Took in a Rescue Russian

Eel989

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Hi all new to the forum but not new to Reptile/Amphibian/fish care. My roommate and I take in rescues have experience in all sorts of reptiles amphibians and fish but this is our first tortoise. She’s a 6 year old Russian who was given to us in pretty bad shape. She has an overgrown beak, from being fed on plastic tub lids, is overweight from only being fed romaine lettuce, has a little bit of shell rot and clogged pores. I’ve had her for almost a week after the first day I set up a 75 gallon enclosure from her previous 30 gallon. The first few hours she seemed happy was super active and loved that she could finally climb. I’ve offered her a mix of butter lettuce, red dandelion greens, dandelions and carrot tops. She has yet to eat any of it. After that first night she has spent her whole time burrowed and sleeping, aside from me waking her up to try and get her to eat. Lighting and heat are the correct parameters. And because of the clogged pores I’ve been giving her an iodine bath every other day, she actually does not seem to mind the bath she just sits there, she is super fussy the two times I e tried to trim her beak back. Any tips or tricks as a new tortoise owner? Especially about the not eating or sleeping all day? I’m sure she’s been spoiled with the romaine diet so I’m assuming it’s gonna take her time to warm up to greens. Thanks in advance!
 

Maro2Bear

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Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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I’m addition to that care sheet, here is our new and updated one...
 

Minority2

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Have you read this yet? Are you temperature and humidity levels the same as the ones prescribed in this thread?

1. Terracotta pot saucer makes great feeding dishes. That and or a large piece of flat slate/tile are helpful in allowing the tortoise to trim their own beak and nails from time to time. You'll still want to help trim their beak and nails if they're unnatural long. Nail files do the trick. Filing is not going to hurt the tortoise.

2. The adult Russian tortoise is going to need more room than the 75 gallon tank/tub you're currently providing. Prey animals need to feel like they're not constantly being trapped in.

3. You can use Mazuri tortoise diet pellets (5m21) and mix it along with other weeds and flowers in order to get a tortoise to try new foods. Mazuri is tortoise crack.

4. The adult tortoise might still be getting used to the new surroundings which may explain it's inactivity, however, to be absolutely sure, we still need to know the exact temperature and humidity levels you're working with. Basking temp, ambient temp, cool side temp, hot side temp, and general humidity level. Night time temperature is also important to account for.

A picture of your entire enclosure along with links to what type of heating and lighting equipment/bulbs you use would be most helpful.
 

Minority2

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Pretty sure that's a male adult Russian tortoise.

That resin water dish you have is a flipping hazard. A number of tortoises have injured themselves using those things. A heavy large terracotta pot saucer/shallow planter dish would be a much safer option.

1. What type of bulb are you using? Please be specific.
2. What type of substrate is that? Looks more like a mixture.
3. Russian tortoises usually aren't interested in eating hay. Hay can also get moldy from being in a tortoise enclosure where humidity levels are generally high.
4. Do you have any other heating sources besides that one light fixture I see in the picture? It can be quite a challenge to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels in an open enclosure like the one you're using.

I'm asking all these questions because initial inactivity from being re-homed such as not eating can sometimes be a lot more serious than people think, especially if the members that are trying to help answer your concerns don't know how your enclosure is setup.
 

Eel989

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The dish is anchored. The substrate is coconut bedding and mulch. I’ve seen her munch a little on the hay which is under the heat lamp so is in the dry area and usually dries out after one day so don’t think mold will be an issue with regular changes as well. Lamps were from previous Owener going to get a new UVA/UVB like this one but so That I will be 100% sure. She is also 3 feet from a SW window do gets good indirect and evening direct natural UVA and UVB.
 

Eel989

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The dish is anchored. The substrate is coconut bedding and mulch. I’ve seen her munch a little on the hay which is under the heat lamp so is in the dry area and usually dries out after one day so don’t think mold will be an issue with regular changes as well. Lamps were from previous Owener going to get a new UVA/UVB like this one but so That I will be 100% sure. She is also 3 feet from a SW window do gets good indirect and evening direct natural UVA and UVB.

image.jpg
 

Eel989

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Pretty sure that's a male adult Russian tortoise.

