Boring Diet

Status
Not open for further replies.

FunnyGirl

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
55
Hi-

I have been proudly owned by a Texas DT since 1994. I believe he was stolen from the Mojave by one of my employees who gave him to me. I was living in CA at the time and called the Turt and Tort gal for the State named Ginger. She rapidly set me on the straight path in regards to his living conditions, issued me a license to keep him (complete with little license plate for his shell) and we have been happy ever since. Shortly therafter I moved back home to Washington State and it is here that "ET" Gopherus Pit Bull Porkus (I used to be a hog farmer - hence the addition of "porkus") has been living for the past 14 years. I know that ET is a male and was at least 15 years old when he came to live with me. (according to Ginger who "sexed" him by photos and he already had the classic indentation on the bottom of his shell. Besides, I saw his male parts once - good lord I thought his GUTS were falling out! Anyway......) ET has always had a large variety of things to eat and is good at eating new things. He is especially partial to my old APBT's tail! Not so hot for his health or my girl's tail but great for exercise!

So, because I have this tortoise, a friend talked me into "rescuing" a couple of others from her kids. She only had them for 4 months. She told me that one is a female and I believe a Russian. The other is said to be a male and is a Greek??? they came to me in November in a huge water tub used for horses. They appeared in relative good health with a decent layer of fat - especially on the female (?) They did have a heat lamp but I have no idea what kind of sunlight or UV rays they have recieved. I did put on a full spectrum light I had hanging around during the winter. The base in the tub is some kind of reptile bark?? I did not want to hibernate them since I was unsure of their overall health.

I really need to take pictures of them so you guys can tell me for sure what type and sex they are. The little one (girl) is REALLY friendly but the other one is a dead head - boring, boring, boring.

My problem with them is that they ONLY EAT ROMAIN LETTUCE! The little suckers won't eat anything else! I gave them a cuttlebone and they either managed to eat it or burry it. I have tried all of the things that T eats and NOTHING!! I even tried corn. The gal I got them from said they ate bananas and strawberries but I don't feed that stuff to T but once in a great while.


I have moved them out of the water tub into an outside enclosure to enjoy the 10 minutes of sun we have received in the Seattle area this year! I tried to see what would happen if I put them with ET and that was a no go! ET was PISSED!!!

They have a little house to go in but right now it is not bedded with anything. What should I use? Are dried grass clippings OK?

Also, a long time ago, Ginger told me that tortoises are very clean and will not go potty where they sleep. Well, Ginger never met ET. He is basically a pig. He pees everywhere he feels like it. Even in his bed. Right now, he has a small doggloo to hang in with no bedding. Any suggestions as to keeping his house clean???


Thanks for your help-
Valerie and
ET Gopherus Pit Bull Porkus
Switch the I think he is a Greek
Splash the I think she is a Russian
FunniessMcBunniess, BickerBoy, RepoZest, PowerBall, KodaMeister, CocoChannel, BWJ - the Kennel Group!

http://www.vintage-kennel.com
 

chadk

Active Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
1,601
You should really figure out for sure if those are indeed russians and greeks. They all have specific care and diet needs. Do you have any pics? Should be easy to tell. A pic of the russian's under side \ tail will allow us to easilly tell the sex. Not so sure about greeks though.

I'm also in the seattle area. Live in Monroe and work in Redmond.

Please note also that 'full spectrum' lights offer about nothing to a reptile. They need special UVB lights. Don't trust most pet store advice... Especially here in western WA where we can only offer a few months of decent sun and temps, we need to provide artificial UVB. In the meantime, providing calcum + D3 dusted on their food will help. But when you have them on good UVB, you can drop the D3 (but continue with calcuim - phosporous and D3 free).

The bedding issue will depend on the type of tort. Plain ole soil that we have here in the PNW should be fine for the most part in an outdoor cage.

Have you tried offering fresh dandilions from the yard? (chemical Free!!) Romaine lettuce is about worthless. Try mixing it about 50 \ 50 with dandilions and other good greens (depending on tort species). Then start backing off the romaine. Even if they go on a hunger strike, they NEED good nutrition!

Best of luck you torts!! I'd love to see them sometime.

-Chad
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,992
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
And are you very sure that ET is a Texas tortoise? They don't come from the Mojave desert unless it was a pet that was released in the Mojave.

Never mix your species...especially a Russian with a desert tortoise. One will definitely make the other sick or even dead. Also, it was illegal to take ET out of California to another state (or out of Texas to another state), so I would not talk about having a Gopherus tortoise in Washington state...you never know who might be listening.

