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New Russian Tortoise

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by BlueCardinalArtist, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. BlueCardinalArtist

    BlueCardinalArtist Well-Known Member

    Hi, so I recently aquired a Russian tortoise from Repticon last week and just wanted to make sure and double check that I was doing everything ok. Her name is Olive, and she seems to be healthy and eating alright as far as I know. I've been feeding her everyday green lettuce leaf, kale, cantelope, and strawberries as well as some dandelions and she really likes sweet potato leaves and stalks. The enclosure I have for her is 2 feet by 4 feet with 15 inch high walls made of wood. She has a UVB that works and its about a foot above her, (the first one I got shut off after only a few days so we got another) and her heat lamp is keeping the warm side of the enclosure about 90 degrees Fahrenheit and at the cool end it's about 70 degrees with an 80 degree gradient in the middle. We're using a mixture of topsoil and reptibark as the substrate and there's a few inches of that for her to burrow through. :) She also has a shallow water dish as well as a few live plants which are all edible including the sweet potato which is entirely gone now, oregano, and garden sage. Oh, and the humidity stays around 45 - 50. She's about 6 inches in carapace length I think, and I've been keeping her day and night cycle to 12 hours each, and there's only one concern I have. When I turn on the lights she doesn't get out right away, which I would think to be normal, but she only starts to move a few hours after. Is that normal?
     
  2. AdamL8

    AdamL8 Elite Member

    The last part sounds like she is just warming up in the morning which is perfectly natural. As for the diet, You should cut back on the sugary fruits and focus on leafy greens. I believe Kale has a slightly high Calcium : Phosphorous ratio which is not ideal. You can still include it but also try something like Mustard Greens and Collard Greens. If you do a quick search you can find a full list of the greens that they can eat and the sky is the limit. I'm not familiar with Green Leaf Lettuce but as a rule of thumb lettuce should be avoided because most types are almost all water with no nutritional benefits.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. BlueCardinalArtist

    BlueCardinalArtist Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I'll be sure to avoid the lettuce, and I have been feeding her more mustard and collard greens now, along with some oregano and she seems to like that. I'll be sure to get more greens from that list too the next time i go to the store :)
     
  4. BlueCardinalArtist

    BlueCardinalArtist Well-Known Member

    Also, is hissing normal for a Russian? She's made the noise before but today she's been making the sound a bit louder than normal. Is that normal?
     
  5. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    HIssing when? All the time or just when you startle her and she pulls her head into her shell?

    Turtles and torts will "hiss" when they pull their head into their shell as they are releasing the extra air in their lungs to make room in their shell for their heads. However if it is all the time (when their head is extended) then it might be indicative of a Respiratory Infection.
     
  6. BlueCardinalArtist

    BlueCardinalArtist Well-Known Member

    Well it's when she pulls her head in so yeah... thank you so for clearing that up for me!
     
  7. BlueCardinalArtist

    BlueCardinalArtist Well-Known Member

    Alright, so I took Olive to the vet for a check up just to make sure everything is ok, and he cleared her as perfectly healthy. He suggested that I try newspaper to get rid of some of the little bugs that I've been seeing in her enclosure and I have been doing this for about two weeks now, and since i first did that she's been moving around and eating a lot less. I haven't been able to take her outside lately because we've been having a lot of bad weather and rain rain rain, but I got her out today and it's always when she's outside that she seems to be doing better. I'm thinking about putting the dirt back in, because she seemed to prefer it and the bugs i saw didn't seem to bother her at all. Would that be a good idea because I'm just trying to double check before I do anything.
     
  8. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Yes definitely put the dirt back. While most reptiles do better on a non-particulate substrate tortoises do better in a setup that is as natural as possible. Dirt, plants, large rocks or logs to walk around, and leaf litter if you can get some.
    Those bugs you saw were probably wood mites. They are abundant in natural cages and while they are annoying to us they don't harm the torts. You can add in other bugs like rolly-pollies and earthworms to control the more population and reduce the risk of mold.
     

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