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green man

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Hello, I'm a bit new. I love turtles, and I had a red eared slider for several years, but I am currently looking to get ahold of a Russian tortoise. I have most of the necessary supplies for the enclosure, and I have been doing a lot of research about the little guys, but I am always looking to learn more.

So if there are any seasoned turtle folk that can give me some wisdom, I'd be in their debt. A more specific question I have is about having two turtles in the same enclosure, provided they are both Russians. Is there going to be any violence or aggressive territorial behavior?
This is a list of the supplies I already have, let me know if I'm missing anything..

-40 gallon tank
-coconut fiber substrate
-basking light
-uvb light
-basking/uvb fixture
-hide log

For its water dish I have heard that Terra cotta plant saucers work very well, I'm a bit lost on what to do for a feeding plate. I don't want to buy one from petco, because from what I have heard they should be avoided.

Now I'm talking to two different breeders about getting some Russians. One is a two month old baby, the other is an adult male that recently fell from the alpha male slot so he is getting picked on. From most of what I have read it is a far more difficult task to care for a baby, and for inexperienced owners it would be better to go with an adult. However a breeder has recently told me that raising a baby isn't much more of a difficult task, and that it really just comes down to how attentive I can be.

Info about any of this would be much appreciated!
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome.

Best to keep just one. A pair of Russians is likely to end in bloodshed.

You can use a second terra cotta saucer for a food dish.

What sort of UV light do you already have? The coil type CFL bulbs can damage their eyes.

Of your two listed choices, I would rather have the baby, but that is a matter of personal preference.
 

Laurie

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Welcome! I agree with Tom, you're better off with just one Russian. To keep more than one, you need pretty large enclosures, I would certainly not keep two in a 40gallon tank.

I have two baby russians and one adult. The care is the same, I just pay more attention to the babies with keeping them hydrated, because of their smaller body mass, they dehydrate quicker. They are also less forgiving of poor husbandry.

I would suggest an adult for a new keeper. I get such a kick out of watching my adult.
 

green man

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So this is the UVB light I got..

It looks coil, so I might need to go in a different direction.

But so if I opt for the 2 month old, are there any adjustments I would need to make to its enclosure? Like lower or higher substrate levels, or less water in its dish? More specific dietary requirements?
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:) if you posted a pic of the coil bulb it didn't show. However, deff don't use it if it is coil. To answer your other question about getting the 2month old, I will leave that to the Russian owners.
 

green man

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Ah, well I tried posting the pic a couple of times, I guess it's not working. But it is coil. So if I should get a different UVB light, anyone have any recommendations? I've looked in the enclosure forum many times and I haven't found anything about specific brands. But if I went with the baby, what is the ideal wattage?
 

Jacqui

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Hi and welcome! Depending upon your animals and the enclosure, you may have no problem keeping two Russians together. However, you could not keep an adult in with a little guy. The main differences to me between caring for a hatchling to an adult, is the small body mass means everything has a bigger impact. They will dehydrate easier, get too hot, or too cold for a couple of instances. Also with a hatchling you need to really watch the shell that it gets nice and hard. Time with real sunshine is best, but you certainly need a good UV producing bulb and good calcium sources for him to consume.
 

DrewsLife727

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Welcome to the form! Never get a pair. there will be dominance issues and the larger adult will more than likely harm the baby. I personally would suggest to stick with the baby and raise it well with good husbandry. Get all you can from this form and I know you'll do well! Best wishes :D

-Drew
 

kanalomele

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Welcome to TFO! I love all my Russians, they are a great beginner tort, but kept properly they will be your companion for the next 50 years. They are hardy, and very personable. I never keep hatchlings with adults, way to many risks involved. Sometimes even hatchlings make trouble with one another and have to be separated. I also never recommend hatchlings for brand new keepers or youths. I will place a hatchling with a family where they will be monitored daily by adults. Usually a stronger yearling would be more appropriate, or an adult. Of the adults I recommend a male. All of mine have had such great personalities. The girls tend to be a bit more shy in my experience, although this varies greatly. Depending on where you live Russians can be.best kept outside, all of mine are. The large outside space allows everyone to have their own space and greatly increases the chance that they will all get along successfully. Inside, I would not recommend more than one. A 40 gal tank would be plenty of space for a hatchling for a few years, but is not going to give your adult enough space to exercise in my opinion.
Difference in care is pretty huge for me because they are kept entirely differently. Their diet is the same with a focus on calcium for the babies. The adults are largely self feeding because their yard is planted for their grazing pleasure. My indoor hatchlings get soaked daily, my outside adults get soaked every couple of weeks. Hatchlings are not allowed to brumate for their first year, while adults are. I use a MVB for the hatchlings, and possibly a che if I need more heat. I provided a humid hide for babies, while the adults make their own choice of available microclimates and regulate themselves.
So as you can see, for me the difference in care is quite large. I suppose the gap could be narrowed if I kept them all indoors, but in my area they are very happy outside.
 

green man

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Alright I'll definitely avoid pairs. Returned that coil bulb and got one that a lot of people recommended. I got some terra cotta saucers for food/water dishes, and I'm going to get some collard green seeds and dandelion seeds for the tank. I think I am pretty much set, except for the tank lid. But I'm going to get that today.

Does anyone think that 2 hides is good for a 40 gal tank? I never considered it before but I saw a post of a guy's enclosure that had a stone hide and wood hide. One on warm side, one on cooler side. Seemed pretty nice. Or would that be cutting in on necessary grazing space? Opinions?

Thanks again for all of the advice and help, I'm very grateful to you all. I'm glad I found such a nice community of Tort folk!
 
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