Food Quantity for a Russian adult?

hesterprynne

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Jan 26, 2017
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I and my fiancee recently acquired our beautiful little tort. We took him to the vet expecting to get our questions about age, sex, making sure he's the right species, etc. answered--the exotic pet vet Googled "russian tortoise care" right in front of us. :eek: So while we got things like weight, length, and parasite presence established, there's still a lot we're googling for ourselves.

While there's tons of good resources on what to feed him, there's not a good resource for how much. We have this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006L14C6/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 and we've been feeding him out of the larger of the two dishes, covering the dish area with greens and a little squash about three times a day. He usually eats most of it immediately, and by the time we switch it out at lunch/dinner, almost everything is gone. I owned a dog that did this and would eat until he exploded if you let him, so I'm worried that our tortoise is similar in his habits. A few sources seems to indicate that he needs to eat less, but at this point it's a struggle for me to tell what's a legitimate source and what's not.

I don't expect a detailed, exact estimate for my particular gentleman--but I'd really appreciate some experienced opinions on how much to feed him, and what the early signs might be of overfeeding/poor diet. Thank you so, so much.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

The problem with Russian tortoises is where they come from. Food is scarce on the steppe, consequently, Russian tortoises do a lot of wandering looking for it. Also, their climate causes them to need to eat as much as they can find because the 'good' weather portion of their lives is very short, and they have to get stocked up for hibernation. This is something they are hard-wired to do, so even though you have him contained and fed, he still wants to wander looking for food, and he'll eat, eat, eat all you give him.

The secret is to give him the biggest habitat you possible can. 4x8 isn't unreasonable. Outside is even better. Then, ditch those dishes and feed him a clump of food about as big as he is on a piece of broken cement or a tile. Feed him once in the a.m. and no more throughout the day. Water is provided in a clay plant saucer that's big enough for him to fit inside of and sunk down into the substrate so he doesn't have to climb to get in.

As long as you provide him with a real large enclosure, he won't get overweight.
 

hesterprynne

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Jan 26, 2017
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I live in Florida, so he can and is getting outside time in general, but we're renting our place, so we can't build anything large or permanent, and our management does employ a lawn company that uses pesticides. We've taken him outside to walk fairly frequently but only under constant supervision for these reasons. I was thinking of getting him one of those "playpens" available online, but they don't seem to be big enough to allow for a proper stomp around. We're looking at building something custom to our situation.

Thank you for your advice! I've got a lot to think about and adjust in his habitat, I think.
 
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