Yvonne
 

FunnyGirl

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
55
Yvonne -The state of California was informed that ET was taken out of California. When I left, he went to the vet, got a health certificate, and my new address was registered with the state. As a matter of fact, when he managed to walk off the property (Dad left the gate open) the man who found him called the State of California, they in turn put him in touch with the gal who managed the tortoise database (Ginger) and because he had his plate on, he was returned. So as far as it being illegal, I had state permission to not only leave with him, but come in with him. I checked all that out and may still even have his "green card"!!

As far as him being a Texas that is what he was ID'd as by the tortoise group but it was by pictures only. I can send pictures to you guys when I get home. The reason I know it came from the Mojave is that that is what my employee said - I think. I don't speak spanish but I got out of the whole thing Ninja Turtle and Mojave and newphies and you keep. I called Ginger that night.

Can you eliberate as to why they can make each other sick or dead? I certainly DON'T want to put these guys in jeapordy. I have had ET for 15 years but an by no means an expert!!

Of course I will send you pictures to find out exactly what they are.

Chad - I am in Bellevue!!!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,992
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
This just proves that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. It says right there in the DFG hand book that you cannot remove a California tortoise from the state and gives a $$ amount for the penalty (I can't remember how much). Oh well!

Tortoises come with little pathogens inside of them that the species has become used to over the eons and live with without them making the tortoise sick. However, these pathogens differ from continent to continent. So a perfectly healthy Russian tortoise, comes into contact with a perfectly healthy desert tortoise and these pathogens get into the other animal who has not become accustomed to them over the eons, and he MIGHT get sick. Doesn't always happen, but I've taken in quite a few desert tortoises who were very ill because they had been put in with a sulcata. Its a good practice to never mix species.

Welcome to the forum! I'm looking forward to your pictures.

Yvonne
 

galvinkaos

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
589
Location (City and/or State)
Temple City, Ca
Yvonne, I was told I could move with the kids to AZ. But once in AZ they only allow you to possess 1 DT per household. So I would have to adopt out 2 of them either in CA before I move or in AZ after I move to avoid possible confiscation. Crazy huh? And they advertise all of the DT that have no homes due to overpopulation in captivity. I have room in CA and AZ for my three plus some.

Dawna
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,992
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
galvinkaos said:
Yvonne, I was told I could move with the kids to AZ. But once in AZ they only allow you to possess 1 DT per household. So I would have to adopt out 2 of them either in CA before I move or in AZ after I move to avoid possible confiscation. Crazy huh? And they advertise all of the DT that have no homes due to overpopulation in captivity. I have room in CA and AZ for my three plus some.

Dawna

I'm not sure, but I THINK that Nevada also has a one tortoise per household rule. That really stinks! I personally have 2 males and 4 females of my very own. I started out with only 1, a female that had been run over by a tractor and has an ugly gash across her carapace. She was my very first tortoise. Then I got into the rescue business and whenever I got in a "reject", a three-legged or blind or no tail, etc. I added the reject to my very own collection. I adopt out all the "good" ones, but there aren't many people who want a reject. They all want the biggest and the prettiest. I'm very partial to my own tortoises and it would really hurt to have to give any of them up. I'm glad Calif. doesn't care how many each household has.

Yvonne
 

FunnyGirl

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
55
Yvonne - It certainly doesn't surprise me but remember, this was 15 years ago that I moved out of California back to Washington. Right after you posted your message, I freaked out and ran home to check out my paperwork and I did apply for a permit to remove him. I still have what is left of the paperwork and even the original letter I wrote to Ginger and all of the things I was doing wrong! LOL!

OK, so I managed some new photos of Splash and Twitch as well as a couple of ET. Let's see if I can get them loaded. It is cold and misty here today so the new kids didn't want to come out of their shells for the photo session. T, however, was happy to pose - he is a great dude!

Here we go:

TFront copy.jpg

This is my guy ET the DT from T

TBottom copy.jpg

Here is a view from the bottom

TTop copy.jpg

What I want you guys to notice here is that his shell appears to be coming off where it used to be light in color. ????????


I will put a new post up for the others
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,992
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
ET is indeedy a California (not a Texas) tortoise. I don't see anything wrong with his shell, though. Good looking tortoise. Did you have any trouble getting him acclimated to living in such a wet climate?

