New Member
Aug 26, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
Philadelphia, PA
Hi LeighElizabeth. I hope you don’t mind me adding a substrate related question on to your thread. It is very likely a question you may even be able to answer for me (sorry, new owner here, so I have no answer for your question).

The place where I bought my Russian from this week told me that every day or two, you should mix up the substrate to move the moisture around and spread it though-out the substrate, not just have the top layer getting all wet.

Yet, I have not seen this advice on any of the care sheets I have read, and I have read quite a few to this point. What do all of you do?


Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Feb 17, 2016
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
Welcome @chuck21570!

You may end up having a moderator move this to its own thread, rather than adding it someone else’s. Just a heads up.

Keeping substrate *lightly* damp throughout is recommended by many owners, particularly where babies are involved. To do this, dump some water into your substrate and mix it in very thoroughly. The substrate should just barely clump together in your fist when you’ve got the right consistency, it shouldn’t be dripping or loose. If it’s too wet, mix in more substrate; if it’s still dry, add a little more water until it’s correct.

You’ll have to get your hands dirty to get everything mixed up properly.

A damp substrate *is* mentioned in our baby Russian care sheet, but it’s a bit brief: