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Toys for My Russian Tortoise

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by elijaheac, Apr 25, 2010.

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  1. elijaheac

    elijaheac New Member

    Apr 25, 2010
    I have a Russian Tortoise named Athena, I just got her yesterday. I currently have her in a short and long "Critter Cage" with Carefresh bedding, and a hollowed out log for a hide. I also have a little mini-mountain (about 2 in.) of substrate for her to burrow in. What else can I add to make my tortoise happy/healthy? I've heard plants.... I will put some in later today. But what else?

  2. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2008
    Corvallis Oregon
    Carefresh bedding is not good for a tortoise. For my Russian I provide a moist substrate and several hides. Even if you don't want to keep the substrate damp Carefresh is not good bedding for a tortoise. So I would get rid of that. My Russian likes cypress mulch and she digs thru it a good part of her day...Welcome to the forum...
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Clovis, CA
    Hi Elijaheac:

    [​IMG] to the forum!!

    I (like Maggie) use cypress mulch for my indoor tortoises. However, you need to be thinking about an outdoor pen for your little Russian tortoise. I firmly believe that tortoises are NOT indoor pets! As soon as the weather permits, he will be much better off outside.
  4. Kristina

    Kristina New Member

    Dec 19, 2008
    Cadillac, Michigan
    Welcome to the forum!

    Can you tell us exactly how you are keeping your little Russian? How big is his home? What kind of heat does he use?

    I agree with Maggie and Yvonne on the bedding, it is not good for your tortoise. I would get cypress mulch, orchard bark, coconut coir or even regular, chemical free soil. Please do not use sand or calci sand, walnut shells, corn cob bedding, rabbit pellets or wood chips of any kind.

    What kind of plants are you planning on putting in today? Not all plants are safe, and plants from nurseries will have dangerous pesticides and fertilizers on them. They can make your tortoise very sick, and need to sit outside for at least 6 months before they can be put in with him.
  5. tortoisenerd

    tortoisenerd New Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Hi! Welcome to the forum. Congrats on the tort. :) Great suggestions already.

    Even fake plants can be great for hiding and breaking up the space. Most torts will just take a test bite and then decide its not food. If they continue to try and eat something, take it out. Having a hide in each temperature area is important to encourage thermoregulation (at the minimum one cool hide and one hide near the basking spot). I like to use a slate tile for feeding as it wears down the beak and nails. What type of water dish do you use? I would make the substrate throughout as deep as you can without allowing escape...I use substrate twice as deep as my tort is long. There really aren't too many toys for small torts except trying out a red pong ball (I painted mine red with nail polish and let it dry for a couple days, as torts are attracted to red). My tort didn't like it, but some do. As large of an enclosure you can use with as much outdoor time in a chemical-free area (no pesticides or fertilizers, which means any public parks or areas in your home or apartment community are bad) as you can will also have the tort thrive.

    As far as insuring the tort is healthy, find a reputable tortoise vet and take her for a check up, bringing in a fecal sample to be tested for parasites. Repeat the fecal test after 3-4 months to pick up any parasites that were in a low life cycle at the time of the first test, and then repeat yearly after that. I encourage people after the first check up to at least continue the fecal tests even if they don't want to take the tort in for yearly check ups. It might run you about $80 for an exam and fecal test, and hopefully under $20 for the fecal test alone. Vets should allow you just to drop off a fecal sample after the tort is established, and only if parasites are found in high enough levels to need treatment would the tort need to be brought in (and even then, maybe not). What are you feeding? Sounds like you really care about your new tort. Another substrate option if you choose to use a dry substrate is aspen shavings. Try some substrates out and see what you and your tort like and what you can find in your area (or online). For a Russian, I believe that although a moist substrate is a better choice, it is not a necessity to prevent pyramiding such as it is for other breeds more susceptible to pyramiding.
  6. terracolson

    terracolson New Member

    Aug 13, 2009


    Dont panic over needing to make the necessary changes. It seems we all start out with incorrect information from "pet stores" and learn what to do on here....

    Yes outside is the best and easiest in my mind, so please start small and lets work together....

    Is outside an option?
    If so, lets talk about that....

    Also please provide a pic of your baby, so we can see how he/she is health wise, beak- shell.... yatta yatta
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