Yvonne
 

FunnyGirl

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
55
SplashTwitch copy.jpg

This is both of them together

SplashTop2 copy.jpg
Here is the top side of Splash who I was told was the Russian Female

SplashBottom copy.jpg
Here is her bottom side

TwitchTop copy.jpg
Here is the top side of Switch (incorrectly labelled Twitch sometimes due to bad typing)

TwitchBottom copy.jpg
Here is his bottom side

Can you guys tell me the overall appearence of these guys? They just don't look as clean as ET???

Thanks---
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,992
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
male Texas tortoises look like a cartoon of a tortoise (didn't know how to spell charachature). That is, they have an over-exaggerated scoop on the plastron and a larger head than looks like belongs on its body.

FunnyGirl said:
Can you guys tell me the overall appearence of these guys? They just don't look as clean as ET???

Thanks---

Are you kidding? They look SO clean!!! Especially the bottom of the Russian. That's probably the cleanest little Russian I've ever seen!

Yvonne
 

FunnyGirl

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
55
emysemys said:
ET is indeedy a California (not a Texas) tortoise. I don't see anything wrong with his shell, though. Good looking tortoise. Did you have any trouble getting him acclimated to living in such a wet climate?

Yvonne

Thanks. I was told he was a Texas by the people in California. I think because he is a bit smaller than what is "normal" and because of his darker coloring. Do you have any Texas Tortoises?? I was concerned about the sloughing of the shell but I guess it is no problem??

As far as acclimation, I didn't really have much of a problem. I moved up here in October so he went into hibernation and I moved him out in April. (I do the same every year). Of course because it is colder I keep him inside with heatlamps and UVB lighting if it doesn't warm up. I will still bring him in at night until the nights stay warm but he is pretty active no matter what! He has a great personality. Right now, it is still really cold here so the torts are only getting to hang out outside during the day if it is sunny. Otherwise, they just sleep in their dog crates in the living room.

So, would you suggest I keep the S & S duo far away from T???

Thanks so much for all your help.

emysemys said:
male Texas tortoises look like a cartoon of a tortoise (didn't know how to spell charachature). That is, they have an over-exaggerated scoop on the plastron and a larger head than looks like belongs on its body.

FunnyGirl said:
Can you guys tell me the overall appearence of these guys? They just don't look as clean as ET???

Thanks---

Are you kidding? They look SO clean!!! Especially the bottom of the Russian. That's probably the cleanest little Russian I've ever seen!

Yvonne




LOL! No, I wasn't kidding. I am feeling more and more like an idiot! Here the Animal Scientist who has done everything from get a degree in Animal Science, to manage pet stores (didn't sell live animals), to train dogs can't get this tortoise thing figured out. LOL! So, you agree that she is a Russian? That's good. I have no idea on the age of those two. Are they OK to let live together?

Dumb question but they will not interbreed will they?
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,992
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Well, Splash IS a Russian, but I don't know what Twitch is. My guess is a Greek, but I'm not familiar with the Greeks and Hermann's, so don't really know for sure. Even though they are both Mediterranean tortoises, its probably not a good idea to house them together. If Splash is a captive bred animal, she's probably not as "dirty" as most Russians that we see in the pet trade. They are collected from the wild by the thousands and piled up on top of each other in bins where they poop and pee on each other. By the time they get to the States and the wholesalers, some of them are dead, some are very ill, and most are really infested with parasites ("dirty"). For that reason, I always encourage people to keep Russians by themselves. If Twitch is a very randy male, he might pester Splash in the breeding department, but there probably wouldn't be any off spring. Some randy males will breed anything...rocks, your shoe, etc.

Yvonne
 

Itort

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Messages
2,343
Location (City and/or State)
Iowa
This opinion is from a muddy tort keeper but I think it may actually be a Texas. Characteristcs seem to match Pritchards in Encyclopedia of Turtles and Tortoises.
 

FunnyGirl

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
55
emysemys said:
Well, Splash IS a Russian, but I don't know what Twitch is. My guess is a Greek, but I'm not familiar with the Greeks and Hermann's, so don't really know for sure. Even though they are both Mediterranean tortoises, its probably not a good idea to house them together. If Splash is a captive bred animal, she's probably not as "dirty" as most Russians that we see in the pet trade. They are collected from the wild by the thousands and piled up on top of each other in bins where they poop and pee on each other. By the time they get to the States and the wholesalers, some of them are dead, some are very ill, and most are really infested with parasites ("dirty"). For that reason, I always encourage people to keep Russians by themselves. If Twitch is a very randy male, he might pester Splash in the breeding department, but there probably wouldn't be any off spring. Some randy males will breed anything...rocks, your shoe, etc.

