Gopher tortoise help!

Taylorlynn48

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That black ceramic lamp emits heat you should see if you can feel the heat with your palm facing it to eyeball it. If you cant it needs to come closer so the tort can feel the heat. Also there needs to be a basking light in there for her. You can get a basking light that emits heat as well as making sure it has appropriate uvb lighting.
 

Kekeedoll

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That’s hilarious. Im going to seriously start getting creative with mine. Thanks for the ideas :) does she chew on the blanket by any chance? Does she recogonize you? Also watch out for the lamps being clamped. It can be a fire hazard. I would get a screen over top of the cage or like slide it in the holes and try to have the lights lay flat on the screen or build a wooden anchor for the lights to hang from.
Thanks for the tip! And no she just covers herself up with. She likes to be wrapped up in it and does it by herself.
She only likes me and def recognizes me. I like to think anyways. She hides from everyone else and stretches her head out for scratches when she sees me lol
 

wellington

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Sorry but the blanket and green sand needs to go. So does the mirror. You need to think more like a wild tortoise. The mirror will cause stress. They don't want or need friends. Seeing him/herself will cause to think there is another tort in his territory. Stress will hinder all sorts of things and can cause death. The sand can cause impaction and so can the blanket. They don't use blankets in the wild. It's not attached to a blanket.
The enclosure is way too small and will cause muscle problems. It needs to be so much bigger. 4x8 minimum for a Russian which is smaller. Water dish needs to be large enough he can get into it and self soak. Where he comes from is high humidity so you need to have it warm and very humid. Think of Florida's temps and humidity.
 

wellington

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Thanks for the tip! And no she just covers herself up with. She likes to be wrapped up in it and does it by herself.
She only likes me and def recognizes me. I like to think anyways. She hides from everyone else and stretches her head out for scratches when she sees me lol
She wants to borrow not get wrapped in a blanket. Again think of her/him living where she is suppose to live, wilds of florida. Get the proper substrate and make it deep enough she can burrow. Everything needs to be changed asap.
 

wellington

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You can try calling the state of Georgia DNR non game number.
If you want to keep him make all the suggested changes.
If you can't make the changes try the GA DNR or a local reptile rescue.
 

Pastel Tortie

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This is a challenging one, because these guys aren't supposed to get outside the state, ever. But it happened, and we're here now.

Long term, I want to see this one end up somewhere it can do what Florida gopher tortoises do: DIG and BURROW.

Dig is an understatement with this species. Gopher tortoise burrows are phenomenal, really. There's good reason they're considered a keystone species in Florida. I'm not sure if there's any other tortoise that does what gopher tortoises do, as well as they do it. Then again, I'm not a tortoise expert. :)
 

Kekeedoll

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This is a challenging one, because these guys aren't supposed to get outside the state, ever. But it happened, and we're here now.

Long term, I want to see this one end up somewhere it can do what Florida gopher tortoises do: DIG and BURROW.

Dig is an understatement with this species. Gopher tortoise burrows are phenomenal, really. There's good reason they're considered a keystone species in Florida. I'm not sure if there's any other tortoise that does what gopher tortoises do, as well as they do it. Then again, I'm not a tortoise expert. :)
I agree! I just want her happy and cared for. Even if that means giving her to the right people. I'm just trying to care for her the best I can.
 

wellington

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I agree! I just want her happy and cared for. Even if that means giving her to the right people. I'm just trying to care for her the best I can.
If you can make the needed improvements then she is probably best to stay with you unless you can get a rehab or rescue from one of it's natural states to take her.
 

Pastel Tortie

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I'm citing The Gopher Tortoise: A Life History by Patricia Sawyer Ashton and Ray E. Ashton, Jr. (You can't get far researching gopher tortoises, especially in Florida, without running into numerous papers and publications by one for more of the Ashtons.) The bulleted items below are direct quotes from that book.
  • The daily life cycle of a tortoise is controlled by the need to maintain body temperature within an acceptable range between 12 and 35 degrees Celsius (55 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit)---not too hot and not too cold. [page 30]
  • Deeper burrows usually maintain a temperature above 13 degrees Celsius (55 Fahrenheit) in winter and below 28 degrees Celsius (80 Fahrenheit) in summer. [page 10]
So I think that gives you the target temperature ranges.

Apparently the depth of a gopher tortoise burrow depends on how far down the water table is. They will dig down to right on top of the water table so they have a really humid microclimate in their burrow. In the short term and for inside accommodation, I'm strongly in favor of a humid chamber or other setup that maintains highest humidity.
 

Pastel Tortie

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From a disease transmission standpoint, she should not go anywhere there would be any risk of her having contact with other gopher tortoises or native box turtles. She needs to be an only child, and she will be happiest that way. In considering another location for her, if she would have to share her enclosure with any other chelonian, that would be a deal breaker. Be protective and be picky.
 

DesertGirl

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From a disease transmission standpoint, she should not go anywhere there would be any risk of her having contact with other gopher tortoises or native box turtles. She needs to be an only child, and she will be happiest that way. In considering another location for her, if she would have to share her enclosure with any other chelonian, that would be a deal breaker. Be protective and be picky.
This was under FL Gopher tortoise. Is she really a Gopher? Looks just like my Sonoran. Scales on the legs are more prominent though.
 

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Pastel Tortie

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This was under FL Gopher tortoise. Is she really a Gopher? Looks just like my Sonoran. Scales on the legs are more prominent though.
They're related. Both are Gopherus species. This is the version native to the Southeast.
There's a reason you see a resemblance. :)

We're not even supposed to touch them, really. I'm a little jealous of you folks who get to keep their relatives in the Southwest, even if you're just considered custodians. I once saw a baby gopher tortoise in person, and I think it was the cutest thing I ever saw.
 
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VegasJeff

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This was under FL Gopher tortoise. Is she really a Gopher? Looks just like my Sonoran. Scales on the legs are more prominent though.

Yeah, she looks almost like my Sonoran. I'd be curious to see a better picture of her hind legs. That's one way to help determine difference between species.
 
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