Setting up for a Russian Tortoise - Constructive comments welcome

Cathie G

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
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Aug 9, 2018
Messages
15,259
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Lancaster
Figured I would take a picture of what food was in the plate in the morning and what was left when I clean up at night.

Did not realize but looks like Sandy eats a lot during the day.

Seen Sandy now in every part of the enclosure. Although the food plate and the basking light is Sandy's favorite spots.

Food plate and basking light is about three feet away so Sandy must be walking a lot during the day.

So happy I found this forum and listened to everyone! I feel I got a really good handle on making Sandy have a good life. THANK YOU!

Morning:
View attachment 370743
Evening:
View attachment 370744
The only thing I hate about feeding a Russian is if there's no leftovers. That picture looks like a perfect situation at the end of the day.🤗 a little stuffed Russian 😉😁
 

David Steere

Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2024
Messages
64
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
@Alex and the Redfoot @wellington @Tom

One thing I have not managed to achieve is 80% humidity in entire enclosure during the entire day. I think it has to do with amount of square foot airspace within the enclosure. The space is 48" high x 48" wide x 72" long.

It is enclosed during the day, except when I take a peek and soak Sandy in the morning. Pretty tight. Taped the seams as best I could. Probably 80% to 90% tight. Loose cover does have leaks plus maybe other places I might have missed.

Below is the front opening with the flap down.

Closed Enclosure.png

This is what the enclosure currently looks like inside. ( working on getting a soaking container Sandy can not see thru ).

More details:
  1. When I open during the day I do noticed a HUGE wave of moist air when I open flap.
  2. Substrate is 4" to 8" Coconut Coir with with layer of Orchid Bark.
  3. Sandy's behavior is out at 7am and digs deep under substrate by 6pm. Can not even see Sandy's shell.
  4. Sandy digs in two areas and every day I pour a large cup of water around and in each hole. Pretty sure 99% humidity. Very moist.
  5. I spot check other areas and very moist. Water plants and make sure water dish has water.
  6. Soak every morning for 30 minutes.
  7. Sandy has explored the entire enclosure, including the humid hide which is 80 plus humidity but I never see Sandy chilling inside hide. Sandy has been in hide so I guess Sandy knows it is there right?
  8. Sandy's main routes during day is basking light and food dish. Back and forth a number of times a day.
  9. Different area and more humid than outside enclosure. Basking area is the least. Other places much more. For example outside right now is 60%. Basking is 25%, hide 80%+ and rest is 70%. Varies on the humidity outside.
  10. During the night when light and heat are off it does reach 80%+
  11. Overall temps during day is 77 degrees and high 60's degrees at night.
  12. Enclosure floor is 24" above floor.
Sandy does not seem like she is suffering but figured I would ask if any concerns?
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
1,951
Location (City and/or State)
Cyprus
Hello!
Most "full spectrum" plant grow LED strips are actually an assembly of red, blue and other colored LEDs. Cheaper bars use low density LED placement which results in non-perfect color blend and may affect tortoise color vision.

You have to use either common (non-grow) LEDs for human workplaces (like under-cabinet LED strips) or more expensive grow LEDs with high LEDs density (one such product is Arcadia Jungle Dawn). Also you can just swap pots from time to time to let plants to recover under grow lights.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
1,951
Location (City and/or State)
Cyprus
@Alex and the Redfoot @wellington @Tom

One thing I have not managed to achieve is 80% humidity in entire enclosure during the entire day. I think it has to do with amount of square foot airspace within the enclosure. The space is 48" high x 48" wide x 72" long.

It is enclosed during the day, except when I take a peek and soak Sandy in the morning. Pretty tight. Taped the seams as best I could. Probably 80% to 90% tight. Loose cover does have leaks plus maybe other places I might have missed.

Below is the front opening with the flap down.

View attachment 370808

This is what the enclosure currently looks like inside. ( working on getting a soaking container Sandy can not see thru ).

