Help with indoor enclosure for a Russian?

xtessybear

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I have a Russian, and I live in Minnesota so I wanted to at least give him the best habitat living indoors. He's roughly 3 years old, but I've read so much about enclosures that I really don't know what I should give him (preferably portable because I'm moving out in about a year). I've seen lots of great ideas on the forum, but are there any must-haves such as dimensions, decor, hideaways etc.? I've had him for around half a year now, and I'm still in high school so I have a pretty make-shift habitat until I get him what he needs. He's currently living in a 50-gallon rubber maid tote that he's okay with for the time being, but I want to provide the best for Dipper. The woman I got him from gave me some crappy supplies though, and the pets stores around here have little to no supplies that I need for him. So I was thinking this could be more of a fresh start, with new supplies. I am really sketched out about ordering things online when I don't really have a clue of what would be perfect, so if anyone knows of links to lamps, water dishes, hideaways that are the right size for him, I would very much appreciate the help!! If anyone has any questions about the details of the habitat to give me some better information please feel free to ask, Dipper and I are open books. I was very self-conscious that people may look down on me for what I'm keeping him in and such, but I put 100% into being a tortoise owner, and I'm looking to learn more about this beautiful breed.

Thanks everyone for your time!! :<3::<3::) Sincerely, Tess & Dipper.

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Gillian M

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Hi @xtessybear and a very warm welcome to the forum.:)

Please read the so-called "Beginners Mistakes" Thread and care sheet on Russian torts. Give your tort daily soaks in warm water so as to avoid dehydration and pyramiding. What's the weather like back there?

An indoor enclosure has to be large, and the larger it is, the better: Torts are used to roaming around in the wild where the please and as they please. ;)
There is a section on enclosures which I'm sure would answer your questions.

Any pics of your tort? ;)
 

xtessybear

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Hi @xtessybear and a very warm welcome to the forum.:)

Please read the so-called "Beginners Mistakes" Thread and care sheet on Russian torts. Give your tort daily soaks in warm water so as to avoid dehydration and pyramiding. What's the weather like back there?

An indoor enclosure has to be large, and the larger it is, the better: Torts are used to roaming around in the wild where the please and as they please. ;)
There is a section on enclosures which I'm sure would answer your questions.

Any pics of your tort? ;)

Okay, I will read that!! I do soak him like once every two weeks, should i be doing it more? it's also only for like a little under ten minutes since he gets so antsy in water. Currently, the average weather around this time of year is 35-45 degrees, but then snow is here from maybe mid-november until mid-march, but its always different up here. And yes, since I got him I brought him to the vet and he told me to take him outside as much as possible while I can but now hes always scratching on the wall to get out, but it's too cold for the little guy!! I feel so bad, so I want to give him a better enclosure where maybe he won't feel like he needs to get out all of the time. I have 3 younger siblings so the house is slightly cluttered so I am too scared to let him run loose where he might get lost or even stuck somewhere. PS Pic is a couple months out of date, but I brought him to a park with a large open field where he'd run around and eat clover blooms.

14502976_664111030415889_2200079575982561706_n.jpg
 

xtessybear

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I also just have many general questions that I can't find answers to online, and they probably are obvious but I'm such a worrier that I feel like I need to start taking notes.
 

cmacusa3

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I also just have many general questions that I can't find answers to online, and they probably are obvious but I'm such a worrier that I feel like I need to start taking notes.
Ask away, there are a lot of great Russian tortoise owners on this site and they will be happy to help you with that species.

With a tort that size daily soaks aren't necessary. I would at least do it 3 or 4 times a week.
 

JoesMum

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You should be soaking your Russian 3-4 times a week for at least 20 minutes each time.

I find it to be most successful first thing in the morning before my tort has warmed up properly.

Use a high sided, flat bottomed bowl that your tort can't see through or over. I use a washing up bowl. The water needs to be warm, not hot - think baby bath.

If your tort poops just scoop it out with your hand. If it pees then ignore it. If the water goes cold then change it.
 

Gillian M

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I also just have many general questions that I can't find answers to online, and they probably are obvious but I'm such a worrier that I feel like I need to start taking notes.
Don't worry. We all started from scratch, so as to say. I for one, NEVER had a pet, NEVER dealt with animals till I got Oli (my beloved Greek tort). I did A LOT of research, after which I joined this forum. Don't worry, alright?
 

xtessybear

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Don't worry. We all started from scratch, so as to say. I for one, NEVER had a pet, NEVER dealt with animals till I got Oli (my beloved Greek tort). I did A LOT of research, after which I joined this forum. Don't worry, alright?

