Lost Tortoise

RockyTheRussian

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Feb 16, 2017
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So i took my Russian tortoise outside in the backyard yesterday to run around at about 2:00 pm. I went inside real fast and next thing i know he is gone. I have been looking all day for him in the backyard with no luck. We have trimmed plants and pulled weeds to find him. Any ideas on what to do? I am really scared. It was my fault that i went inside but i have learned from my mistakes.
 

Clamhandsmcgee

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Mine go to the same spot almost every time. My oldest female Russian is a sneaky girl, but she has her favorite spots to hide. Usually she buries herself in a leaf pile next to my privacy fence. I'm sure you'll find yours, I've searched and searched for mine before and I'd find her in a place I'd already checked.
 

GBtortoises

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Tortoises are faster than most people give them credit for. You might start where you last saw the tortoise and begin looking under solid objects near by starting with the closest. Under decks, sheds, etc... is where tortoises will usually seek quick shelter first. Digging takes time and effort and usually more of a semi-permanent or permanent location for them. This is especially true of Russians that are a true burrowing species. Their first instinct is to get out of the open. It could be under overhanging plants but they don't always provide completely secure shelter like the tortoise would usually prefer first. It may likely first seek instant security under something where it is dark and easily accessible.
If you do not find your tortoise right away, the best time might be to very carefully check an hour or two after the sun has come up in the morning. If your tortoise is still in your back yard you may actually catch it out in the morning warming itself up in the sun. Keep in mind that it may see you well before you see it and it may to very quietly sneak back into it's secure shelter area.
Good luck, I hope you do find your tortoise soon.
 

RockyTheRussian

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Mine go to the same spot almost every time. My oldest female Russian is a sneaky girl, but she has her favorite spots to hide. Usually she buries herself in a leaf pile next to my privacy fence. I'm sure you'll find yours, I've searched and searched for mine before and I'd find her in a place I'd already checked.

hi thanks for helping me out! I will check again. Just a little worried because we have been looking for him all day. I'm sure he will show up.
 

RockyTheRussian

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Tortoises are faster than most people give them credit for. You might start where you last saw the tortoise and begin looking under solid objects near by starting with the closest. Under decks, sheds, etc... is where tortoises will usually seek quick shelter first. Digging takes time and effort and usually more of a semi-permanent or permanent location for them. This is especially true of Russians that are a true burrowing species. Their first instinct is to get out of the open. It could be under overhanging plants but they don't always provide completely secure shelter like the tortoise would usually prefer first. It may likely first seek instant security under something where it is dark and easily accessible.
If you do not find your tortoise right away, the best time might be to very carefully check an hour or two after the sun has come up in the morning. If your tortoise is still in your back yard you may actually catch it out in the morning warming itself up in the sun. Keep in mind that it may see you well before you see it and it may to very quietly sneak back into it's secure shelter area.
Good luck, I hope you do find your tortoise soon.

Hi ok thank you! I will check again tomorrow morning. I did check this morning but he did not come out. He will have to come out to get food, right? I hope I find him soon too.
 

GBtortoises

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He'll eventually be out grazing on food and basking at some point. But a tortoise in unfamiliar surroundings, especially if there is a lot of activity going on around them, will often stay hidden out of sight for a long period of time until it feels comfortable enough to come out and find food. Tortoises can go for long periods of time without having to eat, several weeks, as long as they are not very active. The more energy they expend, the more they're going to have to find food to refuel with. When they're inactive, they expel very little energy.
You also have to consider that your tortoise may move out of the immediate area that you last saw it, if it hasn't already. It's going to seek an area where it feels secure. That may not be in your back yard.
You may want to alert your neighbors to be on the look out also. Make it a point to tell them that your tortoise is harmless, does not bite and be held in a dry box until you come and get it. The majority of non tortoise owners don't know the difference between a tortoise and turtle and many people believe that turtles bite so won't go near them. Show them a picture of your tortoise too.
 

