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Russian tortoise not active??

EE torts

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Hello! i have a 1 and a half year old russian/Horsefield tortoise i have had Pebbles (the name of him/her is pebbles) for basically her whole life i get pebbles when she was 3 weeks old 1 inch when i got her now she is 1.5 inches i feel like she should have grown a lot more by now. (and yes i did tons and tons of research before i got her but i am still learning). anyways i have noticed pebbles she doesn't do much in a day she wakes up sits under the heat lamp then she will maybe move a little then lay next to it, then i feed her and she loves food so much, her urates could be better they are sometimes a bit harder than a tooth past like texture, i am trying to soak her often. her feces look good, she just seems a little un-active especially compared to my three toed box turtle that just recovered from something that i think was maybe just little sickness because she was very lethargic swollen eyes and would not eat. but now she is all better i treated her with Reptaid, i did not take her to a vet because i don't want to unless it is very serious because traveling is very stressful for reptiles and i have heard mixed feelings about exotic vets (but if an animal really needed a vet i would certainly take it there). Wow that was long. Thanks guys!!
 

jsheffield

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I think pics of pebbles and her enclosure and measurements of the temperatures in various parts, and a more detailed outline of what she's been eating and how often/long you soak her would help.

Jamie
 

EE torts

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I think pics of pebbles and her enclosure and measurements of the temperatures in various parts, and a more detailed outline of what she's been eating and how often/long you soak her would help.

Jamie
Basking temp is about 95-97 and goes down to about 72 on the cool side and 70 at night, i feed pebbles romaine, endive, radicchio, collared greens, cactus pads, dandelion greens and clover in the summer because they do not grow in the winter. i give pebbles some Missouri tortoise diet LS once a week for extra fiber and nutrient. i try to give her a varied diet but it is hard in the winter when you can't grow your own food. i used to soak her less ofter because everyday i saw her drinking and siting in her water dish but now i she doesn't do that so i am trying to soak every other day for about 10 minutes. she also occasionally eats alovera since there is an alovera plant in her enclosure but right now it is up to high for her to reach, she also sometimes munches on the spider plant but not a whole lot.
 

EE torts

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Basking temp is about 95-97 and goes down to about 72 on the cool side and 70 at night, i feed pebbles romaine, endive, radicchio, collared greens, cactus pads, dandelion greens and clover in the summer because they do not grow in the winter. i give pebbles some Missouri tortoise diet LS once a week for extra fiber and nutrient. i try to give her a varied diet but it is hard in the winter when you can't grow your own food. i used to soak her less ofter because everyday i saw her drinking and siting in her water dish but now i she doesn't do that so i am trying to soak every other day for about 10 minutes. she also occasionally eats alovera since there is an alovera plant in her enclosure but right now it is up to high for her to reach, she also sometimes munches on the spider plant but not a whole lot.
today i sprinkled some calcium powder on her food so that is the white stuff on her
IMG_8994.jpg IMG_8995.jpg IMG_8996.jpg IMG_8997.jpg
 

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jsheffield

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That all sounds pretty good... What kinds of substrate are you using? I couldn't make it out in the pics.

I think I'd soak daily for 30 minutes, maybe in the enclosure (to help hold the temp up in the 80s), maybe with some carrot baby food mixed in.

Another thing to could try, to prime the pump on eating, is to cut up a strawberry or a hibiscus with the rest of her food... Mine is nuts about red foods.

Good luck!

Jamie
 

EE torts

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That all sounds pretty good... What kinds of substrate are you using? I couldn't make it out in the pics.

I think I'd soak daily for 30 minutes, maybe in the enclosure (to help hold the temp up in the 80s), maybe with some carrot baby food mixed in.

Another thing to could try, to prime the pump on eating, is to cut up a strawberry or a hibiscus with the rest of her food... Mine is nuts about red foods.

Good luck!

Jamie
The substrate is organic top soil or potting soil some kind of soil, there is no perlite in it or fertilizer. pebbles is eating great he will eat just about anything lol. i will defiantly try the strawberry or hibiscus with my box turtle she used to like strawberries but now she only like earth worms so i've gotta figure something out. i will soak pebbles for 30 minutes daily now.
 

jsheffield

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It sounds to me, admittedly no expert, as though you're doing the right stuff... I wonder about the presence of some form of parasite, maybe stealing some of her nutrients.

