Setting up for a Russian Tortoise - Constructive comments welcome

Cathie G

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🤣 Yep I've noticed if there is a corner my sulcata manages to use that object to get over the obstacle. I've learned a lot watching her as well.
Yes. Sapphire's furniture is always placed in the middle of a wall for that reason. Or in such a way that he can't become a wedgie and start climbing.I build him a little hut myself from wood. It only has two walls, a roof and a bracing in the front. It looks like a little hacienda. The back is open and placed against the wall so he can't use it to climb up and out 😭. He's always liked them so that's what I do. It's just wood scraps so when they wear out I just throw together another one.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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ecachuh

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Yes. Sapphire's furniture is always placed in the middle of a wall for that reason. Or in such a way that he can't become a wedgie and start climbing.I build him a little hut myself from wood. It only has two walls, a roof and a bracing in the front. It looks like a little hacienda. The back is open and placed against the wall so he can't use it to climb up and out 😭. He's always liked them so that's what I do. It's just wood scraps so when they wear out I just throw together another one.
Lol perfect!!!
 

ecachuh

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Cathie G

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I know that this little hide is ridiculous. Sapphire likes them though so I keep slapping them together from scrap wood. He doesn't care as long as they are the same dimensions. Even the outside one lasts a couple of years or more.
 

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David Steere

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Tortoise is coming tomorrow.

Eight to Nine month Russian Tortoise.

Any concerns?

NOTE:
  • All temperatures are done by hanging temperature/humidity sensors 4" above substrate.
  • All lights/heating are on within the enclosure from 6am-8pm.
  • All lights/heating are off within the enclosure from 8pm - 6am.
  • Last time I used garden hose at "Shower" setting to saturate encloser really good was 4/12/2024 ( 5 days ago ). Today Coconut Coir still moist and cool to the touch.
Current Light Setup
  • Basking -125-Watt Clear BR40 Dimmable Incandescent 120-Volt Infrared Heat Lamp Light Bulb - ( timer: 6am-8pm - temp: 90 - 100 degrees )
  • Ambient - 3-Light Socket LED bulbs - ( timer: 6am-8pm )
  • UV - Arcadia 584504 Pro T5 UVB Kit 24W Desert with D3+ 12% Reptile Tube, Approx. 57.5 x 6 x 4.5 cm - ( timer: 11am-2pm / 3 to 4 on the meter ) - placed near the basking light.
  • Heat - Zoo Med Repticare Ceramic Infrared Reptile Heater, 100-watt - ( 4 in total / thermostat controlled set at 75 degrees / timer: 6am to 8pm.

Day temperatures of the enclosure range from 70 - 100 degrees +/- for daylight cycle ( All enclosure lighting/heating is ON ).

Night temperatures of the enclosure range from 65 - 70 degrees +/- for night time cycle ( All enclosure lighting/heating is OFF). Basically room temperature which is never cold.

Today's Detailed measurements:

Actually this is a great example of how worst it could be in our basement. We have had really nice days this week but cool nights. House heating has been shut off day and night. In winter and summer the below readings will probably be a little higher since room will be warmer. Minus a power outage of course.
  • Basking = 95° +/- all day
  • Left Front = Reading are from inside of Humid Hide
  • Directly under Infrared Reptile Heater = 80° +/-

  • Reading are "Temperature / Humidity"
  • Reading taking from 48"x72" enclosure. Four side and middle of enclosure.

Tuesday
6am12pm6pm12am
Left Back67° / 86%70° / 74%70° / 67%67° / 80%
Left Front67° / 99%69° / 99%70° / 99%68° / 99%
Middle71° / 54%72°/ 80%72° / 52%68° / 85%
Right Back69° / 54%81° / 40%80° / 36%69° / 75%
Right Front69° / 54%74° / 44%72° / 46%68° / 75%
Outside Enclosure66° / 47%66° / 44%67° / 45%67° / 44%
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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A few suggestions:
1. Lower thermometer/hygrometer probes a little (1-2 inches above substrate) to get more precise readings at tortoise dwelling level. 4" is not bad, but, perhaps, a few degrees off.
2. It seems that target temperature of 75 degrees is never reached and with 80 degrees under heaters I suspect, that they are hanging too low. You may raise them a couple of inches to check if temperature under lamp and in the corners will even out.
3. Left front corner is an "outlier" with 99% humidity all the time. At the same time Right Front has humidity close to room ambient. Perhaps, coco coir is not evenly damp across the enclosure.
 

