1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!
Dismiss Notice
Hey Guest! The 2018 Tortoise Forum Calendar is here! Click here to pre-order! Proceeds go directly to keeping TFO online and FREE for all to use! Thank you for your support!

New owner of a Russian hatchling with concerns

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by 4bsingreece, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hello all! We are the new owners of a 6 month old Russian. We have had him for 10 days. We did a lot of research before getting him and all I can say is I don't know what to believe anymore! So many different "opinions". So I have home to the best source for advice, current tortoise owners. TIA!
    So here is what we have. A large terrarium for him with the sides covered so he can not see out as we were told this stresses them out. Thoughts? The substrate is a mix of loose coconut substrate and reptile bark from zoo med.
    He has a wood log hide and a climb in bathing area. ( which he never goes in) we do soak him everyday for about 15 minutes in there tho, with water temp of 90 degrees. He has 2 lamps. One is a uVB and one is a 100w heating lamp. I originally had them side by side but was instructed they should be on the same side... thoughts? Also I was told to leave the heating light on 24 hours a day. The cool side currently is 82 the warm side is 104. From reading here I have seen suggestions of no light over night! Thoughts?
    Anyway we feed him fresh greens 2 times a day.... a mix of plants suggested from kale, escarole mustard greens, baby romaine spring mix and pear cactus in the addition of the mazuri pellets. He has eaten nothing in 4 days. Nothing. I contacted the breeder we got him from he suggested we offer a small piece of zucchini and squash (only a quarter of a slice) still nothing. Today we gave him a time piece of cantaloupe as also suggested but as of 11 am he hasn't touched anything.
    Are we missing anything? How long can he go with out eating? I should also mention we have not seen him poop or pee.
    If you made it to the end of this post, I know you are passionate about helping other and we thank you for that!!! :)


    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1483806635.556316.jpg
    Misti, TammyJ, Tidgy's Dad and 2 others like this.
  2. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,614
    Likes Received:
    1,315
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    Greetings and welcome to the Forum. There are many experienced Russian tort owners here and I'm sure they will join in and provide lots of pointers and assistance.

    As far as lighting, everything i have read and done myself is to have lights on a timer (12 hours or so).

    Heat, maintain overall ambient heat in you are viv with a CHE on a thermostat.

    Water Bowl: you need to replacecthe one you have with a regular household plant terracotta saucer thst is sunk down level with the substrate. Your tort should be able to easily walk over and down into the water bowl.

    Just give your tort some time to acclimate and feel safe. Keep your lighting, temps and humidity levels appropriate for Russians. Keep feeding him and make sure it's available at all times.

    Lights: get them on a timer, 12-14 hours, but dark at night.

    Good luck, I'm sure there will be more tips soon to follow.
    Tidgy's Dad and 4bsingreece like this.
  3. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    33,081
    Likes Received:
    9,301
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Hello and welcome. The water dish needs to go it's a dangerous kind. Get him a clay saucer like what goes under flower pots. Sink it level with the substrate. No lights at night. If you house doesn't drop below 70 at night he doesn't need heat either. If it does get a ceramic heat emitter that throws heat no light for night time heat and added day time heat if needed. Get some humidity in the enclosure, around 80% for hatchlings more around 50% for juniors/adults. A lot of Russians at this time, winter time hibernate. This we keep up will still kinda go through a slow down. My adult male is doing this so are many more Russians. Keep the lights on for 12-14 hours a day and soak every day. Keep feeding daily, just give less if he's not eating it, more when he decides to eat. My Russian comes out of hiding about every 3-4 days and will eat. Make changes and see how he does.
    TortsNTurtles and 4bsingreece like this.
  4. SarahChelonoidis

    SarahChelonoidis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    1,895
    Likes Received:
    1,217
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Take out that water dish - those ramped ones aren't designed for tortoises and can result in drowning (they flip easily in them). A terra cotta plant saucer works well for a watered so he can get in himself and out. Still, daily soaks outside his enclosure are a good idea while he is still young.

    You want darkness at night. No animal wants it bright 24 hours a day. It's important he have darkness to sleep so turn your heat lamp off over night. Russians don't need 80F all the time - they actually benefit from a night temperature drop. How cold does your house get overnight? Many Russian keepers require no night heat at all. If you do, get a ceramic bet emitter and a thermostat - that will make heat only and no visible light.

