This Disappears When Logged In

Russian Tortoise Husbandry Advice

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by blair, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    I found the care sheet on this site to be very useful and it matches a couple others i've read.

    Anybody pretty familiar with Russian Tortoises? i have, what was told, a 4yr old male. I built an enclosure that is a little on the smaller side but very cheap. it is 4x2x1. i was a little confused by conflicting care sheets when building and divided the enclosure in half and was going to let the tortoise "hygroregulate" (if that's a word), one dry side and one moist side. i changed the design half way through and put a tub in there full of coir/sand mix. the hot spot on the "dry" side is running 96F and the rest of the enclosure is room temp which is usually in the low 70s and a little lower at night. humidity is running about 40% except for under the light it's a touch lower but i've raised the light a little so we will see.

    the tortoise came from a reptile dealer and from what i hear he was kept in a box with others, no heat. he was getting regular baths but that's about it. he seems pretty lethargic. i have read that alot about hibernation and thought maybe without heat he was getting ready to try and hibernate. i can only assume his diet lately has been horrible as the box i received him in had only a piece of banana in it.

    any advice on enclosure setup and what i should be seeing from the little guy? dont knock the enclosure too much! it cost $30 and took about 30 minutes to throw together. substrate is aspen chips

    IMG_2240.JPG IMG_2241.JPG IMG_2239.JPG
    ps..the coke can is just for size reference
     
  2. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    had the wife check temps today and honestly its too hot and dry on the dry side
    20151029_134038.jpg
     
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Doesn't look too bad to me, but I would try and fix it so that it has a moist hide it can retreat to when it wants. That might help with the humidity issue, if there is one. And yes, it could be trying to brumate a bit, just give it some time to come around, and keep the light cycle at 12/12. And if you keep a water dish in there that it can climb into, you probably won't need to bathe it much, but you'll be changing the water a lot, they tend to defecate in it (mine did).
     
  4. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    not getting to worried yet with him not eating since he is fairly new. but dehydration is worrying me. ambient lighting is not adequate around the whole enclosure because of where it sits so today i'm going to correct some ambient lighting. i read some people had issues with it being too dark in half of their enclosure causing them to sleep all day. i am confident i have temps corrected by raising the light a touch more. also i read that they can be picky eaters so am experimenting with good greens. i have an abundance of mustard greens that i use for other animals but i will try using some other recommended greens.

    i also read where feeding "bad"/sweet foods can increase an already existing parasite infection causing them to stop eating. i would assume bananas are on the list of not good foods and that's what he was eating before my care. tough subject because i was tempted to try sweet foods to bribe him to eat, nothing regular just would feel better if i saw him eat something
     
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    A florescent or LED shoplight over the darker area would cure the ambient light issue easily enough. As for the feeding, you could throw some bananas and strawberries into a blender or whatever, and mix a little of the goo with the healthy greens to help get it going. Then just use less and less until your feeding nothing but the greens for the most part. And your probably right about it needing some time, especially coming from less than optimal conditions.
     
  6. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    Starting to get a little worried with the little guy. He still doesn't seem to be eating, maybe a couple peices of greens but no poop so I doubt he's eating. I've tried mashing some sweet stuff in but it's not helping. He doesn't seem to do anything but sleep. He burrowed into substrate today which I believe is good for hydration. I want to take him to the vet tomorrow but finding a decently priced herp vet close to me has been impossible. I assume they will want to test his stool but I have none to give them.
     
  7. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    Are you giving him warm soaks? That usually helps tremendously with hydration.
     
  8. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    yes, lately i'm soaking him every day. i had the wife check on him since i was working and she said he was soaking himself in his enclosure which is a good sign but still no eating going on. using a digital thermometer/hygrometer made for home use. i made some changes last night and it's a little hot in there today at 103 F under the bask light. He buried himself...
    image.jpeg
     
  9. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    How long have you had him now? Tortoises can go weeks without food. Some new tortoises walk into your house like they own the place and others will take months to get accustomed to their new habitats. He is likely burying himself from stress.

    Do you know if he has been brumated in the past?

    You might consider taking out the aspen chips, ideal substrates for testudo species are >organic< top soil, coco coir, fir bark (also know as reptibark or fine grade orchid bark), and cypress mulch. (Though mulch can cause irritation in burrowing species)
     
  10. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    i have enough coir to replace the aspen and will do that this evening. i have been wondering if his eyes are irritated. he seems to blink sleepily quite often but i suppose it could be irritation.

    we have had him just shy of 2 weeks.

    the breeder gets various imported shipments all of the time. i don't know enough about the wild caught trade but my best guess would be this tort is freshly wild caught judging by the imports the breeder receives. which would lead me to believe the tort is used to brumation. again this is just an educated guess but the breeder seems to always be going to the airport to pickup shipments and he never knows what's in them until opening.
     
  11. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    If he is wild caught he is likely very stressed and probably also full of parasites. I would schedule a well check if you can. Your vet may be able to encourage him to have a bowel movement to check for parasites or he may just worm him proactively.

    Make sure he has multiple areas to hide so he feels secure. If you can get some plants he can hide under or even a tupperware with moist coir in it he'll feel more secure.
     
  12. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    You don't happen to have a CFL coil light for his UVB do you? Torts seem to be extra sensitive to them. MVB lights are a far safer choice.
     
  13. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    I did use a coil as it was all I had for the first three days but I haven't used it since. Swapped for a T8. Murrindindi and I had a convo about T5s being more efficient and I looked and they definitely are. Eventually I'll move to a t5 or MVB.
     
  14. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    Girlfriend took him to vet, I couldn't get off work. Vet said he is severely dehydrated and to soak him for 1-2 hours in warm water per day. If he gets worst I'm to go back. Not happy I didn't go I had more questions but...
     
  15. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    You may want to mix some carrot baby food or pedialyte into his soaks for extra nourishment if he drinks while he soaks.

    good luck!
     
  16. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    wanted to provide an update. we have been soaking regularly in water, pedialyte or carrot baby food. We went on vacation and took him with and the weather was tropical, he did really well. when outside he ran all over eating grass. i'm now back home and he's back to doing nothing but sleeping. it's gotta be heat/environment related. I have him in a temp home which is very small to contain heat and moisture and its very bright but i can't get him to do much. i am confident i'm on the right track but not a whole lot of progress. thanks..
     
  17. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    wanted to update on this more. bullwinkle is a trooper and is doing very well. after vets advice of bathing for 2hours a day and using pedialyte and baby carrot food for a very long time he snapped out of it. I woke up one day and he was standing over his food dish looking up at me. i can't get him to stop eating now...lol. happy to say this ended on a good note.
     

Share This Page