Russian not eating; summer estivation?

Wenzer

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Joined
Jun 13, 2020
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45
Location (City and/or State)
JACKSONVILLE, IL
My Russian girl has been staying under her hide much of the day and has not been eating. I do see her out of her hide occasionally and basking, but mostly I just find her hiding.

It has been pretty hot here recently, with heat indexes of 100F or higher occasionally. Her basking spots outdoors get much hotter than that with the sun beating down. So I've been keeping her indoors (mostly) for a little over a week now because I wasn't entirely sure/comfortable with the amount of cooling her outdoors enclosure currently offers... I'm still making small changes here and there, and working on a better hide box/area for the hotter days that can stay cooler for her.

I'm not entirely sure if she is estivating... But I know that prior to coming home with me, she lived in a 75 gallon aquarium with two box turtles and one heat lamp, and I'm not sure what the temperatures are that she was kept under previously, but could it be that if she was adjusted to cooler temperatures overall in the past... Maybe she is estivating now as a way to adjust to these hotter temperatures?

Indoors, I still have some trouble keeping temps down (due to the house I'm living in being very poorly insulated and just overall bad at temperature retention... I'm in the process of getting ready to move though!). The coolest parts of her indoor enclosure I can keep around 78-80F, and the basking area gets up to 100... But I've been switching out basking lights to lower and lower wattages to get a better range and basking spot temps, it's just this house working against me, I swear... There's a lot of sunlight that can shine into her room and with her basking and uvb lights I think she has plenty of visual light, it just seems like the temperatures are not easy to work with!

She is still a little active, at least when I go in to check on her, because I have to slightly lift her hide to be able to see if she's under there. She doesn't really try to bury herself, just goes under her hide. I've been keeping up with soaking her to make sure she doesn't start getting dehydrated from not eating... I don't know if she's she's drinking from her enclosure or not, though.

I've had her basking lamp set on a timer about 12 hours a day... Do you think I should shorten that time while she is being kept indoors, maybe? My understanding is that a combination of high heat and long periods of daylight can cause estivation, so while I'm trying to minimize the heat, maybe shortening her light schedule a bit would help?
 

Maro2Bear

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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Greetings. Upload some pictures of both ur indoor & outdoor enclosures. Yes, it’s hot outside, but hopefully you have provided some nice shady areas and have a nice large enclosure.

I would think that outside living now is good for your tort as opposed to being cooped up inside.

Try some shades inside to keep the direct sunlight from baking your room..

At the end of the day, I would work on adjusting & getting the outside enclosure to work. Shade, size, hides, grass, weeds, plants. It’s Summer....soon, you will be forced to have your guy inside all Winter long. Embrace the warm temps, the grass, weeds and sunshine.
 

Wenzer

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
45
Location (City and/or State)
JACKSONVILLE, IL
Greetings. Upload some pictures of both ur indoor & outdoor enclosures. Yes, it’s hot outside, but hopefully you have provided some nice shady areas and have a nice large enclosure.

I would think that outside living now is good for your tort as opposed to being cooped up inside.

Try some shades inside to keep the direct sunlight from baking your room..

At the end of the day, I would work on adjusting & getting the outside enclosure to work. Shade, size, hides, grass, weeds, plants. It’s Summer....soon, you will be forced to have your guy inside all Winter long. Embrace the warm temps, the grass, weeds and sunshine.
Hi, thank you! I've still been bringing her outdoors but only later in the afternoon when it's not quite as hot but still lots of light. But before that she had been going outside most of the day, until it started to get really hot, surface temps around her outdoors enclosure were ranging from 100F up to 140F in a few places. It's not a complete outdoor enclosure yet (and only temporary as I am expecting to move soon), and I have two areas where she can escape to the shade (about half of the enclosure is almost always covered in shade from the work shed out back, it gets good light in the mornings and as the sun continues to transition, that half of the cage stays more shaded than the rest. The other side of the cage is mostly open to the sun because of the lack of trees and other obstacles, but I thought that would be alright since she has another half (8ft x 3ft total, so 4ft x 3ft shaded during the day, roughly). It was just way too hot for me to feel safe leaving her out there all day for those days...

Indoors she is housed in a roughly 6ft by 2.5 or 3ft bookshelf converted to tortoise enclosure. I'm not home right now unfortunately so I will get better pictures when I get back, and check the exact measurements on the bookshelf.

I have been trying to sort of "simulate" a variance in the basking availability as if it were the sky/sun on a partially cloudy day. The basking/heat lamp is on a timer and set to come on for a few hours in the morning, then off for half an hour, on for one hour (I think) then off for another half hour. Towards the end of the day I think I set it to turn on every other half hour, and off for the others, and then two hours of it on before going off for the night... Probably not a very accurate simulation aha... But it has been helpful to lower temps back to the 90s in the basking area and about 72-78 around different parts of the cooler half. The UVB is a t5ho reptisun 10.0 that goes across 4 feet of the cage (I wasn't able to find anything for 6ft... I'm still checking on Amazon though, since maybe it is something out of stock?) I also have a larger size of the compact reptisun 10.0 in a dome lamp to make sure there's enough uvb in the basking area.

From what I have read, it seems the torts usually do the most basking in the mornings, then retreat to shade for a while if the temps are more than they need, and go back out occasionally to warm up again.

I still take her outdoors whenever it is possible, and the temps have been nicer the past few days, so she has been out mostly all day recently. I will get pictures of everything soon as I am home! Thank you again
 

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