Advice needed

Amyls93

New Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Hi Everyone,

In December me and my partner went into a pet shop and saw a tortoise in the corner on its own. We was initially told it was male, 5 years old and was a rehome because he was fighting with his brothers. On the day of delivery we was then told he was female and approximately 3. Unfortunately, we had already named the tortoise Boris and the name has stuck!

We was advised that he/she has lived in a viv all his life and reccomend that a viv would be ok for him, so that's what we bought.

Fortunately, my partner has other reptiles so we was able to set up the heat lamps quickly based on the information we had read and get it on a timer incase it gets too cold at night.

When Boris was delivered we was advised that there would be enough substrate however within 24 hours (and with alot of further reading) we realised it wasn't, so we went and bought two further bags so he can dig.

From what I have read Russian tortoises should be relatively active but Boris isn't, he eats, digs a little then sleeps head down in the corner. My main concern is that there isn't enough room for Boris to wonder round, thats why he just digs and sleeps.

We do let Boris wonder round on the floor (again, I have read mixed reviews on this). We have a chocolate labrador and he loves chasing her around, they are never left unsupervised and its normally just for 10/15 mins twice daily.

Boris doesn't each much but we haven't got a good enough variation yet, we have started growing weeds but given its winter in the UK they are taking ages.

So I guess my question is do you have advice for us? Or things that we should be doing differently? I have attached a picture of Boris in the corner, his home and the heat gage which is in the middle of the viv. We bath Boris 3x each week, when he wants a wee or a poo he stares at us so we get him out. He hasn't been in his tank yet. On the picture of his face he had just eaten so his face is full of calcium pro 🤣

Thanks everyone ☺

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Yossarian

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Messages
588
Location (City and/or State)
Wales
Hi and welcome to the forum, Im glad you found us. Boris does look like he is nearly full grown so he would likely be more than 4-5 years old but it is difficult to age torts since their growth can vary so much depending on environment. There are some really experienced Russian tort keepers here so hopefully one of them can give us a better idea.

If you post a photo of the torts plastron (the bottom shell) we can give you a better idea of whether it is male or female or too young to tell.

There is a lot that you will be told you need to change, please keep an open mind and dont take offense, our main concern is your torts wellbeing.

Straight off, the enclosure is not big enough for your tortoise, russian torts need a footprint of 4ft x 8ft minimum. Those pellets are not a suitable substrate, you can use coco coir or orchid bark instead. Before hitting you with a load of other stuff at once, Im going to post our care sheet for you. Have a good read and you will quickly recognise things that need adjusting, and then ask any questions you might have. More people will be along to offer advice soon.

The Best Way To Raise Any Temperate Species Of Tortoise | Tortoise Forum
 

Amyls93

New Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Hi and welcome to the forum, Im glad you found us. Boris does look like he is nearly full grown so he would likely be more than 4-5 years old but it is difficult to age torts since their growth can vary so much depending on environment. There are some really experienced Russian tort keepers here so hopefully one of them can give us a better idea.

If you post a photo of the torts plastron (the bottom shell) we can give you a better idea of whether it is male or female or too young to tell.

There is a lot that you will be told you need to change, please keep an open mind and dont take offense, our main concern is your torts wellbeing.

Straight off, the enclosure is not big enough for your tortoise, russian torts need a footprint of 4ft x 8ft minimum. Those pellets are not a suitable substrate, you can use coco coir or orchid bark instead. Before hitting you with a load of other stuff at once, Im going to post our care sheet for you. Have a good read and you will quickly recognise things that need adjusting, and then ask any questions you might have. More people will be along to offer advice soon.

The Best Way To Raise Any Temperate Species Of Tortoise | Tortoise Forum
Hi, thanks for getting back to me. We have had a good read and certainly have alot of changes to make! The grass pellets is what was given at the reptile specialist pet shop when we bought him which is sad that they promote inappropriate things. The bottom two layers is Tortoise Terrain from pets at home, which is also inappropriate 🙈. We will be looking at ordering a bigger Tortoise table in the next few days. This night sound like a really silly question but when we get a bigger table we will need to move him upstairs. At the moment he's downstairs, he let's us know when he needs to toilet (he won't go in his tank), comes out and days hello in the morning, him and the dog watch each other through the glass. Will he be OK upstairs on his own? He does seem sociable.

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KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,470
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Hello, and welcome to the forum!

Those round combination thermometer/hygrometer units are notoriously inaccurate. Much better are the digital ones. And best of all are the ones with a probe. With those, the probe goes in the enclosure wherever you want to measure the temp, and the display is outside the enclosure.

In any case, the thermometer should be at tort height, not half way up the wall. The temp up the wall is misleading because it's warmer there than an inch or two above the substrate.
 
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