New Russian Tortoise Owner

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
Hi everyone!

I’m a new tortoise owner to a Russian tortoise named Leonardo. I bought him about 2 weeks ago from a reptile pet store, and they guessed his age to be approximately 5 years old based on his size. I’ve never owned any type of tortoise before so I’m still learning as I go. I’m waiting for the outdoor habitat I bought online to come in the mail so I can have him outside more without me having to baby sit him. I let him roam around my yard but I stay by his side and I don’t take my eyes off him at all. I let him roam for about a good 20 minutes or so, one-two times a day. I’ve been reading so many posts about how it’s not recommended to let them roam around freely, but I’m already a nervous person so like I said, I’m literally right by his side taking steps with him.

Anyway, the first day I brought him home I think he was so dehydrated because when I soaked him and he drank so much water and he was a bit more active after that. But ever since then, he has not been drinking and doesn’t really seem to like to have a “bath”, always wants to climb out. I try to give him a bath every 2-3 days or so. I do not have a terra cotta bath thing for him yet, I’ve been using a plastic tortoise container I bought from amazon, and of course, I supervise him the whole time he’s in there. Is it okay if he’s not drinking? It’s been two weeks.... but sometimes his greens that I give him may be a little wet, so I’m assuming his getting hydrated that way?

I’m also looking for advice on types of plants I can put in his outdoor enclosure when it comes in. I’ve seen lots of great pictures of other enclosures, I just want to make sure I’m not putting anything poisonous in it. I’ve also seen some pictures of some folks putting what looks like a half of a plant pot in the ground for a hide a way for their torts. I love that idea! I want to make it a cute habitat for him so it will have grass and should I make one area have tiny rocks or something?

Any ideas or suggestions you guys can give me would be great! Like I said, I’m still learning as I go and I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can for my little guy!

77525197-DB49-433D-8156-1D1096C5C7F4.jpeg
 

janevicki

Active Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
312
Location (City and/or State)
Near Disneyland
Welcome Cozmo88 and Leonardo!
I do not have Russian tortoise but many forum members do.

Please be specific on what you want from them to help you? If you want suggestions to have for your Russian habitat, please tell us in detail what you have, including equipment and temperatures for basking and such.
Give us as much detail and pictures too.

I came here 8 years ago and they all helped me a lot.

You probably read this already https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
I find Tom's articles very informative. I think this care sheet will answer a lot of your questions.

Take care and see ya around!
:)
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,428
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello and welcome. Here is the updated care sheet:
 

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
Welcome Cozmo88 and Leonardo!
I do not have Russian tortoise but many forum members do.

Please be specific on what you want from them to help you? If you want suggestions to have for your Russian habitat, please tell us in detail what you have, including equipment and temperatures for basking and such.
Give us as much detail and pictures too.

I came here 8 years ago and they all helped me a lot.

You probably read this already https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
I find Tom's articles very informative. I think this care sheet will answer a lot of your questions.

Take care and see ya around!
:)
[\QUOTE]



Thank you for the warm welcome!

Right now, I have a Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb and a 100 watt Thrive Essential Reptile Basking Spot Bulb in his indoor enclosure. I still need to buy some of the other things I’ve been reading on these forums, such as humidity stuff and thermostat. But, anyway, I guess I want to know if him not drinking at all during his bath times is okay?

And yes, I’ve been so many posts last night, I think I was in here for about a good 4 hours, before I went to bed, trying to learn everything I can, haha!

I know his indoor enclosure is probably too small for him right now, but I’m working on that too. I’m currently borrowing a friends tank until his bigger one comes in the mail. I attached a picture.

And, I’m looking to see what kinds of things I can put in his outdoor enclosure when it comes in, such as edible plants for him and some cute little hiding spots. I basically want to give him the best living environment possible! :)

And, I’m looking to see what kinds of things I can put in his outdoor enclosure when it comes in, such as edible plants for him and some cute little hiding spots. I basically want to give him the best living environment possible! :)

5727C2E7-A515-4AAE-B8CC-51B2FA7FDB85.jpeg
 

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
Would this be a good buy for his habitat? It’s a humidity meter and thermostat in one!
 

