MegAndAlbus

New Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Manchester, England, UK
Hi
I'm brand new to owning tortoises and my first tortoise is a baby russian/horsefield tortoise named Albus. I bought him very recently
I seem to spend a lot of time worrying about him and whether I'm doing the right thing.
At the moment his enclosure is 90cm X 50cm which is a little small but we're working on getting a bigger one but as he's so small 8cm long I'm thinking it should be ok for now.
He currently has a basking light and that area side is about 33°C and the cooler side is about 23-25°C. I use a spiral compact UVB bulb also which I've heard isn't the best choice for UVB source but it was supplied by the pet store so I'm unsure.
He has a mixture of pellet and top soil/sand mixture substrate which I'm adding beech chips to soon.
I feed him mostly on spinach, kale, some lettuce and carrot with the occasional addition of watermelon and I've bought a flower mix to try. He also has a water bowl which I refresh daily. He has a slate and cuttlefish in the enclosure also with plenty of hides. (Although he doesn't seem to like the hide that's incorporated into the enclosure which is at the cooler end and takes up about 1/5th of the enclosure so I may remove it???)
He's currently about 8-10 months old and is about 8cm long and I bathe him twice a week but I'm not sure if I should be doing this more??

IMG_20200619_150247.jpg
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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1,764
Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs,CO
I think that 2 times a week for soaking is ok since he’s older but I’m not sure. If he won’t go into the hide try moving around to different places. Your tortoise is really cute! What are your humidity levels?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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54,124
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi
I'm brand new to owning tortoises and my first tortoise is a baby russian/horsefield tortoise named Albus. I bought him very recently
I seem to spend a lot of time worrying about him and whether I'm doing the right thing.
At the moment his enclosure is 90cm X 50cm which is a little small but we're working on getting a bigger one but as he's so small 8cm long I'm thinking it should be ok for now.
He currently has a basking light and that area side is about 33°C and the cooler side is about 23-25°C. I use a spiral compact UVB bulb also which I've heard isn't the best choice for UVB source but it was supplied by the pet store so I'm unsure.
He has a mixture of pellet and top soil/sand mixture substrate which I'm adding beech chips to soon.
I feed him mostly on spinach, kale, some lettuce and carrot with the occasional addition of watermelon and I've bought a flower mix to try. He also has a water bowl which I refresh daily. He has a slate and cuttlefish in the enclosure also with plenty of hides. (Although he doesn't seem to like the hide that's incorporated into the enclosure which is at the cooler end and takes up about 1/5th of the enclosure so I may remove it???)
He's currently about 8-10 months old and is about 8cm long and I bathe him twice a week but I'm not sure if I should be doing this more??
Whoa! You've gotten all the wrong advice and you are doing all the wrong stuff.

All constructive criticism here:
Wrong substrate, wrong temps, wrong bulbs, wrong food and you need to soak more often.

Here is the correct care info. Questions and conversation are welcome after you finish it:
 

MegAndAlbus

New Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Manchester, England, UK
Whoa! You've gotten all the wrong advice and you are doing all the wrong stuff.

All constructive criticism here:
Wrong substrate, wrong temps, wrong bulbs, wrong food and you need to soak more often.

Here is the correct care info. Questions and conversation are welcome after you finish it:

Hi,
I can't really see how I'm doing everything wrong. All I took from that is that I should soak him more often and that a different UVB bulb would be more suitable as well as the Solarmeter 6.5. other than that he has a varied diet, even if it is from supermarkets he has calcium and vitamin supplements too. The temps and humidity levels are exactly as you say in the guide and substrate is being changed as I said. Can you tell me what I missed if I'm doing everything wrong?
 

Crush da Baum

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Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
548
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
It is hard because Pet store employees are very uneducated and will tell you to buy all the wrong things (not because they are evil but just very uneducated) Owning a tortoise is not that pricey but when you spend 600 bucks at PetCo on very overpriced, ineffective, and sometimes dangerous products, and have to go and replace everything, it can seem difficult. What Tom says is right and you will find a lot of good information in those care sheets but here’s a very brief explanation of things.