More details:
  1. When I open during the day I do noticed a HUGE wave of moist air when I open flap.
  2. Substrate is 4" to 8" Coconut Coir with with layer of Orchid Bark.
  3. Sandy's behavior is out at 7am and digs deep under substrate by 6pm. Can not even see Sandy's shell.
  4. Sandy digs in two areas and every day I pour a large cup of water around and in each hole. Pretty sure 99% humidity. Very moist.
  5. I spot check other areas and very moist. Water plants and make sure water dish has water.
  6. Soak every morning for 30 minutes.
  7. Sandy has explored the entire enclosure, including the humid hide which is 80 plus humidity but I never see Sandy chilling inside hide. Sandy has been in hide so I guess Sandy knows it is there right?
  8. Sandy's main routes during day is basking light and food dish. Back and forth a number of times a day.
  9. Different area and more humid than outside enclosure. Basking area is the least. Other places much more. For example outside right now is 60%. Basking is 25%, hide 80%+ and rest is 70%. Varies on the humidity outside.
  10. During the night when light and heat are off it does reach 80%+
  11. Overall temps during day is 77 degrees and high 60's degrees at night.
  12. Enclosure floor is 24" above floor.
Sandy does not seem like she is suffering but figured I would ask if any concerns?
Hello!
To me it looks fine. But Tom can tell you better.

Just a few tweaks, maybe:
1. I would not pour water every day. You don't need a bog in the substrate. It should moist but no standing water there. You can add water in the basking area, though - under the heat lamps substrate dries out quickly.
2. With a high humidity environment I would keep nighttime temperatures in low-mid 70s.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,758
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,758
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Alex and the Redfoot @wellington @Tom

One thing I have not managed to achieve is 80% humidity in entire enclosure during the entire day. I think it has to do with amount of square foot airspace within the enclosure. The space is 48" high x 48" wide x 72" long.

It is enclosed during the day, except when I take a peek and soak Sandy in the morning. Pretty tight. Taped the seams as best I could. Probably 80% to 90% tight. Loose cover does have leaks plus maybe other places I might have missed.

Below is the front opening with the flap down.

View attachment 370808

This is what the enclosure currently looks like inside. ( working on getting a soaking container Sandy can not see thru ).

More details:
  1. When I open during the day I do noticed a HUGE wave of moist air when I open flap.
  2. Substrate is 4" to 8" Coconut Coir with with layer of Orchid Bark.
  3. Sandy's behavior is out at 7am and digs deep under substrate by 6pm. Can not even see Sandy's shell.
  4. Sandy digs in two areas and every day I pour a large cup of water around and in each hole. Pretty sure 99% humidity. Very moist.
  5. I spot check other areas and very moist. Water plants and make sure water dish has water.
  6. Soak every morning for 30 minutes.
  7. Sandy has explored the entire enclosure, including the humid hide which is 80 plus humidity but I never see Sandy chilling inside hide. Sandy has been in hide so I guess Sandy knows it is there right?
  8. Sandy's main routes during day is basking light and food dish. Back and forth a number of times a day.
  9. Different area and more humid than outside enclosure. Basking area is the least. Other places much more. For example outside right now is 60%. Basking is 25%, hide 80%+ and rest is 70%. Varies on the humidity outside.
  10. During the night when light and heat are off it does reach 80%+
  11. Overall temps during day is 77 degrees and high 60's degrees at night.
  12. Enclosure floor is 24" above floor.
Sandy does not seem like she is suffering but figured I would ask if any concerns?
You don't need 80% for a Russian. That is for tropical species. I don't worry about humidity for temperate species at all as long as they have thick damp substrate and a humid hide. Anything over 50% should be fine.

All else sounds good and normal. If she is basking a lot, I would raise ambient temperature during the day a bit.
 

David Steere

Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2024
Messages
64
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
@Tom @wellington @Alex and the Redfoot @SinLA @Yvonne G

Couple of developments.

1. Mushrooms in potting soil of plants under grow lights.
Are they toxic to tortoise? I try the best I can to pull them out at soil level but small amounts could still be there when I cut out portions for tortoise. Is the pots ruined/contaminated and not be feed to tortoise?
mushroom.jpg

2. Pee is not like toothpaste but loose and cloudy this morning.
First time this has ever happened. Any concerns?
loose pee.jpg
.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,758
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom @wellington @Alex and the Redfoot @SinLA @Yvonne G

Couple of developments.

