Who's the New Guy?

ltocadisco

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Joined
Sep 12, 2018
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Waukegan
Hello there! I'm Adam from the northeast corner of Illinois. I have a 3 year old Russian tortoise who likes romaine lettuce, hay, and sleeping in a rock cave. Although I just finished a lovely outdoor octagon (aka the Tortagon) it seems it's about time to bring the beast for winter. Time to clean the aquarium, refresh the coir, test the lamps, and redecorate! I hope summer has been good to you and your little crawlers.
 

Gillian M

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Hi Adam and a very warm welcome to the forum.

Please post pics of your tort and his enclosure. Read the "Beginners Mistakes" Thread.
 

LaLaP

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Hi and welcome! I have a Russian tortoise too. I'm relatively new to tortoises but I learned soooo much here on this forum. When I got my Diego from a rescue he was strictly a romain lettuce guy but I found out that it isn't nutritious and he'd do better with a wide variety of weeds and plants. There are a ton of plants they can eat and lots of them grow in all of our yards. In the specifies species section under Russians there is a careshhet with great info. Also there is a great thread called "beginner mistakes". These could help you with diet and also as you set up your torts indoor space. I'll try to link to them for you (I haven't figured out how to do that though). There is also a website called tortoisetable.org and it makes it easy to identify plants.
Keep us posted as you work on your indoor enclosure. People are super helpful here and can offer great advice.
 

TriciaStringer

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Welcome! I so want to see your tortagon and tortoise. Show us some pictures. I have a nine year old Russian. He is such a joy.
 

Yvonne G

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Welcome to the Forum, Adam!
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome. Your Russian doesn't have to come in yet if you're still getting the warm days like we are here in Chicago. 80's. Nighate are cooler but not too bad yet for a Russian.
 

ltocadisco

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Joined
Sep 12, 2018
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Waukegan
Hi Adam and a very warm welcome to the forum.

Please post pics of your tort and his enclosure. Read the "Beginners Mistakes" Thread.

Thank you! I'll try to get some pix up soon. I have finished the reading assignment and will adjust the hydration pools a bit.
 

Yvonne G

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That's pretty small for a Russian. He might be pretty restless in there
 

Minority2

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Jul 30, 2018
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Tortoise Hell
Here is the indoor enclosure I have put him in since summer suddenly ended.

View attachment 252531

1. Are you using two separate heating sources? Russians can handle night time temperatures and generally only require a single basking fixture depending on the size of the enclosure. An open 8 x 4 ft enclosure may require more.
2. Is that a red halogen bulb on the right? The color red distorts a tortoise's perceptions and may cause them to eat anything; substrates and rocks included.
3. Does the left lighting fixture contain a mercury vapor bulb or compact florescent bulb?
 

ltocadisco

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Sep 12, 2018
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1. No. There is a UVB cfl and an inftared incandescent heat lamp.
2. No it is an incandescent. He's not eating rocks or substrates. I have not heard of this but was considering a "black" heat lamp. Do you have a source for this info?
3. CFL
 

Minority2

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UV(B) compact florescent bulbs have been known to cause severe eye issues in tortoises:
https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/compact-fluorescent-bulbs-the-discussion.53345/

While new versions have supposedly fixed these issues, however, old versions are still being sold to this very day. If you search the forums hard enough, you'll still find these issues popping up every year or so.

Some people claim that red incandescent light bulbs are safe to use as a form of night heating. I personally wouldn't take the chance. There's so many other safer options to provide day and night heating. A regular 2700k soft white incandescent flood bulb is similarly priced for day heating needs. A ceramic heat emitter or reptiles heating panel paired with a thermostat is able to keep night temperatures within range. Electricity costs may also slightly lower in comparison to a heat lamp that's constantly on.

Some studies have also shown tortoises to be particularly interested in specific colors such as red and yellow:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24911428
https://tortoisegroup.org/faqs/

Various tortoise forum discussions on a tortoise's ability to see color and how red heat lamps are perceived by tortoises.
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/can-tortoises-see-in-color.15760/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/whats-wrong-with-the-red-light-bulb.134656/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/red-heat-lamp.73373/
 

ltocadisco

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Sep 12, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
Waukegan
Clearly the red lamps are a risk, so I'll try something else as the cost of bulbs is only a slight difference. This info on the CFLs is very confusing but definitely a concern I'll have to look into.
 

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