Why does my Russian tortoise stay buried?

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Sandy Martinez

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GBtortoises Wrote:

Russian tortoises need a lot of light to remain active. The main question about Russian tortoises on this site is "Why did my Russian tortoise bury itself". Part of the answer to this question is that Russian tortoises require long, light intensive days (along with correct temperatures) to remain active. In the wild their activity periods are brief but are during the time of year when the days are longest and the sun is brightest. This light duration and intensity, along with temperatures tell the tortoise it's time to be active. As long as the temperatures do not get to hot, the tortoise will remain active. If the temperatures get too hot while the light is intense with 14-16 hour days the tortoise will usually aestivate to escape the extreme temperatures and dryness. If it's hot but the light in not intense or the duration is shorter than normal it will also become inactive. The three elements of light duration, intensity and correct temperatures work together to dictate to the tortoise what to do and when. In more simple terms, most people make the mistake of keeping their Russian tortoises too hot and too dark. Just as an example-my adults while indoors are in a 3' x6' enclosure with about 8" of substrate. They have a 3' wide by 18" long hide area paritially buried in the substrate. Looks somewhat like an underground parking garage! Their enclosure has a 4' UV fluorescent tube lighting the remaining part of the enclosure. At the opposite end of the hide area they have a 90 watt spot light and a 150 watt MVB lamp. I will occasionally alternate the use of these lights once or twice a week, but most of the time both basking lights, as well as the UV tube are on 15 hours a day. Both basking lights are hung about 16-18" above some flat basking rocks that are set on the substrate. I have had most of the adults in this group for about 8-10 years. Every Russian tortoise is active every day in this enclosure. None have ever buried themselves in the substrate. Many people make the mistake of providing the heat without adequate light. A single MVB lamp is probably the worse situation of all. It provides very good localized heat, light and UV but nothing outside the range of it's beam which is typically only about 12-14" in diameter. That amount of coverage isn't even adequate for a 2' x 4' enclosure.




I know it looks like I wrote this, however it is a copy/paste from something GBTortoises wrote.
Any particular brand of 90 watt spot light? I have 100 watt MVB at one end of the enclosure and a CHE at the other end. I still have one unused socket in the center so I could add a 90 or so watt spot light but would you recommend a brand? I have a closed chamber 6x4. thanks
 

Yelloweyed

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compact fluorescent light

CFLs are distinguished by a coil or spiral tube. Check the label because some models will look like a normal fluorescent bulb on the outside.
 
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