Help please.. (Found a tortoise)

Jay82

New Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Essex
Hi,

We've just moved to a new house, and today found a tortoise.

can anyone help us out with which breed this tortoise is please, so we are able to take care of it properly?

THANKS!

image.jpg
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Jan 9, 2010
Messages
48,514
Location (City and/or State)
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Agreed. Russian.

Here is the care info:
 

LifewithFrank

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Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
California
Yeup, he's a Russian alright. Looks a bit older than my 2 year old. There's going to be a LOT of good information all over this forum, that's how my fiance and I got ours all set up with a proper enclosure. One helpful advice, DO NOT skim on the lighting material. It took a few days for us to get the correct bulbs and temperature measurements. Heres what we use: [Mercury Vapor bulb (100w), a UVB tube light, and then a ceramic heater (when temp gets too cold/goes below 65F (18.3 C); Lights turn on around 7am and stay on until 9pm where daytime temp is measured with an electrical system that reads 85-95F (29.4-35C) in the basking area, and 75-80F (23.8-26.6C) in the cooler areas]. Hope this helps!
 

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Jay82

New Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Essex
Yeup, he's a Russian alright. Looks a bit older than my 2 year old. There's going to be a LOT of good information all over this forum, that's how my fiance and I got ours all set up with a proper enclosure. One helpful advice, DO NOT skim on the lighting material. It took a few days for us to get the correct bulbs and temperature measurements. Heres what we use: [Mercury Vapor bulb (100w), a UVB tube light, and then a ceramic heater (when temp gets too cold/goes below 65F (18.3 C); Lights turn on around 7am and stay on until 9pm where daytime temp is measured with an electrical system that reads 85-95F (29.4-35C) in the basking area, and 75-80F (23.8-26.6C) in the cooler areas]. Hope this helps!
Thank you for your reply. Slightly worried now as we’ve only found him today so we don’t have any equipment, lamps etc, hes currently outside in a box, as that’s all we have at this moment in time. Should we bring him inside?

EDIT.. sorry... forgot to mention, we live in ENGLAND, so he should be used to cooler climates maybe?


thanks.
 

Jay82

New Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Essex
Agreed. Russian.

Here is the care info:
Hi Tom,

thanks for your reply. Don’t suppose you can tell how old he is? Sorry, I’m completely clueless.

thanks,
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
48,514
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi Tom,

thanks for your reply. Don’t suppose you can tell how old he is? Sorry, I’m completely clueless.

thanks,
No way to know the age. Its an adult. Somewhere between 4 and 40 years old would be my guess. They can live over 100 years.
 

LaLaP

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Tortoise Club
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934
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Congrats on finding this little treasure! Getting an enclosure set up properly can be tricky but we can help. Feel free to ask questions. Hope you enjoy your new friend!
 

LifewithFrank

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Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
California
Thank you for your reply. Slightly worried now as we’ve only found him today so we don’t have any equipment, lamps etc, hes currently outside in a box, as that’s all we have at this moment in time. Should we bring him inside?

EDIT.. sorry... forgot to mention, we live in ENGLAND, so he should be used to cooler climates maybe?


thanks.
I saw in your bio it says Essex so I assumed England was where you were from:). I looked up your temperature and if i'm correct it says you get anywhere from 16-23C which is 50's-70's here in the US. Thats too cold for them, in my personal opinion as they're dessert tortoise (used to warmer weather). We keep ours indoors in the winter months in 85-95F (29.4-35C) temperature range. When it gets warmer we let him outside in an outdoor enclosure. Some people suggest when they're older leaving them outside, ours is too young to do that, yours looks young too but so hard to tell.
But it all depends on if you are planning to keep him as a pet? If so there are some options for a quick fix in the meantime. Try keeping him in a box [No lid] (a lot of people use old storage bins) with some dirt from the backyard for now so he can at least bury himself to stay warm, keep him indoors where your room temp should be okay for now, until you find/get him the proper lighting. In the meantime when its sunny, let him go outside (with supervision, because before you know it he or she will disappear, faster than you'd expect) But mostly just enjoy the tortoise, They're so fun once they recognize and associate you with good food. Don't be afraid to hand feed some of the food to he or she too! They'll really warm up soon to you guys if you do that. Hope this helps! (I know it's a T O N of information, but do the best you can, do lots of research, & enjoy)
images.jpg download.jpg
* This is what some people use, very functional, just work with the space you have*