Temps are a little chilly. I keep my ambient temp at around 28-30 C. With basking about 34-35 C. He does need a different UVB bulb asap. The only safe and effective bulbs are the HO tube types. The best diet for him are broadleaf weeds which you can either grow or forage. A good seed mix for Russians is https://www.tortoisesupply.com/TestudoMix. If you have to get grocery greens then the best ones to get would be endive, escarole as the staples, and other greens like dandelion, arugula, collards, etc to add variety. The ”others” would be different every time. Then you can mix it with soaked ZooMed grassland food; dried flowers, leaves, cactus chips, and others from Kapilolo Farms (https://kapidolofarms.com); and some other tortoise safe foods like mulberry leaves (I can send you some mulberry leaves and grape vine leaves if you pay for shipping). Humidity for adults and babies will defer. Humidity is VERY important for babies and without the correct humidity they will start to pyramid and become deformed. Good humidity levels would be around 70-80%. Babies should be soaked everyday which it sounds like you are going to start doing which is good. Good substrates include: cypress mulch (which is very cheap), coco coir (which is good because it is digestible), and orchid bark. All of these can be damp without rotting. Can I see a pic of your enclosure? I know it might be overwhelming, I felt the same way too, but we are just trying to help you and are not trying to pressure you.
 

MegAndAlbus

New Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Manchester, England, UK
Those humidity levels sounds extremely high from what I've read everywhere else online I've heard for dessert originated tortoises you should keep it moderate around 50%. In an Afghan dessert there's no way he'd have access to humidity reaching 80%
The substrate I can easily change and I've been having doubts about the sandy texture of the top soil/sand mixture I've been using but it seems like he'd struggle to dig down with some of those substrates which is what him and most Russians do. Here is a picture of the enclosure attached. Currently there's no much in there but there's enough for him to roam (usually there's bowls in there for food and water but I took them out to clean for the night) and bulbs are off for the night

15925973988285855409813422759342.jpg
 

Crush da Baum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
548
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
50% might be ok for a full grown adult but definitely not a baby. In the wild tortoises will dig under roots and in the soil and will get the humidity they need. Also remember that humidity outside might be 40%, but at ground level 70%, and in a hole 85%. Pyramiding is something that we are still learning about and we do not know everything, but what we do know from collective experience is that babies with low humidity become pyramided and babies with high humidity stay smooth. There are many ways to get the right humidity, the easiest and most effective way Is making a closed chamber. There are many ways to do this from plastic wrap and tin foil, to plexiglass. Something like this would work for you, https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threa...ke-my-tortoise-table-a-closed-chamber.162637/

 

MegAndAlbus

New Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Manchester, England, UK
50% might be ok for a full grown adult but definitely not a baby. In the wild tortoises will dig under roots and in the soil and will get the humidity they need. Also remember that humidity outside might be 40%, but at ground level 70%, and in a hole 85%. Pyramiding is something that we are still learning about and we do not know everything, but what we do know from collective experience is that babies with low humidity become pyramided and babies with high humidity stay smooth. There are many ways to get the right humidity, the easiest and most effective way Is making a closed chamber. There are many ways to do this from plastic wrap and tin foil, to plexiglass. Something like this would work for you, https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threa...ke-my-tortoise-table-a-closed-chamber.162637/


Okay I will try and increase the humidity to 70% and I will also be speaking to a vet in the next few days so hopefully can get some advice from there too. Thanks for the help
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,124
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Okay I will try and increase the humidity to 70% and I will also be speaking to a vet in the next few days so hopefully can get some advice from there too. Thanks for the help
Vets don't know tortoises care and they parrot the same wrong advice you've already gotten. There is no semester on tortoise care in vet school.
 

EllyMae

Active Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
106
Location (City and/or State)
Shellman, GA
Those humidity levels sounds extremely high from what I've read everywhere else online I've heard for dessert originated tortoises you should keep it moderate around 50%. In an Afghan dessert there's no way he'd have access to humidity reaching 80%
The substrate I can easily change and I've been having doubts about the sandy texture of the top soil/sand mixture I've been using but it seems like he'd struggle to dig down with some of those substrates which is what him and most Russians do. Here is a picture of the enclosure attached. Currently there's no much in there but there's enough for him to roam (usually there's bowls in there for food and water but I took them out to clean for the night) and bulbs are off for the night


Yes, young Afghan tortoises could and do have access to high humidity. Down in dug burrows.
They are very good diggers and can dig better than you can think. Mine lives in an outdoor enclosure where the soil is red brick clay. He has no trouble. If he can dig in compact clay where its difficult to dig with a shovel, he can get through mulch.
 
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