New Russian Tortoise Owner with Questions!

Status
Not open for further replies.

cartmage

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Warsaw, IN
Hi folks!
I am a fairly new Russian Tortoise owner and I was wondering if you all could shed some light on a few questions.

First, this is my tortoise, Lrrr:
1238320_10201990810160947_1389092240_n.jpg


I was told when I got him that he was "about 3 years old" but from what I have seen on others' threads, I am beginning to suspect he is much older than that... any ideas on the accuracy judging by the picture?

My 2nd questions is on my enclosure setup. I have an Exo-Terra "Large - Low" (36 x 16 x 12) enclosure with a 75watt basking bulb (and rock as shown in pic, it's not a heated rock, just one I picked up at Lowe's) a UVB bulb (I forget the stats, but I used the chart at the PetCo to pick it out) a hiding log, and a ZooMed Repti-Ramp watering bowl. For substrate, I use a layer of playground sand that I keep moist, and some coconut husk (the brick form that you soak). I keep the temp around 90-100 under the lamp, and on the cool side is is typically 75-85. My question is; does anyone see anything that I am doing wrong with it?

3rd question: Food.
I have been feeding him a variety of greens (mostly organic Kale as he tends to turn his nose up at other greens, but will always eat Kale) and blueberries that I have dusted in repto-cal calcium powder. He absolutely loves the blueberries and will gladly eat them from my hand... but my wife is worried (and may be correct) that I am giving him the blueberries too often. I typically make him eat some greens before I offer him any berries, but sometimes he just flat out refuses and I give in. I don't want to do anything that will jeopardize his health though, so... as far as berries are concerned do you think I am feeding them to him too often?

Also, I cannot get him to eat any other vegetables. I have tried carrot slivers, radish slivers, cucumber, celery, a piece of tomato, and a few other things and he just ignores them... are all Russian Tortoises this picky or is mine just stubborn?

4th Question: Behavior:
I like to let him out to roam the house (we bought baby gates for the rooms that are not Tortoise-friendly) and he gets along well with our cats. Our cat Dexter is his best friend, and I often find them curled up with each other. The problem is, the entire time he is out he seems to be moving from hiding spot to hiding spot, almost like a game of hide-and-seek. I usually know he is getting cold if I find him by the heat vents at the bottom of our refrigerator, and I put him back in so he can bask... once he warms up he lets me know he wants back out by tapping his shell against the glass. The problem is the past few days, I hvae found him here:
574552_10201976824051303_1551851469_n.jpg

And this does not amuse our cats... I do not think he is eating any of the cat food (I watched him climb into it one day and observed for about 10 minutes before removing him). I know he is in there pretty soon after it happens, because the cats come rat him out to us... (they act like they are starving so that we check their food bowl) I this dangerous to Lrrr or the cats? I know salmonella is an issue but I don't know if it is enough that I should be worried?

Also his demeanor... he is, what I would call... grumpy. He doesn't seem to care about anything (other than blueberries) and I even saw him climb over a sleeping (and subsequently terrified) cat instead of walking around it. When I hold him he is constantly trying to "go"... not necessarily get away, but like he feels he needs to be moving, sometimes just pushing into my neck or lap (maybe trying to bury himself?) When I pet his head, he stretches his neck way out and pushes into my finger... when the cats do that, it means they are enjoying it, but for some reason I have a feeling he is just trying to use his head to push my finger away. Any thoughts?

Sorry to dump so much on one post, but I really appreciate any input and I really look forward to learning from you other owners!
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
40,446
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Your wife is correct, no blueberries. Maybe for a treat, like a couple times a month. Calcium give a small pinch once a week. Also give him a cuttle bone. If he chews on it a lot, don't give any more calcium. Russians can be grumpy. However, the petting of the head, sounds to me he likes it. Laying in the cats dish, which is too cute, I wouldn't think would be a problem, unless he uses it for a potty spot. To toes and strawberry can be given as only a treat too. Tomatoes, again about once a month, the small grape ones, not a large one. No tomato leaves or plant. I would also not use the sand next time you change his substrate. Plain dirt, cypress mulch or coconut coir is fine. Because they like to dig, I would use plain dirt. I would also guess he is older then you were told. How old, hard to say. If the original owners bought him from a Petco or petsmart, he was probably around 4-5 at that time.
Check out thetortoisetable.org for more edible ideas. As big a variety as possible is best. To get him to eat more stuff, chop up his favorite, along with the other stuff, spritz with water. He will have to eat the better stuff to get his fav. Hope I answered them all. Others will be on to help out too.
 

sibi

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
6,483
Location (City and/or State)
Florida, USA
Hi Art, and welcome. Aside from getting rid of the sand, I think Barb covered quite a bit for russians. This forum is designed in such a way that all you have to do is start on the main page, go to where the russian tortoises are mentioned, and search threads on foods, health, personalities, etc. There's a wealth of knowledge that one person, Tom, can give you. His threads can be found on the main page of this forum, or you can pm him privately.
 

WillTort2

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2011
Messages
1,250
Post a picture of your UVB bulb; the box stores are not always right about their advice.

Thanks,
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top