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Russian confused??

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by Archie's mom, Oct 9, 2019.

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  1. Archie's mom

    Archie's mom New Member

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    Hi everyone, I bought my russian Archie in May and we had an enjoyable spring/summer with lots of time outdoors in the sun with long walks and in an outdoor in-closer and indoors roaming around the house. I live in upstate NY and the weather is changing. Now some days he can go out and other days it's too cool. Also the temp in the house fluctuates seeing we haven't turned on the heat yet and in the winter the floor will be cooler. His home is 1 1/2 feet by 4 foot and was rarely in it except to sleep. With the weather changing I and he don't know what to do about his living arrangements. He likes to bury himself when he's in and outside. I put a tunnel in his house last night and he slept in it but is out today. I have a UVB bulb at one end where his food is opposite the tunnel and the basking light in the middle with a rock. I do have a tube UVB bulb I was thinking of putting in there instead. He has slowed up in eating and "goes to bed" earlier and sleeps longer than he did before. I turn the UVB light off when it looks like he's in for the night and turn the heat bulb off when we go to bed. What changes should I and/or could I make for the coming winter months.
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  2. Mikeysmama

    Mikeysmama Active Member

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    Hi, I'm new to all this as well (with a Russian tort) and I have read that they will and will try to hibernate. If you don't want them too or don't know how to hibernate your tort you have to trick them into thinking it's still summer. A timer for the lights is a good idea and leave them on for about 14 hours a day. If her I'd in a room with a window you may want to cover the window because ive been told they will see the weather and try to hibernate. Just remember warm/damp is good cold/damp is bad, it will cause respiratory issues and could lead to death so keep him from cold drafts. I'm very new to this as well, there is an amazing community of tort lovers to help you out!! Good luck
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  3. Viola B

    Viola B Active Member

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    Welcome!
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hello and welcome.

    Here is what I see:
    • Your enclosure is much too small. Russians need something around 4x8' inside and even bigger outside.
    • Roaming the floor is extremely dangerous. Everyone thinks they've made it safe and that they are being careful. Then, one day, when its too late, they realize it isn't safe. Don't let the tortoise roam loose on the floor. Don't let it roam loose outdoors either. It needs to be in its own large enclosure.
    • Your lights need to be on a timer.
    • With cooler temps coming, you may need some additional heat. This can be provided by a CHE (ceramic heating element) set on a timer.
    • What type of UV bulb are you using? The cfl type can hurt their eyes. Those shouldn't be used over tortoise. What type of UV tube have you got to use instead?

    Read these for more help:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

    Questions and conversation are welcome.
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  5. Viola B

    Viola B Active Member

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    Please listen to Toms good advise. He knows what he is talking about.
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  6. Mikeysmama

    Mikeysmama Active Member

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    agreed!! he has helped me alot to with enclosure advide!
  7. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I would also advise that you spend some time researching this species and all parts of its natural life cycle, which in this species, includes winter down time (hibernation).
    Samantha Graham likes this.
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