Russian Tortoise Extremely Lethargic in Winter

Skler

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Hello! I have had my russian tortoise for over 15 years (got her when I was 12 or so). She does have some unnatural shell growth that was due to improper lighting within the first few years of having her. She has remained the same size/same look since. I wanted to inquire about how lethargic she gets in the winter. She still has a healthy appetite, I give her a handful of a variety of greens every morning. I try not to feed her too much because she tends to get overweight! She hardly ever goes into her shell, she always sprawls out when she's sleeping. Recently I have noticed her drinking a lot of water (I never used to see her do that before) but I switched the water dish and location in her pen. She urinates almost every morning, mostly clear with the white stuff ever so often.
I guess I just want to inquire whether this behavior is "normal." I suppose it's normal for her - I've had her for so long. I just wonder if there's something I could do better to make her more lively during the winter months. In the summertime she is quite active. She runs around the apartment and outside deck when we are at home. :) Thank you!
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Blackdog1714

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Russians bruminate during winter in the wild. In captivity the owners must prep accordingly to do this. I do not and just make sure to regularly pull him out of the hole in the mulch and soak him. He eats occasionally and almost never turns down mazuri. It is just to be expected when kept indoors.
 

Skler

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Russians bruminate during winter in the wild. In captivity the owners must prep accordingly to do this. I do not and just make sure to regularly pull him out of the hole in the mulch and soak him. He eats occasionally and almost never turns down mazuri. It is just to be expected when kept indoors.

Gotcha, thank you. I go through states of paranoia sometimes with my russian tortoise. Just want to make sure she's OK. :)
 

Lyn W

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My leopard is less active and eats less in the winter even though his temps are constant - it's almost as if he knows there's a seasonal change from the different light and length of day.

This is the most up to date caresheet which will help you make any changes you need, e.g moister substrate deep enough for him to dig in etc.


It isn't a good idea to let him roam the apartment because the floor temps are much lower plus all the hazards of cleaning chemicals, dust bunnies, human hair small dropped items etc and the risk of getting crushed in doors. Instead maybe look at building him as big an enclosure as possible to keep him safe. 4 x 8 feet is the minimum for an adult.
 

Skler

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My leopard is less active and eats less in the winter even though his temps are constant - it's almost as if he knows there's a seasonal change from the different light and length of day.

This is the most up to date caresheet which will help you make any changes you need, e.g moister substrate deep enough for him to dig in etc.


It isn't a good idea to let him roam the apartment because the floor temps are much lower plus all the hazards of cleaning chemicals, dust bunnies, human hair small dropped items etc and the risk of getting crushed in doors. Instead maybe look at building him as big an enclosure as possible to keep him safe. 4 x 8 feet is the minimum for an adult.

We are really good about keeping an eye on her when she's out! Most of my home is carpeted and she likes to run around and climb over stuff. (I'm also an all natural/organic cleaning freak, haha.) My entire family is super used to having her out and about. We've been doing it for the past 10 years! She comes to the cabin and hangs out in the living room (no pen up there) and she intimidates the dogs when back in Minnesota. Hahah, they know her and never hurt, step on, or nip her. She's totally the boss. :D
 

Lyn W

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We are really good about keeping an eye on her when she's out! Most of my home is carpeted and she likes to run around and climb over stuff. (I'm also an all natural/organic cleaning freak, haha.) My entire family is super used to having her out and about. We've been doing it for the past 10 years! She comes to the cabin and hangs out in the living room (no pen up there) and she intimidates the dogs when back in Minnesota. Hahah, they know her and never hurt, step on, or nip her. She's totally the boss. :D
One of the first posts I read in the forum when I joined was from a distraught keeper after his tort's head was crushed in a door - between the hinged side and a post. It only takes a sudden gust of wind or someone not realising the tort is there for accidents that could so easily have been avoided to happen. Same with dogs. There are numerous posts from people after their normally gentle and trusted dogs have attacked the tort either because they have been spooked or decided to play back and use the tort as a chew toy. You have been lucky so far - but better to be safe than sorry.
 

Skler

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Oh my god, she must have felt awful!! :( That poor tortoise. You're totes right. I will be smarter, thank you!
 
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