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New Russian owner :)

hannahbal

New Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Hello, all! I just got my first tortoise and I’m so excited to learn and get this process right. I was wondering if you tortoise experts could give me some general info on my tortoise’s health until I manage to get him/her into the vet next week—like should I trim the nails, gender identification, shell condition, etc.

Right now, I have my tortoise in a 50 gallon storage container tub with cypress mulch as a substrate, a concrete paver, a planter dish wish with water, and a plastic flower pot hide, although my tortoise seems to prefer just burrowing. I have a zoomed 100 watt bulb, and fresh clover out as food.

My house (Virginia) came with a small outdoor tortoise enclosure (4x4) that I’m looking forward to expanding and decking out this year for my little guy/girl and eventually moving him/her in there more permanently as my gardening companion.

Please let me know if you see any glaring problems/things I could improve! Thank you in advance :)
 

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Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
47,083
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello, all! I just got my first tortoise and I’m so excited to learn and get this process right. I was wondering if you tortoise experts could give me some general info on my tortoise’s health until I manage to get him/her into the vet next week—like should I trim the nails, gender identification, shell condition, etc.

Right now, I have my tortoise in a 50 gallon storage container tub with cypress mulch as a substrate, a concrete paver, a planter dish wish with water, and a plastic flower pot hide, although my tortoise seems to prefer just burrowing. I have a zoomed 100 watt bulb, and fresh clover out as food.

My house (Virginia) came with a small outdoor tortoise enclosure (4x4) that I’m looking forward to expanding and decking out this year for my little guy/girl and eventually moving him/her in there more permanently as my gardening companion.

Please let me know if you see any glaring problems/things I could improve! Thank you in advance :)
Hello and welcome. Looks like a female to me too, based on tail size. No need to trims th nails, and there is nothing a vet can tell from loving at the outside of the tortoise. Be cautious. Vets and pet stores typically know very little above tortoise care and tend to give bad advice. Most vets will also recommend things like "vitamin injections". These are uneccesary, and often harmful. Politely decline and realize the person standing infant of you knows little or nothing about tortoise care.

The enclosure sounds fine except for the size. An adult Russian like yours needs at least 4x8 fee for an indoor enclosure. Tortoises need much more room to roam in their enclosures than other reptiles and pets. Same thing outdoors. 4x4 would be great for a baby, but an adult needs much more room than that.

Here is the care info:

Questions and comments are welcome. :)
 

MichaelL

Active Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
183
Location (City and/or State)
Ocala, Fl
Nice tortoise! Females are harder to come by, you're lucky :D Also, when your outdoor enclosure is ready for her, post some pics!
 

hannahbal

New Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
100 watt heat, but I have the zoomed solar mercury vapor bulb on its way from chewy. We just had a cold snap so my original plan of taking Medea outside for UVB got foiled. I have an older home (1940s) so I’m hoping she gets enough UVB through the untreated windows until the new bulb arrives on Monday.

I actually just changed her substrate out—it seemed like the cypress mulch was really bothering her eyes. She kept blinking and rubbing her face and sticking her head sort of back into her shell, so I switched to organic topsoil instead and she seems much less irritated! Anyone ever had a similar experience with cypress mulch?

I’ll probably be bugging you guys for advice on the outdoor enclosure a lot. We are fortunate to have a decently sized back yard, so I’ve got a patch already dedicated to growing tortoise supply’s grassland seeds and I have sort of three potential spots we could set up a large enclosure for her.

Thank you all for the warm and helpful welcome! 🐢
 

Ink

Active Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jun 10, 2016
Messages
119
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Congrats on your new family member!
 

Pistachio's Pamperer

Active Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
49
Location (City and/or State)
New Mexico
Medea!!!! I love it!! I should have named mine Sméagol. “We hates the pellets” “precious!”- as he dives into his living plants to eat and demolish. Russians have strong personalities.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
47,083
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
100 watt heat, but I have the zoomed solar mercury vapor bulb on its way from chewy. We just had a cold snap so my original plan of taking Medea outside for UVB got foiled. I have an older home (1940s) so I’m hoping she gets enough UVB through the untreated windows until the new bulb arrives on Monday.

I actually just changed her substrate out—it seemed like the cypress mulch was really bothering her eyes. She kept blinking and rubbing her face and sticking her head sort of back into her shell, so I switched to organic topsoil instead and she seems much less irritated! Anyone ever had a similar experience with cypress mulch?

I’ll probably be bugging you guys for advice on the outdoor enclosure a lot. We are fortunate to have a decently sized back yard, so I’ve got a patch already dedicated to growing tortoise supply’s grassland seeds and I have sort of three potential spots we could set up a large enclosure for her.

Thank you all for the warm and helpful welcome! 🐢
I've never seen that problem with cypress. That sounds more like something burning here eyes, or the start of a respiratory infection, or if the substrate was too dry, the dust might do that. Was the cypress kept damp?

Soil shouldn't be used as a substrate. You can't know what composted materiel it is made from, and it could be something toxic, plus there are usually additives in it that are problematic.

Fine grade orchid bark works best. It can be found in bulk at garden centers, and apparently some of the larger hardware chains around the country carry it too.

Tortoisesupply.com is great and they have some awesome products for sale, but your Russian isn't a grass eater. The grass will make good cover and hiding areas though. I use their "Testudo Mix" and have had nothing but fantastic results with it. It is my primary seed mix and I use some every year. My tortoises love it.
 
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