My RT is a chunker!

Helena F.

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Okay so I need some advice,

I got my tortoise 5 years ago and he was pretty big for a one year old. He is now over 5 inches and is only 6 years old. He's growing really fast, and has grown at least half an inch to an inch in the past 4 - 6 months. Based on the research that I have done, RT's are full grown at 20 - 30 years. They get anywhere from 5 - 8 inches ( males) or even 10 inches (females). He's technically a full grown RT as a juvenile / sub adult and still isn't done growing. Does anyone else have a chunker (big) RT like this, because he is still growing and I had no idea RT could get so big? I love my boy but I was not expecting that. He isn't fat or anything, he's just large for his age. Any advice for having a bigger RT than normal, and what size enclosure should I upgrade him to? 😅 :tort::<3:
 

Blastoise

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I have a very large female in a 6x3 bookcase a turned into a tortoise table, in the summer she lives outdoors in a 16x8 (approx) enclosure. They eat a ton when they are big, other than that care is the same as a regular sized one. The more you feed the faster they grow, maybe just watch out how much you are feeding.
 

zovick

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Okay so I need some advice,

I got my tortoise 5 years ago and he was pretty big for a one year old. He is now over 5 inches and is only 6 years old. He's growing really fast, and has grown at least half an inch to an inch in the past 4 - 6 months. Based on the research that I have done, RT's are full grown at 20 - 30 years. They get anywhere from 5 - 8 inches ( males) or even 10 inches (females). He's technically a full grown RT as a juvenile / sub adult and still isn't done growing. Does anyone else have a chunker (big) RT like this, because he is still growing and I had no idea RT could get so big? I love my boy but I was not expecting that. He isn't fat or anything, he's just large for his age. Any advice for having a bigger RT than normal, and what size enclosure should I upgrade him to? 😅 :tort::<3:
How big was he when you got him and how certain are you that he was only a year old when you got him? Many sellers greatly understate the age of the animals they sell, especially if they are not the actual breeders. Do you know if your tortoise was WC or CB? Did you buy him in a pet store? If so, his age is probably more years than you think.

Pictures of the tortoise could help us to determine an age estimate.
 

RosemaryDW

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Tortoises will grow larger with good access to food; it’s not unusual to see a size jump; food determines growth, not age. So long as the shell looks normal (that’s what the photo is for), it’s fine. My vet said our escapee female had “room to grow” when we found her on the street and grow she has; she doubled her weight in three years, finally slowing down this year.

My tortoise is outside in our very small fenced yard so she has plenty of space to work off her food. Someone with an indoor tortoise can advise you on enclosure size; my guess is not big enough. :)
 

Yvonne G

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More than likely he was older than a year when you got him. The only way the seller could tell you his age for sure is if he hatched the egg the tortoise came from. Pet stores are notorious for telling customers Russians are younger than actual age.

Because of their small size, it takes 4 or 5 years for a Russian to reach the legal 4" size for pet stores to legally sell them.
 

Helena F.

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More than likely he was older than a year when you got him. The only way the seller could tell you his age for sure is if he hatched the egg the tortoise came from. Pet stores are notorious for telling customers Russians are younger than actual age.

Because of their small size, it takes 4 or 5 years for a Russian to reach the legal 4" size for pet stores to legally sell them.
Okay. I will post a picture when I can, but I can see where they would lie. He was maybe 3 inches when I got him. Yes, I admit I got him from a pet store when I was young, but they also knew his date of birth. It's August 14, 2014. I got him right before his 1st birthday. He is 5 inches now, and I have seen that some peoples tort is that big when they are 5-7 years old. He is 6 years old. The vet confirmed he was a year old when I got him, so I was never worried about that. As far as enclosure, I am upgrading him to an 8' x 4' enclosure ( indoor ) and a much bigger outdoor enclosure. He is very healthy and just had a check up at the vet. Maybe he's just a big boy?
 

Helena F.

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Tortoises will grow larger with good access to food; it’s not unusual to see a size jump; food determines growth, not age. So long as the shell looks normal (that’s what the photo is for), it’s fine. My vet said our escapee female had “room to grow” when we found her on the street and grow she has; she doubled her weight in three years, finally slowing down this year.

My tortoise is outside in our very small fenced yard so she has plenty of space to work off her food. Someone with an indoor tortoise can advise you on enclosure size; my guess is not big enough. :)
okay thank u. He was about 3 to maybe 4 inches only 6 months ago, and then just jumped to 5 inches. He is 15 grams now, according to the vet. Is that a normal weight? He eats a healthy amount and gets TONS of exercise daily. Our backyard right now is 3/4 an acre so he walks all around the backyard ( with my supervision )
 

Chubbs the tegu

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Maybe 15 grams is a typo but a 5 inch russian i would think 350-400 grams
 

Chubbs the tegu

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Thats why Im confused because the vet told me 15 grams. that would be .03 pounds which seems wrong. im not sure. I'll try to find a way to weigh him. 🤨
Go to walmart and get urself a regular kitchen scale.
 

zovick

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Okay. I will post a picture when I can, but I can see where they would lie. He was maybe 3 inches when I got him. Yes, I admit I got him from a pet store when I was young, but they also knew his date of birth. It's August 14, 2014. I got him right before his 1st birthday. He is 5 inches now, and I have seen that some peoples tort is that big when they are 5-7 years old. He is 6 years old. The vet confirmed he was a year old when I got him, so I was never worried about that. As far as enclosure, I am upgrading him to an 8' x 4' enclosure ( indoor ) and a much bigger outdoor enclosure. He is very healthy and just had a check up at the vet. Maybe he's just a big boy?
Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to say that you should not believe everything you were told when buying the tortoise.

