Should I put my new russian in his basking area?

Kevboosh

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It's been 3 days and he's still not settled in enough to eat or leave his hide. Yesterday I took him out of his hide for a soak and today I put him in his basking spot. He clearly enjoyed it, staying for a good long time and looking around, but once he was done, he went back into hiding. Then he dozed on and off before burying himself for the rest of the day. Normally, he would probably come back out for some more basking, correct? When he's unburied, his hiding spot is probably around 75-80 degrees. Should I help him to his new basking spot or leave him alone to decide when he's ready on his own? Thank you!
 

ShellingtonTheFirst

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Is he a baby? Not an expert but I personally would aim for a ‘cool’ spot of 78-80 for an adult. I know when I raise the temps for my adult Greek he is a lot more active. That said, new home and atmosphere could be the reason he’s being so shy. My Shelly didn’t really come out of his shell (excuse the pun lol) for a good week or so after I got him. The move can be very stressful for them.
 

Kevboosh

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Is he a baby? Not an expert but I personally would aim for a ‘cool’ spot of 78-80 for an adult. I know when I raise the temps for my adult Greek he is a lot more active. That said, new home and atmosphere could be the reason he’s being so shy. My Shelly didn’t really come out of his shell (excuse the pun lol) for a good week or so after I got him. The move can be very stressful for them.
No, he's an adult. It was a very rough estimate of the temperature in his hide. I didnt want to disturb him to put the thermometer in. Thanks for the temperature suggestion! I'm positive he's hiding because of the move. He doesnt seem to mind if I move him into his basking spot and he has no fear of me whatsoever. He even let me scratch his head during a soak. I'm just going to keep putting him in his basking spot once a day until he starts going on his own. When I do, he spends a lot of time looking at stuff while he's basking and I feel like that will help him get used to his new home faster. I know he ate well before I got him because of his soak poop but it would still make me feel a lot better to see him eat. Is there any little treat I can tempt him with that russians find irresistible? Been putting a little piece of apple in with his food each day but still no dice.
 

ShellingtonTheFirst

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No, he's an adult. It was a very rough estimate of the temperature in his hide. I didnt want to disturb him to put the thermometer in. Thanks for the temperature suggestion! I'm positive he's hiding because of the move. He doesnt seem to mind if I move him into his basking spot and he has no fear of me whatsoever. He even let me scratch his head during a soak. I'm just going to keep putting him in his basking spot once a day until he starts going on his own. When I do, he spends a lot of time looking at stuff while he's basking and I feel like that will help him get used to his new home faster. I know he ate well before I got him because of his soak poop but it would still make me feel a lot better to see him eat. Is there any little treat I can tempt him with that russians find irresistible? Been putting a little piece of apple in with his food each day but still no dice.

Again, take everything I’m saying with a pinch of salt as I’m no expert and there are a lot more experienced keepers than me here that will hopefully chip in, but to my understanding you shouldn’t be offering him any fruit at all. I don’t believe Russians are fruit eaters (again, could be wrong) but I’m under the assumption they can’t digest the sugar in fruit. Do you use The Tortoise Table app to check for suitable foods? I’d also leave him alone for a few days, aside from his daily soaks, and just monitor him over the next couple of days to see if he basks on his own. That said, what type of lights are you using and what are the temps at shell height directly beneath his basking lamp? Can you post any pictures for us to look at your set up? :)
 

Kevboosh

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Again, take everything I’m saying with a pinch of salt as I’m no expert and there are a lot more experienced keepers than me here that will hopefully chip in, but to my understanding you shouldn’t be offering him any fruit at all. I don’t believe Russians are fruit eaters (again, could be wrong) but I’m under the assumption they can’t digest the sugar in fruit. Do you use The Tortoise Table app to check for suitable foods? I’d also leave him alone for a few days, aside from his daily soaks, and just monitor him over the next couple of days to see if he basks on his own. That said, what type of lights are you using and what are the temps at shell height directly beneath his basking lamp? Can you post any pictures for us to look at your set up? :)
Unfortunately, the uv light and heat source the pet store suggested to me when I bought him turned out to be bad and are soon to be replaced. I already got a whole shopping list from experienced owners here that I am going to to immediately go out and buy when I get paid tomorrow. I will post pictures soon after that. I know what to feed him. A small amount of apple wont hurt him every once in a while. Just a treat I decided to spoil him with to help build good associations for him with his new surroundings.
 

Kevboosh

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To be clear, the apple is just a tiny chunk about the size of a peanut M&M and not something I intend to repeat. I have a lot of aloe and other succulents I grow. My intention is to find out if he has a favorite and then propogate a bunch of it. I have a hunch that he would really enjoy a lithops.
 

Kevboosh

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I reread it and I really regret my phrasing on the apple thing lol It came off way more confident than I intended. Can I not delete or edit posts? Sorry!
 

