How often should my russian tortoise poop?

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I am a new tortoise owner and I decided on getting a russian because of where I live. I keep her inside. I've only had her with me for a few days and she's eating just fine. I've given her some calcium already and given her a warm soak. She hasn't pooped yet and I'm not sure if it's from stress because of the change of environment or if this normal. What should I do?
 

LJL1982

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I am a new tortoise owner and I decided on getting a russian because of where I live. I keep her inside. I've only had her with me for a few days and she's eating just fine. I've given her some calcium already and given her a warm soak. She hasn't pooped yet and I'm not sure if it's from stress because of the change of environment or if this normal. What should I do?
Tortoises do stress from changes in environment but its most likely if it has not pooped that it is dehydrated. It also needs to have eaten enough to defecate, tortoises have very slow digestion rates and need warmth to digest food, so it may take her a few days to pass anything.

I would recommend checking all the temperatures in her enclosure...can you post a picture of her enclosure and the temperatures in different areas of her enclosure?

My key recommendation would be to bath every day for at least 20 minutes a day. You can't over bath a tortoise and you don't necessarily know how hydrated she was kept before you acquired her.

Make sure the bath is warm...the temperature that you would run for a child, they will enjoy it more. Keep the water warm topping up with hot if required. If the tortoise behaves like its on a treadmill, leave it in there the movement will benefit it.

Let us know about your enclosure, including substrate and also what you are feeding, it will give us a better idea of how to improve anything that might be affecting it.
 
Joined
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Fort Myers, FL
Tortoises do stress from changes in environment but its most likely if it has not pooped that it is dehydrated. It also needs to have eaten enough to defecate, tortoises have very slow digestion rates and need warmth to digest food, so it may take her a few days to pass anything.

I would recommend checking all the temperatures in her enclosure...can you post a picture of her enclosure and the temperatures in different areas of her enclosure?

My key recommendation would be to bath every day for at least 20 minutes a day. You can't over bath a tortoise and you don't necessarily know how hydrated she was kept before you acquired her.

Make sure the bath is warm...the temperature that you would run for a child, they will enjoy it more. Keep the water warm topping up with hot if required. If the tortoise behaves like its on a treadmill, leave it in there the movement will benefit it.

Let us know about your enclosure, including substrate and also what you are feeding, it will give us a better idea of how to improve anything that might be affecting it.
I am sorry I can not post a picture because my phone camera is busted but I can tell you the temperatures. Her basking area is kept at 90 or 95 °F, and her hiding area is about 75°F. I've fed her collards and a little bit of kale. I tried giving her things with more color such as bell peppers and radicchio but she won't try them. I feed her every other day and whatever she will eat in an hour. Ive put calcium on her food once already. I have set her in the pool she has in her enclosure but she doesn't go to it by herself. I have given her two warm baths this week. She enjoys basking and has recently been trying to brumate. I have gotten advice about that on this forum already and have decided since she is new to me and can't verify how well she is that she is not brumating this year. The substrate she has is cypress mulch. ( I have only had her for 5 days)
 

LJL1982

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I am sorry I can not post a picture because my phone camera is busted but I can tell you the temperatures. Her basking area is kept at 90 or 95 °F, and her hiding area is about 75°F. I've fed her collards and a little bit of kale. I tried giving her things with more color such as bell peppers and radicchio but she won't try them. I feed her every other day and whatever she will eat in an hour. Ive put calcium on her food once already. I have set her in the pool she has in her enclosure but she doesn't go to it by herself. I have given her two warm baths this week. She enjoys basking and has recently been trying to brumate. I have gotten advice about that on this forum already and have decided since she is new to me and can't verify how well she is that she is not brumating this year. The substrate she has is cypress mulch. ( I have only had her for 5 days)
I think especially if she was trying to brumate and you want to ensure she doesn't I would bath daily for the moment if you can.

How old is she? Sometimes people find their tortoise eats cypress mulch, it is not recommended for tortoises, in case they ingest it. You could try switching him over to coir which is easier to keep humid with a spray bottle too.
 
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I think especially if she was trying to brumate and you want to ensure she doesn't I would bath daily for the moment if you can.

How old is she? Sometimes people find their tortoise eats cypress mulch, it is not recommended for tortoises, in case they ingest it. You could try switching him over to coir which is easier to keep humid with a spray bottle too.
I will switch her substrate then. I wasn't really liking the cypress mulch for her. When I got her they were unsure of her age. I'm not sure she is fully grown though. She is only about 5 inches long.
 

SinLA

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a 5" Russian can be fully grown esp if a male. If you got it at a pet store very likely an adult.
 
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a 5" Russian can be fully grown esp if a male. If you got it at a pet store very likely an adult.
She is a female and I thought females get larger than males. If I keep bathing her and change her substrate when will she defecate? I want to make sure she is healthy and if she isn't pooping how long should I wait? I'm really worried. The pet store didn't seem to treat her right and I wanted to save her from that. I just want to do right by her. And make sure she can be happy and healthy. She eats, she soaks, and she basks, I just need her to poop so I can have some hope for her health.
 

SinLA

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When I got my russian (a rescue) he didn't eat for 3 weeks. Your mantra has to be "time moves slowly for tortoises". I wouldn't worry yet.

When you get your camera working (or borrow someone else's) get us photos of her top, bottom, and backside, and the enclosure.

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I first started is - other than improvements for health & safety, stop messing with things. Every time you make a change to their space, unlike a dog or cat which will love their new toy or bed or cat tree, the tortoise is like WHAT THE **** IS THAT????? and can take days or weeks to decide its not going to kill it.
 
