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New (to us) Russian

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by Dau191, Nov 8, 2019.

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  1. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    We just adopted a Russian male, roughly 1 yr. He is about 4.5 inches. We believe the shop was overfeeding him with an incorrect diet. They had him housed in an enclosure filled with red wood chips. He is doing well on an improved diet.

    Rosey21.jpg
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  2. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Welcome to the Forum - I was just over on the Pokomoke at Snow Hill a few weeks back! Nice area. Welcome & nice Russian.
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  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Your new little Russian tortoise is almost full grown, so much older than the one year you've assumed.
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  4. LaLaP

    LaLaP Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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  5. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    This was moved here why? I was responding to the original poster, as I was citing the example that my tortoise of the same species was also about 4 to 4.5 inches in length as quoted by the store I aquired him from. Maybe got lost in my extra details. I can be long winded.
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  6. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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  7. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    I was told he was a year old. Considering how off they were on other info I am not suprised. My understanding is that he can get to 6 to 8 inches in shell length? So he could grow some more. Do not know how they aquired him but he has a very sweet personality. He nuzzles up at my chin and doesn't run off if I dose off. Wife was there so no danger. We have anti bacterial soap for us, and are keeping him clean. Little dude loves soaking, and a good gentle scrub with a toothbrush.( I have it marked). His uric discharge looks good as well as deposits(#2).
    Seems to like other animals too. Trusting. He made the first move and nuzzled the kitties , rubbing his little head on theirs. My oldest cat even tried to smack a wiffle ball around with him when we had him out on the floor.
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  8. LaLaP

    LaLaP Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Rosey was the name of my childhood dog. A good name :)
    One of my Russians will take a snooze nestled against my neck too. It's a cozy spot.
    Be careful with interactions with the cat and if you have a dog don't let them be together at all. Even the most loving family dog who seems to love the tort for years has suddenly decided that tortoises are chew toys.
    Also there are lots of dangers on the floor too. Small, indigestible things to swallow that can cause serious problems. Getting stepped on is a hazard. The main reason for me is that the floor is cold. They need to keep their body heat up with heat lamps, sun rays or naps under your chin.. the floor will zap the heat out of them quick.

    These are all mistakes I used to make until i read posts from members here and my torts are safer and healthier for it. Take care :)
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  9. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    We only let him on the floor with supervision. At least 2 people.
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  10. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    15734018811123034326728989469674.jpg Happy tortoise. Rosey keeping warm. We got him some stone plates that he can't flip. Also got him a better drinking water dish. Using a heavy crystal ashtray that we cleaned up. Also unflipable. But see that fake log? Dudes and dudettes he moved it to where he wanted it. We are planning a more permanent home. I have been trying to figure out space issue. So I came up with a "loft" design. Will post pics. The little dude can climb well so I figured the incline would give him a workout and help compensate for space issue. Got lucky and found a travel carrier for him. Sterilized. Happy tortoise.
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  11. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Welcome! Sounds like your poor little guy was dried out; he’s lucky to have you. If your post got moved it might be because you responded to someone else’s post describing your own tortoise. New owners deserve their own post! :)

    They can grow larger but that’s mostly females, yours isn’t likely to get too much bigger.

    Please please do not let your tortoise roam on the floor, it is absolutely risky. Additionally, as mentioned above, they can’t be with dogs, they are just a calcium chew. Even the best dog is likely to eventually cause a problem (sorry!).

    It’s easy for humans to confuse reptile behavior with mammal behavior. Tortoises are solitary animals and aggressive, Russians in particular. They don’t want friends and any other animal they encounter is likely to be seen as a competitor for food or space. He’s not nuzzling your cats, he’s trying to establish dominance. He needs his own space, which I can see you’re working on.

    You already know your pet store gave you a lot of bad info so hopefully you’ve read the care sheet. Just in case, here it is again: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/.

