1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Hi, I recently acquired two Russian tortoises

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Edbwood, May 25, 2016.

Help Support Tortoise Forums by donating:

  1. Edbwood

    Edbwood New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hi, i recently acquired two Russian tortoises, i have not yet named them, but i have had them for about a month now. I got them from my AP Biology teacher at school who could no longer care for them. I built a 5x3 foot tortoise table, got substrate (coconut fiber, and play sand) and got them a couple different hides and rocks to feed them on. I have been feeding them a big variety in lettuces and they always seem to eat a lot. I have left them a water dish but they dont seem to touch it. For lights i have been using 2 x 100w heat lamps at either end of the cage, and a uvb at the main basking spot as well. I have been soaking them about 1-2 times a week for about 10 minutes each.

    Attached are pictures of the two, and the tortoise table.

    I have some concerns for them though, recently the larger female about 6.5 inches layed an egg earlier today. I was a little surprised at this so i asked my biology teacher what he would do when they lay an egg. He said they were both female, and so the egg would never be fertilized, so he just let them sit around a couple days then would throw out the egg. The problem with this is i am 95% sure the smaller one about 5" is a male, so the egg could possibly be fertilized. He always has his tail to the side, it is significantly longer, and his cloaca is towards the end of the tail and shaped more like a slit. It would be great is you guys could look at the pictures and help me out in anyway. He (if he is a he) has seemed more aggressive lately, running around the enclosure more, and occasionally climbing over her to get somewhere. And if the egg is fertilized ( I tried to candle it, but it was just layed so no way to tell) how do i care for it?

    Thanks guys i look forward to being a member of this community.

    http://imgur.com/a/eKFQd
  2. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    10,892
    Likes Received:
    8,210
    Trophy Points:
    113
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    He'll Ed
    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1464208146.219398.jpg
  3. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    37,304
    Likes Received:
    13,607
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Hello and Welcome. We need to see a picture of the tail area top and more important bottom. The two will need to be separated if one is a male. He will pester the female to illness or death. If they are both female, keep an eye out for one to bully the other. They will need a much larger enclosure too. They cover a lot of ground in the wild
  4. Edbwood

    Edbwood New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    They have been together for more than 6 years with my biology teacher in the same enclosure, would that still be a problem. Here are more pictures of the 5" tortoise in question. http://imgur.com/a/azAvx

    Also im planning on making an outdoor enclosure where i can keep them for part of the day.
  5. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    19,868
    Likes Received:
    50,912
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Kent, South East England
    Hello and welcome :)

    For starters you should read the following

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

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

    Your torts need a minimum of 4' x 8' - each

    Torts are not social animals. They don't get lonely and they don't need, want or particularly like company. There is always a dominant tort and with pairs, regardless of gender, that translates into victim and bully.

    You must keep a close eye on these two. If one seems quiet or eats less then chances are that bullying has started.

    Be prepared to separate your torts permanently.

    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...together-a-lesson-learned-the-hard-way.94114/
  6. Yvonne G

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

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    81,181
    Likes Received:
    53,403
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Clovis, CA
    Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

    That one picture shows an egg that's been held onto quite a while prior to laying it. Russian tortoises usually lay 4 or 5 eggs, so be sure to keep her warm and provide her with a deep area to dig a nest.
    JoesMum likes this.
  7. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    37,304
    Likes Received:
    13,607
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Yes, even after 6 years, in most likely too small of an area and possibly stressed the whole time, may be part reason why they seemed to get along. Theres a chance they had not reach a maturity level to make them more aggressive towards each other. You'd be best to make them separate enclosures for when the time comes to separate. This may also be the reason the female held he egg, as Yvonne said, or she never had the proper enclosure to lay them properly. Someone else will have to try and sex them for you, the pics show up way to large, which then makes them bury
  8. Alexio

    Alexio Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2016
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Syracuse, New York
    It's hard to say 100% with out a clean shot down on the tail. But I'm going to go ahaed and say I'm 95% it's a male. That's a massive sideways tail .
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    45,421
    Likes Received:
    25,273
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    Hello and welcome.

    It looks to me like you've got a male and female.

    They should be separated. You'll need to make another enclosure at least the same size, or bigger.

    Sand is no good. You need to remove that ASAP. It is a big impaction risk, and possible skin and eye irritant. It used to be commonly recommend in the past and some people have just not kept up with current info.

    What sort of UV bulb are you using? Is it the cfl type that your screw into a light socket? Those should not be used. They sometimes burn tortoise eyes.

    All of this and more is in the links that Joe's Mum posted for you.

    Here is what to do for eggs and babies:
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/
    Note that many breeders incubate russians on dry media and use tubs of water to maintain humidity in the incubation container.
  10. Edbwood

    Edbwood New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The uvb is a fluorescent tube.The substrate is a mix about 50/50 cocunut coir, and sand, I have been spraying it daily with a light mist of water, is the sand still a concern?
  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    45,421
    Likes Received:
    25,273
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    Yes. A major one. It should be removed. The coir is good though. I actually prefer fine grade orchid bark for russians.

    Please take a look at those links. Its all explained in detail there.
  12. Speedy-1

    Speedy-1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    Messages:
    3,004
    Likes Received:
    1,739
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    St. David Arizona
    Hi and welcome ! :tort:
  13. TortoiseWarrior

    TortoiseWarrior Active Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    61
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location (City and/or State):
    Minnesota
    Hi and welcome
  14. Momof4

    Momof4 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    9,736
    Likes Received:
    20,053
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    San Diego
    Welcome!! I know there has been a lot of new info thrown your way but if you take the advice you will have happier torts in the long run!

    An outdoor enclosure will be heaven for them!! They love to explore!!
  15. Edbwood

    Edbwood New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I got rid of the sand, and added a thicker layer of coconut coir. Hopefully this will be better for when she lays eggs, and better for burrowing. Also started feeding them on a plate to keep it cleaner.
    https://imgur.com/a/oiGIe

Share This Page