I'm new! Can I have some tips on my tort?

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Hello. I'm new to the website! I have had my tortoise for nine months now, and I finally joined! She is a horsefield's/Russian tortoise, her name is Shellie. She is a one year old. I'm pretty sure she is female. My vet specializes in reptiles, and he says she is definitely a female. I would like some tips on temperature, substrate, diet and exercise. I want what's best for my precious girl.
 

mike taylor

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Welcome to tfo. You can look in the Russian tortoise section and find a good care sheet or wait ,someone will be in soon that keeps them .
 

Corey Mayo

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I have a Russian as well. For substrate I use a combo of potting soil sand and cypress mulch. 50 25 25. For temps I use a hot spot of 95 with the coldest side being 80-85 and the middle being about 87-92. Diet I use kale, collards, turnips, mustard, and dandelion greens. Supplemented with tort food. For exercise I don't worry too much about for my boy because his enclosure is plenty for his exersice. But when his enclosure was smaller I used to let him roam outside for a couple hours.
Welcome and I hope I helped.
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome.
Are you in the UK? They tend to get called Horsefields over here.
I'm not sure but I think it may be too early to sex a tort at one years old.
My vet told me my leopard who was about 3 at the time was a female.
Well Lola proved him wrong about 18 months later when he started flashing his bits!:)
(He is still called Lola though!)
The caresheet will help you a lot as will the Beginners Mistakes thread (link below)
The Enclosures thread has lots of great ideas too and you will find www.thetortoisetable.org.uk a good guide to tort safe plants too.
If you post pics of your enclosure members can help you make sure it is set up as safely as possible.
The best tip I had was don't waste money in pet shops first as they usually don't know much about tort care and sell stuff that may be unsafe or expensive because their priority is profit, so always check here before spending your hard earned cash.
 

Taylor T.

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@Corey Mayo Sand is not recommended as a substrate as it, even when mixed with other types of substrate can be ingested and cause impaction. Potting soil is also not recommend as it often contains vermiculite, which is toxic.
 

Corey Mayo

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@Corey Mayo Sand is not recommended as a substrate as it, even when mixed with other types of substrate can be ingested and cause impaction. Potting soil is also not recommend as it often contains vermiculite, which is toxic.
Thank you. I'll definitely change it immediately. Thank you so much.
 
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Thank you all for the warm welcome! Thank you for the help. Also, I am not in the UK. I read in a PetsMart book about my species of tort, and said it was also known as the horsefield's tortoise.
 
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Also, BTW, for Shellie's substrate I use mulch and coconut soil. It's pretty soft, and great for digging. Shellie seems to love it!
 
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One more thing... If you have trouble with a picky tortoise, I just soak Shellie's Grassland Tortoise Food in Sam's Choice apple juice, and she loves that!
 

Yvonne G

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Welcome to the Forum!

Russian tortoises' plastron (bottom shell) is flat. Most people who don't know a whole lot about tortoises think that because a Russian tortoise's plastron is flat and not concave, it's female. I'm pretty sure your vet is mistaken. Well - maybe not, as he has a 50/50 chance of being right. But, you won't know the gender of your tortoise until it's about 3 or 4 years old. Also, if you bought the tortoise at a pet store rather than from a breeder, chances are pretty good it's about 8 or 10 years old, and not a year like you thought. Your avatar picture isn't big enough for me to get a good look. Can you post a picture of the tortoise and we can give you a better idea of the sex and age.
 

Taylor T.

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I would not use apple juice as it is extremely high in sugar which Russians can not digest. Try just soaking it in water and spreading it on top of the greens. Or, if that does not work you could try Mazuri tortoise food which some tortoises like more.
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome. Yvonne already spelled out what I was going to say.

You can't sex a russian at one year old. Everyone who raises them knows this, so if your expert vet is saying this, it makes everything else they say suspect. Likewise on the age. Where did you buy your tortoise? Was it a captive bred baby from a breeder who knew the hatch date, or did it come from Petsmart where you read the book? Petsmart sells imported adults that are 4 inches or more. Those tortoises are likely to be at least 3-4 years old, and more likely 8 or 10 like Yvonne said.

Few tortoise will eat the Mazuri Grassland pellets without an extensive introductory period where tiny amounts of a soaked pellet are mixed with other favorites. Even grass eating species, which yours is not, don't usually like it at first.

There is a lot of tortoise misinformation floating around out there in the world. Please read these for correct care info:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
 

RosemaryDW

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Welcome from another Russian owner.

I'm sorry to tell you but the information in the book from PetsMart is likely to be out of date. That's okay, you've come to the right place to get the best information. Our Russian was a "surprise," (we found her on the street). Finding this site helped us make immediate improvement in her care; you will have the same experience. :)
 
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My vet said Shellie was likely to be a female, unless there were any changes, which happens sometimes. Also, Sam's Choice Apple juice is actually 100% apples, I checked. I will make sure I don't feed her too much though, because a Russian tort should only have 10% fruit or less. Like you said, it is high in sugar. The employee who sold Shellie to me had her own torts at home, and she said Shellie was three months old when we bought her, which was nine months ago, so that is about a year. Thank you all SO much for the help.
 
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ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1497821496.542408.jpg
This is a pic of Shellie. I'm not sure if she is a Russian, the sign on the enclosure only said Testudo Tortoise.
 
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