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New Russian Tortoise - a couple of questions

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by cLynn_714, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. cLynn_714

    cLynn_714 New Member

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    Hi! I just got Peaches, my Russian tortoise, yesterday, and have a couple of questions.

    1. I made her a kale and turnip green mix and put it in her enclosure this morning, but she doesn't seem interested. Is it okay if I feed her in the afternoon or evening instead? I'm wondering if that's when she was fed at the pet store.

    2. I soaked her today in lukewarm water, but it was cold by the 10 minutes mark and she was trying to climb out. I took her out because I was worried she was getting cold. Should the water be a bit warmer next time or is what I did okay?

    3. When can I start taking her out to hold and let her explore my room? Does she need an adjustment period in the enclosure first?
  2. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hello and welcome to TFO

    Everything is new and scary right now. It might take a while before your tort decides things are safe enough to explore and eat. Some can take weeks to settle properly.

    Get your tort used to you and their new home by establishing a routine so it learns what to expect and when

    Something like:
    - Lights on (use a timer so it happens at the same time each day - makes it easier if you want a lie in or to go out in the evening too)
    - Soak your tortoise for 20 minutes in warm water
    - While your tort soaks, tidy the enclosure and place food
    - Replace your tort and walk away.
    - Leave your tort entirely alone to get brave and explore; you are big and scary right now.

    My soaking tips:
    - Use a large, flat-bottomed bowl with high sides that your tort can't see over or through; a washing up bowl is ideal. The more water there is, the longer it will stay warm
    - The water should be deep enough to come just up over the join between the shell and the plastron (undershell)
    - The water should be warm but not hot. Think baby bath rather than what you might like.
    - Soak for at least 20 minutes; change the water if it gets too cold.
    - Your tort will probably poop and pee in the bath water. Don't stress about it. Scoop the poop out with your hand then wash your hands thoroughly.
    Never to explore your room. Do handle your tort once it has settled down, but a tort is healthiest and happiest in its enclosure with all 4 feet on the ground.

    When wandering the floor of your home it is away from the heat, UVB light and humidity that it needs to be healthy.

    There is also the risk of fluff, hair or small objects being eaten accidentally and this could make your tort very ill. They're not very bright and it does happen.

    The other risk is escape or being stepped on. You only have to be distracted for a moment and sadly we see it fairly regularly on TFO.

    We will be happy to look over photos of your enclosure and lighting to check it over for you.

    I recommend you read the TFO care guides if you haven't already

    They're written by species experts working hard to correct the outdated information widely available on the internet and from pet stores and, sadly, from some breeders and vets too.

    Beginner Mistakes
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

    Baby Russian Tortoise Care (if your tort is very small)
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...or-other-herbivorous-tortoise-species.107734/

    Russian Tortoise Care
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    MissMarg&me and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  3. cLynn_714

    cLynn_714 New Member

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    Thank you, this was super helpful!
    JoesMum likes this.
  4. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Lynn, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum to you and Peaches. :)
    cLynn_714 likes this.
  5. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    I always use JoesMum’s advice on soaking. I do it early in the morning, when my tortoise is still slow and not moving much.
    cLynn_714 and Tidgy's Dad like this.
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