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Just got my first Tortoise! a Russian Tortoise!

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by keiraliang, Apr 17, 2010.

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  1. keiraliang

    keiraliang New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    :)I got a 6 years old Free Russian Tortoise from Craigslist! And they gave me all the supplies, but it seems they didn't take very good care of him.
    They didn't have light, heat lamp and anything.
    Just a 20G tank, dish and bedding. Soaking him once a month
    Only feeding one veggie....so! I need to feed him something healthy!
    So he can be Healthy! But I am new, so I don't know what should I get for him.

    I want to get him a cement mix tub. 20G looks very small and hard to move around and exercise.

    I am wondering what kind of nutrients(which brand?) and what else should I get for my russian tortoise.

    What do you usually feed your RT? Their Menu? :D

    Where to get "Good Hay" that RT would play with?

    I got him a heat lamp(60W) and My house has direct sun light in the house is that enough light for him?
    What other light do I need to get?

    Is Basking light and UVB different?

    My RT's nails are really long. what should I do about his nail?

    I will post his Picture later so you guys can see him. also see if there's anything wrong with him. He is very active and curious(walking around see this new place). I soak him right after I got him because his former owner soak him once a month(if that).

    So..Please let me know what I should get for him.
    Food, Supplies, anything!
    Thank you!!!! :)
  2. keiraliang

    keiraliang New Member

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    Location:
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  3. RussianRookie

    RussianRookie New Member

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    Never seen a russian that looked like that :\
  4. keiraliang

    keiraliang New Member

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    So, what kind does he looks like?

    He is around 6 inch long.

    I know he's kinda darker but still looks like a Russian to me :D ( he's very active

    But he has a yellow circle around his eyes...I didn't see those yellow circle on other Russian Tortoise.
  5. Kymiie

    Kymiie New Member

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    The plastron looks russian, but the caprice doesnt..maybe you have a mixed tortoise.. I dont know, could be a marginated tortoise actually humm not sure!! Wait for danny to post on that, he is the expert!!

    The nails and beak are long, so a trip to the vet to get them trimmed, is only a small cost. Then add a tile and/or cuttle bone in to help keep beak and nails trim.

    You RT can eat all of these

    RED CLOVER LEAVES & FLOWERS
    BRAMBLE LEAVES & FRUIT
    WHITE CLOVER LEAVES & FLOWERS
    RYE GRASS (WHOLE PLANT)
    TREFOIL LEAVES & FLOWERS
    DAISY FLOWERS
    PLANTAIN LEAVES APPLE (FLESH ONLY)
    DANDELION LEAVES & FLOWERS COS LETTUCE
    SOW THISTLE (WHOLE PLANT) GREEN CABBAGE LEAVES
    RED DEAD NETTLES (WHOLE PLANT) CAULIFLOWER INCLUDING THE LEAVES
    WHITE DEAD NETTLES (WHOLE PLANT) SPROUTS AND THE TOPS
    BUTTERCUP LEAVES & FLOWERS KALE LEAVES
    HAWKBITS (WHOLE PLANT) CARROT AND THE TOPS
    HAWKWEEDS (WHOLE PLANT) ENDIVE LEAVES
    HAWKBEARDS (WHOLE PLANT) ALFALFA INCLUDING THE SPROUTS
    HONEYSUCKLE (WHOLE PLANT) WATER CRESS (WHOLE PLANT)
    CATS EARS (WHOLE PLANT) TOMATO (FRUIT ONLY)
    VETCH (WHOLE PLANT) CUCUMBER FRUIT
    MALLOW (WHOLE PLANT) STRAWBERRY LEAVES & FRUIT
    NETTLES (WHOLE PLANT)
    CRESS
    WILD CLEMATIS LEAVES & FLOWERS MUSTARD (WHOLE PLANT)
    CHICKWEED (WHOLE PLANT) BUCKWHEAT (WHOLE PLANT)
    DOCK LEAVES SPRING GREENS
    WEBBS LETTUCE PURPLE SPROUTING LEAVES


    Obvisouly some do more good then others like dandilions r way better than cucumber etc!!!

    Hope this helps for some of your enquiry xx
  6. Meg90

    Meg90 Active Member

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    Thats a Russian for sure. 100%. Not a hybrid or a mix, just a Russian. It looks male to me as well.

    They like dark, leafy greens. Skip vegetables. Most are just water and sugar.

    If you are going to be keeping your tortoise indoors, you will need a bulb called a Mercury Vapor Bulb that produces UVB (replicates what the sun makes) as well as heat. I would suggest at least a 100 watt bulb to keep him warm enough to digest his food. Tortoises kept too cool can have the food inside of them literally rot because they have to be kept warm to be able to digest at all. I use Trex 100W UV heat bulbs on my tortoises. But Powersun bulbs are also a good brand. The sun that comes in through your window has all the beneficial rays filtered out by the glass and screen. It doesn't do anything for your tortoise's health.

    Also, with a beak that long, you want to find a good herp vet and get it trimmed. Once its trimmed, feed on a rough surface, such as a slate tile and offer whole food items so that he has to bite off pieces and work his beak. Offering a cuttle bone is also beneficial, as they gnaw on them it keeps their beak trimmed, and they get Ca as well.

