Russian won’t stop scratching!

fizzgig

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Sep 29, 2020
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Hi there. Newbie here. Have a 14 yo female Russia, 7”, who won’t stop scratching her enclosure. She’s in a 6’ x 3’ enclosure, plain soil & orchid moss, and she’s regularly walked. It is driving us crazy; small apartment, many animals, just can’t leave her out all the time and the terrace won’t be a viable space for much longer. Can’t do a larger enclosure than what we have — got a big coffin looking box taking up lots of our living room as it is!

Am ready to rehome her and would rather not. Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

Sleppo

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Jun 28, 2018
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Philadelphia, PA
Hi

The reason she is doing this is that you let her see that there is a world outside of her enclosure, she will continue to try to get out of what you have her in they are very persistent. Russians need a very large indoor enclosure (minimum of 8' x 4') and it is beneficial to have an even larger one outdoor for when the weather is nice. They should never been given run of your house either, there are too many horror stories of what can happen with that. Below is the care sheet if you can't meet the requirements it may be best to rehome. Good luck.

 

fizzgig

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New York City
Hi

The reason she is doing this is that you let her see that there is a world outside of her enclosure, she will continue to try to get out of what you have her in they are very persistent. Russians need a very large indoor enclosure (minimum of 8' x 4') and it is beneficial to have an even larger one outdoor for when the weather is nice. They should never been given run of your house either, there are too many horror stories of what can happen with that. Below is the care sheet if you can't meet the requirements it may be best to rehome. Good luck.


Hi, thanks. She was never given the run of our house; I was saying I can't give her the run of our house, so that is not an option. I've seen all the care sheets and unfortunately neither a larger enclosure than the 6' x 3' is possible now, as I stated, and rehoming doesn't seem like it is going to happen either. Any other tips besides a bigger enclosure?
 

Sleppo

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Sorry I don't have any other ideas for you, she really needs a bigger enclosure. Russians in the wild have a territory that can span miles and they walk it all day, walking helps them digest food too. You mentioned giving her "walks" I would assume this means you take her out of her enclosure, she is seeing there is more outside of what she is living in and she will continue to try to get out. Maybe some other members can chime in I can only speak to my experience with my Russians. Good luck to you I know this can be frustrating.
 

fizzgig

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Sorry I don't have any other ideas for you, she really needs a bigger enclosure. Russians in the wild have a territory that can span miles and they walk it all day, walking helps them digest food too. You mentioned giving her "walks" I would assume this means you take her out of her enclosure, she is seeing there is more outside of what she is living in and she will continue to try to get out. Maybe some other members can chime in I can only speak to my experience with my Russians. Good luck to you I know this can be frustrating.

Yes, I have a terrace and let her walk, as I'd been told this would be good for her. This scratching is a new thing, by the way; we've had her for 9 years. The enclosure is new -- bigger. So it is odd she is scratching as she is. Thanks anyway. If someone had told me what space she needed when I got her, I'd not have brought her home -- just don't have it, wish I did.
 

Sarah2020

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Is the enclosure glass. They get frustrated seeing the big room outside. If glass suggest tape black tape or paper along the window to a height that prevents them seeing out easily also check out the substrate as they like to cave / burrow and have some dark / shaded spots in the enclosure. Just have a good look at the layout and see if you can make improvements . Hopefully the scratching will cease.
 

fizzgig

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New York City
Is the enclosure glass. They get frustrated seeing the big room outside. If glass suggest tape black tape or paper along the window to a height that prevents them seeing out easily also check out the substrate as they like to cave / burrow and have some dark / shaded spots in the enclosure. Just have a good look at the layout and see if you can make improvements . Hopefully the scratching will cease.
Hi, thanks. Not glass. A double Zoo Med tortoise house. Will upload pic, but is wood all around.
 

Sarah2020

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Wood should be fine may be the layout needs a review and change around to give some enrichment . I always think it must be so boring to have the same layout so I switch mine around. Otherwise it is a check on heat and light is he cold? What substrate do you have?
 

VJRDuran

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Apr 15, 2020
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Brooklyn Park
Is that fact that is it new causing her to stress and dig? She was taken from something familiar and put into something unfamiliar. Is there any way you can put familiar objects back to help her? I'm a new tortoise owner so I certainly don't have all the answers, but that was the first thing that came to my mind.
 
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