I'm new to the community and I need some help with my tortoise!

libbydarko

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Hi! I had just purchased a tortoise at Pet Smart about a week ago. They had told me that he was a “testudo tortoise” and upon more research I guess there’s different kinds of Testudo tortoises. I wanted to figure out which one mine is exactly so I can care for him properly. He isn’t eating very much and is always trying to go sleep in his little house. I’ve been soaking him everyday for at least 15 minutes to make sure he is at least drinking some water. I just want to know if that behavior is normal for a newly homed, younger tortoise. Or if I am doing something wrong. The temp ranges from 88 degrees Fahrenheit to 95 degrees Fahrenheit depending on what light he has on. I’m feeding him food pet smart sold me mixed with fresh kale. He went poop in his soak this morning so I'm guessing he is eating at least a little bit that I may not be seeing.

Please let me know if I am doing anything wrong and if any of you lovely people can help me figure out exactly what type of tortoise my little guy is! Thank you! My name is Libby and my tortoise is Scooter!
S78fw+PxR7+wnQHdNVDI4Q.jpg ywFVM8vdQOWECdGmcmfnSA.jpg sepkmraLSZ2oWR4yf33vPg.jpg qhrD4KMhTJ+Z51UabOXWDQ.jpg YSsD8BP+RDi31EzPHyBySg.jpg w2c7mt2oQsWxPgh%Ik2bjA.jpg +zQDT718SyiYW+IMT%gt6Q.jpg 2cKv8bhxTI6tKTONNM3nWA.jpg Fx6zRvOIRACl7UcjyXY20w.jpg l2FeLWS6RF6I7DsmrBqYwg.jpg ek9Yc+pQRUyz+LSg5jVc8A.jpg

IMG_2916.JPG
 

Ben02

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That’s a Russian tortoise. Never listen to advice given by the guy at pet smart, they spread old info that can harm your tortoise. The diet needs to be made up of fresh weeds, broadleaf greens, flowers and pellets like the ones you have to add variety. Pet smart and most other pet stores sell wild caught torts, yours looks wild caught due to the dents and scratches on the shell.

Well done for soaking daily but wild caught torts tend to be jam packed with parasites. This may be why he is not eating.
 

Ben02

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Also what bulb are you using? I’ve noticed that in some pictures, the tortoises eyes seem squint and sometimes closed. Is it a curly bulb?
 

libbydarko

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Awesome! Thank you so much for the info, that helps tons!
As of being most likely a wild caught tort, that may have parasites, should I take him to a vet for a check up?
I also have these two lights.
Infrared for night and the white one is a "Solar Glo" bulb for the day.
IQTegD0oQnGkT161AnRm9g.jpg
 

Ben02

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Awesome! Thank you so much for the info, that helps tons!
As of being most likely a wild caught tort, that may have parasites, should I take him to a vet for a check up?
I also have these two lights.
Infrared for night and the white one is a "Solar Glo" bulb for the day.
View attachment 275009
A poop sample will do the trick, take it along to a reptile vet and they will have a look at it. You haven’t got that curly bulb which is good, but I would not use that red one as torts need complete darkness to sleep. Does the solar glow one have UVB and heat? I use MVBs for my adults and that’s what yours is if I’m correct.

Torts generally get very stressed when moved to a new home so that will effect appetite sometimes.
 

libbydarko

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A poop sample will do the trick, take it along to a reptile vet and they will have a look at it. You haven’t got that curly bulb which is good, but I would not use that red one as torts need complete darkness to sleep. Does the solar glow one have UVB and heat? I use MVBs for my adults and that’s what yours is if I’m correct.

Torts generally get very stressed when moved to a new home so that will effect appetite sometimes.
Thank you so much! I will get an appointment set up then!
For the solar glow, on the box it says "Optimal levels of UVB, UVA, visual light and heat in one bulb". Is the solar glow by itself enough and I should return the red?
 

Ben02

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Thank you so much! I will get an appointment set up then!
For the solar glow, on the box it says "Optimal levels of UVB, UVA, visual light and heat in one bulb". Is the solar glow by itself enough and I should return the red?
I would return the red bulb, the solar glow should be fine for an adult
 

Ben02

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Thank you so much! I will get an appointment set up then!
For the solar glow, on the box it says "Optimal levels of UVB, UVA, visual light and heat in one bulb". Is the solar glow by itself enough and I should return the red?
I would return the red bulb, the solar glow should be fine for an adult
 

Yvonne G

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Since your new, male russian tortoise is full grown, he doesn't need to live in such a warm enclosure. He needs a basking spot under the light that's about 100F degrees, then room temperature for the rest of the enclosure. And unless your house gets extremely cold at night he won't need night time heat until winter.

The same company that puts out the bagged kale in your picture also packages up turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and look outside for edible weeds to add to that. Plus, you can feed him grape leaves and mulberry tree leaves.

Be thinking about building a safe, outdoor tortoise enclosure. Russians do much better in a LARGE outdoor space.
 

Yvonne G

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. . . and I forgot to mention that the screen your solar glo light is sitting on is filtering out much of the good UVB rays. The UVB light should not be sitting on a screen.
 

RosemaryDW

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Welcome! Russians are the best!

Ugh, chain pet stores give out terrible information, I’m afraid. Fortunately Russians are tough and you’ve come to a spot with up-to-date info.

