So Far So Good.....I Think.

axeman25

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Well it's been about two weeks since I've got my male and two female russians. They've been doing good so far and I think both them and us are getting used to things. I'm still learning and trying to absorb as much information as I can. They have been eating here and there but I still am trying to adjust the amount I feed them so I don't over do it. I give them some leafy greens as snacks but I don't give them enough to where they will only eat them and not their regular diet. The male (Pavel) and one of the females (April) with both scurry over towards me when I approach the enclosure at snack time. They spend a lot of time under the heat lamp and even sleep in that area when it is off. The other female (Emma) seems to be the only one that will wander into one of the spaces I have for them to hide. They haven't been at all trying to climb out and seem to be adjusted well. There have been no signs of one bullying the other or anything with them in the same enclosure. I have soaked them daily since I received them and they have all excreted a white stool at times in the water. I was told that this is a good sign they are hydrated and eating well. My kids are enjoying them quite a bit, it's been fun teaching them how to handle them and they love feeding them treats by hand.
I want to make sure that I am treating them the way they should be and try to keep them as happy as possible. From what I am witnessing, I believe that I am doing a pretty good job with them so far. Can anybody give me some feedback on my situation please? Maybe just some input on stuff to keep an eye out for behavior wise. I have read most everything I could find about their behavior, but I am just wondering if anyone else has some tips from their experience. Thanks.

Here's a couple of pics of my guys.

IMAG0100.jpg IMAG0099.jpg IMAG0095.jpg
 

Yellow Turtle01

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So they live together? I'd keep an eye on them ;)
I don't limit my russain's food intake. I set out a dish full of food in the morning, and he'll eat it throughout the day. He always stops if he's full/doesn't want any more :D
If they spend a long long time under the lamp everyday as opposed to wandering, the rest of the table ay be a little chilly. What are your temps? Emma may be spending less time under the lamp if there's a 'power struggle' going ion for the hottest spot.
Keep an eye to make sure everyone's getting warmed up. Maybe two basking spots?
How big is your setup? A pic might be nice :D
They're are nice, their beaks look great! :D
 

Jodie

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I just joined the Russian world this week so have no experience to offer. Just wanted to say they are very cute. Would love to see pics of your enclosure. Are they inside or out?
 

leigti

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Welcome to the forum. Do you have all three tortoises together in one enclosure? Is this an indoor or outdoor enclosure? I ask because three Russian tortoises are going to need a very large enclosure, probably larger than you can have in the house. Two females and one mail may get along fine but there is always a chance that they may not so be prepared to separate them. you may end up needing three separate enclosures because a pair of Russians almost never works out at all. i'm sorry to sound discouraging but they can fight and hurt each other or dominate in ways that we do not see and one will end up getting sick and even dying.
You said you feed them leafy greens as a snack but what is their regular diet that you feed? Leafy greens and weeds should be there primary diet. Please check out the Russian tortoise care sheet in the species specific section of the forum. It has a lot of great information. and please post some pictures of the enclosure, we love pictures around here and it can help us make more educated suggestions.
 

Tom

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Sounds like things are working out. I would feed them larger quantities of the right foods.

Keep an eye out for trouble as spring approaches and that male starts feeling more feisty. Be ready with a plan to separate them if need be. They can do a lot of damage in a short time when they turn on.
 

axeman25

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There enclosure is a 28"x72" bookcase basically. I can separate them If I need to. The guy who had them before had them all together since they were hatchlIngs. I've kept a close eye on them and so far there has been no fighting. The male and one of the females seem to hang out together a lot. They sleep together. One of the pics I posted above is how they usually sleep. Both outstretched and one neck on top of the others. I have a Zoo-med tortoise food that I give them as well as the greens. I read that you want the diet to be balanced and that they may not eat their normal food if you give them too much of the kale (or to much of any one thing). The guy that had them was not real helpful, he just wanted to get rid of them. I've read about 1000 care sheets and they all have conflicting information. Lol. I could put another heat lamp up but the one I have gives steady heat in about an 18" diameter. There's plenty of room for all three (or more) under there. below is a pic of the enclosure. Thanks for all the replies.

IMAG0106.jpg
 

johnsonnboswell

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Their diet should be a wide variety of leafy greens. In the good weather you should be able to find many weeds for them outdoors. Most pellets are not a suitable staple of a healthy diet.

Concern about over feeding is misplaced as long as you are offering a variety of healthy foods

Fighting is what you get when two or more aggressive animals clash. It's not reassuring that there is no fighting. Bullying is subtle. You won't see the bully/bullies do anything. What you see is the submissive fearful one keeping a distance, hiding, not basking. It's easy to misinterpret. The bullying victim does not get access to food or water or warmth, does not grow, can become ill from stress and die. It's a slow process.

Your substrate looks dry. Taking the tortoises out and having them on the floor is not good for them for many reasons. Kids love to handle animals, but what is the value to the tortoise?

Start planning your outdoor habitat now, and do read the care sheet.
 

axeman25

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I will try to go over as many of the above concerns as I can.

I've read the care sheet here as well as many others. With all the conflicting information between them all I think it is best for me to take what I learned about their last owner (lots of 'not good' stuff there), implement the few things that each care sheet tends to agree on (including the what not to do's), keep asking questions, and keep a really good eye on them.

The substrate looks dry in the above picture because of when I took it. I check and adjust their humidity usually first thing in the morning then I'll check it sometime in the evening or night again. This was taken mid afternoon and under their heat lamp. It tends to dry out the top by then. If they dig in at all there or I take my hand and move it around a bit it is still moist underneath. The rest of their substrate is moistened and holds it pretty well.

The picture with my daughter and them on the floor was taken literally as I removed them from the plastic tote I soak them in and put them on the towel for a second before returning them to the enclosure. the only thing outside of a bathtub to soak them in is a large tote. I set it on the floor of the living room so I can see them from my chair. My daughter loves to be down next to them with some food for them. They are starting to act like slow round puppies when they see food in our hands. I don't let them wander on the floor at all, this was just a quick photo op for my kid. I've stepped on too many hot wheels, barbies, and other fragile things to let these guys wander.

As far as letting kids handle them? My children are learning just like I am. They help in every aspect of taking care of these guys and every other animal we have. I wouldn't own an animal that I couldn't trust them around while supervised. They do not have them out playing with them. It is all kept to a minimum, but there is no way I am going to keep my kids from learning to take care of and appreciate them. I will also be taking them to my children's school when the weather is nice. I will show them to the kids and talk with them about them. Both the pros and cons of keeping them as pets.
 

leigti

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I know it is frustrating when there is so much conflicting information out there. I had the same problem. But I guarantee you the best information is on the site. So stay here and get the information you need. A lot of the other stuff is outdated. Believe me I read the books and read all the different sites online and this is where you should be.
 

axeman25

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Central Michigan
I know it is frustrating when there is so much conflicting information out there. I had the same problem. But I guarantee you the best information is on the site. So stay here and get the information you need. A lot of the other stuff is outdated. Believe me I read the books and read all the different sites online and this is where you should be.


Thanks, good to know. It's information overload at times.

I ended up separating the one female a couple days ago. I was concerned that she has not been eating as well as the others so I have her in her own enclosure with her own heat and uvb lamp. She is acting the same really, eating just a bit of food, hanging out at the edge of the heat light, sleeping about 90% of the time it seems, and not really anymore active than the day I got her. I will give it some time. She's pooped and yesterday had another white stool while soaking so I assume she's well hydrated. Her previous owner couldn't really help me much. Sent me an email that said: "yup, that's pretty much how she does." When I had asked him if this was normal for her or not.
 
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