That resin water dish you have is a flipping hazard. A number of tortoises have injured themselves using those things. A heavy large terracotta pot saucer/shallow planter dish would be a much safer option.

1. What type of bulb are you using? Please be specific.
2. What type of substrate is that? Looks more like a mixture.
3. Russian tortoises usually aren't interested in eating hay. Hay can also get moldy from being in a tortoise enclosure where humidity levels are generally high.
4. Do you have any other heating sources besides that one light fixture I see in the picture? It can be quite a challenge to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels in an open enclosure like the one you're using.

I'm asking all these questions because initial inactivity from being re-homed such as not eating can sometimes be a lot more serious than people think, especially if the members that are trying to help answer your concerns don't know how your enclosure is setup.
Wow yup she’s a he, previous owner said she was a girl and I didn’t even sex him, thank you!
 

Minority2

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The dish is anchored. The substrate is coconut bedding and mulch. I’ve seen her munch a little on the hay which is under the heat lamp so is in the dry area and usually dries out after one day so don’t think mold will be an issue with regular changes as well. Lamps were from previous Owener going to get a new UVA/UVB like this one but so That I will be 100% sure. She is also 3 feet from a SW window do gets good indirect and evening direct natural UVA and UVB.

Is the window open, close to, and directly facing the enclosure? Windows are able to block 75-95+ percentage of ultra violent rays. The amount of rays vastly diminishes if you're more than a couple inches from the window. You can use a solarmeter and see how little uv(B) if any actually comes through.

Are you using a clamp for the lamp fixture shown located in the top of the photo? Is there another thing holding it up besides the clamps because the clamps on those light fixtures will always eventually fail. This forum has a number of tragic stories involving clamp failures.

Another issue with hay is how they can poke and injure tortoises in their most sensitive areas such as the eyes and their vulnerable parts of their exposed skin. This is why hay is only really recommended for bigger tortoises such as the Sulcatas and even then they don't always go for it.

I still would like to see what specific type of bulbs you're currently using. I'm nitpicking because I want to make sure everything you're currently using is safe and not be the cause of accidents in your tortoise's future.
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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Pretty sure that's a male adult Russian tortoise.

That resin water dish you have is a flipping hazard. A number of tortoises have injured themselves using those things. A heavy large terracotta pot saucer/shallow planter dish would be a much safer option.

1. What type of bulb are you using? Please be specific.
2. What type of substrate is that? Looks more like a mixture.
3. Russian tortoises usually aren't interested in eating hay. Hay can also get moldy from being in a tortoise enclosure where humidity levels are generally high.
4. Do you have any other heating sources besides that one light fixture I see in the picture? It can be quite a challenge to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels in an open enclosure like the one you're using.

I'm asking all these questions because initial inactivity from being re-homed such as not eating can sometimes be a lot more serious than people think, especially if the members that are trying to help answer your concerns don't know how your enclosure is setup.
Oh yes, there’s no mistaking that huge tail.
 

Yvonne G

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Please explain what you mean by "clogged pores." I've never heard of that with tortoises and I'm eager to learn.

Your new tortoise will take time to acclimate to being moved to a new area. I can tell from the condition of the shell that he's been living indoors for a very long time. He looks pretty good for only eating romaine.

You have to grab his head between your thumb and index finger right behind the jaws, and hold on tight. Then you can take a heavy duty toe nail clipper and gently clip off little pieces starting at one side and working your way around to the other side. Don't try to take off too much at a time, just little pieces. I use a corner of the clipper instead of the whole cutting edge. You can smooth it out once you're finished.

If he won't eat, you can try to fool him into thinking you've offered romain by putting romaine in a blender until it's mush. Then cut up some good greens or weeds into tiny pieces and mix it into the romaine mush, making sure it's mixed up and well coated. Eventually, over time, you can cut back on the amount of romaine until you've eliminated it altogether.
 
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