Russian Tortoise won't drink

HuyckB04

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Oct 22, 2014
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Iowa
Hey, all.

Looking for some advice. I've had my russian tortoise since October. At first, he would climb into his water dish a couple times a week and was passing nitrates regularly. Over the last month, I don't think he's climbed into his water dish at all. It has been a week since he passed nitrates. I'm afraid that the only water he drinks is from his baths, and I haven't actually witnessed him drinking while in there either.

He tends to come out of his hide, eat, sit under the light for a little while, then return directly to his hide. I've tried moving the water dish around so that it is in plain site of his hide and from his food dish, but no luck. The coconut coir substrate is kept slightly moist and I add about a half gallon of water to it each week to keep humidity up.

Diet consists of mainly romaine lettuce with some green pepper mixed in and calcium powder supplement sprinkled on top. Some folks I've talked to say that his diet is supplying him with sufficient hydration, but I'm not convinced. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even if you just tell me I'm worrying too much.
 

Gillian M

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I wouldn't really worry since your tort is eating Roman lettuce. That alone contains a real lot of water.

Good luck, take it easy, and please keep us up-dated.
 

Tom

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What sort of water dish are you using? They should not have to climb into it. The pet stores sell those ramped water bowls and they are no good. They are actually dangerous for tortoises. Terra cotta plant saucers sunk into the substrate work best and are cheap.

This may be one of those auto spell check things, but tortoises pass urates, not nitrates. Nitrates are the finished product of the nitrogen cycle in a fish tank. Plant fertilizer basically.

Your diet needs some serious improvement. Romaine is really not a good food. It is lacking in both fiber and nutrition. They need broadleaf weeds. If you must use grocery store foods, you need to use a wide variety and amend the fiber content by adding blended up grass hay, soaked ZooMed Grassland tortoise pellets, herbal hay, or something of that nature. It will take some time for your tortoise to accept and get used to these changes, but he/she will be much healthier in the long run for it.

There might help:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
 

tonollby

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Feb 18, 2015
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Hey, all.

Looking for some advice. I've had my russian tortoise since October. At first, he would climb into his water dish a couple times a week and was passing nitrates regularly. Over the last month, I don't think he's climbed into his water dish at all. It has been a week since he passed nitrates. I'm afraid that the only water he drinks is from his baths, and I haven't actually witnessed him drinking while in there either.

He tends to come out of his hide, eat, sit under the light for a little while, then return directly to his hide. I've tried moving the water dish around so that it is in plain site of his hide and from his food dish, but no luck. The coconut coir substrate is kept slightly moist and I add about a half gallon of water to it each week to keep humidity up.

Diet consists of mainly romaine lettuce with some green pepper mixed in and calcium powder supplement sprinkled on top. Some folks I've talked to say that his diet is supplying him with sufficient hydration, but I'm not convinced. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even if you just tell me I'm worrying too much.
hi, its not so easy at first, but Ive learned to make sure the lighting is changed about every 6 months. and you can give him some of the different leaf greens that come in a bag. The darker leaf greens are much better than the light leaf greens. I will look for this one website I found that identifies the weeds growing outside that are safe for him to eat. If you know they havent been sprayed with pestisides...way better! otherwise need to clean them off before he eats...
 

tonollby

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Feb 18, 2015
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Hi there, I found the sight with the edible weeds. I read also that if he is too weak, you might have to take him in if that is something you can do...I know that is not easy because of many things...it said if he isn't eating, of course the first thing would be hydration. If he's not drinking, try a very shallow dish of luke warm water. I know you also mentioned soaking him, that might be something to keep trying everyday for a few days. He might get enough if you keep soaking and of course, watching him the whole time. You should know within a few days if he is taking in some water...here is a web site that can help with great diet and facts... http://www.tlady.clara.net/TortGuide/diet.htm#plantlist good luck, and I hope he gets better!
 

leigti

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I've never seen my Russian tortoise drink from a water bowl in his and closure. The only time I've ever seen her drink is when I soak her. Try soaking your tortoise at least three times a week, maybe start out daily for a couple weeks. Keep the tortoise in the water for at least 20 to 30 minutes, which means you may have to dump out and refill the tub at least once so the waterstays slightly warm. You can also try feeding very watery food such as cucumber, aloe, cactus, or succulents.
 

smarch

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I've caught my Russian drink maybe 5 times total in the 3 years I've had him including in baths! Its quite a marvelous sight to see him go to his water dish and drink. Romaine is high in water so maybe he feels he's hydrated enough from it. Like said above, just romaine isn't a good diet but that's easy to fix now that you know :)
 
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