Russian Tortoise is a picky eater

hydro_boris

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So i got my russian 7 years ago when I was 13 and to be honest I probably wasn't ready, my male russian named Boris somehow overcame my incompetence and has lived this long. Now I am more responsible and ready to be a better pet owner however I have numerous problems with my russian. Not health issue but behavioral issues. Boris is probably the biggest picky anyone has ever heard of. He only eats one food which is bell peppers this is despite my attempt to feed him endive, escarole, etc. I have attempted to feed him every type of food that is apart of his diet. My latest attempt has been a known favorite of russians, dandelions but he won't even take a bite of it. I want my tortoise to be healthy and happy but he has become such a picky eater that he won't eat any of the foods he is supposed to. Please help me out I am at a lose on what to do.
 

Yellow Turtle01

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That's because he probably got fed badly when you first got him, which made him very picky. I got to ask, too, if your amazed he's still alive, what does he live in? Temps? Light bulbs? What is the humidity? What is his diet currently like?
http://russiantortoise.net/care_sheet.htm ( I seem to be having to post this too much!) there's a diet sheet too. Tortoises WON"T starve themselves. That sounds horrible, but he can go a long time t=without food, and eventually he'll... break? cave in? I did that to my russian when he got crazed on tomatoes, and after a cut of all his yummy treat foods, (and a lot of horrible hair tearing out) he ate his good foods again, and actually doesn't pay too much attention to tomatoes!
 

hydro_boris

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He was a petsmart tortoise so the employee telling me the information told me a terrarium/aquarium would be suitable. Being a thirteen year old agreed and he has lived in one ever since. I now know that his habitat is unacceptable and am currently working on constructing a custom tortoise table for him. I recently switched to a more suitable substrate for him rather than the reptibark I was told to get by the petsmart employee. He has 75 watt heating bulbs for a day and night and low humidity. I'm not sure what the exact temps and humidity are because I received second hand thermometers and hygrometers which broke very quickly.(I didn't think that temp and humidity had to be an exact science so I never bothered to replace them). At this moment his diet is nothing because I am currently trying to get him to eat dandelions which he has yet to consume(it's been 3 days). Also I have started soaking him which has produced good results in activity.
 

lismar79

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Keep up with the soaking! What I do (& had to do) is chop everything up real fine ( or use a blender) and mix the good for him food with his fav the pepper. Over time slowly dercrease the amount of pepper to none. Too much of any food is bad. You need to give him varitey. Try spring mix from the grocery store, that's usually a fav. My russian loves flowers too- squash flowers and rose of sharon. Romaine lettus is a fav too but again its about variety.
 

turtlemanfla88

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I do not know which state you live in ,but you can build a cage with 2 by 4 and 1/4 or 1/2 wire and see if he will graze on lawn or weeds.
First make sure lawn has not been treated for 30 days be real safe and say 60 days. Also, try mazuri tortoise diet dry and soaked, alfafia blocks,rabbit food(dry).
 

hydro_boris

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To lismar79, When I first got my russian I remember buying 3 different kinds of foods every week for him to munch on and he would usually eat everything until he became selective and would only eat endive and then he would only eat the spring mix from the grocery store and then I was told a pepper would be a good treat for him and I gave him one and then it turned into him only eating bell peppers. I believe I have tried to cut up his food but I don't recall him ever taking it. I will be sure to try again though.
 
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hydro_boris

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To turtlemanfla88, I assume the fla in your name refers to Florida and you may be able to allow your tortoise to roam outside for a while but I live in Massachusetts and my tortoise won't be able to roam outside for much longer until the next spring and summer comes around. I used to let him roam my front yard until 4 years ago. My russian started going to a place to burrow near our driveway and just sit there. He wouldn't walk around and he wouldn't graze. Also when i first got him the petsmart employee gave me tortoise pellets and told me to feed them to him. I tried dry and soaked and he never ate them so I gave up. If you think these pellets will work I am more than willing to try them again.
 

turtlemanfla88

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I would try to put him outside I found out animals change for the better when they are outside. Put peppers on the ground where you put him outside. Do this before it gets to cold.
 

turtlemanfla88

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I know we complain when it goes below 45 degrees cold for us and our turtles and tortoises. I got a lot of respect for everyone who lives up North and keeps turtles and tortoises. it can not be easy.
 

leigti

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Russian tortoises don't really eat grass much but if there are some good weeds out there he might eat a few. I know it takes time to get them to eat different foods, my Russian didn't eat a dandy lion for the first year and a half I had her. All the information said it was their favorite but I guess he never read any of that information :) I know it's stressful when they don't eat but he eventually will. Hang in there. Maybe try some cucumber, then if he likes it squirts cucumber juice on other things. Also try cactus, I buy it at the local grocery store. Good luck!
 

hydro_boris

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I can't thank you guys enough for the advice. Just today I let him roam for a little over an hour outside he ate a little bit of weeds(by the way leigti my whole front yard is weeds that look like grass. I've lived in my house for 12 year with my family and never once has grass been able to grow) and then soaked him for 20 minutes and now I am letting him roam my bedroom and with each passing activity he seems more active and engaged with everything around him as opposed to him just finding a place to lay down. Once again thank you everyone for your support and advice.
 

turtlemanfla88

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Awesome Russians are great tortoises I am glad more people are working with them. I have 3.4 and want to get more.
 
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