Is this normal? A new Russian owner needs a Tort Whisperer

adapa

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What kind of bulbs are you using? The Coil type causes eye problems and the halogens are too harsh. Any of those might make her not want to be out with them?
Also some older torts take a while to get adjusted to their new home. Lots of them the first day or so will act normal checking everything out, then they do what yours is doing. She may just need more time to adjust to her new surroundings. Best thing for that is to make sure all temps, etc is correct then carry on with giving daily fresh food and water and don't mess with her too much. Try to set a routine with same time feedings, lights out, on, etc and when you take her outside. This helps with them getting used to what's going to happen at those times.
zoo med repti basking bulbs, It's about 110-105F in the hot spot

All my lights are on timers, on at 7- off at 4p. I used to feed her every morning as soon as she started moving around. In SoCal, I believe eventually, I'll be able to keep her outside year round once i get the outdoor setup complete. For now the current box and occasional afternoons in the secure back yard will have to do unless that is harming her.
 
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TeamZissou

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If you are able to get her outside for a few hours, a few times per week, a UV lamp is not needed. The mercury vapor bulb (MVB) you have is not great for tortoises as they are too concentrated, get too hot, and are ineffective at creating UVB. The basking spot you have is too hot at 105-110F it needs to be more like 90-95 F and definitely not over 100 F. A simple incandescent flood bulb from the hardware store works well. They come in 45. 65. and 100 W so that you can dial in the right temperature. In the short term, I would raise up the MVB to get to the right temp.

If you wanted to get a UV bulb, you'd need a T5 tube style fluorescent tube and fixture. But, as stated above, if you can get her outside a few times a week it's unnecessary.

That's great that she's looking OK. They always try to crawl up the sides of the soaking tub, this is normal--we call it the tortoise treadmill.

Under floor/underground heat mats are not good for tortoises either because they burn the skin. Torts need heat from above that emulates the sun. No other night heating is needed as long as the temps stay above about 60F. Ambient temps need to get to 80 during the day and you shouldn't see any sluggishness.

As wellington pointed out, she may take some time to get into a routine being in a new place. Tortoises don't like change and get stressed easily which may lead to not eating for a period of time. Having her in a consistent location with proper temps and lighting will help her act more normally.
 

wellington

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If you are able to get her outside for a few hours, a few times per week, a UV lamp is not needed. The mercury vapor bulb (MVB) you have is not great for tortoises as they are too concentrated, get too hot, and are ineffective at creating UVB. The basking spot you have is too hot at 105-110F it needs to be more like 90-95 F and definitely not over 100 F. A simple incandescent flood bulb from the hardware store works well. They come in 45. 65. and 100 W so that you can dial in the right temperature. In the short term, I would raise up the MVB to get to the right temp.

If you wanted to get a UV bulb, you'd need a T5 tube style fluorescent tube and fixture. But, as stated above, if you can get her outside a few times a week it's unnecessary.

That's great that she's looking OK. They always try to crawl up the sides of the soaking tub, this is normal--we call it the tortoise treadmill.

Under floor/underground heat mats are not good for tortoises either because they burn the skin. Torts need heat from above that emulates the sun. No other night heating is needed as long as the temps stay above about 60F. Ambient temps need to get to 80 during the day and you shouldn't see any sluggishness.

As wellington pointed out, she may take some time to get into a routine being in a new place. Tortoises don't like change and get stressed easily which may lead to not eating for a period of time. Having her in a consistent location with proper temps and lighting will help her act more normally.
Totally agree with all this except basking should be 95-100 but yes, not over 100. If you do the outside enough I would do without the uvb inside.
If/when you do outside 24/7 she should have a heated outdoor enclosure for those cold nights and days you do have unless you hibernate her during the winter.
 

adapa

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If you are able to get her outside for a few hours, a few times per week, a UV lamp is not needed. The mercury vapor bulb (MVB) you have is not great for tortoises as they are too concentrated, get too hot, and are ineffective at creating UVB. The basking spot you have is too hot at 105-110F it needs to be more like 90-95 F and definitely not over 100 F. A simple incandescent flood bulb from the hardware store works well. They come in 45. 65. and 100 W so that you can dial in the right temperature. In the short term, I would raise up the MVB to get to the right temp.

If you wanted to get a UV bulb, you'd need a T5 tube style fluorescent tube and fixture. But, as stated above, if you can get her outside a few times a week it's unnecessary.

That's great that she's looking OK. They always try to crawl up the sides of the soaking tub, this is normal--we call it the tortoise treadmill.

Under floor/underground heat mats are not good for tortoises either because they burn the skin. Torts need heat from above that emulates the sun. No other night heating is needed as long as the temps stay above about 60F. Ambient temps need to get to 80 during the day and you shouldn't see any sluggishness.