    I’m afraid that food mix looks wrong (is that red stuff fruit? it might just be the picture but are there twigs in there?) Russians truly can’t digest sugars healthfully, they don’t eat grass and very rarely twigs or dry matter; they are from a poor scrubby climate when they eat primarily leaves with some flowers in the spring. Unless your tortoise is showing signs of a calcium deficiency you’ve got too must supplement on there, for an adult male the tiniest pinch every so often will do. You can get all of this fixed up pretty quick. Help for this is in the care sheet.

    Hopefully this doesn’t feel like a dump of mean advice. All of us made some or all of the mistakes you’re describing and just want the best for your tortoise, as I can see you do. :)
  12. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    Again. He is only on the floor with human supervision. I do not trust my dog or cats good intentions as opposed to their natural desire. I have been around animals of all types since I was a kid. I am not humanizing his behavior. I am well aware that he may have his own motives. That is natural. But it is obvious that he has been exposed to humans early on. His quick recognition of me as a provider is a point to that. He also seems perfectly comfortable with short term contact. Also some long term. Dude just crawls into a shirt pocket and chills. Obviously you have to give the tortoise their due.
    Thank you for the tip on the calcium. Okay. The red stuff you saw was shaved carrot. A food that many websites along with sweet potatoes are okay for an ocasional treat. My wife tried giving him a strawberry but not his thing. More appropriate for a box turtle. Your "twigs" were hay. Which is also appropriate food.
    Yes you do seem to be a "Debbie downer". No offence. We can't all be amateur zookeepers. Some people prefer to learn their pets personality and behavior by experience. It can be a real joy. All individuals of any given species do not act 100% the same. Nature allows some minor variance and adaption within the scope of an animals natural behavior.
    Again. As to his size we shall see. I have it from multiple sources that a male can and should reach between 5 to 8 inches(shell) and a female 7 to 10 inches. So seeing as how he is only about 4 to 4.5 inches and fits in a shirt pocket It is not unreasonable to expect some growth. Eh? His age may be off by a small margin. But the info I recieved said they do not reach full size and maturity till 8 to ten years. Mid size at about 4 to 5 yrs. Also same sites had captive raised males, that all came in on the larger end of the scale.( Odd what vitamins, and good nutrition can do?)
    If he doesn't get much bigger so be it. If he does great. Hell...if flames shot out of his shell and he flew off to save Japan...great.
    He would still be a joy to care for and a gift. Plus if I still smoked think how much I would save on lighters.
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  13. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    It is not unusual for new users to feel a little banged up when they come to the site and I proceed as cautiously as I can, at least to start :). I understand you have read conflicting information on other sites; there is a lot of stuff floating on the internet, much of which is outdated and wrong. I definitely got some words that were hard to hear when I first joined. It’s hard to figure out what’s right and as you say, some of it will be distinctive to your little guy.

    My Russian was a street-roaming escapee and unexpected to our lives. She is also a great joy to me and however much I think I know her behavior she manages to surprise me pretty often. Because I’d never had a reptile before I spent a great deal of time learning from more experienced owners here; even so I still get things wrong. This site is one of the best you will find; there are many owners and breeders here with successful, long-term ownership and I am lucky to have found it as early as I did.

    He does seem to have become accustomed to human presence; some Russians do, up to the point of enjoying a nice head scratch; I’m jealous, because while mine has learned I’m not a threat, she isn’t that into me. :) He also recognizes you as a food source. If you’re letting him roam on the floor, you’re also a heat source.

    You are not going to find a single experienced owner on this site that supports floor roaming, period.

    Russians don’t eat hay in the wild, period. They are broad leaf eaters, not grass eaters. You can find a way to trick it into his diet, if you don’t have a another good source of fiber. If you purchase some ready-made food supplement (many owners without access to high fiber fresh food do), there will be some hay chopped and mixed into it to increase fiber content but again, not a normal food source for a Russian.

