Greek? Russian? or??? And many other questions

fallingmiles

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Joined
Oct 19, 2019
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Location (City and/or State)
Santa Rosa, CA
Hello, a tortoise was found in the parking lot of my wife work. Looks like she's had it a bit rough. She has damage to her shell, some missing toenails, but beyond that, she is very active and seems to be in good health.
We believe she has been out in the wilds for a while now. Here are my questions;
1) What kind of tortoise is this?
2) Male or female?
3) Will the shell return to its proper look and color over time?
4) Since the shell is damaged (but seems to be healing; no open wounds, etc) would it be better to winter her indoor rather than outdoors this year? It is a bit late in the season. (mid October)

We will be reaching out to our local herp society for help and resources. Just looking for some input as we get started on this journey.
Thank you in advance.

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SweetGreekTorts

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Tucson, AZ
Your tortoise is a female Russian Tortoise. Her shell will heal in time, and it will take awhile. When the flaky areas peel off on their own, there will be new shell growth underneath. Proper diet, proper lighting, and a good soak now and then will help.

Since you just acquired her, I would recommend keeping her indoors for her first winter with you. She's adjusting to her new home and it will take time for her to be comfortable. Plus you can keep an eye on her and make sure there are no underlying problems.

I have a female Russian that looks similar. Her previous owners didn't want her anymore and opted to dump her out in the wild Arizona desert instead of finding another home for her. A friend of mine found her and brought her to me. Her carapace and plastron look very similar because of her exposure to the elements and possible attacks by predators. They are tough tortoises for sure!
 

RosemaryDW

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Welcome!

She is fairly dinged up but nothing to worry about at this point. From the damage I wonder if she were stepped on or dropped upside down; something unusual.

Are any of those spots on the top of her underside on the pink side? I don’t think so but would like to confirm.

Either the angles in those photos are throwing me or that is a very large Russian. How many inches long and wide is she and how much does she weigh, if you’ve got a kitchen scale or similar to weigh her on.

Many tortoises make a break for it this time of year, my guess is they are looking for good spots for hibernation. There is a good chance she is a lost pet so you might check on a local lost pet FaceBook page or ask around. Don’t give out any major identifiers; weird people claim tortoises that aren’t theirs. If someone contacts you, ask for a description and/or a good picture.
 

Tom

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fallingmiles

New Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2019
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Santa Rosa, CA
Your tortoise is a female Russian Tortoise. Her shell will heal in time, and it will take awhile. When the flaky areas peel off on their own, there will be new shell growth underneath. Proper diet, proper lighting, and a good soak now and then will help.

Since you just acquired her, I would recommend keeping her indoors for her first winter with you. She's adjusting to her new home and it will take time for her to be comfortable. Plus you can keep an eye on her and make sure there are no underlying problems.

I have a female Russian that looks similar. Her previous owners didn't want her anymore and opted to dump her out in the wild Arizona desert instead of finding another home for her. A friend of mine found her and brought her to me. Her carapace and plastron look very similar because of her exposure to the elements and possible attacks by predators. They are tough tortoises for sure!

Thank you for taking the time to reply! We have cleaned her up and taking great care of her. While she has been eating some greens, she sure loves the Mazuri Tortoise Diet Pellets. It has been warm here during the day so she has been able to spend most of it outdoors. We have acquired a UVA/UVB lamp for her as wall as a heat lamp and other necessities. We have been evacuated by a fire here in NorCal for the last few days and she has been brought along for the adventure.
Interestingly enough, our vet thinks the shell damage may have been due to a fire. We had a massive fire here 2 years ago and she may be a survivor from that. Either way, she is a tough one!
Thanks again!
Mark
 

fallingmiles

New Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2019
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Santa Rosa, CA
Welcome!

She is fairly dinged up but nothing to worry about at this point. From the damage I wonder if she were stepped on or dropped upside down; something unusual.

Are any of those spots on the top of her underside on the pink side? I don’t think so but would like to confirm.

Either the angles in those photos are throwing me or that is a very large Russian. How many inches long and wide is she and how much does she weigh, if you’ve got a kitchen scale or similar to weigh her on.

Many tortoises make a break for it this time of year, my guess is they are looking for good spots for hibernation. There is a good chance she is a lost pet so you might check on a local lost pet FaceBook page or ask around. Don’t give out any major identifiers; weird people claim tortoises that aren’t theirs. If someone contacts you, ask for a description and/or a good picture.

Thanks for replying! She is a big female but the camera angles throw off the visual even more. Her shell is 8" long. I just weighed her and she weighs about 1,100 grams, or 2.42lbs. There is no pink visible. Our vet feels that she could have been burned in a big fire that we had here 2 years ago. Whatever the cause, the damage is old and mending. We have cleaned her up and removed the loose flakey shell. She is very interested in finding a place to hide or hibernate, but she is eating and is very active.
I have posted found ads on FB, Nextdoor, Craiglist, etc. No-one has come forward. There is a good chance that the owner may assume she perished in the fire 2 years ago and may not be looking. Either way she is in good hands for now.
Thank you!
Mark
 

fallingmiles

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Oct 19, 2019
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Santa Rosa, CA

Viola B

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Jul 13, 2018
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Idaho Falls, Idaho
it is lucky for the tortoise that you took her in and are caring for her. This forum has very good and up to date information. It will help you greatly with the care of the tortoise.
Hope you will be safely back in your home soon.
.
 
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