Info For New People. Please Read This First.

TheRed365

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May 9, 2023
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6
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Kansas
You sent some time typing that out!

1. Every other day soaking will ensure good hydration. I like it.
2. Humidifiers are okay to run in the room where the enclosure is, but they should not be blowing directly into an enclosure. I don't use them at all. Also, at 9 inches, humidity is not all that important anymore.
3. "Loose on the floor" isn't loose on the floor if the whole floor had been made into a dedicated tortoise enclosure. I have done this before in a little house that I lived in with sulcatas. Half the living room was their enclosure. They weren't loose. They were in their enclosure. A whole room sized enclosure sounds fantastic.
4. About your greenhouse tent. It won't hurt anything , but its not critical for larger tortoises that are mostly already grown. High humidity id VERY important for hatchling leopard tortoises. Older larger ones do fine with drier conditions, as long as they are well hydrated, like with every other day soaks for example... :)
5. CFLs should never be used over tortoises. They are ineffective UV sources and some of them burn reptile eyes. I would turn those off ASAP.
6. Blacklights and other colored bulbs shouldn't be used either. Tortoises see colors better than we do. If you can see that light at night, your tortoise can see it better. It should be dark at night. A CHE or two controlled by a thermostat can work, but your tortoise is getting borderline too big to be under CHEs and incandescent bulbs. RHPs are better, but must be close and have a relatively low ceiling to be effective.
7. Ambient heat should be on a thermostat. Basking bulbs and ambient light on one timer, and UV on a different timer. Thermostats can be found on amazon for $18-30.

You are welcome. More questions and tortoise conversation are welcome.
H
You sent some time typing that out!

1. Every other day soaking will ensure good hydration. I like it.
2. Humidifiers are okay to run in the room where the enclosure is, but they should not be blowing directly into an enclosure. I don't use them at all. Also, at 9 inches, humidity is not all that important anymore.
3. "Loose on the floor" isn't loose on the floor if the whole floor had been made into a dedicated tortoise enclosure. I have done this before in a little house that I lived in with sulcatas. Half the living room was their enclosure. They weren't loose. They were in their enclosure. A whole room sized enclosure sounds fantastic.
4. About your greenhouse tent. It won't hurt anything , but its not critical for larger tortoises that are mostly already grown. High humidity id VERY important for hatchling leopard tortoises. Older larger ones do fine with drier conditions, as long as they are well hydrated, like with every other day soaks for example... :)
5. CFLs should never be used over tortoises. They are ineffective UV sources and some of them burn reptile eyes. I would turn those off ASAP.
6. Blacklights and other colored bulbs shouldn't be used either. Tortoises see colors better than we do. If you can see that light at night, your tortoise can see it better. It should be dark at night. A CHE or two controlled by a thermostat can work, but your tortoise is getting borderline too big to be under CHEs and incandescent bulbs. RHPs are better, but must be close and have a relatively low ceiling to be effective.
7. Ambient heat should be on a thermostat. Basking bulbs and ambient light on one timer, and UV on a different timer. Thermostats can be found on amazon for $18-30.

You are welcome. More questions and tortoise conversation are welcome.
Hi again Tom,
hope all is well. As winter approaches, I am making some adjustments to the inside enclosure. The biggest of which is new UV bulbs. I was going to get the 12% Arcadia HO (22 inch) you recommended in other posts. would that still be your recommendation? If so, the default lamp bundle on Amazon has a poor rating for the lamp despite the bulb quality. Do you have a recommendation for the lamp/housing?

I could have sworn once I saw a combo that had day light LEDs on one side and a T5 for UVB on a separate timer on the other. Would be great for space, but A) I can’t find it anywhere and B) thought I’d get your input.

thanks again!
-Red
 

Tom

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H

Hi again Tom,
hope all is well. As winter approaches, I am making some adjustments to the inside enclosure. The biggest of which is new UV bulbs. I was going to get the 12% Arcadia HO (22 inch) you recommended in other posts. would that still be your recommendation? If so, the default lamp bundle on Amazon has a poor rating for the lamp despite the bulb quality. Do you have a recommendation for the lamp/housing?