Attachments

  • D742D1B8-860F-4140-BC80-87CE76B46E6D.jpeg
    D742D1B8-860F-4140-BC80-87CE76B46E6D.jpeg
    132.5 KB · Views: 7

method89

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
1,364
Location (City and/or State)
Malverne, NY
The enclosure is too small for a full grown Russian, They require @ 4'x8' of space.
 

method89

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
1,364
Location (City and/or State)
Malverne, NY
Would this be a good buy for his habitat? It’s a humidity meter and thermostat in one!
no. they are unreliable. Look on amazon for a Inkbird one. They are digital and can be connected to your phone.
 

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
Thank you for the warm welcome!

Right now, I have a Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb and a 100 watt Thrive Essential Reptile Basking Spot Bulb in his indoor enclosure. I still need to buy some of the other things I’ve been reading on these forums, such as humidity stuff and thermostat. But, anyway, I guess I want to know if him not drinking at all during his bath times is okay?

And yes, I’ve been so many posts last night, I think I was in here for about a good 4 hours, before I went to bed, trying to learn everything I can, haha!

I know his indoor enclosure is probably too small for him right now, but I’m working on that too. I’m currently borrowing a friends tank until his bigger one comes in the mail. I attached a picture.


And, I’m looking to see what kinds of things I can put in his outdoor enclosure when it comes in, such as edible plants for him and some cute little hiding spots. I basically want to give him the best living environment possible! :)
 

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
The enclosure is too small for a full grown Russian, They require @ 4'x8' of space.

so I can’t find any enclosures online with those dimensions, I’m assuming I’ll probably have to custom build one for him?
 

Crush da Baum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
548
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
I would take out that UVB bulb asap. It is very dangerous and can burn their eyes. It is still a mystery why they can even sell them. The only safe a effective UVB bulbs are the HO tube type bulbs. Not drinking in his bath is not a big deal. As long as he has access to clean drinking water and has soaks a few times a week then he will drink when he is thirsty. I would advise strongly against glass tanks. In order to get one an adequate size, you are going to have to spend a ridiculous amount of money. Glass tanks are for aquatic animals that can make use of all 3 dimensions. Torts just need the surface area. You can build one out of wood for pretty cheap or get a used bookshelf and just flip it over. Humidity is not as important for a full grown Russian. You can dump some water into the enclosure a couple times a week and add a humid hide. If he has a humid hide and the humidity does not drop lower than 40% then he should be fine. If you do have problems with humidity then making a closed chamber is the best way to go. There are many ways to do it and is not expensive. I have heard that spot bulbs are not the best because they can desiccate their shell. Most of what you need you can get at your local hardware store for much cheaper and better stuff. Outdoor enclosures are awesome! I am so glad you are trying to get him outside. Natural sunlight is so good for him. Here is a picture of my new Russian tortoise enclosure. It is almost done.
 

Attachments

  • 6F14C6D4-8CE1-43A1-B30E-CCE8F2359D73.jpeg
    6F14C6D4-8CE1-43A1-B30E-CCE8F2359D73.jpeg
    2.6 MB · Views: 28

method89

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
1,364
Location (City and/or State)
Malverne, NY
Thank you for the warm welcome!

Right now, I have a Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb and a 100 watt Thrive Essential Reptile Basking Spot Bulb in his indoor enclosure. I still need to buy some of the other things I’ve been reading on these forums, such as humidity stuff and thermostat. But, anyway, I guess I want to know if him not drinking at all during his bath times is okay?

And yes, I’ve been so many posts last night, I think I was in here for about a good 4 hours, before I went to bed, trying to learn everything I can, haha!

I know his indoor enclosure is probably too small for him right now, but I’m working on that too. I’m currently borrowing a friends tank until his bigger one comes in the mail. I attached a picture.


And, I’m looking to see what kinds of things I can put in his outdoor enclosure when it comes in, such as edible plants for him and some cute little hiding spots. I basically want to give him the best living environment possible! :)
Take your time. Learn one thing, correct one thing. don't try to do it all at one shot. Your tort looks fairly healthy. a few days here and there aren't going to be the end of him.
 

