Hi from new Russian owner! + questions

lisacbass

New Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Hi everyone! I got a male Russian tortoise about a week ago, and though I am still struggling to name him, I am having a lot of fun having him so far and am excited to join this community.

I had some questions about my setup, mainly about lighting. (But other suggestions welcomed). The temperature range is 100F under the MVB and 80F (room temp) on the other end. I use a temp gun too because I know the disc thermometers aren’t too accurate. My tortoise spends a lot of time during the day sleeping or in his cardboard hideout. Sometimes I get him up and place him under the MVB. Is the reason for the sleeping a lack of lighting? Do I need another source of light besides the MVB? I would love to not have to buy anything else if there are other suggestions, but will of course do so if necessary.

I would also appreciate some input on whether my tortoise is wild caught (that’s my assumption after looking at some pictures) and around how old. The pet store really didn’t know much about him. He has been eating and regular bowel movements during soak time, seems like a healthy guy! Still getting used to his new home. Thanks in advance!
 

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Srmcclure

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Mar 10, 2020
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Oklahoma city
ok, so first off, cute baby!

Second, unfortunately there is quite a bit youll have to change... here is the care sheet for your kiddo


This will answer most of your questions about setup and all of that.

Also, I would never use that clamp holder for your bulb! They ALWAYS fail and can catch your place on fire as well as kill your baby. Unfortunately that has happened on here before 😢
 

MichaelL

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Nov 18, 2018
Messages
947
Location (City and/or State)
Ocala, Fl
I would use that care sheet, very helpful. One thing I always recommend for new russian owners is to give a varied diet right away!!! Many new owners fall into the trap of feeding only what the tortoise likes such as romaine lettuce only, and that is harmful for the tortoise in the long run. Start with fibrous weeds and flowers right away!

He is definitely wild caught, notice the chips on the shell. Probably around 10 years old or older.

Also, beautiful tortoise!
 

lisacbass

New Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
ok, so first off, cute baby!

Second, unfortunately there is quite a bit youll have to change... here is the care sheet for your kiddo


This will answer most of your questions about setup and all of that.

Also, I would never use that clamp holder for your bulb! They ALWAYS fail and can catch your place on fire as well as kill your baby. Unfortunately that has happened on here before 😢

Hi, thank you for your response! I had read that care sheet before. Would you be so kind as to point out what changes I should make so I don’t miss anything? Especially confused on lighting. Good to know about the clamp, will order a new one right away.
 

Agathaade

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
128
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Look up the sections about
- Enclosure size for an adult tortoise.
- Food bowls
- Diet (based on what is visible in the pic)

Never used MVB or loose dry coir so I can’t comment on that.

I will say that one of the goals with lights in indoor enclosures is to replicate the brightness of daylight (other goals are to replicate sun’s heat and UVB output) to stimulate your tortoise’s natural behavior. One bulb on one side of the enclosure doesn’t cut it. You will need to add a cool daylight LED for brightness at the very least if you stick with the MVB.
Unless your room is naturally bright during the day. Hard to tell from the pics.
 

KarenSoCal

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Jul 8, 2017
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Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Here's some good info on lights and heating.

4 elements of heating: By Tom

There are four elements to heating and lighting:

Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb.

Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.

Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.

UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
 
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