This tortoise enclosure--advice?

sunnythecutie

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Joined
Aug 11, 2017
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6
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US
IMG_1397.JPG IMG_1398.JPG IMG_1399.JPG IMG_1400.JPG IMG_1401.JPG Just made a makeshift tortoise enclosure before I might get a bigger one. This here is Sunny the Russian tortoise :)

Dimensions for her box are 40"x20"x7" (yes I know it's small but my house just isn't big enough for a 4' x 8' space or something similar)

Here's several pics of the enclosure--a quick run down:

-bulb is a 150W dual UVA/UVB
-food and water container from Walmart (too high for her?)
-food consists of Natural Grassland pellet supplements, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, romaine lettuce, and calcium powder supplement mixed in
-manual thermometer to make sure the area is 100 degrees F
-substrate with a mix of coco noir, repti bark, and cypress mulch
-hiding area (it's too small she won't fit, we're getting a log most likely)

Thanks everyone.
 

Freckles24

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Jul 24, 2017
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66
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TN
I would be worried about her trying to climb the stairs and her falling in her back. I only have a box turtle but I feel like the risks are the same. As far as make shift hiding places- I would get a $1 dollar store bin and cut a door in the side. It's cheap and easy to clean.
 

Tom

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You've asked for advice, so here it is. This is all meant to be helpful and give your tortoise the best life possible. If you don't know what is wrong, you can't fix it.

  • That tub is way too small. You tortoise doesn't care how much space, time or money you have. It needs what it needs to stay healthy and that little tub is not what it needs. The harsh reality is that if you don't have room for a bigger enclosure, then you don't have room to properly care for that tortoise. I know it sounds harsh, but the health of your tortoise takes priority over your feelings about my comments.
  • The sides are way too low and your tortoise is eventually going to climb out and hit the floor.
  • The food and water container are not suitable for a tortoise and also need to be separate. Terra cotta plant saucers sunk into the substrate work best. And no paper towels. Your tortoise will eat it and could get impacted.
  • The stick-on dial type thermometer/hygrometers are not accurate or reliable. Get a digital one from the hardware store.
  • 150 watts is an awful lot of desiccating heat for such a small enclosure. Only a good thermometer will tell you if you've got it right. Put the thermometer probe on top of a rock or brick that is about the same height as your tortoises carapace. Let the probe cook under the lamp for an hour or two and see what you've got.
  • Ideally, your substrate should be two to three times thicker than that, but you can't do that in this shallow tub. You can buy it in bulk much cheaper at a garden center or nursery.
  • The diet needs more of the right weeds, leaves and flowers. Grocery store greens are not the best diet, and the pellets help, but russians are not grass eaters.
  • It would help if we had a better idea of where you are other than "US". Different advise for Pensacola FL, vs Butte MT.
Check these out for more tips:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

Skip the text in this one and scroll down to the food list for ideas:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
 

sunnythecutie

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
US
You've asked for advice, so here it is. This is all meant to be helpful and give your tortoise the best life possible. If you don't know what is wrong, you can't fix it.

  • That tub is way too small. You tortoise doesn't care how much space, time or money you have. It needs what it needs to stay healthy and that little tub is not what it needs. The harsh reality is that if you don't have room for a bigger enclosure, then you don't have room to properly care for that tortoise. I know it sounds harsh, but the health of your tortoise takes priority over your feelings about my comments.
  • The sides are way too low and your tortoise is eventually going to climb out and hit the floor.
  • The food and water container are not suitable for a tortoise and also need to be separate. Terra cotta plant saucers sunk into the substrate work best. And no paper towels. Your tortoise will eat it and could get impacted.
  • The stick-on dial type thermometer/hygrometers are not accurate or reliable. Get a digital one from the hardware store.
  • 150 watts is an awful lot of desiccating heat for such a small enclosure. Only a good thermometer will tell you if you've got it right. Put the thermometer probe on top of a rock or brick that is about the same height as your tortoises carapace. Let the probe cook under the lamp for an hour or two and see what you've got.
  • Ideally, your substrate should be two to three times thicker than that, but you can't do that in this shallow tub. You can buy it in bulk much cheaper at a garden center or nursery.
  • The diet needs more of the right weeds, leaves and flowers. Grocery store greens are not the best diet, and the pellets help, but russians are not grass eaters.
  • It would help if we had a better idea of where you are other than "US". Different advise for Pensacola FL, vs Butte MT.
Check these out for more tips:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

Skip the text in this one and scroll down to the food list for ideas:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

Thanks for your advice. I agree with everything you said here and won't refute anything--I needed a practical, frank reply.

I'm from New England. Rather not specify.

Also, I read that RT's are a fan of leafy greens? I'll look at the food link you put here.

Will be doing a ton of improvements, thanks.
 

Loritort

Active Member
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Aug 15, 2017
Messages
121
Location (City and/or State)
02180
Just do the best you can. Please don't let anyone convince you to get rid of your tortie because things aren't perfect. Take care:D
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,396
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks for your advice. I agree with everything you said here and won't refute anything--I needed a practical, frank reply.

I'm from New England. Rather not specify.

Also, I read that RT's are a fan of leafy greens? I'll look at the food link you put here.

Will be doing a ton of improvements, thanks.
New England is specific enough. Most of "New England" has similar and predictable weather. That helps us tailor the advice better.

Broadleaf weeds should make up the majority of the diet. Leafy greens from the store are okay as part of a varied diet, but the high fiber and high calcium content of weeds is better for them, and FREE!
 
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