Hi, I recently acquired two Russian tortoises

Edbwood

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Hi, i recently acquired two Russian tortoises, i have not yet named them, but i have had them for about a month now. I got them from my AP Biology teacher at school who could no longer care for them. I built a 5x3 foot tortoise table, got substrate (coconut fiber, and play sand) and got them a couple different hides and rocks to feed them on. I have been feeding them a big variety in lettuces and they always seem to eat a lot. I have left them a water dish but they dont seem to touch it. For lights i have been using 2 x 100w heat lamps at either end of the cage, and a uvb at the main basking spot as well. I have been soaking them about 1-2 times a week for about 10 minutes each.

Attached are pictures of the two, and the tortoise table.

I have some concerns for them though, recently the larger female about 6.5 inches layed an egg earlier today. I was a little surprised at this so i asked my biology teacher what he would do when they lay an egg. He said they were both female, and so the egg would never be fertilized, so he just let them sit around a couple days then would throw out the egg. The problem with this is i am 95% sure the smaller one about 5" is a male, so the egg could possibly be fertilized. He always has his tail to the side, it is significantly longer, and his cloaca is towards the end of the tail and shaped more like a slit. It would be great is you guys could look at the pictures and help me out in anyway. He (if he is a he) has seemed more aggressive lately, running around the enclosure more, and occasionally climbing over her to get somewhere. And if the egg is fertilized ( I tried to candle it, but it was just layed so no way to tell) how do i care for it?

Thanks guys i look forward to being a member of this community.

http://imgur.com/a/eKFQd
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome. We need to see a picture of the tail area top and more important bottom. The two will need to be separated if one is a male. He will pester the female to illness or death. If they are both female, keep an eye out for one to bully the other. They will need a much larger enclosure too. They cover a lot of ground in the wild
 

Edbwood

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Hello and Welcome. We need to see a picture of the tail area top and more important bottom. The two will need to be separated if one is a male. He will pester the female to illness or death. If they are both female, keep an eye out for one to bully the other. They will need a much larger enclosure too. They cover a lot of ground in the wild
They have been together for more than 6 years with my biology teacher in the same enclosure, would that still be a problem. Here are more pictures of the 5" tortoise in question. http://imgur.com/a/azAvx

Also im planning on making an outdoor enclosure where i can keep them for part of the day.
 

JoesMum

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Hello and welcome :)

For starters you should read the following

Beginner Mistakes
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

Russian Care Guide
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

Your torts need a minimum of 4' x 8' - each

Torts are not social animals. They don't get lonely and they don't need, want or particularly like company. There is always a dominant tort and with pairs, regardless of gender, that translates into victim and bully.

You must keep a close eye on these two. If one seems quiet or eats less then chances are that bullying has started.

Be prepared to separate your torts permanently.

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...together-a-lesson-learned-the-hard-way.94114/
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

That one picture shows an egg that's been held onto quite a while prior to laying it. Russian tortoises usually lay 4 or 5 eggs, so be sure to keep her warm and provide her with a deep area to dig a nest.
 

wellington

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Yes, even after 6 years, in most likely too small of an area and possibly stressed the whole time, may be part reason why they seemed to get along. Theres a chance they had not reach a maturity level to make them more aggressive towards each other. You'd be best to make them separate enclosures for when the time comes to separate. This may also be the reason the female held he egg, as Yvonne said, or she never had the proper enclosure to lay them properly. Someone else will have to try and sex them for you, the pics show up way to large, which then makes them bury
 

Alexio

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It's hard to say 100% with out a clean shot down on the tail. But I'm going to go ahaed and say I'm 95% it's a male. That's a massive sideways tail .
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome.

It looks to me like you've got a male and female.

They should be separated. You'll need to make another enclosure at least the same size, or bigger.

Sand is no good. You need to remove that ASAP. It is a big impaction risk, and possible skin and eye irritant. It used to be commonly recommend in the past and some people have just not kept up with current info.

What sort of UV bulb are you using? Is it the cfl type that your screw into a light socket? Those should not be used. They sometimes burn tortoise eyes.

All of this and more is in the links that Joe's Mum posted for you.

Here is what to do for eggs and babies:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/
Note that many breeders incubate russians on dry media and use tubs of water to maintain humidity in the incubation container.
 

Edbwood

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Hello and welcome.

It looks to me like you've got a male and female.

They should be separated. You'll need to make another enclosure at least the same size, or bigger.

Sand is no good. You need to remove that ASAP. It is a big impaction risk, and possible skin and eye irritant. It used to be commonly recommend in the past and some people have just not kept up with current info.

What sort of UV bulb are you using? Is it the cfl type that your screw into a light socket? Those should not be used. They sometimes burn tortoise eyes.

All of this and more is in the links that Joe's Mum posted for you.

Here is what to do for eggs and babies:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/
Note that many breeders incubate russians on dry media and use tubs of water to maintain humidity in the incubation container.
The uvb is a fluorescent tube.The substrate is a mix about 50/50 cocunut coir, and sand, I have been spraying it daily with a light mist of water, is the sand still a concern?
 

Tom

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The uvb is a fluorescent tube.The substrate is a mix about 50/50 cocunut coir, and sand, I have been spraying it daily with a light mist of water, is the sand still a concern?
Yes. A major one. It should be removed. The coir is good though. I actually prefer fine grade orchid bark for russians.

Please take a look at those links. Its all explained in detail there.
 

Momof4

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Welcome!! I know there has been a lot of new info thrown your way but if you take the advice you will have happier torts in the long run!

An outdoor enclosure will be heaven for them!! They love to explore!!
 

Edbwood

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I got rid of the sand, and added a thicker layer of coconut coir. Hopefully this will be better for when she lays eggs, and better for burrowing. Also started feeding them on a plate to keep it cleaner.
https://imgur.com/a/oiGIe
 
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