Should I keep the mulch I have? I’m using it to absorb some heat for her basking spot and prevent her substrate from completely drying out.Ok, here we go. . . and bear in mind, I only have your tortoise's best interest in mind and I'm not picking on you personally.
I can see you've put a lot of thought into a nice place for your tortoise to live. Here's what I see:
1. Your tortoise is probably about 8 to 10 years of age, wild caught and almost full grown
2. Russian tortoises probably won't eat brussels sprouts
3. Those dishes are for lizards and snakes, reptiles that have bendable or flexible bodies. Tortoises have hard shells and in order to reach over the sides of those bowls they have to stretch their neck out further than they feel safe doing. Also, if they do manage to climb inside, then when they climb back out they tend to over compensate and tip over backwards into the water. A clay plant saucer that you sink down into the substrate is much safer
4. Your substrate is very dry. Your almost full grown russian doesn't need a wet or real moist substrate, but it you do moisten it A LITTLE BIT it keeps down the dust
5. The aquarium isn't nearly big enough for an almost full grown russian tortoise. They are wanderers. It is hard wired into their little pea brain to wander over great distances in search of food. Doesn't matter that the food is right there for them, they need to wander to satisfy that craving to wander.
6. Your gauge is up too high. It should be down at tortoise level.
Please read our care sheet for russian tortoises. You'll find it at the top of our Russian section, or you can just click here: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
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