I could have sworn once I saw a combo that had day light LEDs on one side and a T5 for UVB on a separate timer on the other. Would be great for space, but A) I can’t find it anywhere and B) thought I’d get your input.

thanks again!
-Red
The Pro T5 Kits from Arcadia are my top choice for indoor UV. Any length will work.

I do my LEDs separate so that I can run the UV for 2-4 hours mid day and keep the LEDs on for 12 hours on a separate timer.
 

TheRed365

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Joined
May 9, 2023
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Kansas
The Pro T5 Kits from Arcadia are my top choice for indoor UV. Any length will work.

I do my LEDs separate so that I can run the UV for 2-4 hours mid day and keep the LEDs on for 12 hours on a separate timer.
Any recommendations for LEDs then? Is it super important to be specific on the type of light for LEDs if the UVB is a separate unit? Right now I've just been running an extra Phillips hue in a regular desk lamp synced to sunrise sunset times.
 

Tom

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Any recommendations for LEDs then? Is it super important to be specific on the type of light for LEDs if the UVB is a separate unit? Right now I've just been running an extra Phillips hue in a regular desk lamp synced to sunrise sunset times.
I get mine at Walmart or Home Depot. Under cabinet mount types. Just make sure it is in the 5000-6500K color range. This will be on the package.

I also use screw in type bulbs when I have a socket that needs an LED. I like the globe type LEDs bulbs for this purpose.
 

Vampire1330

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Joined
Nov 15, 2023
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28
Location (City and/or State)
Singapore
I get mine at Walmart or Home Depot. Under cabinet mount types. Just make sure it is in the 5000-6500K color range. This will be on the package.

I also use screw in type bulbs when I have a socket that needs an LED. I like the globe type LEDs bulbs for this purpose.
Hi Tom, I just read your first post. I currently have 2 star tortoises. Should I buy one more to make it 3 instead?
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hi Tom, I just read your first post. I currently have 2 star tortoises. Should I buy one more to make it 3 instead?
You may end up with three males or 1 female and 2 males and you'll need three enclosures then (outside and inside). I would take an easy way and separate the pair you already have.
 

Tom

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Hi Tom, I just read your first post. I currently have 2 star tortoises. Should I buy one more to make it 3 instead?
Options:
1. Get one more and have the minimum necessary and see how it goes.
2. Get two or three more so you have a nice size group.
3. Separate the two you have into separate enclosures.
4. Give one of yours away to someone else.

If you get more animals and they are from a different source or from a different batch from the same source, they will need to be quarantined for several months before mixing them.
 

JenPen

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Oct 30, 2023
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This is wonderfully helpful, but now I think I got the wrong pet! But I will take all the advice and run with it. I also follow a FB page and it is HORRIBLE! There is so much breeding of sulcatas (and other torts) and the care I see is extremely sad (with so many babies like mine with eating/respiratory/eye issues. I appreciate a forum with REAL knowledge and care for the species. My regards to you and all those who are giving real information. Thank you!!
 

Tom

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This is wonderfully helpful, but now I think I got the wrong pet! But I will take all the advice and run with it. I also follow a FB page and it is HORRIBLE! There is so much breeding of sulcatas (and other torts) and the care I see is extremely sad (with so many babies like mine with eating/respiratory/eye issues. I appreciate a forum with REAL knowledge and care for the species. My regards to you and all those who are giving real information. Thank you!!
You are welcome and we are so glad you are here. We all hate seeing the carnage out in the world too, and every time someone like you comes along, makes the necessary changes, and then shows us their healthy thriving tortoise, it warms our hearts. Its the reason we do what we do.

