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How do I keep the humidity up in my R.T.’s enclosure?

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by natibrooke03, Oct 11, 2018 at 3:55 AM.

  1. natibrooke03

    natibrooke03 New Member

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    I have an adult male Russian tortoise in the “zoo med tortoise house” with eco earth substrate. My enclosure has started getting really dry. What should I do to fix it?
  2. irishkitty

    irishkitty Well-Known Member

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    First of all, welcome to the forum! I recommend checking out the "species specific" area and you'll find detailed care sheets for the Russian tortoise.

    Before I answer your question, I have a concern, as I am also an owner of Russian tortoises: If your Russian is a fully grown adult male - which is about 5-6" in size, then a Zoo Med Tortoise House is way too small for him. He needs a lot more space!

    Now for the humidity - Adult Russians only need about 50-60% humidity. I use a 50/50 mix of organic topsoil and coco coir. I use a sprayer and spray down the substrate every couple of days and that's sufficient. Their humid hide houses have slightly more humidity because it's more enclosed. I use digital monitors with probes to know what the temperature and humidity levels are.
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  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Hello and welcome.

    I have some bad news: Those enclosures are not good for any tortoise of any size. Poor design, wrong materials, and much too small for any adult tortoise. 4 of them together would be an okay size for an adult Russian.

    To answer your question: You have two simple problems to address. 1.) How to slow evaporation and contain what is already evaporated. 2.) How to keep the substrate damp as more water evaporates.

    1.) Cover some or most of the top to slow evaporation and hold in the humid air. Your Russian does not need high monsoon type humidity. I would just keep the substrate lightly damp and offer a humid hid with a bit more substrate dampness under it.
    2.) You'll need to periodically dump water into the substrate to maintain dampness. How much water and how often varies greatly in each individual enclosure. Some need it daily, others, like in some of my closed chambers for babies of tropical species, never need water added. Spraying the surface does very little.

    Here is some basic care info explaining more of this for your species:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

    Please feel free to ask lots of questions.
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  4. natibrooke03

    natibrooke03 New Member

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    Oh no, I had no idea! I’ve had him for over a year in that enclosure, except for over the summer when he stayed in his outdoor one (much bigger, built with bricks around the edges) Poor little guy :( Also, would it be acceptable to let him walk around my house? I’ve been letting him do that (of course I keep a very close eye on him) and he seems to enjoy it. Thank you for informing me about the enclosure, I will see about getting him an upgrade. What enclosure would be best for him?
  5. irishkitty

    irishkitty Well-Known Member

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    I know some folks let their tortoises wander around the house. I personally don't, as I know mine may eat something off the floor that I don't see, plus there are dangers of injury or getting stuck somewhere. I say it's your tortoise and you know what is best for him :)

    I built tortoise tables out of wood for my Russians. They are for indoors and measure 8' long x 4' wide x 1.5' tall. I know others use a bookshelf (just lay it down, take out the shelves, and add some substrate). The Russians definitely love having space.
    Viola B and natibrooke03 like this.
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