1. Mushrooms in potting soil of plants under grow lights.
Are they toxic to tortoise? I try the best I can to pull them out at soil level but small amounts could still be there when I cut out portions for tortoise. Is the pots ruined/contaminated and not be feed to tortoise?
View attachment 370944

2. Pee is not like toothpaste but loose and cloudy this morning.
First time this has ever happened. Any concerns?
View attachment 370945
.
The urates are normal and no problem.

I carefully grab mushrooms by the stalk and pull out the whole thing, including the base. Mushrooms are very difficult to ID, even for professional mycologists. Its not worth the risk. The mushrooms do not contaminate the other plants.
 

LanaJoy

New Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2023
Messages
1
Location (City and/or State)
Corrales, NM
To @Tom @Carol S @Yvonne G and the rest of the wonderful people on TortioseForum!

My name is David Steere and this is going to be my first Tortoise. My wife Sandra who I was married for 30 years passed away last December and seeing that my children and grandchildren still live with me I figured it is a good time for me to get a new companion that will be with me to the end of my days. One wife was all I ever needed in this world. There could be no replacement.

So I figure I would get something I always wanted but never got around to get. A Russian Tortoise.

I am the typical person who bought turtles, fish, reptiles at a pet store and once I got them home I than thought of how to take care of them. Always ended terribly!

This time I want to get it right and setup an open tortoise table where I could just sit on my bench alone or with my family members and watch and care for my new companion along with how everyone's day was..

Since it would not be fair to my family to get into another relationship I am going to settle for the next best thing. A Russian Tortoise who will be called Sandy ( covers both male and female ) in honor of my wife. I am going to try to take care of the tortoise just as I did my wife. With tender loving care.

Below is what I have put together so far.

PICTURES OF TORTOISE TABLE

View attachment 368973

View attachment 368974
View attachment 368975

View attachment 368976

GENERAL
  • I am 59 years old. With proper care the tortoise will outlive me. Will be slowly having the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids who all either live with me or live five minutes drive to help take care of the tortoise. This brings me great happiness that my family lives so close. I must of done something right! With luck I can instill the love I have with tortoises to my family. So when I to pass away there will be someone who can take over for me.
  • Veterinarians. If things go sideways I have a number of veterinarians fairly close by my home. Plus TortoiseForum is only a post away! In a sense you all have now become my extended family.

Ocean State Veterinary Specialists
1480 South County Trail
East Greenwich, RI 02818
Tel: (401) 886-OSVS (6787)
Fax: (401) 886-8998

Wickford Veterinary Clinic
7440 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Tel: (401) 295-9739
Tel: (401) 886-6787 (emergency)

That out of the way lets talk about the setup.

TABLE
  • 48"x72"x16" box. Bottom and sides are 1/2" vinyl veneered. 1/2" plywood floor and 2x construction glued and screwed. ( I selected an open table veneered with vinyl for easy cleaning. 2x construction allows me to stand/jump right in enclosure )
  • 2 1/4" interior overhang to prevent tortoise from escaping.
  • Bottom of table is 16" off floor. Inside walls are 16" high.
  • I have enough room for expansion in the future. Room to create an additional 48"x48"x16" wing.

