Socialize with my tortoise

RossIW

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Joined
Nov 13, 2019
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2
Location (City and/or State)
Dallas
Hey Everyone!
I am brand new to the forum and was looking for some answers. First off, I have had a Russian Tortoise for about 4 years now who is feed everyday, walked about once a week, and seems kinda shy towards me and my other family. We want him to be happy and trust us. Any ideas?
(I have a 50ish gallon tank, heat lamp, half-log that he likes to sleep in, a ramped water container, and some plants.)
 

LaLaP

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Jun 25, 2018
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Portland, OR
Hi! Welcome to the forum. Will your tortoise eat out of your hand? I like to hand feed their favorite foods to encourage them to "like" and trust me. I've also built trust by handling them gently and slowly. This is probably obvious and something you have thought of but one reason a tort might be shy of people is because there is something scary or uncomfortable about the interactions. For example, I realized that one of my torts gets freaked out by being carried out in front of me where the world is moving by like he is flying. Now I carry him with his head toward my body with his legs supported. It's my opinion that these little things help a tort feel safe around its people.
Here's some bad news that nobody likes to hear... your enclosure is way to small. Russians need a lot of space. It's recommended to allow 4ft x 8ft. There are easy ways to built a tortoise table. Even if you're not handy you can use an old book shelf.
Do you have a UVB lamp? Very important for their health.
 

RossIW

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Nov 13, 2019
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2
Location (City and/or State)
Dallas
Thanks for the feedback! We are hoping to get him a bigger cage soon and he will eat out of my hand sometimes but not always. Yes we do have a UVB lamp. Do you recommend we build or buy a enclosure?
 

LaLaP

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Jun 25, 2018
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944
Location (City and/or State)
Portland, OR
Thanks for the feedback! We are hoping to get him a bigger cage soon and he will eat out of my hand sometimes but not always. Yes we do have a UVB lamp. Do you recommend we build or buy a enclosure?
Either building or buying is fine. Building will be cheaper. You can look in the "enclosure" section of the forum to see how other people have built.
 

Butterfly

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Oct 6, 2019
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
NC
This may sound weird, but I bond with Franklin by talking to him; and believe it or not, it works. Because now in the morning when I tell him good morning, he starts doing his breathing motion as if he is acknowledging me; and sometimes when he is eating I'll say hi to him and he stops and turns his head to look at me. So I'm pretty sure by this point, he recognizes my voice which is pretty cool and what I believe to be the start of a lasting friendship.:)
 

Sleppo

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Jun 28, 2018
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264
Location (City and/or State)
Philadelphia, PA
Hi - Russians are a bit testy by nature, I hand feed the occasional treat and one will tolerate me the other just gives me the stink eye and scurries away as fast as she can. May I suggest you swap out the ramp bowl for a regular old clay pot saucer, the ramps can be a tipping hazard. Good luck!
 

bluewolf

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Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
48
Location (City and/or State)
Melbourne Florida
This may sound weird, but I bond with Franklin by talking to him; and believe it or not, it works. Because now in the morning when I tell him good morning, he starts doing his breathing motion as if he is acknowledging me; and sometimes when he is eating I'll say hi to him and he stops and turns his head to look at me. ..:)
My baby also responds to my talking to him and saying his name. He also loves going out to be soaked, and to climb around
 

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