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Friends 'Russian' seems to be growing abnormally fast?

Discussion in 'Advanced Tortoise Topics' started by HotdogKnight, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. HotdogKnight

    HotdogKnight Active Member

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    This question probably has a couple of levels to it.

    Christmas last year, a neighbour bought his wife a Russian tortoise after seeing mine, and she loves reptiles and have various others.
    To hide it from his wife, we looked after it (in a separate enclosure) for a week or so, and he took it back Christmas day. I bathed them both at the same time so the photos are here for comparison.

    Anyway, here's my issue:
    Their tortoise (who was supposedly the same age as my >2 year old) has grown much much quicker. I said from the beginning that theirs could be anything from a year older than mine, because it was showing signs of shell growth.
    My tortoise is definitely 2.5 years now as I had contact with the breeder, I'm not sure where theirs is from.
    Now I'm starting to think because of the growth rate theirs might not even possibly be a Russian?
    Every so often I get sent a photo of theirs and it makes me consider maybe mine isn't growing at the rate it should be, but he's still very very young.

    Photos enclosed.

    14937839_10211462183496003_813106682_n.jpg (my Russian, now 2 years and 9 months) - most recent photo

    14958435_10211462183536004_1461079759_n.jpg (their 'Russian' apparently same age) - most recent photo

    14962494_10211462199376400_1676937057_n-1.jpg (bathing them both last Christmas, mine left, theirs right)
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  2. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    They're both Russians and they both look fine.

    Tortoises grow at different rates, just like humans.

    There will be differences in diet and in climate between your homes. There will also be differences in the way the torts were started and their parentage.
    SarahChelonoidis likes this.
  3. HotdogKnight

    HotdogKnight Active Member

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    That's reassuring. I was worried from the start because they dry-house their tort on wood chips. I wasn't sure if I was missing something with mine. I think theirs is slightly older anyway so give it another year or so and hopefully mine will catch up.
  4. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Dry house is not recommended. They are likely to have pyramidding problems in future.

    I suggest you introduce them to the TFO care sheets for up to date information on care

    Beginner Mistakes
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

    Russian Tortoise Care
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
  5. HotdogKnight

    HotdogKnight Active Member

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    I tried, I sent over the sheets on boxing day last year but they stand by the word of their reptile vet who obviously still has the information from the previous generation of tortoise owners. It's hard to argue their point when mine is much smaller than theirs, they don't see future problems .
  6. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    You can only try. Focus on yours :)
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  7. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    Two nice looking Russians.
    Keep bringing up yours the TFO way and you shouldn't have any problems. :)
    Size isn't everything, you know.;)
    JoesMum likes this.
  8. HotdogKnight

    HotdogKnight Active Member

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    haha thanks! That's made my day
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  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    A few years ago, I purchased 20 russian hatchlings from three different local sources. All were housed identically in the same room and the same type of enclosures. Heated and lit the same way, same substrate, same water and food bowls, same hides, etc… All of them spent the same amount of time outdoors and soaked side by side in the same tubs daily. All were fed the same food out of the same food container. All were hibernated in the same fridge and the same type of containers.

    After two years, some were over 500 grams and a couple were barely 100 grams. One group of 6 (all from the same breeder) were all consistent fast growers. They ranged from about 340-460 grams at the two year mark. Another group of 6 from another breeder were all very consistent, but slower growing and they were all about 220-240 grams at two years. The third group had 5 that were 8 months old, and 3 that were a few weeks old when I bought them. The three week olds in this groups were the fastest growing and eventually became my largest ones at about 400-520 grams. Their five older siblings, all in the same enclosure ranged from 90-420 grams, after two years in my care.

    Good luck explaining all of that. Seems like genetics does play a role. Also seems obvious to me that the care they do, or don't, receive in their first few weeks and months has a lasting effect too.

    For me, the bottom line is: Care for your tortoise as best you can, and don't worry too much about the growth rate. :)
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  10. surfergirl

    surfergirl Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't sex play a role in growth rate / size as well? I would think supplement foods like mazuri might play a role in growth rate also.
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  11. Farcryjj

    Farcryjj Member

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    Interesting! I was worried why my Clyde is growing soooo fast...
  12. pepsiandjac

    pepsiandjac Well-Known Member

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    I bought 2 Greek spur thigh in Sept 2012 They weighed 14g and 18g,so were only a few weeks old.
    The 1 grew slow and steady but the other 1 grew so fast ,I phoned the breeder to ask if he had sold me a Sulcata by mistake lol,I haven't weighed her for a while but the last time I did he weighed 2.5kg
    I , 528486_10151173497077044_1237336786_n.jpg 528486_10151173497077044_1237336786_n.jpg 12509747_10154041724707044_4067662804169435738_n.jpg
    First pic is day i bought them,and second pic was taken last year,That's my daughters size 8 boot.
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  13. Farcryjj

    Farcryjj Member

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    But do the fast growing ones ever stop growing at one point? Will they just be much bigger than the slow growing ones in every period of their lives?
  14. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    They all stop growing eventually.

    Like humans, those that are on a poor diet tend to end up a bit smaller.

    The eventual size of those on a good diet is determined genetically. Like humans, some grow like weeds early on but it all evens out in the end.
  15. Farcryjj

    Farcryjj Member

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    That makes me feel better. :) Thanks!! And Happy birthday!!
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