SUBSTRATE
  • 3" Coconut Coir bottom layer. Many places OVER 3" to allow burrowing.
  • 1" Orchid Bark top layer to help keep coconut coir moist and humid.
  • In winter months the basement is dry. Plan on keeping Coconut Coir very moist to help tortoise hydrate.
LIGHTING
HIDES
  • Tipped over planter. Berm to 6" height to allow burrowing.
  • Humid hide which is 36"x18"x8" - ( Constant 75 +/- degrees temperature / 70 - 100 percent humidity 24/7. )
DIET
  • Fix a bowl about as big as the tortoises shell once a day. Add more at noon if tortoise eats everything.
  • Plan on giving the tortoise a variety of grocery, pet store and home grown foods.
  • Seed Mix: Broadleaf testudo mix - ( Plan to let grow and hand cut and feed. Never going to place tray in enclosure. )
  • Mazuri Original 5M21 Tortoise Food
  • Zoo Med Natural Grassland Tortoise Food
  • Grocery Items: Spring mix, endive, escarole, carrot tops, cilantro, mustard, turnip and collard greens, arugula, cilantro, kale, squash leaves, romaine, green or red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, water cress, celery tops and much more.
  • Will use The Tortoise Table and try to plant more varieties. More different plant food the better.
  • HUGE VARIETY OF RECOMMENDED FOODS. EVERY DAY PER WEEK SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN THE MIX.
  • NEVER GIVE TORTOISE ANY FRUIT.
SUPPLEMENTS
SOAKING / ( HUMITITY - ADMIT ACHILLES HEEL )
  • Since table is open which I know is not recommended I would like to do the following 24/7 and 365 days a year.
  • Keep large Humid Hide which is 36"x18"x8" at 70 to100 percent humidity 24/7 and 365 days a year. Sensor is fastened at top by Velcro in the middle/ top of the container.
  • Plan on placing the soaking container within enclosure only when soaking. Water level the height where bottom/top shell meets. Tortoise will only be picked up 4 times a day. Never more than 6" off substate in case of a fall. Rest of the time the tortoise will be free to do anything it wants.
  • 24 hours/ 7 days a week/ 365 day a year. I work at home and never leave the property. That being the case I plan on soaking the tortoise 2 hours a day. Soakings will occur at 6am, 12pm, 6pm and 12am each for 30 minutes. This with hydrate the tortoise as well help keep the enclosure clean ( poop and pee while soaking ) to extend the time I need to do a total recleaning with new substrate. Will check in on tortoise every couple of hours.
  • My regular sleep schedule is 1am to 6am for the last 40 years so will not interfere with my life in the slightest. Two or more hours away from video games, yes almost 60 and still playing games, will probably do me some good. Watching the tortoise while soaking will be so much fun. Probably will be talking to the tortoise the whole time.
  • Spray with garden hose the entire surface on "Mist" setting "x" times a week to keep humidity in substrate as high as possible. Testing shows I can keep the temperature at 70 and humidity pegged at 100% percent below substrate using a Zoo Med Digital Combo Reptile Terrarium Thermometer Humidity Gauge sensors touching the bottom vinyl floor under the substrate. Substate is moist, not wet/muddy at touch. Could setup a automatic misting system, like I use to do plant cutting propagating. Something like 5 second mist every hour. This could in theory combat the never ending battle that I am in raising the humidity above substrate a little and continue to keep the below substrate ideal. Automatic would be a plus also. Would have a water source 24/7 all year.
  • Normal room humidity is between 30 and 40 during the winter months and 70 degree temperature +/-.
  • Normal room humidity is between 60 and 80 during the summer months with 90 degree temperature +/-.
My plan was to get an adult Russian Tortoise but to my dismay all the breeders I have found only have hatchlings. I did find a breeder who sells juvenile Russian Tortoises so leaning on purchasing the tortoise from that breeder. I know the younger the tortoise the less mistakes you can make. Hesitant to get a hatchling due to my humidity limitations.