J
 

theTurtleRoom

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All tortoises grow at a different rate but I will admit that does seem like a small amount of growth for such an active eater, though Russians are a smaller species than I have typically kept so they may just grow slower in general to take a similar amount of time to reach full size as other species. If they are eating and having healthy BMs I wouldn't worry too much about size.

What concerns me more is the lack of activity you describe. Has Pebbles been lethargic since you got her? Based on my experience with little ones, and reading others' experience with Russians, Pebbles should be tearing around that enclosure like a little demon. I have a 10 month old Cherryhead at home right now and she would be climbing all over those little hides for example. The only thoughts I have would be that:

1) Perhaps the enclosure is so open that it is stressing Pebbles out being so exposed? You could try rearranging what is there or adding some more foliage or tunnels etc so she can move around and feel more protected. Or...

2) I have heard people speak against the accuracy of IR Thermometers (which it looks like you are using in your picture) so perhaps the enclosure is not staying as warm as you think? That would certainly slow her down. I have not used them myself but it might be worth getting a probe thermometer and checking the temps at soil level. Its a big wide enclosure and the heat lamp is in one far corner so perhaps its is just not providing as comfortable a gradient as you think. How is she being heated at night?
 

EE torts

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All tortoises grow at a different rate but I will admit that does seem like a small amount of growth for such an active eater, though Russians are a smaller species than I have typically kept so they may just grow slower in general to take a similar amount of time to reach full size as other species. If they are eating and having healthy BMs I wouldn't worry too much about size.

What concerns me more is the lack of activity you describe. Has Pebbles been lethargic since you got her? Based on my experience with little ones, and reading others' experience with Russians, Pebbles should be tearing around that enclosure like a little demon. I have a 10 month old Cherryhead at home right now and she would be climbing all over those little hides for example. The only thoughts I have would be that:

1) Perhaps the enclosure is so open that it is stressing Pebbles out being so exposed? You could try rearranging what is there or adding some more foliage or tunnels etc so she can move around and feel more protected. Or...

2) I have heard people speak against the accuracy of IR Thermometers (which it looks like you are using in your picture) so perhaps the enclosure is not staying as warm as you think? That would certainly slow her down. I have not used them myself but it might be worth getting a probe thermometer and checking the temps at soil level. Its a big wide enclosure and the heat lamp is in one far corner so perhaps its is just not providing as comfortable a gradient as you think. How is she being heated at night?
Yeah my box turtle is crazy she is taring her enclosure up climbing everything, etc. when i first got pebbles she was eating great but always liked to stay burrowed all day than she stopped eating food which is very strange for pebbles, i fed her some baby carrot food and did other stuff (i can't really remember what i did because it was a year ago) she then got better and now loves food, but i have always been underwhelmed with her activity, the only time i see her active is when i bring food she suddenly perks up and runs as fast as a tortoise can to get food, but then for most of the day she is like the picture i will attach dow below she moves from being directly under the heat lamp to the side of the heat lamp and just keeps doing that all day. her humidity stays around 45-50 and now that she is a yearling i think thats a fine humidity. and i have heard of russians being 4 inches by this age so it is kind of freaking me out that he is this small. i did just rearrange the enclosure he was exited and active the first day then the next day he went back to the usual. yeah i have heard mixed thoughts as well so i will get a probe thermometer and compare it too the laser one i have. thank you so much for your help
 

Gijoux

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The substrate is organic top soil or potting soil some kind of soil, there is no perlite in it or fertilizer. pebbles is eating great he will eat just about anything lol. i will defiantly try the strawberry or hibiscus with my box turtle she used to like strawberries but now she only like earth worms so i've gotta figure something out. i will soak pebbles for 30 minutes daily now.
I have never seen "Organic" top soil potting mix, but potting soils are nearly all from composted sources. Anything could be in that soil. They can still call it organic even if it contains mulched up Oleander (poison plants). I honestly don't know about what type of substrates Russians require, but I'm sure the Russian "Care sheets" should say. It just seems that when I read about these types of problems so many times the keeper is using "soils" for substrate.
 