David Steere

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A few suggestions:
1. Lower thermometer/hygrometer probes a little (1-2 inches above substrate) to get more precise readings at tortoise dwelling level. 4" is not bad, but, perhaps, a few degrees off.
2. It seems that target temperature of 75 degrees is never reached and with 80 degrees under heaters I suspect, that they are hanging too low. You may raise them a couple of inches to check if temperature under lamp and in the corners will even out.
3. Left front corner is an "outlier" with 99% humidity all the time. At the same time Right Front has humidity close to room ambient. Perhaps, coco coir is not evenly damp across the enclosure.
Thank you so much! Will follow your suggestions.
  • Left Front = Reading are from inside of Humid Hide
1713350012334.png
 

David Steere

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Just received Sandy! Tortoise looks GREAT! So excited to begin our long journey together! Soaked, put the tortoise in the enclosure and left her alone to explore. Found the Basking lamp very fast!

Special thanks to @TylerStewart! Highly recommend!

Born: September 2023
Weight: 45 1/2 grams
Length: 2 3/8 inches
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Just received Sandy! Tortoise looks GREAT! So excited to begin our long journey together! Soaked, put the tortoise in the enclosure and left her alone to explore. Found the Basking lamp very fast!

Special thanks to @TylerStewart! Highly recommend!

Born: September 2023
Weight: 45 1/2 grams
Length: 2 3/8 inches
Waiting for more updates (and photos!) on her settling down :)
 

David Steere

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@Tom @Alex and the Redfoot

Like a worried mother with first born. Only had tortoise a few days from Tyler at Tortoise Supply.

Trying to figure out if I do not have the setup or if this is normal. This is a typical day of temp/humidity readings. Sensors 2" off substrate. All of these spots are the outside temp range of the four evenly spaced heating. Under the heating is mid 70's.
  • Left Front is actually in Humid Hide.
  • Right Back is near Basking light.
1713470957993.png

Tortoise ( Eight to Nine month Russian ) when soaked at 6am is alert, poops, pees and after done I place tortoise by food dish and it eats. When I check in again I place be food and eats again. At 6am, 12pm and 6pm.

But when I come back the tortoise always ends up under the basking lamp. Now has stated to dig in under lamp. Shell reads 95 on temp gun.

Also never seen explore the left side of enclosure. Always the front where I feed tortoise and than when I look again get back to the right side. Sleeps there also at night.

Am I doing something wrong or is this normal? Look at previous posts for more details in setup if needed.

  • To bright? Tried to introduce plant pots, logs, ect for shady areas.
  • Not bright enough?
  • Temperatures wrong?
  • Humidity wrong?
Thoughts? I just have a feeling something is off and I figured I would get ahead of any issues. Hate to think I am making the tortoise suffer.
1713472618298.png


1713472664384.png
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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She's definitely not suffering. The enclosure is well built and set up. You can lift the ambient lights a bit and raise ambient temperatures to 75F and see if it helps. She's still settling down, this could take a week or two, so don't expect too much activity.
 

David Steere

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@Alex and the Redfoot @SinLA @TechnoCheese @The_Four_Toed_Edward

Thank you so much for responding. My mind is at ease! Will only pick her up each morning at 6am for a good soak and than place her by the food and then just leave her alone for the whole day.

This morning she pooped twice in the soak and once near her food dish. She did pee solid white stuff during soaking but I read that is okay. Looked like a poop but white.

She is also eating each time I place her by the food dish.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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"White stuff" is called "urates". Some amount with consistency of a tooth paste is fine, it's a by-product of protein digestion (plant protein included). If it gets gritty or gets a form of small stones - it's bad and indicates hydration problems, lack of exercise or excessive protein intake.
 

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