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Hello need help for inactive russian tortoise!

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by RussianNinja, Nov 30, 2018.

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  1. Farcryjj

    Farcryjj Member

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    Hi RussianNinja, I have a Russian tortoise also. I found that every time that I change his substrate, he would bury himself for a while. Even when I dig him out and give him his daily soak, he would still go back to bury himself right away. Last time when I changed the substrate in summer, he buried himself for more than a week, and we had to travel, so instead of leaving him to my friend, we just left him alone for another week. After we got back, the substrate hadn't even been moved a bit. He just slept through the whole two weeks. In the end, we dug him out and bathed him and fed him, he finally realized that he was always in his own tank and the food gods are still the same, so he gradually came out of his sleeping mood. Actually, it was like he went to hibernation during summer, so that he is super active right now in December. Last year, he couldn't keep himself awake at all since October, and we had to put him in the fridge to hibernate in early November.
    My point is: your tortoise is probably just shocked by the change of environment. If you keep giving him bath and provide him with food, he will eventually snap out of it. Or, you can let him sleep for couple of weeks, and when he wakes up, it's like a computer reset, he will snap out of it also. :)
  2. RussianNinja

    RussianNinja Member

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    Thanks allot for the info. I've been looking into hibernation/ brumating recently and read that they can tell it's winter even if there in your house and can slow way down and eat less. That and being moved into a new environment. I guess what he's doing could be normal. As i'm new to this I had read how ambitious and personable they were, and was thrown off to how he's been acting. Still buried in the soil. Also i'm brainstorming a bigger encloser. And already thinking about the outside one. Hopefully in less then a month I'll have his new set up built. Timothy grass, plantain and clover seeds should be arriving tomorrow. Pretty exciting! I have to remember it's my son's.
  3. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The first thing you do is not give him a choice.

    Have the lights on full and bright for 14 hours. Double check the temperatures. And first thing in the morning haul him out and soak him in warm water for at least 20 minutes. Offer food straight afterwards.

    Double check the temperatures, especially at night. If he gets too cold at night then he will take too long to warm up in the mornings.
  4. Farcryjj

    Farcryjj Member

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    You are welcome! :) I'm just curious about the weather you have right now, since you mentioned that you are going to plant grasses. I assume you meant to plant them outside in the yard? For me, it is full on winter and snowy outside,so my tortoise has to stay in the tank... I tried to plant grass in the tank, but the result was pathetic and my tortoise didn't even take a second look on them... :(
  5. RussianNinja

    RussianNinja Member

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    Same here with the weather very cold and snowy in new England. I was planning on indoor seed trays. Just bought a indoor led plant light the other day. I'm going this way I'll have some wild greens on hand by next winter or maybe the end of this winter.
  6. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    It’s great that you are planting your own food but... Russians don’t eat grasses; they eat plants with true leaves (not blades). So I wouldn’t plant that one. He’ll love the other two.
  7. RussianNinja

    RussianNinja Member

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    Wow really? Gotta love the internet I've read so many places that they love grass and that Timothy hay is good for them but they can't have to much alfalfa. Heard you can chop it up in small peices and supplement theyre food with it. guess I'll just grow it for my chinchillas.
  8. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    The internet is full of conflicting information, that’s for sure. There are lots of grass eating species, Russians just aren’t one of them.

    People do sometimes finely (super tiny) cut up pieces of grass hay and mix them into other foods when they just can’t find other sources of fiber but you’re not in that position. Easier to add a little Mazuri or another supplement on occasion while you’re beginning to grow and harvest your own.

    The alfalfa thing is also confusing. Alfalfa is in the legume family (beans and peas) and thus a littler higher in protein than other plants. Some plant protein is good for tortoises but not *too* much. Clover is in the legume family as well and obviously we recommend it all the time as a good food! :eek: My Russian enjoys fresh alfalfa on the rare occasions I find it but I can’t imagine she’d eat the dried stuff unless she was really really hungry. She’s certainly never touched a blade of grass while living outside and she’ll eat just about anything.

    At any rate, you’re off to a good start and it will only get better from here. :)
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