db9a41ef-6d0c-4716-b817-cdac5056a8ad.jpg 4e963f4e-b773-493d-8bdb-5716798ed33d.jpg
*Here's what mine looks like*-my fiance built him a 2.5x2.5 wooden box w/ a pool liner

Here's what we use, by no means only follow this, I'm just leaving it here. You can do your own research on whats best/available for you.
Feed: Spring mix, Dandelions, Cucumbers, Cilantro, occasionally some weeds from outside (as treats)
*I would check your yard and then look up the Plant ID tab on this forum to see what you have thats safe*
Water: we have a dish out occasionally, we mostly bathe him in luke/warm water for anywhere between 10-20ish minuets (or what he can stand) *Try to not get his shell covered in water, it should be low water levels*
Supplements: we use a cuttlebone for extra calcium. Some people buy calcium powder & spread it on food
Substrate: we use Eco Earth Coconut Substrate, & Sometimes the zoomed bark for reptiles (it gets kinda dry, so we spray it down)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00167VVP4/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Lighting:
Get a temperature reader-
That is so important, either one of the digital guns you point at a surface and it will tell you, or an actual thermometer (google reptile thermometer & that should do the trick)
Heres my basking lighting I use:
Zoo Med Powersun UV Self-Ballasted Mercury Vapor UVB Lamp
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002AQDJK/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
With this basking lamp holder:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OHRAOFS/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Here's my ceramic heater:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IOBZT80/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
With this ceramic bulb holder:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002OVDPJQ/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

We also use a UVB lighting tube, but you can find those basically anywhere

If you're really crafty and or want him to be outside for sunny summer months you can always build or buy an outdoor enclosure.
611eb44b-7849-4c57-ab5c-81d82887a254.jpg a3b3a55c-fd56-49e9-a9aa-622b6bb99f3e.jpg f10156ac-d1f6-4580-bd37-d17ecf5656f3.jpg
*We just made ours last summer and our Russian tortoise loveeeeesss it.*

download-1.jpg download.jpg download-2.jpg
* Some people use anything like kiddy pools, they buy pre-made boxes, or even use old flower bed boxes/make there own*

Hope this helps!
 

Sa Ga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
640
Location (City and/or State)
MN
Yeup, he's a Russian alright. Looks a bit older than my 2 year old. There's going to be a LOT of good information all over this forum, that's how my fiance and I got ours all set up with a proper enclosure. One helpful advice, DO NOT skim on the lighting material. It took a few days for us to get the correct bulbs and temperature measurements. Heres what we use: [Mercury Vapor bulb (100w), a UVB tube light, and then a ceramic heater (when temp gets too cold/goes below 65F (18.3 C); Lights turn on around 7am and stay on until 9pm where daytime temp is measured with an electrical system that reads 85-95F (29.4-35C) in the basking area, and 75-80F (23.8-26.6C) in the cooler areas]. Hope this helps!
I concur, though I will warn to be wary of MVB (merc vapor bulb)--I used them and thought it was the right thing to do, but Morla's skin and shell were so dry/flaky. Another member here advised MVBs can be too harsh, and so I just use the tube (long, thin, NOT coiled) UVB now, along with a basking light and a ceramic heater for warmth.

The good news is, this is actually cheaper than MVB!

Also, start looking for a good, EXPERIENCED Russian tort vet now, while there aren't any issues (though I would possibly recommend having a thorough check up, since u dont know his/her history, including blood work and parasite test)! You can contact your local Herpatology Society (Google it) or Tortoise Rescue/Shelters, etc. for referrals on whom they use. This is SO IMPORTANT because sometimes a good one can be hard to find and u don't want to frantically be searching during an emergency or illness.

