Hello from Mr. Spock and his human in PA

For-Mr.Spock

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Jan 20, 2020
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Pennsylvania
Hello, everyone! This site has been such a help to me that I thought I might as well become a member. I adopted Mr. Spock, a russian tortoise, from Petsmart over a week ago. For starters, Petsmart should not sell tortoises. I am trying to get him him tip top shape because his shell is not smooth as it should be.
Quick question - opinion on cypress mulch for torts?

20200115_131443.jpg
 

KarenSoCal

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Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Hello, and welcome to TFO!

Cypress mulch, coco coir, and orchid (fir) bark are all popular substrates. Have you read the care sheets we have? In case you haven't, here's links to them.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

We're so glad you found us, because whatever Petsmart told you, forget it all. Pet stores want to sell stuff, and in their zest they tell you you need all kinds of equipment that is overpriced and sometimes downright dangerous. They don't have a clue how to properly care for a tortoise. Sadly, many vets don't either.

Petsmart may not have told you that your tort is wild-caught, and an adult. That roughness on his shell can be bumps and scrapes from his life in the wild. Now that he's in your care, he probably won't get smooth there, but any new growth will be smooth and nice.

I keep a CA desert tortoise (CDT), so can't help you on specifics for yours, but someone will chime in with all the advice and encouragement you need.

BTW, I was born and lived my first 50 years in York. You anywhere near there? :)
 

LaLaP

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Welcome to the forum! Mr Spock is looking good. Don't even worry about that lumpy bumpy shell... normal for a wild caught Russian like Karen said.
 

For-Mr.Spock

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
Pennsylvania
Hello, and welcome to TFO!

Cypress mulch, coco coir, and orchid (fir) bark are all popular substrates. Have you read the care sheets we have? In case you haven't, here's links to them.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

We're so glad you found us, because whatever Petsmart told you, forget it all. Pet stores want to sell stuff, and in their zest they tell you you need all kinds of equipment that is overpriced and sometimes downright dangerous. They don't have a clue how to properly care for a tortoise. Sadly, many vets don't either.

Petsmart may not have told you that your tort is wild-caught, and an adult. That roughness on his shell can be bumps and scrapes from his life in the wild. Now that he's in your care, he probably won't get smooth there, but any new growth will be smooth and nice.

I keep a CA desert tortoise (CDT), so can't help you on specifics for yours, but someone will chime in with all the advice and encouragement you need.

BTW, I was born and lived my first 50 years in York. You anywhere near there? :)

I am at the opposite end of PA, actually, right by West Virginia.

Trust me, I know how Petsmart is with the animals. I work there. It is... a wild journey. I did my research online before getting Mr. Spock, which was for the best. The food we were giving him at Petsmart went untouched and you could tell by looking at him that he wasn't happy. He stayed in his shell and tried to dig his way free via the back of the habitat.
I would estimate he is between 2 and 4 because he is not full grown. I figured out he was wild caught a little after getting him and finding out how much more comfortable he was with enough bedding to burrow into and fresh greens.
I worry about his shell because these light brown Mark's appear to be just now cropping up. I do not recall them being there when I first brought him home.
Thank you for the welcome!
 

Tony the Tort42

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Jan 7, 2020
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Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Well good on you for rescuing the little guy. I really have no clue about the brown spots, but im new to tort keeping as well. This may not be the case, but in my opinion if hes acting healthy and active he should be fine. The only thing i could think of causing brown spots would be shell rot, but that has other symptoms.
 

KarenSoCal

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Really, I'm not seeing these light brown spots.

To me he just looks super dry between his scutes. I'm sure you are soaking him? Right after his soak, you can drizzle a bit of coconut oil on his shell and rub it in with your fingers. Wait several minutes for it to soak in, then use a soft dry cloth to gently wipe away any extra. That will help moisturize his shell.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hello and welcome.
Scratches, scars, lumps and bumps are all part of keeping a Russian tortoise.
They are very scrappy, very active and great climbers.
Can you post photo of the marks you're concerned about?
 

ZEROPILOT

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Well good on you for rescuing the little guy. I really have no clue about the brown spots, but im new to tort keeping as well. This may not be the case, but in my opinion if hes acting healthy and active he should be fine. The only thing i could think of causing brown spots would be shell rot, but that has other symptoms.
Shell fungus on a Russian tortoise would be unusual. Shell fungus on the upper shell of a Russian tortoise would be very, very unusual.
 

For-Mr.Spock

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
Pennsylvania
Hello and welcome.
Scratches, scars, lumps and bumps are all part of keeping a Russian tortoise.
They are very scrappy, very active and great climbers.
Can you post photo of the marks you're concerned about?

Thank you for your helpful and reassuring compliments! I have attached an image. Hopefully, the Mark's are clearer.
 

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ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Thank you for your helpful and reassuring compliments! I have attached an image. Hopefully, the Mark's are clearer.
It's some healed and mostly healed battle scars.
The shop probably had more than one in the enclodures.
They fight.
He's fine.
 
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