It’s longish but here is the care sheet for adult Russians: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/.

First thing you want to get right is the enclosure; your Russian can do without food far longer than the right temperatures and lighting. Hydration is important and you’ve already started to soak him.

Hang on to your receipts for whatever they’ve sold you, except the tortoise! I imagine they’ve sold you that way too small fish tank, water bowl and (probably) overpriced lamp. It won’t take much money to set things right but you will need to figure out how to work a large enclosure into whatever space you have.

Don’t worry too much about anything the store misled you about. They are in business to make money and their employees aren’t trained about tortoises. Most everyone here has made similar mistakes!

Again, welcome to the forum!
 

6strings

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Those chain pet stores really do not give good advice for the Russian (Horsefield) tortoises they sell. Or their snakes, their boxed "snake kits" are so wrong. I have a re-homed Russian, original owners got it from Petsmart. The poor thing was a mess, they kept it indoors in a glass tank, and that is unfortunately not good for an adult. These animals need more room, access to moisture, and better UVB.
I am happy to report it is doing nicely now, looks so much better, but only after letting it live outside for some weeks getting natural sunlight and moisture in its burrow. World of difference.

if you can make an outdoor area for it, even for just weekends, that would be great. Best of course is outdoors during Spring/Summer or whatever your local area weather allows. Many pics on this forum of outdoor setups. They can be simple too. Like a raised bed garden kit using 4 corner concrete blocks and some wood planks. Or those wall blocks that kind of interlock. You will have to sink some bricks under the perimeter to prevent digging out. Make it as roomy as you can with sun and shade. Then plant some plants - search tortoise-friendly plants or tortoise-edible plants. Seeds are at tortoisesupply.com and other places.

There are pics on this sight of indoor enclosures. Search "tortoise table" here, on google, on youtube. That should give you ideas. Unfortunately the enclosure you have is not suitable for an adult tortoise of any kind. Best if no screen between your UVB bulb and the cage floor as others stated. LLL Reptile or Creative Pet Supply or others sell a Waterland small land tortoise tub which, although not as big as it should be, is much much better than what you have. Add a ZooMed lamp stand, pretty straightforward and simple. A friend of mine has had a Horsefield in one of those Waterland tubs for quite a few years, and it is doing very well. If you can go bigger, like the medium/large tub, even better. Ask questions, you came to the right forum for all things tortoise. Good luck!
 

Sleppo

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Hi and welcome. Just a friendly suggestion it looks like you are feeding directly on the substrate. You will want to feed on an shallow dish or even better a piece of slate. The reason for this is that he may eat some of the substrate when taking bites which could cause a dangerous blockage. Slate is good to use too as it can help file down their beaks while they eat. Russian's are great little tortoises with big personalities, enjoy your little guy! Feel free to ask questions and do research on this forum, this is the best place for information!
 

Mo & Bolt

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Welcome , he is a little darling, you will have so much joy from him. I have only had my Bolt for under a year although he is 50 yrs , he didn't eat for 6 weeks when I first got him but they are amazing little creatures and endure a lot. I had a lot of support and info from this page. I would say the best thing for him is to get him outside when you can. I am positive that they interact with the Suns rise and fall and the sounds of nature, birds call. Best wishes Gill from UK
 

Russiantortylady

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He looks just like my Russian Tortoise, I mean EXACTLY and you do have a male there, you can tell my the length of the tail and the way it curves under him. He is beautiful, You are going to love him!! They have so much personality. Good luck with him and keep the pics coming.
 

mags48

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Anyone got any ideas.?. I live in the North west of England. I have made an enclosure outside for my five horse fields. They are on large double tortoise table in the living room usually. I want to put them outside in there pen, but the temperature is a bit changeable. Do I put a heat bulb in a house I have made for them so they can go in if it is raining, or a basking light if the sun isn't out? Or do I watch the weather and fetch them in and out accordingly. I would not leave them out at night. The temperature outside during the day is about 70c.Unless it is really sunny.
 

katieandiggy

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Anyone got any ideas.?. I live in the North west of England. I have made an enclosure outside for my five horse fields. They are on large double tortoise table in the living room usually. I want to put them outside in there pen, but the temperature is a bit changeable. Do I put a heat bulb in a house I have made for them so they can go in if it is raining, or a basking light if the sun isn't out? Or do I watch the weather and fetch them in and out accordingly. I would not leave them out at night. The temperature outside during the day is about 70c.Unless it is really sunny.

I’m making an outdoor night/bad weather box.
I will have a basking lamp one side and a tubular heater in a separate area. I will turn the lamp on when the sun isn’t great and I will turn the heater on when the night temps are too low. It’s also a secure area for him to go at night. I don’t want to keep bringing him inside at night and this will be a nice secure box for him to sleep in safe from predators.

I’ll post pics, I’ll probably start making it this weekend.
 

Mo & Bolt

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Here in the south east , Kent . It remains quite warm. Mine lives outside but when its to chilly he generally won't come out. I do leave him for a day or two but then take into indoor pen to warm up so he can eat. Its just that if it's too cold for too long he don't eat. At the moment we are getting along ok. But I do tend to keep a eye on the weather and go in and out to see what he is doing. I have found him cold and still out and too drowsy to move back into his shelter . Gill
 
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