Need help with my russian tortoise’s schedule

pinkgirlisnice

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Dec 5, 2021
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Hi again! I have a few questions/asking for advice! I have (what we believe to be a male) russian tortoise! I got him a little over 24 hours ago from petsmart. I’ve done tons on research on the testudo genus, russian tortoises themselves, and how to care for them as well as keeping them indoors. I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on how exactly to schedule out his days? So for example, lighting times, eating, etc. Is there a specific time I should be feeding him around? How often? With the lighting, I’ve heard 12 hours on, 12 hours off is good. Does that sound right? I have a leopard gecko, and with him have a pretty set schedule, so was wondering if someone could help me plan out a schedule or at least give advice on the questions I asked, assuming it’s a good idea to have a set schedule with russian tortoises.

Also a bit off topic, but I haven’t seen him out of his enclosure once (besides when I’ve taken him out). He is always buried. Is this okay/normal? At least while he’s still getting used to being moved since it has only been a little over 24 hours? He’s eaten/drank once that I’ve seen and pooped twice again that I’ve noticed. Hopefully that’s good. Being a new tortoise owner can be pretty stressful as I want to make sure I’m doing the best I can to take care of him and love him and make sure he’s happy and healthy. Appreciate all the responses and advice!
 

TheLastGreen

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Hi, welcome!
Follow this guide religiously
@Tom is an expert on them he'll be able to help
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome
The caresheet linked above which is full of up to date information will help you.
He may be hiding because they hate change so he is getting used to his new home, but it could be other factors such as wrong lamps or temps affecting him. If you post pictures of his enclosure and lamps you'll get good feedback to make sure it's as safe and suitable as possible - pet stores often sell unsafe equipment because they usually don't know much about tortoise care but enjoy the profits. There is also a lot of old information still being passed around on other forums, social media etc., so best to follow the advice in Tom's caresheet.
Tortoises are grazers and should have food and fresh water available all day. everyday. I was told to start off with amounts that would fill my tort's shell if it were an upturned bowl, but if he wants more, give more.... if he needs less feed less - they'll stop eating when they've had enough.
 

wellington

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Have the lights turn on when you get up in the morning or around 8 AM. Let them be on for about 30-60 minutes. Then give him a warm water soak and feed him once back in enclosure. Have the lights go off 12 to 14 hours later.
The warm soaks is only needed daily for a couple weeks for an adult and thats only because he likely hadn't gotten any for quite some time. Let's get him well hydrated. After that you can cut down to once a month.
Adult torts have a much harder time adjusting then babies to new environments. Give him time to realize he is safe and home.
 

pinkgirlisnice

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Joined
Dec 5, 2021
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
California
Hi, welcome!
Follow this guide religiously
@Tom is an expert on them he'll be able to help
Hi thank you! Extremely helpful!
 

pinkgirlisnice

New Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2021
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
California
Hi and welcome
The caresheet linked above which is full of up to date information will help you.
He may be hiding because they hate change so he is getting used to his new home, but it could be other factors such as wrong lamps or temps affecting him. If you post pictures of his enclosure and lamps you'll get good feedback to make sure it's as safe and suitable as possible - pet stores often sell unsafe equipment because they usually don't know much about tortoise care but enjoy the profits. There is also a lot of old information still being passed around on other forums, social media etc., so best to follow the advice in Tom's caresheet.
Tortoises are grazers and should have food and fresh water available all day. everyday. I was told to start off with amounts that would fill my tort's shell if it were an upturned bowl, but if he wants more, give more.... if he needs less feed less - they'll stop eating when they've had enough.
Hi! He definitely has been more active (eating and drinking more as well) as he’s gotten more comfortable. Thank you for the advice with the feeing!
 

pinkgirlisnice

New Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2021
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
California
Have the lights turn on when you get up in the morning or around 8 AM. Let them be on for about 30-60 minutes. Then give him a warm water soak and feed him once back in enclosure. Have the lights go off 12 to 14 hours later.
The warm soaks is only needed daily for a couple weeks for an adult and thats only because he likely hadn't gotten any for quite some time. Let's get him well hydrated. After that you can cut down to once a month.
Adult torts have a much harder time adjusting then babies to new environments. Give him time to realize he is safe and home.
Thank you SO much! This so very helpful to me!
 

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