Yvonne


LOL! I got a kick out of the post about the guys tortoise matting his deck! Stitch is nothing but a dead head. Randy - heck no. The only time I have ever seen him MOVE is to the lettuce pile. Now that lettuce pile is mixed with fresh dandilion from my formitable DL patch!:D

I wish I knew more about their background so I have no idea if she is captive bred or not???

I went to your webpages and the tortoises you have look like they are much bigger than T and he has nothing like the condo's your guys have. ET is nothing but white trash tortoise.

I do appreciate your time.

Someone commented about the overpopulation of DT's due to captive breeding. Is it legal to breed them? NO - I don't WANT to breed tortoises - just curious.:shy:

http://www.tortoise.org/archives/gophdiff.html

Should I take a picture straight up of T's head so we know if it is round or wedge? LOL!! I can do that. His shell definately looks like the Texas drawing in this article.
 

galvinkaos

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
589
Location (City and/or State)
Temple City, Ca
No it is not legal to breed DT. If you have an accidental clutch you are supposed to break the eggs. (Horrible thought for me)

Dawna
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,992
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Actually, the way I understand it, you are not supposed to intentionally allow desert tortoises to breed, but if you do happen to get a clutch of eggs, you are supposed to leave them in the ground and allow nature to take its course. So if the ants get them, so be it. If the skunk digs them up and eats them, so be it. If they hatch, so be it. It is against the DFG rules to artificially incubate the eggs.

Yvonne
 

galvinkaos

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
589
Location (City and/or State)
Temple City, Ca
Oops, maybe I misunderstood. Or I was misinformed. I have been scatter brained lately. Or maybe the person I was talking to said that they destroy any they find.

Dawna
 

FunnyGirl

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
55
I have spent the afternoon cruising these forums and looking at all of the lovely photos of everyone's tortoises. I found the section for the different species and was thrilled to read all the species specific stuff especially about the DT's. Yvonne, the Ginger you mentioned in the permit thread is the same Ginger who helped me so many years ago.

I kind of feel sorry for my Switch though - not only is he the most BORING pet I have ever owned, I have miss-named him in just about everything from posts to photos. No wonder he has an identity crisis. I am still hoping someone can confirm he is a Greek.

I have got to say that I love "psycho tortoise lady" and your dog named Puppadog!

I am still having an identy issue with ET because I have looked all over and he looks like both the Texas and the CADT. Regardless, I love him still and he has no problem with his self asteem!
 

tortoisenerd

Active Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
3,957
Location (City and/or State)
Washington
Hi Valerie. I also live in the PNW and have Russian Tortoise. I can give you a couple tips for food. As said, mixing in the good stuff in small amount with the Romaine may get them eating better. Just slowly increase the quantity of healthy greens. The following stuff is good for the Russian, but you need to check for the DT and unknown species (post the pics of Switch in a new thread under General Discussion for identification).

If you go to Whole Foods, PCC, Trader Joes, H Mart (Lynnwood), Pike Place Market, and some of the grocery stores around Seattle, there are a lot of tortoise yummies. I try to buy organic, but it doesn't always work. I buy spring mix every week (usually from Trader Joes as it is $2 a bag, or else I get the bulk stuff at any grocery store and just get a little for my hatchling), and mix in one or more of these in addition to round it out. Most of the stuff listed is to be fed in smaller quantities due to oxalic acid and other factors, but I won't go into specifics. Look at russiantortoise.org; I'm just trying to be location-specific for you as I drove all over town at first trying to find stuff. Now I know what to buy where while we're already out and about.

-radish sprouts from H Mart in Lynnwood (my tort's favorite food by far)
-greens from beets or radishes
-dandelion greens from Whole Foods (only place I've found them)
-mustards greens, sold all over
-my tort doesn't like collard greens but they are also easy to find
-a very small amount of kale (if you can find it by the lb at PCC that is good, although mine stopped carrying it by the lb)
-turnip greens (only found them at Super Walmart so far)
-curly endive is one of the most nutritious "regular" lettuces
-squash (once a week max)

The russian definitely shouldn't get fruit. Good job on spotting that and not just following the advice! Russiantortoise.org and posts on this site can give you other ideas of what to try.

Also, I grow stuff from seeds. It grows very slowly here, but I could speed it up with heating/lighting. I have stuff from Carolina Pet Supply (and online store) and regular seeds: beet greens, baby lettuce, turnip greens, grasses, weeds, clover, etc.

Best wishes!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top