It is very possible that the pet store just made up that birth date to satisfy you that the tortoise was only a year old and convince you to buy the tortoise. Sometimes these errors are due to ignorance on the part of the employees, but not always. After all, the stores are in business to make $$ and will stoop to very low levels to do so in my experience.

Another point to consider is this: if the tortoise was truly about 3" long when you bought it, the sale was done illegally by the store. Can you be certain the tortoise wasn't 4" when you bought it? Most of these pet stores are quite careful about the size law.

I also question the veterinarian's ability to accurately assess the age of the tortoise unless he/she is a tortoise breeder, and even then it is difficult to guesstimate the age of a young tortoise which is older than a couple of months.

Again, I am not trying to argue your points, just trying to open your eyes and make you less gullible in the future. You obviously want the best for your tortoise no matter how old it is, and that is laudable.
 

Helena F.

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Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to say that you should not believe everything you were told when buying the tortoise.

It is very possible that the pet store just made up that birth date to satisfy you that the tortoise was only a year old and convince you to buy the tortoise. Sometimes these errors are due to ignorance on the part of the employees, but not always. After all, the stores are in business to make $$ and will stoop to very low levels to do so in my experience.

Another point to consider is this: if the tortoise was truly about 3" long when you bought it, the sale was done illegally by the store. Can you be certain the tortoise wasn't 4" when you bought it? Most of these pet stores are quite careful about the size law.

I also question the veterinarian's ability to accurately assess the age of the tortoise unless he/she is a tortoise breeder, and even then it is difficult to guesstimate the age of a young tortoise which is older than a couple of months.

Again, I am not trying to argue your points, just trying to open your eyes and make you less gullible in the future. You obviously want the best for your tortoise no matter how old it is, and that is laudable.

Yeah that makes sense. It's hard to remember honestly, especially because I was young. And I'm sorry, he was 4 inches. I can understand why they would just give me a date.

Im going through veterinary documents right now that I have saved, and they aged him as 7 years old, birthdate 8-10-2013, instead of 8-14-2014. Idk if that is a typo or what.

At the end of the day it doesn't make a difference on how much I love him or how well I care for him, but I want to try and figure this out. I was 10 or 11 when I got him, so ofc I didn't know what I know now about tortoises.

He is measuring specifically 4.5 to 4.75 inches specifically. Here is an image.

20201025_165024.jpg
 

zovick

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Yeah that makes sense. It's hard to remember honestly, especially because I was young. And I'm sorry, he was 4 inches. I can understand why they would just give me a date.

Im going through veterinary documents right now that I have saved, and they aged him as 7 years old, birthdate 8-10-2013, instead of 8-14-2014. Idk if that is a typo or what.

At the end of the day it doesn't make a difference on how much I love him or how well I care for him, but I want to try and figure this out. I was 10 or 11 when I got him, so ofc I didn't know what I know now about tortoises.

He is measuring specifically 4.5 to 4.75 inches specifically. Here is an image.

View attachment 309815
Looking at both photos of your tortoise and the shell condition/wear, I would say that it is easily 10-15 years or more old, but that is really a moot point. No one really knows how old that tortoise is unless they bred and hatched it themselves.

There seems to be a chip out of the lower left rear edge of the shell (near the left foot in the photo with the ruler). That appears to be a pretty old injury. Did it happen before you got the tortoise or during your ownership? Just curious if you know how it happened or not.
 

Helena F.

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Looking at both photos of your tortoise and the shell condition/wear, I would say that it is easily 10-15 years or more old, but that is really a moot point. No one really knows how old that tortoise is unless they bred and hatched it themselves.

There seems to be a chip out of the lower left rear edge of the shell (near the left foot in the photo with the ruler). That appears to be a pretty old injury. Did it happen before you got the tortoise or during your ownership? Just curious if you know how it happened or not.
Wow. Um I was not expecting that. His chip has been like that for years. I never really noticed it until he started to grow. I think it was there when I got him, but he has grown since then. Do u honestly think he is wild caught or Captive bred. His scutes have always looked like that as well, kind of scuffed up.
 

zovick

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Wow. Um I was not expecting that. His chip has been like that for years. I never really noticed it until he started to grow. I think it was there when I got him, but he has grown since then. Do u honestly think he is wild caught or Captive bred. His scutes have always looked like that as well, kind of scuffed up.
If you bought him in a pet store 5 years ago, it was most likely a wild caught import. There are a couple of "breeding farms" in Europe which sell Russian Tortoises to the US pet trade, but those places have been proven to sell far more tortoises than they could possibly breed, so some coming from them are CB but a lot are still WC. These farms were set up as fronts to get around the laws regarding how many WC animals can be exported.
 

Helena F.

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If you bought him in a pet store 5 years ago, it was most likely a wild caught import. There are a couple of "breeding farms" in Europe which sell Russian Tortoises to the US pet trade, but those places have been proven to sell far more tortoises than they could possibly breed, so some coming from them are CB but a lot are still WC. These farms were set up as fronts to get around the laws regarding how many WC animals can be exported.
Wow. Thank u. I feel so dumb. Does counting the rings on the tortoise also determine the age ( or give an estimate ) or is that a myth?
 

zovick

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Wow. Thank u. I feel so dumb. Does counting the rings on the tortoise also determine the age ( or give an estimate ) or is that a myth?
More myth than reality. The tortoises can get several rings one year and only one another year. It depends upon their condition and the circumstances in which they are living.

Here is a photo of three Radiated Tortoises. I hatched all of them so know that they are 1, 2, and 3 years old. If you tried to count the rings, they would all seem a lot older than they really are, because they were raised in ideal conditions. Note that the shells are all in perfect condition as well.

Aged Group.jpg
 
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