Best wishes and keep us posted! 💗

(Morla welcomes you! She's sleeping on my chest at the moment, but she's thrilled to know one of her own has a great new home!)

20200409_023521.jpg
 

Sa Ga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
640
Location (City and/or State)
MN
Thank you for your reply. Slightly worried now as we’ve only found him today so we don’t have any equipment, lamps etc, hes currently outside in a box, as that’s all we have at this moment in time. Should we bring him inside?

EDIT.. sorry... forgot to mention, we live in ENGLAND, so he should be used to cooler climates maybe?


thanks.
P.S. These little guys are from the Mediterranean, so no, not used to terribly cold weather at all! Please bring him in asap!
 

JonM

New Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Devon, UK
Only, thing I'm wondering is are you going to try and find the owner as I guess he/she escaped and they must be worried?

If you can't find the owner and keep it then they are a lot of fun and can go outside even in the UK on warm, dry days, you will need an indoor setup for wet, cold days and nighttime. Also, be aware Russian tortoises (also known as Horsfield) are escape artists and quite fast when warmed up and excellent at finding a way out if they can. So enclosure will need hard to climb walls greater height than the length of its shell, preferably with a lip or slippery sides, also be careful with corners.

Diet they love dandelions (both the leaves and flowers), bind weed and sowthistle (make sure any food hasn't had any weedkiller on it). This is a good guide for suitable food.


If you don't have enough food in the garden then romaine lettuce, watercress and lambs lettuce are some good options to bulk things out but garden grown flowers and weeds are the best healthy diet.
 

Sa Ga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
640
Location (City and/or State)
MN
Only, thing I'm wondering is are you going to try and find the owner as I guess he/she escaped and they must be worried?

If you can't find the owner and keep it then they are a lot of fun and can go outside even in the UK on warm, dry days, you will need an indoor setup for wet, cold days and nighttime. Also, be aware Russian tortoises (also known as Horsfield) are escape artists and quite fast when warmed up and excellent at finding a way out if they can. So enclosure will need hard to climb walls greater height than the length of its shell, preferably with a lip or slippery sides, also be careful with corners.

Diet they love dandelions (both the leaves and flowers), bind weed and sowthistle (make sure any food hasn't had any weedkiller on it). This is a good guide for suitable food.


If you don't have enough food in the garden then romaine lettuce, watercress and lambs lettuce are some good options to bulk things out but garden grown flowers and weeds are the best healthy diet.
Yes, definitely check for an owner looking for their baby! But it is also very possible she was let go. Unfortunately, some people tire of their animals and rather than rehome, they simply release them thinking (or not caring), "Hey, it's a wild animal--it'll be fiiiiine..."
 

Jay82

New Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Essex
I saw in your bio it says Essex so I assumed England was where you were from:). I looked up your temperature and if i'm correct it says you get anywhere from 16-23C which is 50's-70's here in the US. Thats too cold for them, in my personal opinion as they're dessert tortoise (used to warmer weather). We keep ours indoors in the winter months in 85-95F (29.4-35C) temperature range. When it gets warmer we let him outside in an outdoor enclosure. Some people suggest when they're older leaving them outside, ours is too young to do that, yours looks young too but so hard to tell.
But it all depends on if you are planning to keep him as a pet? If so there are some options for a quick fix in the meantime. Try keeping him in a box [No lid] (a lot of people use old storage bins) with some dirt from the backyard for now so he can at least bury himself to stay warm, keep him indoors where your room temp should be okay for now, until you find/get him the proper lighting. In the meantime when its sunny, let him go outside (with supervision, because before you know it he or she will disappear, faster than you'd expect) But mostly just enjoy the tortoise, They're so fun once they recognize and associate you with good food. Don't be afraid to hand feed some of the food to he or she too! They'll really warm up soon to you guys if you do that. Hope this helps! (I know it's a T O N of information, but do the best you can, do lots of research, & enjoy)
View attachment 290234 View attachment 290235
* This is what some people use, very functional, just work with the space you have*