Spread the word. Do your best to help those still lost on FB and following all the wrong care advice, but be prepared to be banned, insulted and cancelled. Even if you fail to reach some of them, you will be planting seeds of knowledge and some of them will eventually come to fruition. In the mean time, enjoy raising that beautiful little tortoise, and start planning for that very large future. :)
 

TeamFMDJ

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Dec 7, 2023
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BelaBela
Thank you for the information /advice. That must have taken a very long time to type and so I shall take a very long time to read and re-read. (Albeit I'm not soaking in information as usually do) I have rather been thrown in at the deep end (and not by choice ! ) I shall be posting a plea for help and wisdom when I get chance either today or over weekend. Thank you again
 
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Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Thank you for the information /advice. That must have taken a very long time to type and so I shall take a very long time to read and re-read. (Albeit I'm not soaking in information as usually do) I have rather been thrown in at the deep end (and not by choice ! ) I shall be posting a plea for help and wisdom when I get chance either today or over weekend. Thank you again
You are welcome!

We are all here to talk tortoises and your questions, pleas and comments will help fuel the conversation. Please feel free to ask for more info or clarification on any of this info. We want to help you succeed as a tortoise keeper.
 

Akahi

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Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
San Francisco
Aloha from San Francisco :)

I am a mom to an 11-year old child who wants a Russian tortoise, so here I am, poring over this forum, trying to figure out if we can properly and humanely raise one! Grateful for the amount and type of information here as there seems to be no great texts to purchase, or easy to find library reference books out there.

If you donʻt mind, Tom, or other knowledgable-keepers, I have a couple of questions:

- Our indoor enclosure space is 4x6 max (under a loft bed) which it seems will be fine for a baby. We can do 4x8 or larger outside once the Tort grows, but that will have to be outside. Is SFʻs climate suitable for an adult outside year round? We can bring in at night.

- Thoughts on who to purchase from in the SF Bay Area? Is it standard and acceptable practice to receive a baby in the mail? (I assume there is a recommended thread/list of questions/what to look for in the adoption process but I havenʻt looked just yet).

There is a baby for adoption I found on Craigslist.
Info is as follows (w/listing photo attached):

Baby Russian Tortoise last one
These turtles grow to about 8 inches.
direct from the breeder.
Bay area Turtle and Tortoise Rescue and Breeding Group
$175 adoption fee each
510-eight,eight,six-2946 ask for Gary
No Texts or Emails.

If this ad is still listed, it is still available.

Mahalo nui in advance for your thoughts/opinions and feedback!

~Akahi
 

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SinLA

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Messages
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Aloha from San Francisco :)

I am a mom to an 11-year old child who wants a Russian tortoise, so here I am, poring over this forum, trying to figure out if we can properly and humanely raise one! Grateful for the amount and type of information here as there seems to be no great texts to purchase, or easy to find library reference books out there.

If you donʻt mind, Tom, or other knowledgable-keepers, I have a couple of questions:

- Our indoor enclosure space is 4x6 max (under a loft bed) which it seems will be fine for a baby. We can do 4x8 or larger outside once the Tort grows, but that will have to be outside. Is SFʻs climate suitable for an adult outside year round? We can bring in at night.

- Thoughts on who to purchase from in the SF Bay Area? Is it standard and acceptable practice to receive a baby in the mail? (I assume there is a recommended thread/list of questions/what to look for in the adoption process but I havenʻt looked just yet).

There is a baby for adoption I found on Craigslist.
Info is as follows (w/listing photo attached):

Baby Russian Tortoise last one
These turtles grow to about 8 inches.
direct from the breeder.
Bay area Turtle and Tortoise Rescue and Breeding Group
$175 adoption fee each
510-eight,eight,six-2946 ask for Gary
No Texts or Emails.

If this ad is still listed, it is still available.

Mahalo nui in advance for your thoughts/opinions and feedback!

~Akahi

Hi Akahi, where in SF are you? As you know its full of microclimates that are wildly different. I lived in Concord in the east bay for a couple of years. If you were in SF proper, its pretty cool and damp there vs the other side of the tunnel as an example.