ShellingtonTheFirst

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To be clear, the apple is just a tiny chunk about the size of a peanut M&M and not something I intend to repeat. I have a lot of aloe and other succulents I grow. My intention is to find out if he has a favorite and then propogate a bunch of it. I have a hunch that he would really enjoy a lithops.
They need to be fed primarily on weeds and greens. Aloe and other succulents have a laxative effect so I certainly wouldn’t be planning on making that a staple in his diet. I give Shelly some aloe maybe once a month — he once ate an entire succulent plant from his enclosure (that he’d previously not touched but chose to absolutely demolish after a few weeks!) and he crapped E V E R Y W H E R E.
 

ShellingtonTheFirst

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I reread it and I really regret my phrasing on the apple thing lol It came off way more confident than I intended. Can I not delete or edit posts? Sorry!
It’s fine! How about a small bit of courgette? Shelly goes absolutely apeshit for courgette lol.
 

Kevboosh

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They need to be fed primarily on weeds and greens. Aloe and other succulents have a laxative effect so I certainly wouldn’t be planning on making that a staple in his diet. I give Shelly some aloe maybe once a month — he once ate an entire succulent plant from his enclosure (that he’d previously not touched but chose to absolutely demolish after a few weeks!) and he crapped E V E R Y W H E R E.
Absolutely. I'm only talking about special treats. Right now, for his food, I have collard greens and mustard greens. Pellets are on my shopping list.
 

SinLA

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I was that way when I got mine. It took him several *months* before he settled down and felt comfortable. One of the best pieces of advice I got was this:

Stop thinking of them like a dog or cat. When you get them a new toy or a new space they like to explore and play and check it out. When you do that with a tortoise their response is WHAT THE **** IS THAT?!?! and then they wait, and wait, and wait until they decide that new thing, that moved rock, that weird giant monster that comes and looks at them, pokes them, picks them up, etc. isn’t going to kill them.

Just leave him be as much as possible other than his physical care needs
 

Tom

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It's been 3 days and he's still not settled in enough to eat or leave his hide. Yesterday I took him out of his hide for a soak and today I put him in his basking spot. He clearly enjoyed it, staying for a good long time and looking around, but once he was done, he went back into hiding. Then he dozed on and off before burying himself for the rest of the day. Normally, he would probably come back out for some more basking, correct? When he's unburied, his hiding spot is probably around 75-80 degrees. Should I help him to his new basking spot or leave him alone to decide when he's ready on his own? Thank you!
Everyone has different opinions on this subject. Here is mine:

Just go about your business. Put that thermometer in there. Pull him out and soak him. Put him under that heat lamp. I would not let him hide away and seclude himself all day every day. In time he will desensitize and get used to things. Going hands off and letting him hide all the time will make this take much longer. The sooner he relaxes, the sooner he can go about the business of eating well, thermo-regulating, and being healthy.
 

Kevboosh

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I was that way when I got mine. It took him several *months* before he settled down and felt comfortable. One of the best pieces of advice I got was this:

Stop thinking of them like a dog or cat. When you get them a new toy or a new space they like to explore and play and check it out. When you do that with a tortoise their response is WHAT THE **** IS THAT?!?! and then they wait, and wait, and wait until they decide that new thing, that moved rock, that weird giant monster that comes and looks at them, pokes them, picks them up, etc. isn’t going to kill them.

Just leave him be as much as possible other than his physical care needs
Is it possible that he's scared and not outwardly showing it? He doesnt seem scared at all. Using an emery board to smooth the scute that was poking his neck was extremely frustrating because he didnt want to keep his head in for more than a second lol When I gave him his soak out in the yard, he didnt seem to mind me giving his legs a gentle scrub with a tooth brush. Should I take pictures or a video so you can try to give me some insight? His body language seems pretty straight forward to me.
 

TammyJ

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I reread it and I really regret my phrasing on the apple thing lol It came off way more confident than I intended. Can I not delete or edit posts? Sorry!
I can't see where you said anything to be sorry about. But I personally wouldn't give an animal anything that's bad for him as a "treat" unless it's some life or death situation. I would try to give him something that is ok for him to eat, that he really likes but doesn't get very often.
 

Kevboosh

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I can't see where you said anything to be sorry about. But I personally wouldn't give an animal anything that's bad for him as a "treat" unless it's some life or death situation. I would try to give him something that is ok for him to eat, that he really likes but doesn't get very often.
I was sorry for saying it in a way that made it sound like I thought I knew more than I do. I dont want to accidentally contribute to the misinformation about tortoise care that the web is plagued with. Especially not here.
 

TammyJ

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I was sorry for saying it in a way that made it sound like I thought I knew more than I do. I dont want to accidentally contribute to the misinformation about tortoise care that the web is plagued with. Especially not here.
I am definitely not an expert here either. We are all learning to some extent. Whatever I say here is what I have learned from the really experienced and knowledgeable folks here. A few I could mention are Tom, Wellington, Yvonne, Zovick, Zeropilot, TeamZissou...and others. And they all have their particular specialty or more than one! That's what makes this a great forum, as well as people who truly want to learn and do the right thing for their animals, people like you.
 
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