New Russian Owner

brenrn

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Hello...big disclaimer...we did everything wrong but are trying to correct it! Ugh...darn Petco gave us all the wrong info but shame on us for not doing our own research first. In any case we have a brand new Russian tortoise, "Claude" for now b/c we think he looks just like Claude Julien LOL but we really don't know if he is a he at all LOL so that may change. We bought a glass reptile enclosure at the suggestion of the Petco associate :( It measures 35 x 17...he spent the first day scratching at the glass so I think we've rectified that by putting 8" tall plywood around the back and sides. For some reason he doesn't seem bothered by the front glass. He walks up and looks out and down and walks away. He never scratches at it or tries to walk through the front. I plan on getting a turtle palace to replace the glass enclosure. Below are some pics. We are using EcoEarth for substrate. He has enough so he can completely bury himself which he usually does at night. I now have a PowerSunn 100watt mercury vapor bulb in the double lamp. I had a coil UVB and a heat bulb in it previously (again on the advice of the Petco associate). In his food dish today is watercress, some rose petals I pulled off one of my bushes, timothy hay and some wild blackberry leaves that grow in the woods behind my house. I'm planning on buying a seed mix and trying to grow some weeds indoors. We are in Massachusetts so he is indoors for now but will build him an outdoor enclosure in the spring. I have found him soaking himself in the water dish a couple times so I'm wondering if I need to "bath" him in addition to that or if what he's doing is enough. I see him drinking while he's in there and he usually poops in there too.

Any advice on anything we should change would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Jacqui

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Hi and welcome! How did you happen to decide to add a tortoise to your life? Sounds like you are making some great improvements in how your caring for him. Is the tortoise palace something your buying or making? It's going to be a lot larger, correct? As for the soaking, I see no reason why you should soak him. He's an adult and you have saw him use the water dish on his own, so it's enough. :)
 

brenrn

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Jacqui said:
Hi and welcome! How did you happen to decide to add a tortoise to your life? Sounds like you are making some great improvements in how your caring for him. Is the tortoise palace something your buying or making? It's going to be a lot larger, correct? As for the soaking, I see no reason why you should soak him. He's an adult and you have saw him use the water dish on his own, so it's enough. :)

My son had been asking for one for quite some time and we finally decided to get one for him. I have to admit I'm a little smitten with him though ;)

The tortoise palace is something we will be buying. It measures 47" x 29" so yes it's bigger than what we have. Like I said he will also be spending spring/summer outdoors.
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:). Don't be hard on yourself for doing things wrong. A pet store should know the proper way for raising the animals they sell. Besides, your not alone. The good thing is, you found this forum and are willing to change things for the better, kudos to you.
 

Yvonne G

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I know it's the wrong time of year for putting him outside, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn't at least let you know how I feel.

Tortoises are wild animals. They haven't undergone years and years of human intervention to make them domesticated animals. Some tortoises take to living indoors better than others, but it is my opinion, that a wild animal belongs outside in a nicely planted and safe habitat, where he can wander over large areas and graze on weeds and grasses.

While you have your new buddy indoors, getting acquainted with him and how to care for him, also be thinking about next spring and setting him up outside. Then when fall rolls around, he will have acclimated naturally, and you will be able to allow him to brumate (hibernate) if you so desire.
 

brenrn

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Yvonne G said:
I know it's the wrong time of year for putting him outside, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn't at least let you know how I feel.

Tortoises are wild animals. They haven't undergone years and years of human intervention to make them domesticated animals. Some tortoises take to living indoors better than others, but it is my opinion, that a wild animal belongs outside in a nicely planted and safe habitat, where he can wander over large areas and graze on weeds and grasses.

While you have your new buddy indoors, getting acquainted with him and how to care for him, also be thinking about next spring and setting him up outside. Then when fall rolls around, he will have acclimated naturally, and you will be able to allow him to brumate (hibernate) if you so desire.

That's the plan...I mention that at the end of my first post :)
 

forujade00

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Hello. Don't beat yourself up. I did the same thing. I purchased a Russian from Petco and listen the the person working there. I bought all the wrong things and did all the wrong things. But then I found this forum and everyone was very helpful in helping me get it right.
 

Carol S

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I think that Petco would let you return the enclosure. I know that PetSmart has an excellent return policy on the things that they sell and I think that Petco is the same way. :)
 

StarSapphire22

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As long as it's clean and undamaged (looks new, no grime or chips, etc.), you can return the tank. If you aren't a PALS member, you'll need your receipt. I'm sorry you had a bad experience...I'm a Petco employee, and it bugs me when associates don't do their homework and give out bad info...gives the ones who really try a bad name.

On a side note, *steps on soapbox* while I understand people's frustration in associates lack of knowledge and the sentiment of knowing what you sell,please keep in mind that we have many animals to learn how to care for...we (most of us) try to learn as much as we can, so that we can answer questions, but we shouldn't be required to be able to tell some one every single thing they need to know about their pets...as much as I would love to. I have tortoises, turtles, geckos, anoles, bearded dragons, water dragons, toads, frogs, pythons, boas, corn snakes, hermit crabs, chameleons, scorpions, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, chinchillas, tropical fish, cichlids, coldwater fish, brackish fish, aquatic invertebrates, and saltwater fish (and all of the various subspecies of all these creatures) to take care of and educate people on...not to mention all of the affiliated products and their functions and benefits. I learn as much as I can, but I'm not a human encyclopedia...and even then, sometimes bad info gets out, and unfortunately that's what we're taught. Store associates can't be a person's only source of research. *Steps off soapbox*

Congrats on your new addition...tortoises are such wonderful creatures. Can't wait to see more pictures! :D
 

Jovanni

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Don't beat yourself up! We don't all start off experts, learn from your mistakes and try to give your Russian tortoise the best life you can. I'm sure you are doing great now, and learned much more! Enjoy your tortoise!
 

lfmonty

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I bought my Russian from a pet shop and was told all the wrong advise .....but I have rectified things and hopefully he has not suffered as a result .....
 

WillTort2

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I think many of the more experienced keepers would advise exchanging your water dish. The steep sided dishes have the risk of flipping the tortoise which could result in drowning.

A shallow sided terra cotta planter base works well as a water dish.

Good luck!
 
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