As wellington pointed out, she may take some time to get into a routine being in a new place. Tortoises don't like change and get stressed easily which may lead to not eating for a period of time. Having her in a consistent location with proper temps and lighting will help her act more normally.
Totally agree with all this except basking should be 95-100 but yes, not over 100. If you do the outside enough I would do without the uvb inside.
If/when you do outside 24/7 she should have a heated outdoor enclosure for those cold nights and days you do have unless you hibernate her during the winter.

just to make sure i am hearing correctly:
1) new dispersed/soft focus bulb to insure the basking spot is less then 100 F
2) just let her be until she emerges
3) get her outside for a couple of times / wk
4) a good soak once a week

Basically, i shouldn't stress about her not eating/moving around for a weeks on end. As long as she has a place to warm up, is soaked and she has enough UV (sun/bulb). She isn't hibernating, just hiding from the world.

If i've 'heard' you both correctly, Thank you for reassuring me that Oosy is doing ok & I just need to wait it out while continuing with my building plans for her outdoor enclosure.
 

TeamZissou

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just to make sure i am hearing correctly:
1) new dispersed/soft focus bulb to insure the basking spot is less then 100 F
2) just let her be until she emerges
3) get her outside for a couple of times / wk
4) a good soak once a week

Basically, i shouldn't stress about her not eating/moving around for a weeks on end. As long as she has a place to warm up, is soaked and she has enough UV (sun/bulb). She isn't hibernating, just hiding from the world.

If i've 'heard' you both correctly, Thank you for reassuring me that Oosy is doing ok & I just need to wait it out while continuing with my building plans for her outdoor enclosure.

You might want to increase the soaking for a week since she's been hunkered down not eating or drinking for several weeks. It's not typical for a healthy tortoise not to eat for several weeks. After settling down into optimal temp conditions, I would expect her to start eating for you in a few days and up to a week at most. Provide a big pile of greens every morning and see how it goes. Specific foods if you need to buy them at the store are listed in the care sheet, as well as in the diet section of the forum.
 

wellington

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You might want to increase the soaking for a week since she's been hunkered down not eating or drinking for several weeks. It's not typical for a healthy tortoise not to eat for several weeks. After settling down into optimal temp conditions, I would expect her to start eating for you in a few days and up to a week at most. Provide a big pile of greens every morning and see how it goes. Specific foods if you need to buy them at the store are listed in the care sheet, as well as in the diet section of the forum.
Agree with above.
Once everything is right on, keep an eye on her. If she doesnt start eating and acting normal, we may have to try something else.
Start with what seems obvious and easiest to fix and let's give her a little time, to adjust first then go from there if things don't change.
 

adapa

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I will double the soaks & use the bath tub so she'll have plenty of room.
She hasn't moved since leaving the heat lamp yesterday. I'm getting a temp/humidly gage which will enable me to monitor & archive temp/humify levels 24/7 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y36FWTT/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Thank you both for helping Oosy through this. Her inept huumon (human) is clueless.
 

tee_tee_bee

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I will double the soaks & use the bath tub so she'll have plenty of room.
She hasn't moved since leaving the heat lamp yesterday. I'm getting a temp/humidly gage which will enable me to monitor & archive temp/humify levels 24/7 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y36FWTT/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Thank you both for helping Oosy through this. Her inept huumon (human) is clueless.

One thing that has helped me with my new Russian tort not eating much was to try hand feeding greens to my tort while she was soaking. I’d do that every morning, starting with a piece of her favorite green but slowly working in others. Going back and forth between the fave and other greens I wanted to incorporate. Sometimes she’d only take a few bites and others she’d gobble whole leaves. I’d still leave a fresh pile of greens in her enclosure daily and at first she wouldn’t touch it but now she’s going back to the pile on her own four or five times a day to graze a little. She may not be as active as she should be yet but I know we’re on the right path with proper nutrition.

Also have you confirmed that your tort doesn’t have any parasites, like worms? I had that problem early on. Even if they come from a reputable place, as I’ve learned from my own bumps, new home stress can cause a normal parasite load can bloom into a big issue. You can bring a stool sample to a vet to do a fecal float to check.
 

Yvonne G

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yes, it's a proper basking spot & tort home with water, substrate & a dark area for sleeping. but it is just a tort box & she scratches & wants to get out so i let her roam about for a bit during the day while i'm home. Mostly outdoor in my tiny, secure back yard which i am in the process of changing up to accommodate her. According to all the papers i've read, she needs space to wander & my place is a tiny condo.

but back to my actual question, Oosy had been crashed out in a pile of clothes for about 20 days. how can i tell if this is normal hibernation? if so how do i tell if she's waking up? She's had a rough 4 months with the rehoming & I want to make her comfortable. my guess is she feels comfortable enough now to sleep but i am not familiar with tort's at all
It's not normal, no. So now your question has been answered. It was answered above too, but not so directly. You've been told that your tortoise is hiding and patiently waiting for the 'weather' to warm up. He's not trying to brumate, he's wanting to be warm and to live in a larger, dedicated enclosure.
 

