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My new tortoise isn't very active

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Ellie Wood, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Ellie Wood

    Ellie Wood New Member

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    Hey! I just got a Russian tortoise yesterday. Last night after seeing up his tank he was very active and digging in the corners. I got home tonight and he has been sitting on the same spot since I got back. The temp is about 72f and the humidity is about 36%. Is the tank too cool? If so how do u warm it up? He has a uvb and basking lamp asc well as a heat pad.

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  2. SarahChelonoidis

    SarahChelonoidis Well-Known Member

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    The temperature you need to check is the one under your basking light at tortoise height - if that is only 72, it's too cold. If it's 95-105, you're doing alright. If you aren't getting a proper basking temperature with the set up you have now, you either need to lower the bulb (remove the lid and get a lamp stand) or put in a higher wattage bulb.

    You'll still a place for the tortoise to get away from the heat to cool down, which can be tricky in small enclosures like that. A fair bit of trial and error is involved in getting temperatures right at first.
    cmac3 likes this.
  3. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    He needs things in his enclosure. It is too wide open. Not enough cover to feel safe. Otherwise, 'very active and digging at the corners' is not a good kind of active. It was stress from his new environment. Calmly going about tortoise business is more normal.

    Add logs, rocks, driftwood, plants, ect
    . A more secure hide....
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Hi Ellie, and welcome to the forum!!

    Most new tortoise-keepers see a brand new to you tortoise digging at the corners and walking the perimeter of the habitat and think they're seeing a happy, active tortoise, when just the opposite is true. Your tortoise was trying to escape and get back to his previous territory. Tortoises are creatures of habit and don't like to be moved from one place to another. He had his territory all staked out at the place you got him, and now he's trying to get back there. When he realized he can't, he just sits in one place, hoping the big bad tortoise eater isn't going to see him and eat him. He'll eventually get used to his new quarters and he'll come to see you as the food goddess. It may take a week or two. In the meantime, I've got a suggestion for you:

    Why are you measuring the temperature and humidity way up at the top of the aquarium? Your tortoise isn't up there. Move those devices down to the bottom of the aquarium.

    Also, if your lights are sitting on a screen, you need to cut a hole for the UVB light to have no restriction. Screen filters most of the UVB rays out.

    Be thinking about getting this tortoise outside. I know, the weather isn't good right now, but tortoises really do a whole lot better in a big, safe outdoor enclosure.
  5. Ellie Wood

    Ellie Wood New Member

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    Thank you. I know that we need more things in the tank. Can you suggest what you think we should add? I read about fake plants and cacti being good tank fillers.
  6. Ellie Wood

    Ellie Wood New Member

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    Thank you. I'm monitoring the heat under the basking light right now. I think I will need to lower the light
  7. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Yes, fake plants are good. In the meantime until you get things, you can use a cardboard shoe box or something with a door cut out temporarily.
  8. Ellie Wood

    Ellie Wood New Member

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    Thank you for your advice. We took the mesh top off and lowered the lights. He already looks happier! I think the substrate was too wet too. We e currently taking it out and getting the excess water out. We w moving the temp and humidity gauges too. Thank you for your help
    lisa127 likes this.
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