MISCELLANEOUS
  • Unfortunately the tortoise will need to be always kept in enclosure. We have dogs, cats, fruit trees we spray, lawn that we fertilize and especially very young great grandchildren that could drop, kick or step on tortoise. Basement is now off limits to all pets and young children or anyone else who does not know the rules. Rule number one is DO NOT PICK UP TORTOISE. And those that do must wash hands before and after only when soaking.
  • Everything I need is one step away from my Tortoise table. No human area used for tortoise stuff.
  • Utility sink right next to tortoise table so I can have cold or hot water.
  • Garden hose with "Mist" setting attached to sink so warm water can be used to spray entire table "x" times a week.
  • New refrigerator right next to tortoise table to store tortoise food.
  • Table / Workbench right next to tortoise table to use for tortoise stuff like indoor planting, preparing food and anything else that comes up.
  • 4 - Zoo Med Digital Combo Reptile Terrarium Thermometer Humidity Gauge spread around Tortoise table.
  • Mini Non-Contact Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun for quick spot checks.
  • Solarmeter Model 6.5R UV Index Meter Reptile Accessory, Green for quick spot checks.
  • Generator if power goes out for a long period of time at a bad time of year. Colder months.
DAILY ROUTINE
  • 6am-6:30am = soak / inspect enclosure ( get rid of old food, poop ) / change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise near fresh food.
  • 12pm-12:30pm = soak/ change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise under basking lamp.
  • 6pm-6:30pm = soak/ change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise under basking lamp.
  • 12am-12:30am = soak/ change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise near remaining food.
  • 12:30am = Lights out over table ( simulate dusk since other lights are still on in room ).
  • 1am = Lights out in whole room. Owner and Tortoise time to sleep.
MONTHLY ROUTINE
  • Measure and Weigh tortoise and document on this post each month. This way I have a record and forum members can observe my efforts and let me know if they notice something I overlooked. Thirty years as a computer programmer has taught me the more eyes on a project the better the project turns out.
So sorry for such a long post. I am looking forward to many years here on TortoiseForum. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this post. Look forward to comments, suggestions and concerns.
To @Tom @Carol S @Yvonne G and the rest of the wonderful people on TortioseForum!

My name is David Steere and this is going to be my first Tortoise. My wife Sandra who I was married for 30 years passed away last December and seeing that my children and grandchildren still live with me I figured it is a good time for me to get a new companion that will be with me to the end of my days. One wife was all I ever needed in this world. There could be no replacement.

So I figure I would get something I always wanted but never got around to get. A Russian Tortoise.

I am the typical person who bought turtles, fish, reptiles at a pet store and once I got them home I than thought of how to take care of them. Always ended terribly!

This time I want to get it right and setup an open tortoise table where I could just sit on my bench alone or with my family members and watch and care for my new companion along with how everyone's day was..

Since it would not be fair to my family to get into another relationship I am going to settle for the next best thing. A Russian Tortoise who will be called Sandy ( covers both male and female ) in honor of my wife. I am going to try to take care of the tortoise just as I did my wife. With tender loving care.

Below is what I have put together so far.

PICTURES OF TORTOISE TABLE

View attachment 368973

View attachment 368974
View attachment 368975

View attachment 368976

GENERAL
  • I am 59 years old. With proper care the tortoise will outlive me. Will be slowly having the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids who all either live with me or live five minutes drive to help take care of the tortoise. This brings me great happiness that my family lives so close. I must of done something right! With luck I can instill the love I have with tortoises to my family. So when I to pass away there will be someone who can take over for me.
  • Veterinarians. If things go sideways I have a number of veterinarians fairly close by my home. Plus TortoiseForum is only a post away! In a sense you all have now become my extended family.

Ocean State Veterinary Specialists
1480 South County Trail
East Greenwich, RI 02818
Tel: (401) 886-OSVS (6787)
Fax: (401) 886-8998

Wickford Veterinary Clinic
7440 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Tel: (401) 295-9739
Tel: (401) 886-6787 (emergency)

That out of the way lets talk about the setup.

TABLE
  • 48"x72"x16" box. Bottom and sides are 1/2" vinyl veneered. 1/2" plywood floor and 2x construction glued and screwed. ( I selected an open table veneered with vinyl for easy cleaning. 2x construction allows me to stand/jump right in enclosure )
  • 2 1/4" interior overhang to prevent tortoise from escaping.
  • Bottom of table is 16" off floor. Inside walls are 16" high.
  • I have enough room for expansion in the future. Room to create an additional 48"x48"x16" wing.