    Edit: hah! I see I was beaten to it!
    4bsingreece likes this.
  5. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Sorry for the confusion. He does also have a water bowl that is low and only has 2-3 tablespoons in it, in addition to the "bath" the water in the bath is only 1/8 of an inch, so if he was to flip he would not drown. I will take your advise tho and remove it. It takes up a lot of space and we only use it when we put him in to sink him daily. Thanks!
    TammyJ and TortsNTurtles like this.
  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    69,743
    Likes Received:
    26,485
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Clovis, CA
    Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

    I keep my baby habitats 80-85F degrees - no hot side, no cool side. I also keep the substrate for baby Russians, slightly moist underneath, but dry on top.

    What kind of UVB light are you using? It looks like it might be a tube-type fluorescent, that's good. If it's the spiral-shaped compact fluorescent bulb, that's not good.

    I chop up food for the babies for about the first year, then I eventually chop it bigger until it's not chopped at all. For babies I use escarole, endive, radicchio, romaine, and edible weeds from the garden.

    Measure your temperatures down at baby level. A cool baby won't eat (and if they're not eating, they don't poop). Cover the aquarium to keep the warm air inside.

    Read our baby russian care sheet:

    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...or-other-herbivorous-tortoise-species.107734/
    TortsNTurtles and 4bsingreece like this.
  7. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hello! I have a thermometer at the top and the bottom on both sides to make sure it is good. I am going to change the beefing today so I will definitely take the suggestion on moistening the bottom layer! Yes, the uvb is a tube light! Thanks!
  8. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,782
    Likes Received:
    2,895
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Maryland
    In addition to all the wonderful advice, tortoises hate change. So maybe he's just still adjusting to the new living area. Don't worry too much! Tortoises can go weeks without eating (though we don't want that to happen). Just lower the temps, keep giving food (not too much so it's not going to waste), and wait. If it's cold where you live right now then your russian could just be wishing he was hibernating. I have a russian and I have to take him out of his log hide & put him under the light for him to get moving. If not, he stays put. :rolleyes:
    4bsingreece likes this.
  9. BILBO-03

    BILBO-03 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    421
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Hi and Welcome!:)
    4bsingreece likes this.
  10. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I live in western NY so yes it is cold!!!! Thanks for the advise.
    Linhdan Nguyen likes this.
  11. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    The place where we got him from said that glass terrariums that are not covered stresses them out and the glass needs to be covered.... thoughts on this?
  12. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    69,743
    Likes Received:
    26,485
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Clovis, CA
    It's different with each tortoise. Some of them realize it's a wall, and some are confused by being able to see through but not move through. With those, you just cover the outside of the lower portion with paper and it solves the problem. I've never covered aquariums and have never see a stressed tortoise due to living in glass.
  13. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    9,790
    Likes Received:
    7,218
    Trophy Points:
    113
  14. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    40,086
    Likes Received:
    93,624
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Fes, Morocco
    Hello, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum.:)
    I do like the look of your terrarium.
    4bsingreece likes this.
  15. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thanks!! We are trying hard to give his little guy what he needs! Still hasn't eaten tho! :(
    Tidgy's Dad likes this.
  16. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    40,086
    Likes Received:
    93,624
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Fes, Morocco
    Give him time.
    I was the same when I moved in here.
    Hid under the bed for 3 weeks til I knew it was safe and no one was going to eat me.
    What are you offering him ?
  17. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Kale, baby romaine, escarole, spring mix and other recommended greens. Also pear cactus and the mazuri pellets moisten
    Tidgy's Dad likes this.
  18. Lyn W

    Lyn W Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    Messages:
    12,992
    Likes Received:
    30,345
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    UK
    There is a good caresheet under species specific which you may have already found.
    That will tell you all about diet temps humidity etc
    www.thetortoisetable.org.uk is a good guide for tort safe foods and plants for enclosures.
    The Beginners Mistakes thread (link below) is also great for advice.
    Hope he settles in soon.
  19. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    40,086
    Likes Received:
    93,624
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Fes, Morocco
    Then if your temps are right, he'll eat given time.
    Patience. :)
  20. 4bsingreece

    4bsingreece New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    He finally ate!!!!!!!!! ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1484352223.646696.jpg
    TortsNTurtles, TammyJ and Tidgy's Dad like this.
Similar Threads: owner Russian
Forum Title Date
Introductions New Russian Tortoise owner Sep 10, 2017
Introductions Hello! New Russian Tortoise owner - Morty Sep 5, 2017
Introductions New Russian owner in Virginia (Blue Ridge Mountains) Aug 28, 2017
Introductions New Owner Of my Adorable Russian Tort!!! Aug 16, 2017
Introductions New Russian Tortoise Owner Aug 13, 2017

Share This Page