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Greg says he needs a nicer apartment, can you help?

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Yuri Gagarin the Tort, Jun 28, 2017.

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  1. Yuri Gagarin the Tort

    Yuri Gagarin the Tort New Member

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    Hello everyone!
    I recently rescued a gorgeous russian tortoise from a local Petco in Northern California. I named him Yuri Gagarin after the cosmonaut, and the first animal to enter deep space (a russian tortoise).
    I saw Greg at the Petco and came back several days a week just to watch him eat, he loves salad so much! He then got an eye infection that apparently was common at that Petco, and I decided to adopt him and administer the meds that the vet prescribed. He became healthy quickly, and loved his new home, which was much bigger and cleaner than his previous one.
    Before rescuing Greg, I was on this site a LOT, reading about temperatures, substrate, you name it. I have found you guys to be extremely helpful in the 6 months that I have now had Greg.

    I have finally joined as a member because I need some help making Greg's life better.
    When I got him, I knew that the glass 40 gallon tank he was going into wasn't ideal, but it was the best I could do until I moved to a house. (If I left him at that Petco he would have been dead in a month!..probably.)
    I had planned to be in a house by this time, in a place where I could get him into a nice Rubbermaid set up with some backyard adventures. But, unfortunately, real estate up here is very competitive and I haven't been able to move out of a small, one bedroom apartment.

    But Greg needs a better set up, he doesn't have a proper shift in temperature in his cage (usually stays around 85-90 degrees all over) and has been losing his appetite in this hot weather.
    To top it all off, my boyfriend says he can't stay in the bedroom with the light any longer (red heat lamp may be fine for me to sleep through but not him apparently). Sooo....he is in the living room, probably hearing too much TV vibrations, and facing down his enemy The Cat.

    I am still looking for a house to move to but that may be another year down the road, and I have little space in my apartment that is safe from the blasted cat. So I am on here, looking for creative suggestions...be nice..I'm trying!

    Here's Greg's layout!
    40 gallon glass tank, with electrical tape along the bottom to help with the whole, glass is see-through bit.
    Coconut substrate
    clay bowl with ever changing organic veggies from the supermarket (based on some forums on here)
    Stereotypical petco thermometers and humidity gauges
    Digital Thermometer probe, currently keeping a read on his favorite spot to bask
    Dual dome light
    Day time light is 100W Powersun UV (for about 8 hours a day)
    Night time light is 75 W Nocturnal Infared red light
    oh! and some clay rocks he likes to climb on.

    greg 2.jpg greg cage.jpg
  2. keepergale

    keepergale Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Addressing only one of your issues for now you, your boyfriend and your tortoise will all do better by replacing the infrared/red light with a ceramic heat emitter. No visiable light for your boyfriend but nice heat for your tortoise.
  3. Yuri Gagarin the Tort

    Yuri Gagarin the Tort New Member

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    Ahhh!!! DUH!! Thank you so much keepergale!! Of course! I feel so silly for not thinking of that!!! Yay!!
    That will at least keep him away from the cat. And in the bedroom there is more room, so i might be able to create a bigger habitat!
    Brilliant! Thank you!
    Lyn W likes this.
  4. Eduardo Hernandez

    Eduardo Hernandez Active Member

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    Apart from needing a bigger enclosure, which you already know of, I see 2 things that can be improved :)

    1) Dig his water bowl into the substrate so that it is flush with the ground. Torts can't bend, so having to climb in and out of it could be a potential tip over hazard.

    2) You do not need the red bulb at night. Not only does it mess with their vision, but Russians need a cool down period at night. As long as your house doesn't drop below 60 degrees you should be fine with just turning off his lights.
  5. Yuri Gagarin the Tort

    Yuri Gagarin the Tort New Member

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    Eduardo, thanks for the advice!
    You're right, he does hate climbing in and out of that water bowl. I used to use the rocks to make a ramp but he was stubborn and didn't use them.
    I will try adding more substrate so I can dig down. Thanks again!
    Eduardo Hernandez likes this.
  6. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    Hi there! I'll add my few cents: the DIET. Russians are herbivorous, veggies (depending on what you buy for him) maybe loaded with sugar that is bad for him. They need variety of broad leafed weeds in their diet, like dandelions, plantains, chikory and MANY MANY others. Look around your place for wild unattended meadows or fields where commercial landscape companies are not likely to go in and spray chemicals. See what you can find. If you see lots of some nice weeds that you are not sure what they are you can snap a pic and post here and hopefully one of us here will help you with ID. Whatever you pick outside rinse well at home bfr feeding. You can also buy some Mazuri and other herbivorous tortoise pellets, and add a bit of those to your Yuri meals to fill in any gaps you may still have there. One more thing: lots of spinach, broccoli and kale is good for us humans but not our torts due to high oxalates with interfere with their calcium absoption. As you know calcium is critical in our shelled friends' diet.
    Lyn W likes this.
  7. Yuri Gagarin the Tort

    Yuri Gagarin the Tort New Member

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    Thank you Pearly, I appreciate you looking out! When i said "veggies" i should have been more specific!
    I feed him a rotating variety of spring mix, mustard greens, kale, endive, watercress, and freise. And once every few months or so i have him try small nibbles of things like radishes, butternut squash, and brussel sprouts.
    I keep trying different dried foods that the member Tom always recommends but he wont go for it. Greg only likes fresh crispy salad.

    I knew that you are supposed to stay away from spinach for these guys, but i thought kale was ok???!

    I have been looking for some new variety, so i will try the weeds! Thank you for the help!
  8. Lyn W

    Lyn W Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi and welcome
    If you run the CHE through a thermostat it will keep the temp even and make sure your tort doesn't overheat. Just make sure the probe is near his level but out of nibbling range.
    Yuri Gagarin the Tort likes this.
  9. Lyn W

    Lyn W Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    www.thetortoisetable.org.uk is a good guide to tort safe plants and the caresheet will give good diet advice
    Yuri Gagarin the Tort likes this.
  10. Yuri Gagarin the Tort

    Yuri Gagarin the Tort New Member

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    Thank you Lyn! I love this website, its where i started when i didn't know what to do! Glad to see someone else uses it!
  11. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  12. Yuri Gagarin the Tort

    Yuri Gagarin the Tort New Member

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    Haha hi! Thanks Grandpa!
  13. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Russian tortoises don't really need night time heat.
  14. Yuri Gagarin the Tort

    Yuri Gagarin the Tort New Member

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    Really? I think one of the many care sheets that circulate recommended some.sort of heat source...
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