Introducing Diego!

LaLaP

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Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
948
Location (City and/or State)
Portland, OR
Hi everyone!

I recently got a lovely Russian tortoise from a rescue organization and I named him Diego. I settled on Diego after observing his passion for exploration (Diego and Dora the explorers from the kids cartoon). His nick name at the rescue had become "The Wrecker" because he was very aggressive toward all other tortoises and he had to be kept on lock down! Haha! But as my only pet he is not a wrecker at all :)
So I made some mistakes right away. I underestimated his abilities and he escaped. I mounted a neighborhood wide search, made flyers, hired a tracking dog, tried to lure him back with bedding from female RT's acquired from a pet store and posted on local social media. Luckily social media has its benifits and he was found and returned from about a mile away, 12 days later.
So I got more serious about securing his outdoor habitat. He seemed to be enjoying his super large area (50ft x 4). And then he escaped again 2 weeks later. So then I relaunched the search effort and meanwhile beating myself up for underestimating him again. Fortunately he was famous in my neighborhood by then and was spotted 3 days later.
Unfortunately, Diego has been spending the few days since his latest recapture in my garage with me (I work from home in the garage). I know it's no fun for him in there. I have plans for building a tortoise Alcatraz in the backyard but it's going to take time.
I really respect his determination but it's also a pain in my butt. Maybe he really is "The Wrecker".
So I found this forum and it's been great! I've learned so much and I'm feeling so much more prepared in all aspects of caring for my slippery friend. But I have questions about his shell... I thought he came back from his expeditions with new scuffs but after reading about different shell issues and deficiencies I'm worried that it could be more than scuffs so I thought I'd ask you guys.

First I'll give some more info...

We live in Portland,Oregon

I've been feeding him spring mix (not his favorite), Romain (his favorite but not that nutritious), red and green leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, plantain weed and he eats other weeds that grow in his enclosure that I don't know the name of. I'm hoping he knows wether he should eat them or not.

I soak him 2-3 times per week. He doesn't like it but I've read that lots of your torts don't so I'm guessing that's ok.

He pees and poops several times per day. Pee is usually very liquid but was once like a gel. Poops are solid but wet. He poops in his bath and I move him to another clean bath.
The people at the rescue said they guessed him to be about 10 years old but didn't have any info on his background.
I really want to keep him outside all summer so I don't have a light or heat source. I figure I'll get one in the Fall and at that time I'll decide wether to hibernate him or not. All your post about it are fascinating and I'd like to do it if I feel prepared at that time. If I do I'll make sure I know what I'm doing.
I'm not currently giving him calcium or vitamins. I think I'll get a cuttlefish bone and see if he'll chew on it. I tried some of the high calcium greens and he said no way. I'll keep trying.
So I'll post some pics of him and close ups of his shell. I'd love to hear any feedback on the shell or anything else.
I also wanted to say how impressed I am with everyone on this forum. It's nice to see people being kind and polite to each other on the internet. It IS possible!
 

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ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
Hi everyone!

I recently got a lovely Russian tortoise from a rescue organization and I named him Diego. I settled on Diego after observing his passion for exploration (Diego and Dora the explorers from the kids cartoon). His nick name at the rescue had become "The Wrecker" because he was very aggressive toward all other tortoises and he had to be kept on lock down! Haha! But as my only pet he is not a wrecker at all :)
So I made some mistakes right away. I underestimated his abilities and he escaped. I mounted a neighborhood wide search, made flyers, hired a tracking dog, tried to lure him back with bedding from female RT's acquired from a pet store and posted on local social media. Luckily social media has its benifits and he was found and returned from about a mile away, 12 days later.
So I got more serious about securing his outdoor habitat. He seemed to be enjoying his super large area (50ft x 4). And then he escaped again 2 weeks later. So then I relaunched the search effort and meanwhile beating myself up for underestimating him again. Fortunately he was famous in my neighborhood by then and was spotted 3 days later.
Unfortunately, Diego has been spending the few days since his latest recapture in my garage with me (I work from home in the garage). I know it's no fun for him in there. I have plans for building a tortoise Alcatraz in the backyard but it's going to take time.
I really respect his determination but it's also a pain in my butt. Maybe he really is "The Wrecker".
So I found this forum and it's been great! I've learned so much and I'm feeling so much more prepared in all aspects of caring for my slippery friend. But I have questions about his shell... I thought he came back from his expeditions with new scuffs but after reading about different shell issues and deficiencies I'm worried that it could be more than scuffs so I thought I'd ask you guys.