    As mentioned above by other owners, your Russian is full-grown; he is wild caught and brought to the U.S. Most Russians in the U.S. are wild caught, we don’t have many breeders yet. They are caught shortly before sexual maturity; he could be anywhere from eight to even twenty years old (the fewer food opportunities the slower the growth). You can tell by the look of the shell he is wild caught, it is lumpy from inconsistent food and growth, along with some scratches and bumps from banging around on rocks. Captives tend to have smoother, flatter shells because of consistent feeding and fewer rocks to bounce off.

    Of course he may grow but on this site you won’t hear about many males growing past six inches. I have one of the largest Russians here, a wild caught female. My vet felt she had room to grow and she certainly did; after four years of good food and exercise in a large outdoor enclosure she is seven inches. I expect she will hit eight inches at some point down the line but not in the next few years. If she lives as long as she can (which will be longer than I will!) she might get to ten inches or more but like you, I’m happy with her just as she is.

    Again, not trying to be unkind but your posts above suggest you think you already know what Russian tortoises need pretty well; you don’t. It’s okay to ignore any advice, including mine but I hope you will consider at least some of it. However I come off in my posts I have a very soft spot for animals and just want your tortoise to have the longest and healthiest life he can. Lots of tortoises we read about here don’t. :(
  14. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Oh, P.S, I think you sound like you are going to be a great owner; otherwise I wouldn’t bother to write so much.
  15. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    I think you missed the point of my reply. Back off. I do not think I know everything. But you are clearly getting some kind of thrill out of lecturing me. I will not be your opportunity to dazzle your ego with how brilliant you think you are by stomping all over my finding a good tortoise to work with. If you did not get the most obvious point in the once again SUPERVISED by two humans who are on the floor with the tortoise! It is for him to be able to stretch his legs. Get his excercise in at least till I can get a better enclosure built for him. Nobody ever suggested allowing him to fing roam the house without anyone around...oh wait...that was you in your reply.
    Back off. You do not know everything you pompous overaught know it all.
    Ps: The hay thing? You know where I got that from? Look at the freaking material YOU recommend! It lists Timothy hay as a food source. Maybe you better read the information your own site provides.
    I only included a small amount as I prefere the idea of fresh. I attached a copy of some of the info I got from this site.
    Now cease.

    Attached Files:

  16. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Why so hostile? Rosemary has not been rude in any way, and all of this has been said to help your tortoise.

    All of what has been said has been stated because we have learned from the mistakes of others. Almost every time a tortoise gets stomped on, gets caught in a door, eats a dust bunny, and so on, the post starts “I was watching closely”. It doesn’t matter how closely you’re watching, and it only takes a second for something to happen. We don’t say these things to fuel our ego, to ridicule a poster, to get some sort of high, we say it to help your tortoise. These are situations we see time and time again, and we do not want you to be another example.

    That reference was not made by the forum. It was taken from a Facebook group because it does have a nice amount of good information. That does not, however, mean that the forum is a hive mind that agrees with every single thing on the site, and having one source not even made by the forum does not negate what anyone else says.

    You are the only one on this thread who has come after other members. No one has said anything meant as an attack, or even anything snarky in the slightest. This is a forum made for giving advice so that the poster and other readers can learn. I highly suggest that you view this advice in a different light so that it can help you and your tortoise.
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  17. Sleppo

    Sleppo Well-Known Member

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    Yes please be open to the advice on this site you won't find better information anywhere else. Ultimately you are in charge of the care of your tortoise no one else, just know when you post here you will get advice/comments it's what we do. If anything please be kind we all have the same passion and it's nice to chat about it with each other.
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  18. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    It will be a long time before I consider posting here again. I do not appreciate people who choose to twist my words to make themselves look deified. I have been on other sites for other purposes in the past and have encountered the same type of individual. So no.
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  19. Dau191

    Dau191 New Member

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    I do not agree. Oh and having your tortoise on the floor for excise in a well heated room with a clear space protected by two people is not letting them roam. If you can't see what was being done here you are foolish.I tried to be polite.
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  20. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    No need for further advice as you already know best. I wish good luck to your tortoise and family.
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