adapa

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Sorry, I should've read the whole thread before I replied.
i've done that many times ;)

update: Oosy has not moved- I'll be soaking her again today & putting her outside in the sun. It's suppose to be sunny and warm (mid 70's but the sun is hot in San Diego CA)
my indoor temp is 82 during the day & 73 at night. Humidy levels between 39 & 57%
 

TeamZissou

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i've done that many times ;)

update: Oosy has not moved- I'll be soaking her again today & putting her outside in the sun. It's suppose to be sunny and warm (mid 70's but the sun is hot in San Diego CA)
my indoor temp is 82 during the day & 73 at night. Humidy levels between 39 & 57%

To be clear, she's back in her enclosure with a 95-100F basking lamp, and 82 F everywhere else, and is generally not moving or active? Have you been soaking as well?

Since she isn't responding to conditions with optimal temps and hasn't eaten for three weeks, carrot food soaks are the next thing for you to try:

 

Cathie G

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yes, it's a proper basking spot & tort home with water, substrate & a dark area for sleeping. but it is just a tort box & she scratches & wants to get out so i let her roam about for a bit during the day while i'm home. Mostly outdoor in my tiny, secure back yard which i am in the process of changing up to accommodate her. According to all the papers i've read, she needs space to wander & my place is a tiny condo.

but back to my actual question, Oosy had been crashed out in a pile of clothes for about 20 days. how can i tell if this is normal hibernation? if so how do i tell if she's waking up? She's had a rough 4 months with the rehoming & I want to make her comfortable. my guess is she feels comfortable enough now to sleep but i am not familiar with tort's at all
I have a Russian and I have never let him hibernate. You don't have to with a Russian. One reason I don't is because my tortoise wasn't at optimum health when I got him. It takes some preparation also and getting them all cleaned out. It's hard on them to do it properly. He does slow down in the winter. Doesn't eat as much but if he tries to lay around too long, I'm his worst nightmare. 🙂
 

adapa

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To be clear, she's back in her enclosure with a 95-100F basking lamp, and 82 F everywhere else, and is generally not moving or active? Have you been soaking as well?

Since she isn't responding to conditions with optimal temps and hasn't eaten for three weeks, carrot food soaks are the next thing for you to try:

Here's the past two days of temp & humidity readings. it's not a steady 82 degrees. Honestly, today was not as hot inside as normal. I'll keep an eye on the ambient temp. I did get the new heat lamp bulb for her enclosure. But she doesn't leave her hole in the sleep area so it only helps the ambient temp.

I tried hand feeding here some greens- no joy. I'll try the carrot soak and see if i can temp her with other treats.

XfSzx3O.jpg

And here's her eyes,
and bath
I had her outside for a bit she'd wander a bit but not stay in the sun, always gravitating to a dark corner
BPBXa2L.jpg

24hNFBG.jpg

leQnPnx.jpg
 

TeamZissou

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She looks decent based on the pictures. I envisioned completely not moving for days and non-responsive. At least she's somewhat alert.

What have you tried to feed her? Based on the state of her beak, she was likely fed on a poor diet of romaine or iceberg lettuce. You could try offering a bit of romaine along with some healthier stuff. Eventually you need to get her completely off it and onto a better diet of radish, clover, dandelion, other weeds etc (all listed in the diet section and on the care sheets).

This tortoise also needs her beak trimmed. It might be good to get her to start eating a bit before adding more stress by trimming.

Here's a decent guide I found that you can follow. Alternatively, a vet can do it.

 

adapa

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Thank you for that assessment of her condition! She seems to be doing ok, She just feels the need to hibernate & not eat. I see her drink a little when in the water.

when she was eating, i fed her a mix of super greens (kale, swiss chard, etc), a little of what ever veg i had around chopped fine ( a green bean, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc). I eat a lot of veg so I offer her a little bit of everything. She'd eat most of the greens and try the veg. She really liked yellow peppers and cucumber.
i haven't tried Romain. I'll get some tomorrow & try that.
I've only had Oosy since Dec. I did not know about beak trimming.
 

adapa

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Update:
i woke her up, warmed her under the lamp, & offered Romain, cucumber & yellow pepper. After ignoring me & refusing to be hand fed, she is crunching food. WHEW!
 

TeamZissou

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That's great!

Though it's nutritionally poor, romaine is better than nothing after three weeks. Keep offering the healthier stuff and she will eventually eat it. It might take several weeks, but keep showing up with it and she should eventually try it.
 

TheTattooedTortoise

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I'd probably avoid the peppers all together, they are quite high in sugars which can upset the tortoises gut flora. Cucumber also isn't much good... not that it contains anything bad, it's just pretty much green water with very little nutritional value to it.
My hermanns loves it but I literally smush a tiny bit into his other greens because he seems to love the taste and smell, but I wouldn't rely on it to bring anything other than flavour to his diet.
 
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