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
I would take out that UVB bulb asap. It is very dangerous and can burn their eyes. It is still a mystery why they can even sell them. The only safe a effective UVB bulbs are the HO tube type bulbs. Not drinking in his bath is not a big deal. As long as he has access to clean drinking water and has soaks a few times a week then he will drink when he is thirsty. I would advise strongly against glass tanks. In order to get one an adequate size, you are going to have to spend a ridiculous amount of money. Glass tanks are for aquatic animals that can make use of all 3 dimensions. Torts just need the surface area. You can build one out of wood for pretty cheap or get a used bookshelf and just flip it over. Humidity is not as important for a full grown Russian. You can dump some water into the enclosure a couple times a week and add a humid hide. If he has a humid hide and the humidity does not drop lower than 40% then he should be fine. If you do have problems with humidity then making a closed chamber is the best way to go. There are many ways to do it and is not expensive. I have heard that spot bulbs are not the best because they can desiccate their shell. Most of what you need you can get at your local hardware store for much cheaper and better stuff. Outdoor enclosures are awesome! I am so glad you are trying to get him outside. Natural sunlight is so good for him. Here is a picture of my new Russian tortoise enclosure. It is almost done.

okay, I turned off the bulb and when it cools down I’ll take it out. Should I buy another UVB bulb that you suggested? Do you have a link so I can get an idea as to what you’re talking about?

Thank you for the information! Your enclosure looks wonderful! I guess I will have to make a trip to my hardware store to get some supplies! :)
 

Crush da Baum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
548
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
okay, I turned off the bulb and when it cools down I’ll take it out. Should I buy another UVB bulb that you suggested? Do you have a link so I can get an idea as to what you’re talking about?

Thank you for the information! Your enclosure looks wonderful! I guess I will have to make a trip to my hardware store to get some supplies! :)
Great! You seem like a awesome tort owner and I am so glad you are willing to put in the time and effort into making your tort happy and healthy. I do not mean to put too much stress on you or be a jerk in any way. I agree with Method too. When I first got my torts they were in glass tanks exactly like yours with Compact UVB bulbs for a few months and they are perfectly happy and healthy. It just that things like issues with UVB bulbs can be dangerous and I am lucky that nothing happened to my torts but something could have happened and I am trying to inform others not to make the same mistakes as I did. If your tort gets outside with good sunshine then he will not need a UVB bulb. If he doesn’t, here is a link to one I use. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQU8HKO/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 Arcadia is another good brand.
 

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
Great! You seem like a awesome tort owner and I am so glad you are willing to put in the time and effort into making your tort happy and healthy. I do not mean to put too much stress on you or be a jerk in any way. I agree with Method too. When I first got my torts they were in glass tanks exactly like yours with Compact UVB bulbs for a few months and they are perfectly happy and healthy. It just that things like issues with UVB bulbs can be dangerous and I am lucky that nothing happened to my torts but something could have happened and I am trying to inform others not to make the same mistakes as I did. If your tort gets outside with good sunshine then he will not need a UVB bulb. If he doesn’t, here is a link to one I use. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQU8HKO/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 Arcadia is another good brand.

okay, I’ll worry about buying a UVB bulb when it comes closer to winter. I live in Rhode Island so he won’t be outside during the winter, I don’t want him to hibernate.

I won’t lie, I didn’t do much research before purchasing my tortoise, it was more of an impulse buy because I saw my friends had one and I thought he was so cute. So, here I am now, learning I’m basically doing everything wrong lol, because of what my friends are doing with theirs and then listening to the reptile pet store guy. His bigger enclosure is on its way, should be here within a week. It’s much bigger than what he is in now, but sadly, it’s not at least 4’x8’. I will make sure that the one I build him outside will be at least that, as I plan to have him out there a majority of the time, just not winter. I currently have this (pictured below) that I’m using for his bedding. Pet store owner swore by this and I’m not sure if I should be using it now?
 

Attachments

  • 4864D678-5087-4760-AEA9-383DEFA75C66.jpeg
    4864D678-5087-4760-AEA9-383DEFA75C66.jpeg
    1.8 MB · Views: 17

Crush da Baum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
548
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
okay, I’ll worry about buying a UVB bulb when it comes closer to winter. I live in Rhode Island so he won’t be outside during the winter, I don’t want him to hibernate.

