New Baby Russian Sick or Just Sleepy?

samta23

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for taking your time to read my thread and offering your help and advice!

I got a new baby russian tortise, Yoshi, on 5/16/2018. He was suppose to be 6 months, but he was really small imo and only weighed in at 22g. His weight progression has been steady. One week later, on 5/23, he weighed in at 25g and just today he weighed in at 28g with a carapace length of 1.75 inches. I weigh him after he soaks and poops.

Here is his typical daily routine. I soak him around 9-9:30 am daily for about 20-30 min. I feed him right afterwards. His diet consists of organic spring mix, dandelion greens, kale, mazuri tortoise food and some dried herbal salad I got from carolina supply company and tortoise supply. I've only had him for about 2 weeks so I haven't gotten more variety of veggies than that yet. I'm also in the process of growing some weed seeds I got from tortoise supply to supplement his diet later on. He's currently in a 2 x 3 tortoise table since he's still so small. I have a powersun 100w over his basking area. His basking area ranges from 95-100 F, and slowly tapers to 80s in the warm area and down to 75ish in the cool area. I have a hot humid hide next to the basking area and a cool humid hide that's separated by a partition. Humidity level in the cool humid hide ranges from 65-80. Surface humidity around the basking and warm area ranges from 50-60. I use pure coco coir substrate and keeps it moist. The UVI level under the basking area is about 2.5 at carapace level with a solarmeter 6.5R.

That's about a rough introduction and here comes the question.

The first week I got him, he was fairly active. He eats well, usually poops/pees when he's soaked. He moves quite a bit after about 10 min of soaking. Majority of the time, his pee shows urates. He's typically up and about or just chilling under/around the basking area by 9 am. He goes to sleep around 4-5 pm in which he burrows under the warm humid hide and I won't see him until the next day. The first week, I used coco husk as a substrate and a combination of halogen light and the coil UVB type light. From this forum, I found out that neither is really suitable for a baby tortoise (especially the coil UVB light). In fact, I only got a 0.3 from the solarmeter reading. Starting last weekend, I changed his substrate to coco coir and got the powersun 100w to replace my old lighting setup. The basking temperature has not changed, neither has the humidity when I switched from my old setup to the new setup (I knew to keep it between 95-100).

However, since the switch to the new improved lighting and substrate (~3 days ago), he seems to be more lethargic/sleepy when compared to before. Since I only got him 2 weeks ago, I don't have a lot of experience and data to do a comparison with his recent behavior. He hasn't been coming out of his substrate by 9 am. Once (see attached pic), I saw him him only his head and front leg out in the morning. He just lays and sleeps when I soak him (I soak him under the basking area to keep the water temperature around 85-95). He still poops while he soaks but I haven't been seeing urates in the water (clear pee?). He still eats roughly the same as before, but right after he eats, he goes to sleep once again. He doesn't burrow when he's sleeping at this time, he just lays above the substrate with his eyes closed. If I try to move him to another area, he just quickly closes his eyes again and goes back to sleep. He'll continue to eat throughout the day since the food pile goes down more when I get back from work. I have not seen him explore his enclosure compared to the first few days when I got him. So far, I have not noticed anything wrong with is eyes/face or other areas.

Is this normal for a ~6 month russian tortoise or is he sick?
 

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Bambam1989

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
3,127
Location (City and/or State)
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I guarantee your tort is not 6 months old.
It still has its egg tooth in the photos which is usually lost around 6 weeks old.
I don't feel comfortable giving advice on the care of such a young Russian since I have no first hand experience with them. I can mention that when young they do basically eat and sleep the majority of the time.
 

samta23

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
I guarantee your tort is not 6 months old.
It still has its egg tooth in the photos which is usually lost around 6 weeks old.
I don't feel comfortable giving advice on the care of such a young Russian since I have no first hand experience with them. I can mention that when young they do basically eat and sleep the majority of the time.

Thanks Bambam for the egg tooth info. I didn't know what an egg tooth was prior to this so I learned something new! I guess that confirms my suspicion of his actual age. This seems to be consistent with his starting weight since it was hard for me to believe that a 6 month tort could only be 22g.
 
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