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When I got my russian (a rescue) he didn't eat for 3 weeks. Your mantra has to be "time moves slowly for tortoises". I wouldn't worry yet.

When you get your camera working (or borrow someone else's) get us photos of her top, bottom, and backside, and the enclosure.

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I first started is - other than improvements for health & safety, stop messing with things. Every time you make a change to their space, unlike a dog or cat which will love their new toy or bed or cat tree, the tortoise is like WHAT THE **** IS THAT????? and can take days or weeks to decide its not going to kill it.
Thank you
 

LJL1982

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I will switch her substrate then. I wasn't really liking the cypress mulch for her. When I got her they were unsure of her age. I'm not sure she is fully grown though. She is only about 5 inches long.
Is she definitely a female? Either way russians/ horsfield are dwtty but 5 inches isn't full grown. You can't really age from size but maybe 4-6 years would make sense.

Cypress mulch can have pine mixed in which is poisonous to tortoises so that's something to watch...but it won't cause an instant issue. If yiu have the time, keep bathing it can only be positive for health.

Also lots of fibre...not sure you said what you were feeding...Google Tortoise Table Plant Database. Lots on there.

Maybe try some aloe...tortoises love it, but be sure to bathe lots, it can encourage them to go. Lots of weeds like dandelion and plantain and sowthistle...I'm sorry I don't know if they are native where you are. Also Hibiscus.

The big no no is fruit. Also, up your feeding, about enough kale/ collard/ weeds to "fill" the shell of your tortoise. You can feed every day, with a couple of days off now and then in any order.

When you have a camera that works pop some photos on but feel free to ask questions and browse the forum till then it's lovely to have new tortoise owners here :D
 

zolasmum

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Thank you
You don't need to time how long you leave her food for her to eat - just put more out as the day goes on. Also, how often do you put calcium on her food, and how much? .If you sprinkle it over the top of her food all the time it may put her off - just a small pinch of calcium mixed in with the food , and not every day, should be enough. Does she have a cuttlefish bone in her enclosure ? Does her beak look all right? If it is too long or oddly shaped, that could put her off eating.
Angie
 
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You don't need to time how long you leave her food for her to eat - just put more out as the day goes on. Also, how often do you put calcium on her food, and how much? .If you sprinkle it over the top of her food all the time it may put her off - just a small pinch of calcium mixed in with the food , and not every day, should be enough. Does she have a cuttlefish bone in her enclosure ? Does her beak look all right? If it is too long or oddly shaped, that could put her off eating.
Angie
Since I just got her my plan was to put calcium on her food once a week. I've done it once already.
 
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Is she definitely a female? Either way russians/ horsfield are dwtty but 5 inches isn't full grown. You can't really age from size but maybe 4-6 years would make sense.

Cypress mulch can have pine mixed in which is poisonous to tortoises so that's something to watch...but it won't cause an instant issue. If yiu have the time, keep bathing it can only be positive for health.

Also lots of fibre...not sure you said what you were feeding...Google Tortoise Table Plant Database. Lots on there.

Maybe try some aloe...tortoises love it, but be sure to bathe lots, it can encourage them to go. Lots of weeds like dandelion and plantain and sowthistle...I'm sorry I don't know if they are native where you are. Also Hibiscus.

The big no no is fruit. Also, up your feeding, about enough kale/ collard/ weeds to "fill" the shell of your tortoise. You can feed every day, with a couple of days off now and then in any order.

When you have a camera that works pop some photos on but feel free to ask questions and browse the forum till then it's lovely to have new tortoise owners here :D
Thank you I was feeling a little overwhelmed so it's nice to know that this is a welcoming community. I will change her substrate to coco coir. And start feeding her like you said. By giving her the size of her shell in food.
 

LJL1982

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Thank you I was feeling a little overwhelmed so it's nice to know that this is a welcoming community. I will change her substrate to coco coir. And start feeding her like you said. By giving her the size of her shell in food.
Tortoises are really quite resilient things, especially once they are a bit older (so an older juvenile like yours). Hydration is most important thing bit you don't need to do anything too much to a plan...if something is working well, keep doing it 👍
 

Tom

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Thank you I was feeling a little overwhelmed so it's nice to know that this is a welcoming community. I will change her substrate to coco coir. And start feeding her like you said. By giving her the size of her shell in food.
There is nothing wrong with cypress mulch. It is one of the three recommended safe substrates.

Your tortoise isn't pooping because there has not been enough food eaten.

Wherever you got the info to feed for an hour every other day, is a bad source of info. Everything else that you got from that source should be suspect. Tortoises are grazers. They need to be able to graze all day every day. In the right enclosure with the right temperatures, they do not get fat.

Collards and kale are both okay once in a while, but neither are good staples.

More here:
 
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UPDATE!
So it has been a solid week and she still has not pooped. I'm pretty sure she has peed but after everything she has still not pooped. Even after more warm soaks, changing the substrate and feeding her proper amounts and food.
 

LJL1982

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Tortoise metabolism can be very slow...

She may be impacted, have you seen her straining at all?
 

LJL1982

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Im not sure. What would that look like? Because it doesn't seem like she's been struggling.
They lift themselves up off their shell, push hard down with their tail and most noticeably either pull in their head or more likely do a weird think with their eyes where they look very "almond shaped" and glazed, rather than round, bright and relaxed for a short period.
 
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They lift themselves up off their shell, push hard down with their tail and most noticeably either pull in their head or more likely do a weird think with their eyes where they look very "almond shaped" and glazed, rather than round, bright and relaxed for a short period.
No I've never seen her do anything like that before.
 

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