I cannot speak to this particular group, it could be a breeder who also does some rescue, it could be a breeder who uses the term "rescue" to make sales easier. There are genuine rescues on Craiglist so if you really want a rescue, you can tell them pretty easily. They are not people who have many, usually just one (or sometimes 1 - 3). Like this is a genuine rescue in the bay area: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/for/d/knightsen-tortoise-russian/7701823941.html, it says female but its prob too young to know for sure (also has a pretty overgrown beak and a LOT of lines on its shell if it is truly one year old). Or this one, which comes with its own pretty decent sized table, but without dimensions I can't say for sure and it might be small for a tort of this size: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/for/d/corte-madera-russian-tortoise-needs-new/7701391797.html

Personally, I would not choose to get a baby, I'd get one that is already an adult and past the 'fragile' stage, and I'm also one who would never buy one when there are so many in need of homes.

of the two listed, I'd get the Mill Valley one with the enclosure, but the other one is younger so if you want small/cute/baby then maybe the first one.

You'd be giving either of these a much better home than they currently have, for sure
 

Akahi

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San Francisco
Hi Akahi, where in SF are you? As you know its full of microclimates that are wildly different. I lived in Concord in the east bay for a couple of years. If you were in SF proper, its pretty cool and damp there vs the other side of the tunnel as an example.

I cannot speak to this particular group, it could be a breeder who also does some rescue, it could be a breeder who uses the term "rescue" to make sales easier. There are genuine rescues on Craiglist so if you really want a rescue, you can tell them pretty easily. They are not people who have many, usually just one (or sometimes 1 - 3). Like this is a genuine rescue in the bay area: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/for/d/knightsen-tortoise-russian/7701823941.html, it says female but its prob too young to know for sure. Or this one, which comes with its own pretty decent sized table, but withouh dimensions I can't say for sure and it might be small for a girl of this size (i'm assuming its a girl): https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/for/d/corte-madera-russian-tortoise-needs-new/7701391797.html

Personally, I would not choose to get a baby, I'd get one that is already an adult and past the 'fragile' stage, and I'm also one who would never buy one when there are so many in need of homes.
Thanks so much for your reply and info!

We live in the South Eastern part of the city; near Glen Park, lots of sun, cool in the mornings and evenings; pretty much the same all year round, low to mid 60s with warmer months in the Fall as expected.

I hear you about the rescue situation and appreciate you sharing your opinion. I will definitely take that into strong consideration and discuss with my kiddo.

Mahalo!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,407
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Aloha from San Francisco :)

I am a mom to an 11-year old child who wants a Russian tortoise, so here I am, poring over this forum, trying to figure out if we can properly and humanely raise one! Grateful for the amount and type of information here as there seems to be no great texts to purchase, or easy to find library reference books out there.

If you donʻt mind, Tom, or other knowledgable-keepers, I have a couple of questions:

- Our indoor enclosure space is 4x6 max (under a loft bed) which it seems will be fine for a baby. We can do 4x8 or larger outside once the Tort grows, but that will have to be outside. Is SFʻs climate suitable for an adult outside year round? We can bring in at night.

- Thoughts on who to purchase from in the SF Bay Area? Is it standard and acceptable practice to receive a baby in the mail? (I assume there is a recommended thread/list of questions/what to look for in the adoption process but I havenʻt looked just yet).
Hello and welcome!

4x6 indoors will be adequate as long as there is a larger enclosure outside for suitable weather. They can live outside year round in your climate as an adult with a suitable shelter and if you safely brumate them in winter. In this care sheet are pictures and an explanation of the outdoor shelter and how to heat it:

Here is the info on brumation, so you can decide if you want a species that brumates, or not:

Its perfectly normal and acceptable to have a baby shipped to you. It is done overnight, hub to hub. The seller would drop it off at their hub around 5 pm, and you would pick it up at your hub around 8 or 9 am when they open.

At $175, you are not "adopting" this tortoise. You are buying it, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't find babies to be any more fragile than adults as long as they are set up correctly.
 

SinLA

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Thanks so much for your reply and info!

We live in the South Eastern part of the city; near Glen Park, lots of sun, cool in the mornings and evenings; pretty much the same all year round, low to mid 60s with warmer months in the Fall as expected.

I hear you about the rescue situation and appreciate you sharing your opinion. I will definitely take that into strong consideration and discuss with my kiddo.

Mahalo!

