biochemnerd808

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2012
Messages
1,393
Location (City and/or State)
Central Arkansas (we moved!)
It has been years since I've had time to post or chit chat here on this forum... Life got really busy, and we moved across the country. My little group of 7 CB russian tortoises are doing well though. The youngest ones are 2.5 years old now, the oldest is 6 (from one of my very first clutches). The 6 year old laid 13 eggs this Spring, in several clutches. My CB male is still immature and houses separately... But it was exciting for me to see my Topaz reach sexual maturity. In a few years, when my male is a bit bigger, she will produce CB2 babies. I got 3 beautiful babies from a breeder friend to join the ones I had hatched... All 3 turned out to be boys though, so I'm only keeping 1 of them. I found good homes for the other 2.

Interesting things I've noticed:
1) the habits as a baby were a large determining factor in what the tortoises look like as juveniles and young adults. Crystal loved her hot humid hide and loves to eat. She is perfectly smooth and twice the size as the others. Opal refused to use the hot humid hide and instead dug a cave under the flat rock in the basking area. Also warm and humid, I let her do her thing. She is visually smaller than her siblings, has just a little bit of raised scutes, but is more domed, feels more dense, and weighs just as much as most.
2) Jade was always a little smaller than the others, and this Summer, sprouted a gigantic long male tail. I used a digital thermostat to temp sex my incubating eggs at 89-90 degrees, but apparently 'break through' males do happen. I've hatched a little over 100 babies, and so far, 3 have turned out to be male. The rest are all female. Jade will likely end up being rehomed, because I don't want to have 3 males.
3) Our move across the country meant that my tortoises finished off 2020 in temporary enclosures, brumated in the fridge, and then started 2021 in beautiful newly built outdoor enclosures. I'll make a separate thread about those - I took pains to make them predator proof and escape proof. They have lids and a french drain so I don't end up with flooding. Our climate here is warmer, so rather than struggling with keeping them warm enough like I did in WA, here I've struggled with keeping them cool enough. When the air is 117 degrees, the ground heats to 170 F. I hung shade cloths, built deep underground caves out of rock, hosed down the enclosure with cold water. A few of the young adults aestivated about 10" below the soil surface deep inside the stone caves. Some didn't care and still were out every day. I built 1 enclosure for my 2 adult CB females, 1 for the 3 young CB females, and 2 separate ones for the 2 CB males I'm keeping.

All of my CB tortoises live outside 24/7 now. I had to supplement food for 1 month this summer in the enclosure of the 2 large females, but the rest have just been grazing the tortoise safe weeds and wildflowers I planted in their enclosure. I actually had to pull up about 50% of the plants in the juvenile enclosure because it got so dense in there.
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