Tortoise is burrowing and not eating

Lmbologna

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I have a Russian tortoise that for the pass week has been burrowing and not coming up. At first I thought it was to escape the heat. There was a heat wave for a few days up in New England. I feel like its early for her to brumate but don't want her to because I do not think I will be able to help her make it through the winter.

Any tips on what I should do?
 

Dorothy L

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What are the temperatures in your enclosure? There should be 4 temps: cool side (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit), middle (about 80 degrees Fahrenheit), the warm side with the basking lamp (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit), and the night temp, which I’ve heard can go around 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you post a pic of your enclosure so I can get a better idea? Also, it could just be adjusting, tortoises need some time to adjust to changes. (Where did you buy the tortoise from?)
 

Lmbologna

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I realized after I posted this that the new bulb I had is definitely a higher wattage so the temp is way to high. I removed the lamp for today so I can figure a way to get the lamp higher up. She still burrowed all day. Do you think she will readjust with the lamp higher?

I got her from a family member that didn't want to take care of her in the beginning of June.

My enclosure isn't great due to I live an apt. I plan on building a much bigger one when I move.
 

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T Smart

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I realized after I posted this that the new bulb I had is definitely a higher wattage so the temp is way to high. I removed the lamp for today so I can figure a way to get the lamp higher up. She still burrowed all day. Do you think she will readjust with the lamp higher.

I got her from a family member that didn't want to take care of her.

My enclosure isn't great due to I live an apt. I plan on building a much bigger one when I move.

This enclosure is very small for an adult Russian. A bigger enclosure will most certainly help. Russians are very active and need space. Any chance you could offer a little outdoor time?

You'll need to hang your light vertically. Your tortoise won't have any problem adjusting. This will create a more controlled basking spot.

For now, I suggest getting this! I've had mine for years, and still no problems. Very easy to adjust, and won't take up space.

https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-repti...1-qh1DNc0AsoAoa7kNxDoaUmGDkNIAaxoCD_AQAvD_BwE
 
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T Smart

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This enclosure is very small for an adult Russian. A bigger enclosure will most certainly help. Russians are very active and need space. Any chance you could offer a little outdoor time?

You'll need to hang your light vertically. Your tortoise won't have any problem adjusting. This will create a more controlled basking spot.

For now, I suggest getting this! I've had mine for years, and still no problems. Very easy to adjust, and won't take up space.

https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-repti...1-qh1DNc0AsoAoa7kNxDoaUmGDkNIAaxoCD_AQAvD_BwE

I'd get rid of the water dish, as it's a tipping hazard. A terra cotta dish will do the trick. Also, what are you currently feeding?


P.s. Give this post a read! I understand you're a new owner and might have questions. [emoji106]

Russian Tortoise Care Sheet

https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Russian-Tortoise-Care-Sheet.80698/
 
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Wolfpackin

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May 28, 2018
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Colorado
I realized after I posted this that the new bulb I had is definitely a higher wattage so the temp is way to high. I removed the lamp for today so I can figure a way to get the lamp higher up. She still burrowed all day. Do you think she will readjust with the lamp higher?

I got her from a family member that didn't want to take care of her in the beginning of June.

My enclosure isn't great due to I live an apt. I plan on building a much bigger one when I move.
You can pick up a tabletop dimmer switch at Home Depot for less than $12.
This will enable you to dim a high wattage bulb down to lower light and temperature.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton...Tabletop-Dimmer-White-R52-TBI03-1LW/202051141
 

Lmbologna

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Massachusetts
I feed her escarole, kale, collard greens, dandelions, mustard greens. I never buy the same thing twice in a row.

Thanks for the link! I'm trying to give her the best life in captivity but it's tough living in an apt.
 

Lmbologna

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Jun 9, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
Massachusetts
This enclosure is very small for an adult Russian. A bigger enclosure will most certainly help. Russians are very active and need space. Any chance you could offer a little outdoor time?

You'll need to hang your light vertically. Your tortoise won't have any problem adjusting. This will create a more controlled basking spot.

For now, I suggest getting this! I've had mine for years, and still no problems. Very easy to adjust, and won't take up space.

https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-reptile-lamp-stand/dp/154843?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=f&utm_content=Zoo Med&utm_term=&gclid=CjwKCAjwt7PcBRBbEiwAfwfVGM4MzsFgfNHQpvreUaMai11-qh1DNc0AsoAoa7kNxDoaUmGDkNIAaxoCD_AQAvD_BwE

I could take her outside but I heard that can be stressful on a tortoise.

Thanks for that stand suggestion. I will likely get that.
 

Minority2

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Tortoise Hell
A single adult Russian tortoise requires at least an 8 (L) x 4 (W) ft enclosure. Your current enclosure is not going enough space to provided the necessary temperature zones. A 5-6 (L) x 2.5-3 (W) ft enclosure is the absolute minimum I would suggest apartment dwellers with adult Russians . Re-homing the tortoise may the best choice if you unable to provide that.

It's highly likely that any information you learned about tortoises and their care from by the previous owner is unreliable. You're going to want to reeducate yourself on proper tortoise care.

Be sure to use the link provided by T-smart. The thread will address most of the issues you're currently facing.

Use this link to learn about how often a tortoise can eat a specific type of food. Kale, collards, mustard greens, and other goitrogen foods should not be eaten in excess.
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tortoise-diet/harmful-properties/

Stick to a heavy broad-leaf weed, flowers and succulent diet. Store bought greens should not be eaten often if possible. Fruits are not good for a tortoise's digestive system.

Your light fixture situation requires adjustment. Most standard ballasted light bulbs cannot be dimmed. The easiest option is to raise and lower the fixture.

Question: Are you using a mercury vapor bulb?

Many people complain about the heat and light intensity of mercury vapor bulbs at close range. Switching to a regular incandescent light bulb for basking and a separate UVB florescent strip light fixture for UVB needs is a better option in terms of cost and reliability.
 

turtles11756

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Sep 2, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
Levittown,ny
I have a Russian tortoise that for the pass week has been burrowing and not coming up. At first I thought it was to escape the heat. There was a heat wave for a few days up in New England. I feel like its early for her to brumate but don't want her to because I do not think I will be able to help her make it through the winter.

Any tips on what I should do?
my russians normally slow down at the end of august and start looking for a place to burrow for the coming season. they are mainly active april thru september. let him hide if he wants turn off the heat they are getting ready to hibernate. some daily soaks will also help
 

Dorothy L

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Houston, Texas, United States of America
What kind of substrate are you using? It looks pretty dry, please correct me if I’m wrong. If you’re using the wrong type of substrate, you can change to coco coir, orchid bark, and if you really can’t get either of those, topsoil also works, just make sure it doesn’t have any fertilizer or anything.
 

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