New Russian Tortoise not drinking?

Smiller713

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Hello all! My son and I are the new owners of a russian tortoise named Karl. I was wondering how often he should be having water, we have not seen him use his water dish in the 5 days since we got him. His water dish is large enough to fit his entire body into it, about 1 inch deep, and has a lip around it that sticks out of the substrate about 1 centimeter. He should be able to get in and out easily but he so far only sunbathes, eats, and hides. Should we be soaking him daily?
 

Yvonne G

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russians are notorious for avoiding the waterer. I always spritz water over their food to make sure they get some.
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome,
I raerly see my tort drink from his water dish.
I soak him regularly in warm shallow water but even in his bath he doesn't drink.
I soak his leaves before feeding so I know there's some hydration there.
If you post some pics of his enclosure you'll get some tips on any improvements you coud make if needed.
 

Smiller713

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Hi and welcome,
I raerly see my tort drink from his water dish.
I soak him regularly in warm shallow water but even in his bath he doesn't drink.
I soak his leaves before feeding so I know there's some hydration there.
If you post some pics of his enclosure you'll get some tips on any improvements you coud make if needed.
F4FB13AF-3FA2-4473-8E13-6E2E8B6C5C3E.jpeg
this is his enclosure, it’s a zoomed tortoise house with cypress mulch substrate. His water dish is the blue thing. Sorry I dont have a better picture, I am at work and this was on my phone already
 

Lyn W

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View attachment 315854
this is his enclosure, it’s a zoomed tortoise house with cypress mulch substrate. His water dish is the blue thing. Sorry I dont have a better picture, I am at work and this was on my phone already
Thanks. Unfortuantely I don't think the pet store has given you the best advice - they rarely do because they are interested in profit and don't seem to know or care much about tort care, so many of us make the same mistakes.
I think that enclosure is too small for him. He doesn't have a lot of space to wander or to get away from the heat. As he already has a hide built in maybe you could remove the half log to free up some space for now until you can get something bigger.

Also that sort of water dish is quite hard for him to access and could be a drowning hazard for him. It would be safer to use a cheap terracotta plant saucer sunk level with the substrate so that it's easier for him to get in and out of. Maybe you could return the blue one to the pet shop and get a refund?

I'll see if I can find the caresheet to link for you. It will help you with diet, temps, humidity and substrate etc.
 

Smiller713

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Thanks. Unfortuantely I don't think the pet store has given you the best advice - they rarely do because they are interested in profit and don't seem to know or care much about tort care, so many of us make the same mistakes.
I think that enclosure is too small for him. He doesn't have a lot of space to wander or to get away from the heat. As he already has a hide built in maybe you could remove the half log to free up some space for now until you can get something bigger.

Also that sort of water dish is quite hard for him to access and could be a drowning hazard for him. It would be safer to use a cheap terracotta plant saucer sunk level with the substrate so that it's easier for him to get in and out of. Maybe you could return the blue one to the pet shop and get a refund?

I'll see if I can find the caresheet to link for you. It will help you with diet, temps, humidity and substrate etc.
Thank you for your help. I did take the divider out so that he can use that area more freely. I will get him a terra cotta saucer as you mentioned.
 

Lyn W

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Maybe put the log under the hide end now then so he can tuck hinself away.
Heres the link for the caresheet - a lot to read but it will really help you make sure your tort is happy and healthy
Check the temps under your lamps too.
 
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Sleppo

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Thank you for your help. I did take the divider out so that he can use that area more freely. I will get him a terra cotta saucer as you mentioned.
You'll need a larger enclosure altogether, please see the care sheet minimum for RT's is at least 4ft x8ft, they need a lot of room to walk it aides in digestion. I would also check the height on those lamps they look awful low and can cause burns on the shell and eye problems. Regarding drinking I have never seen my RT's drink, like ever. Nevertheless they need to have fresh water available and be soaked at least once a week for adults, daily if a hatchling. Again I cannot stress how important it is to thoroughly read through the care sheet and make adjustments now, it will save you a bunch of time, money and headaches down the road. I know it seems like a lot now but once you hone it in RT's are super easy to care for and maintain. Hope this helps.

 

DLF

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I bought a used bookcase and removed the shelves. I used plastic to line it and placed all the goodies they need in there. This is a temporary inside overwinter habitat. The Russians do better outside here in southern California. They have a fabulous personality. Enjoy your little guy. also I recommend some live plants. Mine really like crab apple ice plant and different Sedum succulents. for grocery store get Escarole and dandelion or endive. romaine only on occasion.
 

gurgleblaster

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I made the same mistake with my Herman with the same exact tort enclosure. Honestly though others have mention turning old book shelves over and all sorts of things. Really they just need like a 2'*8: enclosure so anything roughly that size will work. Also could be a fun project with your kiddo to grab some 2*4s and plywood and slap something together. Just no treated wood.
 

The best for Larry

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Just an FYI a terra cotta dish will soak through unless you can find a glazed dish and so therefore will soak the bottom of his home. At first you think the water is just evaporating but in fact it is soaking through the bottom as well. I soak our Larry everyday and it helps him do his business while soaking and then we feed him by the slider so he can get some natural light. Like you its chilly here in the fall/winter so outside adventures have come to a full stop. We soak everyday until he does his business, it's usually really fast and then we feed. I also have a small heat pad (for a human) that we leave next to him while he feeds and when he's done he likes to vibe on it so this allows him to move about a bit as we have the same Tortoise house as you and don't like him to stay in it all day. In the summer we'll make him something much larger for outdoor adventures. Yes, the best thing is to not let Karl wander around the house freely as he could really get hurt, but he sits next to me while I am working and doesn't wander very far plus we have no other pets that would be a threat.
 
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