Newb question about tortoise habitat that I couldn't find an answer for

nutsi

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Hello everyone!

This is my first post and I've had a Russian Tortoise for about 2 months now. I figured this is the place to look for the answers.

I admit, at first I made a lot of mistakes while having her before I ran into these forums. Fixed most of the problems but there are still some mysteries remaining.

At first I was always making sure that there's something for her to eat whenever she feels like it. She's way too cute and I don't want her to starve. After googling about obese tortoises and how much Russians can eat, had to change the tactic. Needless to say, it was a mistake to feed her that much :) Thank god she's still normal sized.

Now I place a ton of food for her to eat and remove it after 20 minutes. I do this once a day. So it's all-you-can-eat buffet everyday but only 20 minutes.

My new problem is, the tortoise needs a place to burrow and I have a box filled with wheat. She digs herself into that pile of wheat whenever she wants to take a nap or sleep or just for fun times. Well hooray, she figured that wheat = food. Now she started eating her place to burrow into. So my question is, can wheat be bad? As in can she become obese by eating wheat? Or is wheat one of those substances that she might eat a bit and get bored and won't become obese of it? Considering I feed her once a day the 20min routine and she may or may not proceed to eat her burrow wheat later before going to sleep

I'd really love to keep the wheat for her to burrow since it fits her box perfectly but I'm cautious and don't want her to become obese :-(

Oh, and one more thing. She's bit over a year old. Is the 20min routine of feeding good for a tortoise her age?
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:). I have no,idea about the wheat. I use dirt or coconut coir. Someone else will have to help you on that. However as for feeding, I feed my russian a big handful of greens each day and I don't remove it. If he eats it all, he's done. Unless he grazes when he is outside. I would change that part of your feeding if it were me.
 

nutsi

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Thanks for reply!
Ah, so I'll let her eat until she's "finished" - as in stops eating and goes away from the food and remove after that only?
 

wellington

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You can remove it, I dont. I also don't give a huge amount, so there is no worry of over weight. The pile I give might be the size of a softball. He usually doesn't eat all of it. I leave it though, incase he wants to munch during the day. I also feed in the a.m. So he will be active afterwards, instead of eating and going to sleep for the night. The next morning, I dump what is left and give fresh.
 

nutsi

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UVB and heat bulb, yellow thing has water for her to soak in. I live up north so it's still cold here. Can't let her graze outside yet :-(
 

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nutsi

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Ah, damn. Is it because she'll eat it? Or why hay is bad substrate for her :-(
 

ZEROPILOT

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No. It's because you need to raise your humidity and soon and the hay will get moldy. In fact, the whole box will get moldy.
Are you able to build yourself another, different enclosure?
You need a closed chamber or a semi closed chamber set up. It will cost you a little money, but will be money well spent.
 

nutsi

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Is some common soil better for substrate? For I have a ton of it
 

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nutsi

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Very well. Thank you for your time! I'll get to it right tomorrow. It's almost midnight here now so she'll has to bear one more night in hay
 
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