I won’t lie, I didn’t do much research before purchasing my tortoise, it was more of an impulse buy because I saw my friends had one and I thought he was so cute. So, here I am now, learning I’m basically doing everything wrong lol, because of what my friends are doing with theirs and then listening to the reptile pet store guy. His bigger enclosure is on its way, should be here within a week. It’s much bigger than what he is in now, but sadly, it’s not at least 4’x8’. I will make sure that the one I build him outside will be at least that, as I plan to have him out there a majority of the time, just not winter. I currently have this (pictured below) that I’m using for his bedding. Pet store owner swore by this and I’m not sure if I should be using it now?
I understand what you mean. Same with me. As far as your plan for enclosure size, I think that sounds great. I personally have a indoor enclosure that is about 6 by 3 foot and they go in that at night and when it is storming, but spend most of their time in the 30 by 15 foot outdoor enclosure. I have 2 torts and I decided to go much bigger for my outdoor enclosure because I have the space. Here is a good thread for you. https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-make-a-cheap-8x8-foot-outdoor-enclosure.182902/ Coco fiber is a really good substrate because it retains moisture and is digestible. I do not know much about the chips but I would imagine they would be the same.
 

Crush da Baum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
548
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
I also live in Florida so they do not really go inside for the cold but you might need to upgrade your enclosure in the winter since they will be in that a lot. You do not need to sacrifice money for size. Glass tanks tend to be much more expensive than wood ones that are sooo much bigger.
 

MichaelL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
947
Location (City and/or State)
Ocala, Fl
I would take out that UVB bulb asap. It is very dangerous and can burn their eyes. It is still a mystery why they can even sell them. The only safe a effective UVB bulbs are the HO tube type bulbs. Not drinking in his bath is not a big deal. As long as he has access to clean drinking water and has soaks a few times a week then he will drink when he is thirsty. I would advise strongly against glass tanks. In order to get one an adequate size, you are going to have to spend a ridiculous amount of money. Glass tanks are for aquatic animals that can make use of all 3 dimensions. Torts just need the surface area. You can build one out of wood for pretty cheap or get a used bookshelf and just flip it over. Humidity is not as important for a full grown Russian. You can dump some water into the enclosure a couple times a week and add a humid hide. If he has a humid hide and the humidity does not drop lower than 40% then he should be fine. If you do have problems with humidity then making a closed chamber is the best way to go. There are many ways to do it and is not expensive. I have heard that spot bulbs are not the best because they can desiccate their shell. Most of what you need you can get at your local hardware store for much cheaper and better stuff. Outdoor enclosures are awesome! I am so glad you are trying to get him outside. Natural sunlight is so good for him. Here is a picture of my new Russian tortoise enclosure. It is almost done.
Well done with your pen!!!! You should add some more russians! Lol
 

Duckster RT

Active Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
123
Location (City and/or State)
CT New Haven.
Hi everyone!

I’m a new tortoise owner to a Russian tortoise named Leonardo. I bought him about 2 weeks ago from a reptile pet store, and they guessed his age to be approximately 5 years old based on his size. I’ve never owned any type of tortoise before so I’m still learning as I go. I’m waiting for the outdoor habitat I bought online to come in the mail so I can have him outside more without me having to baby sit him. I let him roam around my yard but I stay by his side and I don’t take my eyes off him at all. I let him roam for about a good 20 minutes or so, one-two times a day. I’ve been reading so many posts about how it’s not recommended to let them roam around freely, but I’m already a nervous person so like I said, I’m literally right by his side taking steps with him.

Anyway, the first day I brought him home I think he was so dehydrated because when I soaked him and he drank so much water and he was a bit more active after that. But ever since then, he has not been drinking and doesn’t really seem to like to have a “bath”, always wants to climb out. I try to give him a bath every 2-3 days or so. I do not have a terra cotta bath thing for him yet, I’ve been using a plastic tortoise container I bought from amazon, and of course, I supervise him the whole time he’s in there. Is it okay if he’s not drinking? It’s been two weeks.... but sometimes his greens that I give him may be a little wet, so I’m assuming his getting hydrated that way?

I’m also looking for advice on types of plants I can put in his outdoor enclosure when it comes in. I’ve seen lots of great pictures of other enclosures, I just want to make sure I’m not putting anything poisonous in it. I’ve also seen some pictures of some folks putting what looks like a half of a plant pot in the ground for a hide a way for their torts. I love that idea! I want to make it a cute habitat for him so it will have grass and should I make one area have tiny rocks or something?

Any ideas or suggestions you guys can give me would be great! Like I said, I’m still learning as I go and I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can for my little guy!
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top