Normal bowel movement for Russian? + diet and other issues

sunnythecutie

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Just wanting to check in on my Russian, making sure everything is ok. This was her most recent bowel movement (see image). Is it diarrhea at all? And the white stuff are urates, I believe?

Diet consists of romaine lettuce, mixed veggies with fruit (occasionally), cucumber, carrots, corn... And every other day or so I mix in some white calcium powder for her to stay healthy.

Not sure if she's losing weight. The fat around her legs was plushy and obvious, but now its less "cushioned" let's say.

Also having issues with lighting--we can't afford a terrarium so she roams around the house freely (and literally comes to her spot for food! I think it's amazing how they're so smart to know and tell us she's hungry.)

I bought a UVA + UVB (I think it was) combined lamp, 150W. However, I don't know when to use it. Usually, she gets a fair amount of sunshine each day by sitting near the balcony's windowsill and eating (that's her spot.)

How do I make sure she's getting adequate light? Should I shell out the $200-$400 for a terrarium? I'm also not a huge fan of the coconut bark/filler they put in the tanks because feces and other waste gathers there quickly, I think...pretty unsanitary.

Thanks everyone!
 

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Tidgy's Dad

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Hello, and welcome to Tortoise Forum.:)
That poop looks very runny, yes. And yes the white stuff is urates, quite normal, but ensuring the tortoise is properly hydrated can reduce it.
The diet is not good. Romaine lettuce is okay but very high in water, so there is a temptation for the tortoise to fill up with it and not have enough room to get in the requisite quantities of vitamins and mineral. Mixed veg ? Which ones, broaf-leafed greens like dandelion are much better. Fruit should never be fed to this species, too high in indigestible sugars and acids, cucumber is useful for hydrating a tortoise but otherwise shouldn't be fed. Carrots and sweetcorn should also never be fed. See http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/index.php#.WY5IIVWGPIU for a guide to what is safe for your tortoise to eat.
Have a look at http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
and http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
These will give you most of your answers and help you no end making your tortoise as comfortable as possible.
Tortoises shouldn't be walking about in the house, so yes you need an enclosure, it is impossible to control temperatures and humidity on the floor , objects may get eaten as even a dust bunny is a serious impaction risk and accidents happen. One tort was kiiled when it got it's head slammed in a door a while back.
The UVB light should be mounted at the recommended height, fixed securely in the enclosure. If the window is open direct sunshine on the tortoise would help, but glass, mesh etc. filters out the necessary UVB. You need the enclosure.
To save money you could build an enclosure, maybe using bookshelves with the shelves knocked out fixed together to give the area you need, lined with a shower curtain or similar and covered with plexiglass with holes for the lighting., the enclosures section here has lots of good ideas.
Sorry, but have a good read of the links and you will see what is needed to give your tortoise a happy and healthy life.
Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any further questions after reading them. :)
 
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Tidgy's Dad

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Oh, and coco coir is fine as a substrate, though others prefer fine grade orchid bark or cypress mulch.
The pee is mostly water so you needn't worry, just spot clean the urates and poop, pick it off the top and throw it out, the substrate rarely needs replacing.
 
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