First I'll give some more info...

We live in Portland,Oregon

I've been feeding him spring mix (not his favorite), Romain (his favorite but not that nutritious), red and green leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, plantain weed and he eats other weeds that grow in his enclosure that I don't know the name of. I'm hoping he knows wether he should eat them or not.

I soak him 2-3 times per week. He doesn't like it but I've read that lots of your torts don't so I'm guessing that's ok.

He pees and poops several times per day. Pee is usually very liquid but was once like a gel. Poops are solid but wet. He poops in his bath and I move him to another clean bath.
The people at the rescue said they guessed him to be about 10 years old but didn't have any info on his background.
I really want to keep him outside all summer so I don't have a light or heat source. I figure I'll get one in the Fall and at that time I'll decide wether to hibernate him or not. All your post about it are fascinating and I'd like to do it if I feel prepared at that time. If I do I'll make sure I know what I'm doing.
I'm not currently giving him calcium or vitamins. I think I'll get a cuttlefish bone and see if he'll chew on it. I tried some of the high calcium greens and he said no way. I'll keep trying.
So I'll post some pics of him and close ups of his shell. I'd love to hear any feedback on the shell or anything else.
I also wanted to say how impressed I am with everyone on this forum. It's nice to see people being kind and polite to each other on the internet. It IS possible!

This species is the Spiderman of the tortoise world...they can climb vertical as well as get about quickly in the horizontal.......they can shimmy themselves down a few feet in the soil and seem to disappear....

This is a species that is rowdy and tenacious for sure. Please be sure to secure the yard super super clever....until then, be sure to not take your eyes off of the tort...as you well know, now twice...they are very ninja like in the way that they can disappear nearly right in front of your eyes....they are a species that will take to dark leafy greens...so be persistent and the tort will come around....welcome :)
 

MrMarg&me

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2017
Messages
258
Location (City and/or State)
Temecula California
Well that was a very entertaining tortoise story to enjoy with my morning coffee. If you share photos of your enclosure in the enclosure section it can be examined and experienced keepers will provide ideas on how to make it escape proof. Diego’s shell appears normal to me. Welcome to this forum.
 

daniellenc

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Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Messages
2,097
Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
Looks like you’ll be needing a roof for the outdoor enclosure as well as high walls dug down at least 6 inches. You’ll need to periodically examine the enclosure for signs of digging. Diego is definitely a rascal!
 

LaLaP

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Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
948
Location (City and/or State)
Portland, OR
Thanks for welcoming us and for your messages and advice. When I get Diego's enclosure fixed up with extra security measures I'll post photos and I'll be extremely grateful for feedback. So helpful to have a group of folks with so much experience!
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Croydon
Hi everyone!

I recently got a lovely Russian tortoise from a rescue organization and I named him Diego. I settled on Diego after observing his passion for exploration (Diego and Dora the explorers from the kids cartoon). His nick name at the rescue had become "The Wrecker" because he was very aggressive toward all other tortoises and he had to be kept on lock down! Haha! But as my only pet he is not a wrecker at all :)
So I made some mistakes right away. I underestimated his abilities and he escaped. I mounted a neighborhood wide search, made flyers, hired a tracking dog, tried to lure him back with bedding from female RT's acquired from a pet store and posted on local social media. Luckily social media has its benifits and he was found and returned from about a mile away, 12 days later.
So I got more serious about securing his outdoor habitat. He seemed to be enjoying his super large area (50ft x 4). And then he escaped again 2 weeks later. So then I relaunched the search effort and meanwhile beating myself up for underestimating him again. Fortunately he was famous in my neighborhood by then and was spotted 3 days later.
Unfortunately, Diego has been spending the few days since his latest recapture in my garage with me (I work from home in the garage). I know it's no fun for him in there. I have plans for building a tortoise Alcatraz in the backyard but it's going to take time.
I really respect his determination but it's also a pain in my butt. Maybe he really is "The Wrecker".
So I found this forum and it's been great! I've learned so much and I'm feeling so much more prepared in all aspects of caring for my slippery friend. But I have questions about his shell... I thought he came back from his expeditions with new scuffs but after reading about different shell issues and deficiencies I'm worried that it could be more than scuffs so I thought I'd ask you guys.