SUBSTRATE
  • 3" Coconut Coir bottom layer. Many places OVER 3" to allow burrowing.
  • 1" Orchid Bark top layer to help keep coconut coir moist and humid.
  • In winter months the basement is dry. Plan on keeping Coconut Coir very moist to help tortoise hydrate.
LIGHTING
HIDES
  • Tipped over planter. Berm to 6" height to allow burrowing.
  • Humid hide which is 36"x18"x8" - ( Constant 75 +/- degrees temperature / 70 - 100 percent humidity 24/7. )
DIET
  • Fix a bowl about as big as the tortoises shell once a day. Add more at noon if tortoise eats everything.
  • Plan on giving the tortoise a variety of grocery, pet store and home grown foods.
  • Seed Mix: Broadleaf testudo mix - ( Plan to let grow and hand cut and feed. Never going to place tray in enclosure. )
  • Mazuri Original 5M21 Tortoise Food
  • Zoo Med Natural Grassland Tortoise Food
  • Grocery Items: Spring mix, endive, escarole, carrot tops, cilantro, mustard, turnip and collard greens, arugula, cilantro, kale, squash leaves, romaine, green or red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, water cress, celery tops and much more.
  • Will use The Tortoise Table and try to plant more varieties. More different plant food the better.
  • HUGE VARIETY OF RECOMMENDED FOODS. EVERY DAY PER WEEK SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN THE MIX.
  • NEVER GIVE TORTOISE ANY FRUIT.
SUPPLEMENTS
SOAKING / ( HUMITITY - ADMIT ACHILLES HEEL )
  • Since table is open which I know is not recommended I would like to do the following 24/7 and 365 days a year.
  • Keep large Humid Hide which is 36"x18"x8" at 70 to100 percent humidity 24/7 and 365 days a year. Sensor is fastened at top by Velcro in the middle/ top of the container.
  • Plan on placing the soaking container within enclosure only when soaking. Water level the height where bottom/top shell meets. Tortoise will only be picked up 4 times a day. Never more than 6" off substate in case of a fall. Rest of the time the tortoise will be free to do anything it wants.
  • 24 hours/ 7 days a week/ 365 day a year. I work at home and never leave the property. That being the case I plan on soaking the tortoise 2 hours a day. Soakings will occur at 6am, 12pm, 6pm and 12am each for 30 minutes. This with hydrate the tortoise as well help keep the enclosure clean ( poop and pee while soaking ) to extend the time I need to do a total recleaning with new substrate. Will check in on tortoise every couple of hours.
  • My regular sleep schedule is 1am to 6am for the last 40 years so will not interfere with my life in the slightest. Two or more hours away from video games, yes almost 60 and still playing games, will probably do me some good. Watching the tortoise while soaking will be so much fun. Probably will be talking to the tortoise the whole time.
  • Spray with garden hose the entire surface on "Mist" setting "x" times a week to keep humidity in substrate as high as possible. Testing shows I can keep the temperature at 70 and humidity pegged at 100% percent below substrate using a Zoo Med Digital Combo Reptile Terrarium Thermometer Humidity Gauge sensors touching the bottom vinyl floor under the substrate. Substate is moist, not wet/muddy at touch. Could setup a automatic misting system, like I use to do plant cutting propagating. Something like 5 second mist every hour. This could in theory combat the never ending battle that I am in raising the humidity above substrate a little and continue to keep the below substrate ideal. Automatic would be a plus also. Would have a water source 24/7 all year.
  • Normal room humidity is between 30 and 40 during the winter months and 70 degree temperature +/-.
  • Normal room humidity is between 60 and 80 during the summer months with 90 degree temperature +/-.
My plan was to get an adult Russian Tortoise but to my dismay all the breeders I have found only have hatchlings. I did find a breeder who sells juvenile Russian Tortoises so leaning on purchasing the tortoise from that breeder. I know the younger the tortoise the less mistakes you can make. Hesitant to get a hatchling due to my humidity limitations.