Well, i'll let others like @Tom weigh in. I generally do not have mine outside unless it gets into the UPPER 60s (like 68+) and only then if sunny. It happens my enclosure doesn't get much direct sun from mid-Nov to spring so its rare I bring him outside. I don't think that would be warm enough outside for any tortoise on the whole, but if you get a LOT of direct sun, then maybe. But they really need to be able to bask at 100ish degrees...

I just don't know that SF (city proper) is a good climate for a tortoise for outside but I'll let others weigh in...
 

SinLA

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Tom and I have different levels of what causes us anxiety :cool:
 

Akahi

New Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
San Francisco
Thanks so much for your reply and info!

We live in the South Eastern part of the city; near Glen Park, lots of sun, cool in the mornings and evenings; pretty much the same all year round, low to mid 60s with warmer months in the Fall as expected.

I hear you about the rescue situation and appreciate you sharing your opinion. I will definitely take that into strong consideration and discuss with my kiddo.

Mahalo!
We donʻt get a lot of fog;
Hello and welcome!

4x6 indoors will be adequate as long as there is a larger enclosure outside for suitable weather. They can live outside year round in your climate as an adult with a suitable shelter and if you safely brumate them in winter. In this care sheet are pictures and an explanation of the outdoor shelter and how to heat it:

Here is the info on brumation, so you can decide if you want a species that brumates, or not:

Its perfectly normal and acceptable to have a baby shipped to you. It is done overnight, hub to hub. The seller would drop it off at their hub around 5 pm, and you would pick it up at your hub around 8 or 9 am when they open.

At $175, you are not "adopting" this tortoise. You are buying it, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't find babies to be any more fragile than adults as long as they are set up correctly.
Tom, thank you so much for answering my questions and for your recommended threads!

I do find the "adoption fees" a bit odd/misleading. I am fine to buy a baby if I think I/we can care for it properly, but to re-home a tortoise, Iʻm not inclined to pay hundreds of dollars to someone who can no longer take care of their animal/pet. Happy to donate to a shelter/rescue if that happens to materialize (humane society, SPCA).
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
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Messages
2,055
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
We donʻt get a lot of fog;

Tom, thank you so much for answering my questions and for your recommended threads!

I do find the "adoption fees" a bit odd/misleading. I am fine to buy a baby if I think I/we can care for it properly, but to re-home a tortoise, Iʻm not inclined to pay hundreds of dollars to someone who can no longer take care of their animal/pet. Happy to donate to a shelter/rescue if that happens to materialize (humane society, SPCA).

Totally fair take, but just to play devils advocate, its very much conventional wisdom when re-homing a pet to ask for money to offset people who just want "free" animals for either good or bad reasons. The reason people ask $25 ish dollars for dogs/cats is its perceived to be enough to keep the "bad guys" at bay. For tortoises, people just look online and see "that's what they go for". You could definitely offer less and if they can't find a good home, they will likely take you up on it. You also can search the shelters, but CL is often a first step before going to shelters. Not all shelters will keep tortoises in good conditions so they want to avoid that.

Not trying to dissuade you from getting a baby if that's what you want (not my cuppa, but to each their own) but if you do get a baby, get from a reputable breeder on this site (there are s few russian breeders here). Again personally I'd rather pay $100+ for an adult that needs a home than that amount or more for a baby that I have to worry about getting the enclosure right...
 

Akahi

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Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
San Francisco
Well, i'll let others like @Tom weigh in. I generally do not have mine outside unless it gets into the UPPER 60s (like 68+) and only then if sunny. It happens my enclosure doesn't get much direct sun from mid-Nov to spring so its rare I bring him outside. I don't think that would be warm enough outside for any tortoise on the whole, but if you get a LOT of direct sun, then maybe. But they really need to be able to bask at 100ish degrees...

I just don't know that SF (city proper) is a good climate for a tortoise for outside but I'll let others weigh in...
Appreciate your thoughts! There is direct sunlight during the day in the space, but, now that I think of it, we could set up a heat lamp during the day as the there is access to an electrical outlet. It is partially covered by a roof in back (courtyard), protected from rain.
 
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