Blackdog1714

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I use cypress mulch since it is the cheapest substrate option and pick out the big hunks. Good for full immersion digging by my Russian
 

EE torts

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I have never seen "Organic" top soil potting mix, but potting soils are nearly all from composted sources. Anything could be in that soil. They can still call it organic even if it contains mulched up Oleander (poison plants). I honestly don't know about what type of substrates Russians require, but I'm sure the Russian "Care sheets" should say. It just seems that when I read about these types of problems so many times the keeper is using "soils" for substrate.
from all the research i have done just plain potting soil seemed like the best option, but if you have any good recommendations for a good brand of dirt that would help
 

EE torts

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I use cypress mulch since it is the cheapest substrate option and pick out the big hunks. Good for full immersion digging by my Russian
where i live they do not sell cypress mulch it's really annoying because i have always wanted to use it, the only thing we have is super expensive cypress mulch in a tiny bag from petsmart.
 

Blackdog1714

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How about fine fir bark. West coast USA it comes in 2 cubic foot bags like regular mulch at around $20. At petsmart they carry Reptibark which is only 24 quarts of fine fir bark for $16 so it’s pretty expensive to fill an enclosure with. For bark looks nice and performs so well-clean, holds moisture. The moisture is key for babies in helping maintain high humidity.
 

EE torts

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How about fine fir bark. West coast USA it comes in 2 cubic foot bags like regular mulch at around $20. At petsmart they carry Reptibark which is only 24 quarts of fine fir bark for $16 so it’s pretty expensive to fill an enclosure with. For bark looks nice and performs so well-clean, holds moisture. The moisture is key for babies in helping maintain high humidity.
they do not carry fir bark here, except for the reptile bark at Petsmart i have tried it before and and it didn't hold humidity as well as i wish it could but i guess i could try it again if that is the best option.
 

Lyn W

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The substrate is organic top soil or potting soil some kind of soil, there is no perlite in it or fertilizer. pebbles is eating great he will eat just about anything lol. i will defiantly try the strawberry or hibiscus with my box turtle she used to like strawberries but now she only like earth worms so i've gotta figure something out. i will soak pebbles for 30 minutes daily now.
Rather than strawberry which has sugar that torts can't deal with very well, maybe try a little cucumber very thinly sliced and not too much as it has a laxative effect. It has little nutritional value but torts love it. I have just squeezed the juice from it over my torts usual food when he has been off his food and just the smell of it gets him interested again.
I can see he has his own enclosure but also make sure you are nor spreading pathogens between torts when handling them or their equipment.
The caresheet will give advice on best substrate. What about coco coir?
Does he have night heat?
 

EE torts

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Rather than strawberry which has sugar that torts can't deal with very well, maybe try a little cucumber very thinly sliced and not too much as it has a laxative effect. It has little nutritional value but torts love it. I have just squeezed the juice from it over my torts usual food when he has been off his food and just the smell of it gets him interested again.
I can see he has his own enclosure but also make sure you are nor spreading pathogens between torts when handling them or their equipment.
The caresheet will give advice on best substrate. What about coco coir?
Does he have night heat?
He eats great so i don't think i will have to put anything on his food but thanks!! i have tried coco coir and it is just way too dusty for my liking, and top soil is much less dusty even if i spray it it get's dusty very easily. No i do not give extra heat at night because our house stays around 70 degrees at night and from the research i have done i thought that seemed fine, but maybe not??
 

EE torts

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You could use the coco choir under the fir bark and soak thoroughly with hot water to start then add some daily as needed
Okay i will try that, i just gave pebbles a mist and then he walked over the his water dish and i thought yay he would finally go use his water dish (he used two drink from his water dish so much through out the day and just walk through it and have fun but now he doesn't use it at all) but in stead of drinking from his water dish he went to the rim of it (and since i just misted his whole enclosure every thing had a layer of water on it) and he started trying to drink the water off the rim and then he went to a rock right next to the rim and tried to drink from the rock, i then placed him into his water dish because it seemed like he was very thirsty and he started drinking from his water dish. so it seems like he likes to drink from moving water instead of standing water so i was thinking i could get him a little water fall that the water just glides down rocks but never comes off the rock so he could never drown or get his head under the water but he could drink from it. let me know what you guys think
I found a water fall that looks good for tortoises i it looks like he would not be able to get to the water but if i dig it into the ground so that it is flush with the ground it might be good, you can see a video of it in use on youtube the video is called: ExoTerra waterfall in crabLand.
 
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