    You are on the right track housing wise---you want something without a top, so there is lots of air flow. Rubbermaid or Steralite bins are a favorite of tortoise keepers. All of my tortoises are in bins. Some also prefer to make "tortoise tables". Which are large, wooden enclosures with open tops. Lots of people often convert pre-maid book cases. BIGGER is always better. And the more room you can give him, the happier he will be. I have fake plants, rocks, and log hides in my enclosures as well. Be sure to provide a shallow dish with fresh water too. I use glazed ceramic plant saucers. They aren't very deep, and the tortoise can easily get in and out.

    These are two pictures of my male Greeks enclosure (Greeks are very similar to Russians care wise)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    His nails can be trimmed like any other animals---but be careful not to nick the nerve ending or "quick" which will cause bleeding. He will probably not appreciate you messing with his feet, and will retract into his shell. If that makes you nervous, the vet can be asked to trim his nails as well, when you take him in to get his beak done.

    I wanted to say how happy I am that you are doing your research, and trying to learn what is best for your new animal. Keep asking questions and poking around the forum. The search bar is also a great tool. Type key phrases and lots of old topics will come up! The more you read, the more you'll know! Welcome to the forum!
  7. Kristina

    Kristina New Member

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    Definitely 100% Russian. He is just darker than most. I have a little female that has a lot of black on her like that, they can vary in color quite a bit.

    Kristina
  8. -ryan-

    -ryan- New Member

    Joined:
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    I agree that he's a russian. They range in color from extremely light to very dark, and they also range in size and shape. His beak is a little long, but he can work it down pretty easily by adding some rough vegetation to his diet (I sometimes give my russian group an entire head of romaine lettuce because it gives them great hydration and when they get down to the stump it works their beaks down).

    Also, all imported russians have some degree of shell rot evidence, and that is why the carapace has a little bit of a that shiny, wrinkled appearance that captive raised tortoises and those observed in the wild rarely have. I Have a few that have that, and it is very easy to tell them apart from the captive bred ones, but they are just as hearty once they acclimate.

    Good luck with the new tortoise, and let us see some pics when you get a bigger setup. The cement mixing bins are a good step up for a single russian. They are very cheap and easy to outfit (I am building a couple of those setups on a rack for my male russians). In the future, since you just have one, you may be able to come up with the space to build a much larger enclosure or table as well.
  9. keiraliang

    keiraliang New Member

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    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Thank you for replying guys! :)

    Meg,

    I am very happy that I have this opportunity to take care of him.:)
    But i still have a lot of questions :D hehe

    I see your pictures and the enclosure has two lamps and they both have light.
    Could you tell me what kind of bulb they are? and their(Watts, brand)And why is one light on the right the other one on the left?
    The lamp I have only gives heat to my tortoise(No light, 60W).
    When do I use this kind of lamp?And how low should I put it to the enclosure?
    I was reading many threads, and I am confused about lights..

    I am confused between Basking light, UVB light and Heat lam

    One of those thread, they put UVB light & the heat lamp together and point both lamp to a same spot so torts gets all the good rays while basking.

    So, Can Basking light be replaced by UVA+heat lamp?
    I really need someone to explain light to me with detail. hehe:)

    I live in Texas and my indoor temper is 80f right now (no A/C) is it ok for my RT? Should i turn on the heat lamp?


    He keep digging the corner of the tank..what is he doing? What can i do for him?


    Also, i forgot how to change Signature in this forum.I want to Add my Russian Tort in my Signature :D hehe
    Please tell me how:D

    Thanks!
  10. keiraliang

    keiraliang New Member

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    Location:
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    Meg,

    What is your bedding in those pictures?

    thanks! :)
  11. Meg90

    Meg90 Active Member

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    I use aspen bedding. As for the lights, the one in the silver dome is a mercury vapor bulb, it is what produces Nigel's heat, and UVB. That is what you need, if you plan to keep him indoors. A bulb that produces UVA and UVB. Nigel's is a 100W Trex bulb. They run about 30-40$ online before shipping costs, and about 70-80$ in petstores like Petco. I get mine from various places online for just that reason!

    The other lamp is just a plain old 25W incandescent bulb. I added it because the part of the room he is in, only gets ambient light for a few hours a day, and so I needed a bulb on the other end to keep things nicely lit for him.

    Any more questions?
  12. keiraliang

    keiraliang New Member

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    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I got a ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 UVB/18"/15W Reptile Bulb online..is that good?

    Can Basking light be replaced by UVA+heat lamp?

    Do I need to turn on heat at night? Night temperature is 80F indoor here.

    Thanks! :)
  13. keiraliang

    keiraliang New Member

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    What kind of Nutrients and calcium should I get for my Russian Tortoise?

    What brand? and where is the best place to get it?

    Please give me advice :) Thank you!
  14. ChiKat

    ChiKat Active Member

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    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I bought TNT from Carolina Pet Supply

    I also purchased calcium carbonate powder (no D3) from a health food store. And I keep a cuttlebone in his enclosure to munch on for extra calcium.
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