RockyTheRussian

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He'll eventually be out grazing on food and basking at some point. But a tortoise in unfamiliar surroundings, especially if there is a lot of activity going on around them, will often stay hidden out of sight for a long period of time until it feels comfortable enough to come out and find food. Tortoises can go for long periods of time without having to eat, several weeks, as long as they are not very active. The more energy they expend, the more they're going to have to find food to refuel with. When they're inactive, they expel very little energy.
You also have to consider that your tortoise may move out of the immediate area that you last saw it, if it hasn't already. It's going to seek an area where it feels secure. That may not be in your back yard.
You may want to alert your neighbors to be on the look out also. Make it a point to tell them that your tortoise is harmless, does not bite and be held in a dry box until you come and get it. The majority of non tortoise owners don't know the difference between a tortoise and turtle and many people believe that turtles bite so won't go near them. Show them a picture of your tortoise too.

That makes me feel a lot better. Went out this morning but he hasn't come out. Should I stop looking for a little bit and see if he comes out so he's not scared? I already put up a sign on my mail box but
 

zovick

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That makes me feel a lot better. Went out this morning but he hasn't come out. Should I stop looking for a little bit and see if he comes out so he's not scared? I already put up a sign on my mail box but
Is your back yard fenced in or not? I didn't notice you saying it was. Either way, I would not stop looking for the tortoise. You won't scare him all that much.
 

Clamhandsmcgee

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Is your back yard fenced in or not? I didn't notice you saying it was. Either way, I would not stop looking for the tortoise. You won't scare him all that much.
Does he have a favorite food? Mine come out for rose petals or hibiscus blooms. I'd put some out in the open around the time you usually feed him and bait him out. Just a thought.
 

RockyTheRussian

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Is your back yard fenced in or not? I didn't notice you saying it was. Either way, I would not stop looking for the tortoise. You won't scare him all that much.

Ok I will keep looking. Yes it is fenced and I don't believe he can get through it. He's actually pretty large compared to the fence.
 

RockyTheRussian

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Does he have a favorite food? Mine come out for rose petals or hibiscus blooms. I'd put some out in the open around the time you usually feed him and bait him out. Just a thought.

Great idea! I have been putting out lettuce and tomatoes for him but he may like hibiscus and rose petals. And they are brighter so hopefully he will notice them more. Thank u!
 

zovick

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Ok I will keep looking. Yes it is fenced and I don't believe he can get through it. He's actually pretty large compared to the fence.
I would look all along the fence line. Tortoises usually will walk the perimeter looking for a way to get out. They can get under fences fairly easily, especially if there is a slight opening at the base of the fence and the ground is not rock hard. Also if you have a deck, any small buildings, sheds, dog houses, etc. look under them.

If your fence is chain link, it is not impossible for a tortoise to climb out of it especially in a corner. I have also seen them push their way under chain link fences which do not have a cross bar at the bottom. to which the mesh is wired in the same way as it is at the top.
 

Crzt4torts

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Phew! So glad. It is pretty easy to set up a simple enclosure for your Russian if you are going to be out with him in the yard.
For unattended long term outside, its more involved since they are such diggers and escape artists.
But a simple cinder block or wooden perimeter while you are out will prevent those 'i looked away and poof' moments
 

RockyTheRussian

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Phew! So glad. It is pretty easy to set up a simple enclosure for your Russian if you are going to be out with him in the yard.
For unattended long term outside, its more involved since they are such diggers and escape artists.
But a simple cinder block or wooden perimeter while you are out will prevent those 'i looked away and poof' moments
Ha ha lol I know! I think I'm going to make him an outdoor enclosure since he had such a fun time on his journey lol! Thanks for you help
 

Maitaimommy

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Ha ha lol I know! I think I'm going to make him an outdoor enclosure since he had such a fun time on his journey lol! Thanks for you help
How does someone who isn't good with building start a process like this. I would have to do it by myself and have no clue how to get started with materials/supplies. Any advice is appreciated?
 

RockyTheRussian

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How does someone who isn't good with building start a process like this. I would have to do it by myself and have no clue how to get started with materials/supplies. Any advice is appreciated?
Hi! Ha ha don't worry I can't build either. What I did for tortoise's indoor enclosure is that I hired a builder to make his cage. I gave him the dimensions and everything. You can always look on thumbtack.com to find a carpenter that would be willing to make you a cage.
 

Crzt4torts

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At Home Depot I picked up some square cement block that have side notches in it for sliding a board into, and some boards. It just fits together into a rectangular perimeter, no skill required!
I would not use it for leaving them out overnight, since I do not have a cover on it. And in terms of tunneling and digging, since they are out just for the day I inspect daily to make sure no escape routes being made.
I will post a picture later.
 
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