Thanks so much!! I've had many pets (really only cats though), but I've always admired reptiles, especially tortoises and i did research but when i actually got Dipper I thought I did everything wrong. I feel like I'm a mother to him and I just worry too much about things.
 

Gillian M

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Okay, I will read that!! I do soak him like once every two weeks, should i be doing it more? it's also only for like a little under ten minutes since he gets so antsy in water. Currently, the average weather around this time of year is 35-45 degrees, but then snow is here from maybe mid-november until mid-march, but its always different up here. And yes, since I got him I brought him to the vet and he told me to take him outside as much as possible while I can but now hes always scratching on the wall to get out, but it's too cold for the little guy!! I feel so bad, so I want to give him a better enclosure where maybe he won't feel like he needs to get out all of the time. I have 3 younger siblings so the house is slightly cluttered so I am too scared to let him run loose where he might get lost or even stuck somewhere. PS Pic is a couple months out of date, but I brought him to a park with a large open field where he'd run around and eat clover blooms.

14502976_664111030415889_2200079575982561706_n.jpg

Oh he's gorgeous. GOD bless.
 

xtessybear

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Thank goodness!! He's loving the attention. At that time his skin was very flaky and my vet told me it was because I was supposedly taking better care of him than his previous owner, so I'm hoping that's all it was.
 

Gillian M

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Thank goodness!! He's loving the attention. At that time his skin was very flaky and my vet told me it was because I was supposedly taking better care of him than his previous owner, so I'm hoping that's all it was.
See? That is a GREAT beginning. Keep up the good work.
 

xtessybear

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I just have a lot of questions about everything that but I don't always have a lot of time to research everything, but much of it is very basic stuff but since I get so many different varieties of answers I really don't know what is more reliable etc.
 

Tom

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We all started out with ZERO experience or knowledge. If we looked down on you, hurt your feelings, or insulted you because things are not "perfect", that would help no one, and it would not help your tortoise at all. We are here to help. We want you to enjoy having a tortoise and we want your tortoise to live a long healthy life.

Start by reading these:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

Many of your questions, including cage size, will be answered in these two threads and there are lots of tips. After you've read those two threads then come back and list all your questions for us. I find it easier to answer questions if they are numbered, but that is not a requirement at all. Just a suggestion.
 

xtessybear

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You should be soaking your Russian 3-4 times a week for at least 20 minutes each time.

I find it to be most successful first thing in the morning before my tort has warmed up properly.

Use a high sided, flat bottomed bowl that your tort can't see through or over. I use a washing up bowl. The water needs to be warm, not hot - think baby bath.

If your tort poops just scoop it out with your hand. If it pees then ignore it. If the water goes cold then change it.

I didn't realize I had to soak him so often. Is it bad that I've been doing it like once every two weeks? that's what I was told.
 

JoesMum

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I didn't realize I had to soak him so often. Is it bad that I've been doing it like once every two weeks? that's what I was told.
If your tortoise is adult and is definitely drinking/self soaking then you can drop the soaks to maybe once or twice a week.

Babies, sick torts and those that are not eating properly need soaking daily.

I suggested an in-between solution.

If a tortoise is dehydrated over a very long period of time that can lead to stones in the bladder or kidneys which, if they grow too big, could be fatal. Smaller stones can be passed. Keeping a tort too dry also leads to shell pyramidding.

With any luck there's no lasting damage :) Just increase the soak frequency and make sure it's at least 20 minutes each time.
 

Yvonne G

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I didn't realize I had to soak him so often. Is it bad that I've been doing it like once every two weeks? that's what I was told.

Actually, in my opinion, you don't need to soak that tortoise at all. He's older than the three years you suspected. That's a wild caught tortoise and over 10 years of age. Probably full grown. If you just provide a waterer in the habitat, the tortoise will drink when he needs to. You can also spritz water over his food.
 

xtessybear

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Actually, in my opinion, you don't need to soak that tortoise at all. He's older than the three years you suspected. That's a wild caught tortoise and over 10 years of age. Probably full grown. If you just provide a waterer in the habitat, the tortoise will drink when he needs to. You can also spritz water over his food.

Really?? My vet told me he was around 3!!
 

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