View attachment 290236 View attachment 290237
*Here's what mine looks like*-my fiance built him a 2.5x2.5 wooden box w/ a pool liner

Here's what we use, by no means only follow this, I'm just leaving it here. You can do your own research on whats best/available for you.
Feed: Spring mix, Dandelions, Cucumbers, Cilantro, occasionally some weeds from outside (as treats)
*I would check your yard and then look up the Plant ID tab on this forum to see what you have thats safe*
Water: we have a dish out occasionally, we mostly bathe him in luke/warm water for anywhere between 10-20ish minuets (or what he can stand) *Try to not get his shell covered in water, it should be low water levels*
Supplements: we use a cuttlebone for extra calcium. Some people buy calcium powder & spread it on food
Substrate: we use Eco Earth Coconut Substrate, & Sometimes the zoomed bark for reptiles (it gets kinda dry, so we spray it down)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00167VVP4/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Lighting:
Get a temperature reader-
That is so important, either one of the digital guns you point at a surface and it will tell you, or an actual thermometer (google reptile thermometer & that should do the trick)
Heres my basking lighting I use:
Zoo Med Powersun UV Self-Ballasted Mercury Vapor UVB Lamp
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002AQDJK/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
With this basking lamp holder:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OHRAOFS/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Here's my ceramic heater:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IOBZT80/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
With this ceramic bulb holder:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002OVDPJQ/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

We also use a UVB lighting tube, but you can find those basically anywhere

If you're really crafty and or want him to be outside for sunny summer months you can always build or buy an outdoor enclosure.
View attachment 290241 View attachment 290242 View attachment 290243
*We just made ours last summer and our Russian tortoise loveeeeesss it.*

View attachment 290244 View attachment 290245 View attachment 290246
* Some people use anything like kiddy pools, they buy pre-made boxes, or even use old flower bed boxes/make there own*

Hope this helps!

thanks so much for the info, really appreciate it :)
 

lynnedit

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
5,730
Location (City and/or State)
Southwest Washington
@Jay82 , it’s quite possible that this tortoise belonged to the previous owners, though it is good to look around to see if anyone is advertising a lost tortoise. It’s also very possible that it hibernated outside over the winter (not advised in the UK due to the amount of rain ordinarily). It also has likely acclimated to temperatures so can withstand lower temps than not, as long as it can warm up midday. Their shells are little solar collectors!
For now, an inside enclosure with at least a basking light would be fine, so it is secure and you can make sure it is healthy, eating, basking, etc. If it can get even an hour or so per day out in the sun (with a shaded area to avoid overheating), that would take care of the UV exposure.
Many people in the UK keep tortoises outside, especially in a milder part like Essex. So eventually an outside enclosure in your area would be much preferred, but you’ll want a secure place for it to bed down for the night (small dog house, etc.) and something like a cold frame to warm up in. Many tortoises keepers in the UK add electrics to their cold frames or greenhouses to allow for basking. And some let the tortoise roam the entire back yard if the perimeter is secure and plant safe, and then secure them in a ‘night enclosure’ at night for safety. Russian tortoises (aka Horsfields, as they are referred to in the UK), do best when kept outside with as much room to roam as possible.
FYI, I live in the PNW, and my tortoises are outside full time with the help of a Greenhouse. My climate is similar to areas of the UK, so I found their web sites very helpful.
Good luck!
 

carol quackenbos

New Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
stuart florida
Hi,

We've just moved to a new house, and today found a tortoise.

can anyone help us out with which breed this tortoise is please, so we are able to take care of it properly?

THANKS!

View attachment 290163
They do ok with some cool temperatures, but cold and wet will lead to respiratory illness and death. They like the sun, Also, they are escape artists so if you go with outdoor enclosure, make sure it's secure. I keep mine in an outdoor enclosure during the day but bring him inside at night to protect against predators and cold.
 

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