First I'll give some more info...

We live in Portland,Oregon

I've been feeding him spring mix (not his favorite), Romain (his favorite but not that nutritious), red and green leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, plantain weed and he eats other weeds that grow in his enclosure that I don't know the name of. I'm hoping he knows wether he should eat them or not.

I soak him 2-3 times per week. He doesn't like it but I've read that lots of your torts don't so I'm guessing that's ok.

He pees and poops several times per day. Pee is usually very liquid but was once like a gel. Poops are solid but wet. He poops in his bath and I move him to another clean bath.
The people at the rescue said they guessed him to be about 10 years old but didn't have any info on his background.
I really want to keep him outside all summer so I don't have a light or heat source. I figure I'll get one in the Fall and at that time I'll decide wether to hibernate him or not. All your post about it are fascinating and I'd like to do it if I feel prepared at that time. If I do I'll make sure I know what I'm doing.
I'm not currently giving him calcium or vitamins. I think I'll get a cuttlefish bone and see if he'll chew on it. I tried some of the high calcium greens and he said no way. I'll keep trying.
So I'll post some pics of him and close ups of his shell. I'd love to hear any feedback on the shell or anything else.
I also wanted to say how impressed I am with everyone on this forum. It's nice to see people being kind and polite to each other on the internet. It IS possible!

L... L... LOVE Diego <3

When I had Sheldon I noticed he was on a constant escape mission and nearly renamed him Shell-Shank :D

I had gone round my whole garden and ‘tortoise proofed’ it but Sheldon was still so persistent on trying to find a way out and did manage to climb between a gap and escape but only once... I really made it ‘tortoise proof’ after that!

I guess in the wild they are born to roam and it’s just a natural instinct for them... doesn’t matter how big a pen or garden you give them to roam they will always be looking for more!

Good luck with Diego!
 

LaLaP

Well-Known Member
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Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
948
Location (City and/or State)
Portland, OR
L... L... LOVE Diego <3

When I had Sheldon I noticed he was on a constant escape mission and nearly renamed him Shell-Shank :D

I had gone round my whole garden and ‘tortoise proofed’ it but Sheldon was still so persistent on trying to find a way out and did manage to climb between a gap and escape but only once... I really made it ‘tortoise proof’ after that!

I guess in the wild they are born to roam and it’s just a natural instinct for them... doesn’t matter how big a pen or garden you give them to roam they will always be looking for more!

Good luck with Diego!


Shell-Shank! Oh my gosh! I love that! So funny. Yes I still see him everyday walking the perimeter of his huge enclosure and checking for weaknesses in security. My boyfriend had made a joke once that if he hangs a poster we'll know he is chipping away at an elaborate tunnel! Don't give him a spoon! Well everyone needs a hobby I guess.
 

T Smart

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Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
459
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, IL
Very entertaining read! Glad he wad found and is doing well. Welcome to the forum!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
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Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I put a horizontal board all around the top of my tortoise fences.

box turtle 9-17-16.jpg
 

LaLaP

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Messages
948
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Portland, OR
I put a horizontal board all around the top of my tortoise fences.

View attachment 248752
Oh wow! You really caught one in the act, Yvonne! Yes I've now put overhangs on all the walls. Some with wood like yours, some with pavers and chicken wire in some problem spots.
 

LaLaP

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Messages
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Portland, OR
So it's a bit hard to see his whole enclosure but it is about 50ft long and the width varies from 4ft to 10ft. There are 4 raised garden beds that line the front side as well as a retaining wall. My neighbors house is the back side barrier as well as a wall of giant boulders. The sides are hemmed in with boards capped with wood and chicken wire. See any improvements I could make?
image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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That's a beautiful yard. . . too bad he's so intent on escaping it. Little does he know, he's been placed in Tortoise Shangri La.
 

LaLaP

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Messages
948
Location (City and/or State)
Portland, OR
That's a beautiful yard. . . too bad he's so intent on escaping it. Little does he know, he's been placed in Tortoise Shangri La.
So true! I keep trying to tell him that out there in the world there are no warm soaks in the morning, no soothing neck massages, no toothbrush shell scrubs, no gourmet salads on slate platters, no misting sprinklers on hot days, no one to bring him inside to safety every night. He just doesn't know how good he has it!
 
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