New Owner-HELP (light, substrate and not eating)

Evan Reller

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Hello,

I just bought a 4 year old Russian from Pet Co. I currently have her in a 40 gallon glass tank. I know that isn't ideal, but I have blocked vision 4-5 inches off the bottom so she can't see out of her walls and I've made sure she has good ventilation.

My questions are this, I currently have a 100W infrared basking light bulb 16 inches off the substrate (coconut coir). The thermometer at her level reads about 82 degrees under the basking light and about 75 in the cooler areas. Do I need to bump up the wattage for the basking area or should she be alright?

Also, I have heard mixed reviews about keeping the substrate moist or not, would love some advice?

Lastly, this is her third day in the tank and she hasn't eaten or gone to her water. She just sleeps all day. I've taken her out to walk around for exercise and she moves around, but I'm wondering if she is just adjusting?

I would love some help on this!
 

Tom

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You need to get rid of the infrared bulb. They need white light during the day, and as long as your house stay 65-70 at night, you won't need any night heat. Living in a red world confuses them.

You do need a warmer basking temp, so move the fixture closer, or use a higher wattage bulb.

She needs daily soaks for a couple of weeks, a humid hide, a much larger enclosure, and yes, you should dampen the substrate.

I will try to link the care sheet for you, but you can also go to the Russian tortoise section of the forum and read the care sheets.

There will be some adjustment time, but the better you make the enclosure and conditions, the faster they will work through the acclimation process.
 
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dmmj

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not much more needs to be said but salutations
 

Evan Reller

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Hello Tom,

I followed your advice I fixed the heating, built a tortoise table, and she seems to be doing well. I don't know if I didn't notice it when I got her, but her shell is flaking slightly on the bottom. Underneath the flaking was a brown that was also flaking. Under that brown is hard and resembles the shell color more. I haven't took off any of the flakes, but I am concerned. Did she just scratch it on something or is it signs of shell rot? It is not soft or pink on the underbelly and it is only in one location about 1/4th the size of a dime. Let me know!

-Evan
 

JoesMum

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Hello Tom,

I followed your advice I fixed the heating, built a tortoise table, and she seems to be doing well. I don't know if I didn't notice it when I got her, but her shell is flaking slightly on the bottom. Underneath the flaking was a brown that was also flaking. Under that brown is hard and resembles the shell color more. I haven't took off any of the flakes, but I am concerned. Did she just scratch it on something or is it signs of shell rot? It is not soft or pink on the underbelly and it is only in one location about 1/4th the size of a dime. Let me know!

-Evan
Chances are there is nothing to worry about, but it could be shell rot.

Shell rot is easy to treat - use Athlete's Foot Cream.

Can you post a clear picture of the damage that we can look at please?
 

Evan Reller

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Here is the picture. The white on it was from when she urinated.

IMG_0643.JPG
 
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Tom

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Here is the picture. The white on it was from when she urinated.

Looks like an older chip. Possibly from its previous life and journey over here. I would gently brush the area with a soft tooth brush after a long soak, and just keep an eye on it.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Evan, and welcome to the Forum!

Russian tortoises that are big enough to legally sell at a pet store * are generally much older than 4 years. Your new Russian tortoise is more likely around 10 years or more.

*In the U.S. we have a 4" rule that says turtles and tortoises cannot be sold by businesses until they reach 4" in a straight line from front to back. Russians, being a small species, are usually a bit older by the time they reach the legal size.
 

Evan Reller

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Looks like an older chip. Possibly from its previous life and journey over here. I would gently brush the area with a soft tooth brush after a long soak, and just keep an eye on it.
Thank Tom,

It was amazing after your advice how much more active and alert she became. I appreciate the help.

-Evan
 

Tom

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It gets even better with
Thank Tom,

It was amazing after your advice how much more active and alert she became. I appreciate the help.

-Evan

It gets even better with time as they settle in and get comfortable. You will likely enjoy your tortoise more as time goes by and you guys get to know each other.
 

Evan Reller

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It gets even better with


It gets even better with time as they settle in and get comfortable. You will likely enjoy your tortoise more as time goes by and you guys get to know each other.
Why kind of substrate do you use?
 
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