Can poor care stunt the growth of a Russian tortoise?

elliotmarie

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Hi! I have a Russian tortoise named Hermes. Hermie was kept with a group of torts and kinda suffered for it, he was calcium deficient to the point of severe weakness in he back legs along with a few other things. He’s been home almost 6 months and has since been doing really well! He’s just under four inches though and hasn’t grown since I got him. My vet said he’s a young male but probably fully grown. He seems small and I know makes are smaller than females but he’s on the smaller side for males as well from what I’ve seen. When I got him I especially picked him because he was so small (I thought he was potentially younger) but there were other males with him who were bigger. I’m just curious as I’m pretty new to torts! Thank you!!
 

KarenSoCal

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Being in a group may have been very stressful for him. He's little, so he could easily have been picked on by the others. As a result, he may not have gotten his fare share of food.

When tortoises are kept in pairs, almost always one bullies the other. They can start out the same size, but the one being bullied will stay smaller, while the bully grows bigger.

As soon as they are separated, the small one will usually eat and grow quickly, but might not ever catch up completely.

So yes, poor care and/or poor environment can stunt a tortoise.
 

wellington

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Absolutely.
I rescued a leopard that was stunted and couldn't walk. He was kept in a small aquarium. After proper diet, therapy and proper enclosure size, he has caught up to my original leopard of the same age. It took around 2 years.
 

crimson_lotus

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Hi! I have a Russian tortoise named Hermes. Hermie was kept with a group of torts and kinda suffered for it, he was calcium deficient to the point of severe weakness in he back legs along with a few other things. He’s been home almost 6 months and has since been doing really well! He’s just under four inches though and hasn’t grown since I got him. My vet said he’s a young male but probably fully grown. He seems small and I know makes are smaller than females but he’s on the smaller side for males as well from what I’ve seen. When I got him I especially picked him because he was so small (I thought he was potentially younger) but there were other males with him who were bigger. I’m just curious as I’m pretty new to torts! Thank you!!

The back leg issue sounds more to me like a metabolic bone disease issue from lack of UV lighting. Without UV the tortoise cannot process the vitamin d which helps with the absorption of calcium. How are the legs now? better?

I think just like Karen said, the stunted growth could also be due to bullying and russians are known to be scrappy with each other.
 
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