Advice on weight & size of around 3 year old Russian Horsefield Tortoise

Digger ~ Horsefield

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Apr 6, 2018
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North East England, UK
Hey Everyone,

I'm new to posting here, nice to meet you all :) I live in north eastern U.K. So it is quite a cold climate. Thanks for reading my ridiculously long post! Just want to make sure Digger is properly cared for!

In 2016 I purchased a Russian Horsefield tortoise (now my Digger) off a friend of a friend who told me he was 1 year old. I didn't get a lot of information but I knew straight away that Digger wasn't cared for correctly as he was in a small tortoise table with what looked like a regular bulb within touching distance of him!

Over the past 2 years I have tried to achieve the best standard of living for him/her (I'm unsure but they told me he was a male) and he now has an open area of 4ft x 3ft or more precisely 130cm x 93cm, he has his 10% UVB bulb and his basking bulb, two water sources, raised mounds of dirt for burrowing, decorate bark and wood for climbing about and he eats only freshly grown (by myself) leafy greens and weeds with the odd fruit treat (no store pellets!) of course with calcium powder.

I have tried many different substrates but most official substrates that I have bought unfortunately contain many small white rocks which Digger likes to eat. The first week I had him he had an intestinal prolapse due to this and so have adjusted over the years and found he prefers a moist soil with soft bark mix. Nothing sharp of course.

The strange thing is that although I was told he was one year old and should now be 3 years old, he has only grown maximum 3cm in all directions. I see a vet who has specialised in tortoises and he thinks that he was only a few month when I first got him and that maybe having an intestinal prolapse so young caused some problems.

He is very active and calm, he has no fear of me and he is out and about everyday to warm up and eats his greens throughout the day so I hope that means he's okay.

He currently weighs 99g or 3.5oz, I have tried to research what the expected weight and measurements should be but with no luck. Could anyone help me with some rough guidelines?

Thanks!
Eri

IMG_4703.jpg IMG_4697.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

Well, he looks pretty good for having had poor care. The slight bumpiness on his carapace should smooth out with time. That was caused by being raised in a too dry enclosure. It would be helpful if you could add a bit of moisture to his substrate occasionally. Russian tortoises don't grow all that fast. He should reach his full size at about 5 or 6 years. If you show us his tail we might be able to affirm he's male or not.
 

Digger ~ Horsefield

New Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
North East England, UK
Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

Well, he looks pretty good for having had poor care. The slight bumpiness on his carapace should smooth out with time. That was caused by being raised in a too dry enclosure. It would be helpful if you could add a bit of moisture to his substrate occasionally. Russian tortoises don't grow all that fast. He should reach his full size at about 5 or 6 years. If you show us his tail we might be able to affirm he's male or not.

Hi, thank you! :)

That's great to hear, I will be sure to add moisture to his enclosure. I've attached a picture of his tail (as best as I can get!). Thanks for your help! IMG_1523111379.347591.jpg
 

DARKFIRE007

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Jan 11, 2018
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Birmingham Alabama
While unsure of the age, it may not be possible to determine sex yet if the tort is young. But from that photo I would say female.

Also, try coco coir as a substrate...it holds moisture very well and has never molded on me. It is messy, but if you use soil you're used to that. By far probably the cheapest and best for them. You can get a 5kg or 11 pound brick for 20 American, and whatever the exchange rate is of that in quid on Ebay. It will more than fill that enclosure once expanded.

Also, I love the wallpaper, great touch. You may need to upgrade to a bigger size as the tort gets bigger, the minimum is supposed to be 4x8 feet. The setup looks fine, maybe toss in a cuddle bone to complete it.

MAJOR points for growing the food. My thumb is so black that plants retreat like a scared torts head haha.
 

lisa127

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Feb 11, 2012
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NE Ohio
He's cute! I like the enclosure, but that uvb strip bulb is way too high. It needs to be within 12 to 18 inches of him.
 
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