MISCELLANEOUS
  • Unfortunately the tortoise will need to be always kept in enclosure. We have dogs, cats, fruit trees we spray, lawn that we fertilize and especially very young great grandchildren that could drop, kick or step on tortoise. Basement is now off limits to all pets and young children or anyone else who does not know the rules. Rule number one is DO NOT PICK UP TORTOISE. And those that do must wash hands before and after only when soaking.
  • Everything I need is one step away from my Tortoise table. No human area used for tortoise stuff.
  • Utility sink right next to tortoise table so I can have cold or hot water.
  • Garden hose with "Mist" setting attached to sink so warm water can be used to spray entire table "x" times a week.
  • New refrigerator right next to tortoise table to store tortoise food.
  • Table / Workbench right next to tortoise table to use for tortoise stuff like indoor planting, preparing food and anything else that comes up.
  • 4 - Zoo Med Digital Combo Reptile Terrarium Thermometer Humidity Gauge spread around Tortoise table.
  • Mini Non-Contact Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun for quick spot checks.
  • Solarmeter Model 6.5R UV Index Meter Reptile Accessory, Green for quick spot checks.
  • Generator if power goes out for a long period of time at a bad time of year. Colder months.
DAILY ROUTINE
  • 6am-6:30am = soak / inspect enclosure ( get rid of old food, poop ) / change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise near fresh food.
  • 12pm-12:30pm = soak/ change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise under basking lamp.
  • 6pm-6:30pm = soak/ change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise under basking lamp.
  • 12am-12:30am = soak/ change water dish / when done soaking place tortoise near remaining food.
  • 12:30am = Lights out over table ( simulate dusk since other lights are still on in room ).
  • 1am = Lights out in whole room. Owner and Tortoise time to sleep.
MONTHLY ROUTINE
  • Measure and Weigh tortoise and document on this post each month. This way I have a record and forum members can observe my efforts and let me know if they notice something I overlooked. Thirty years as a computer programmer has taught me the more eyes on a project the better the project turns out.
So sorry for such a long post. I am looking forward to many years here on TortoiseForum. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this post. Look forward to comments, suggestions and concerns.
If I were a turtle, I would wanna be your turtle🐢🥰
This is totally awesome❣️
 

David Steere

Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2024
Messages
64
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
@Tom @Alex and the Redfoot @wellington @Yvonne G

New Concern.

I have tried not to bother Sandy and just let the tortoise enjoy the enclosure limiting contact except for soaking and the visitor here and there. I do peek in once and a while and noticed Sandy twice trying to eat the Orchid Bark. Picked Sandy up immediately. Maybe I should of waited to see if Sandy stopped. Will take a video next time I see it.

Is this normal or a cause for concern? Sandy pee's and poops each morning many times when soaking. All looks normal to me. Sandy goes to her dish many time a day and explores the entire 48"x72" enclosure.

Everything is pretty much on auto pilot at this point.
  • Sandy is up at 6am and digs in real deep at 6pm.
  • Soaked at 7am to 7:30am then set next to food dish.
  • Enclosure is 78 degrees / 97 degrees at basking.
  • UV light on at 11am and off at 2pm.
  • Lights/Heat on at 6am and off at 8pm.
  • Water dish and food plate full from 6am to 8pm.
Maybe I should watch Sandy more during the day but just wanted to let Sandy enjoy the day without opening the curtain all the time. ( Going to put a live stream in but sort of out of money and time right now ).

Current daily food.
  • Broadleaf Testudo Mix
  • Escarole
  • Dandelion Leaf's
  • Violet Leaf's
  • Pansy
  • Mazuri Original 5M21 Tortoise Food ( 4 pellets )
  • Zoo Med Natural Grassland Tortoise Food ( 2 pellets )
  • Sandy chews a lot on Zoo Med Turtle Bone.
 

wellington

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Everything sounds good to me. She may have tried to taste it and likely would not eat it. But if you think she will eat it, put a cuttle bone in there, and a rock, if there isn't one already. Miner All vitamins seem to work on getting tortoises to stop eating things they shouldn't.
 

David Steere

Active Member
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Rhode Island
Everything sounds good to me. She may have tried to taste it and likely would not eat it. But if you think she will eat it, put a cuttle bone in there, and a rock, if there isn't one already. Miner All vitamins seem to work on getting tortoises to stop eating things they shouldn't.
I placed some rocks and already had cuttle bone in enclosure. Also Sandy chews on cuttle fish each day.

Fingers crossed.

rocks.jpg
cuttlefish.jpg
 

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