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New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 28/04/2009 by jackie.penny@yahoo.co.uk

Click and drag me down to the editorClick and drag me down to the editor Hello everyone!  I'm new to the forum, and have a concerned question for someone 'in the know' !!!   My dad has just aquired what we think is a Russian tortoise from a friend of a friend !  We don't know what its living conditions were like before hand, or whether its been hibernated or not.  We think the tort is not quite himself (we think it's male).  It's not eating a thing, but I've managed to get him to drink some water from a tea spoon.  He seems a bit thin, for example his legs are very skinny, the bone in back legs can easily be felt underneath the skin.   He's very 'sleepy', and keeps closing his eyes and kind of resting.  He's 10 cm long, and weighs 220 grams. He rubs his eyes a bit, they are clear, but appear a little swollen.  His nose is clear. He doesn't move about much.  Yes, a long list of observations!!!  Anyone have some advice for me please?  Cheers - Jackie.

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 28/04/2009 by jackie.penny@yahoo.co.uk

Bit more on the history of the tort - we were told that he'd been kept under a radiator in the living room and he was originally bought from a pet shop or dealer for 200.  We do have another tortoise, a spur-thigh, which we've had since I was born all to many years ago!  We're keeping them apart for now because one of our tort books says that russians can bite other tortoises, also we don't want our very active spur-thigh to ram him (which she's bound to do as she's very teritorial).  Any advise is welcome... thanks, Jackie.

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 28/04/2009 by tpgarlene

Hi Jackie

Welcome to the forum!

OK, lots of questions to start with, sorry :) but the more information we have, the better advice we can offer, you have given us lots of good info already, which has been really helpful 

Is it possible for you to post some pics of the tortoise, we can then confirm for you whether he is indeed a russian, as care requrements do vary a bit depending on what species he is.

Have you tried bathing him?  Tortoises very often wont drink out of a bowl in front of them, but if you can fill a suitable containter, which is deep enough so that he cant climb out, with warm water up to the tortoises chin level, and place him in a warm area, this will often encourage them to drink, and to pass urates and waste.  You could also try gently pouring a trickle of warm water from a jug over his front shell and head to encourage him to drink, he may need to stay in there for 15 or 20 mins.

What sort of accommodation do you have him in at the moment, and does he have a basking lamp?  It is really important for a tortoise to be able to bask and warm up - if they are not warm, they will be inactive and wont eat.

If your measurements are right, he does seem rather light for his size - how is his breathing?

Whereabouts are you located (please dont give your full address, county is fine)

all the bestClick and drag me down to the editor

Arlene TPG

 

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 28/04/2009 by tpgarlene

Hi Jackie

First and foremost, make sure that you practice strict hygene between the two tortoises, wash hands thorougly, and do not let them share utensils or accommodation.  If they are different species, they can never live together, so you will need to be prepared to have 2 completely separate set-ups.

Do you know how long this tortoise has lived under the radiator for?

best regards

Arlene TPG

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 28/04/2009 by jackie.penny@yahoo.co.uk

Click and drag me down to the editorWow, thanks for the quick reply!.  We are in Devon. 

He's currently located in a warm conservatory (warm in the day at least).  He's in a thick cardboard box about 3.5 ft x 2.5ft (like flat fruit box), on news paper and has some hay to burrow under.  He's not been bathed yet, so we'll have a go at that.  His breathing seems fine.  We know the previous owner had him for about 2 years, not sure if he's lived under the radiator for all of that time or just recently, poor thing.  No problem in keeping him separatate from the spur-thigh & I've passed your hygene tips on to my dad.    I've just read some of your care sheet - he's got 4 front claws as described for russians, also is it right that we shouldn't offer fruit?  He's not eaten any, only managed to get him to take a bite out of a dandelion leaf so far!  Anyway, will try and get a pick to you - can I upload it onto the site?

Thanks again for your help  ... Click and drag me down to the editor   Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 28/04/2009 by tpgadmin

Hi and Click and drag me down to the editorto the TPG

Any med species of tort shouldn't be given fruit as the natural sugars upset the gut.  Most torts love cucumber and if you try and smear the dandelion with a little cucumber juice it might encourage a better appetite.  Good luck with this little one as it sounds as if he needs some real TLC given his past history.

You can upload the picture to the members gallery or you can attach it to your message by clicking on the upload link at the top of this editing page.  You must downsize them first for this forum otherwise they are timed out and won't upload.  also don't use ' or & in the images file name as it won't be accepted either.  any problems send them directly to me and I'll  upload them on your behalf helen@tortoise-protection-group.org.uk

Helen  

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Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 01/05/2009 by jackie.penny@yahoo.co.uk

Hi Helen & Arlene,

My daughter's loaded on a pic of my Dad's tortoise (still un-named). He's definitely more lively following your advice, I'd even go as far as saying he's quite speedy when he gets going!  So, thank you for your help.

He's been drinking and has started to eat some leaves. Certainly is looking quite a lot better today when I visited, so looks like he's going to be a fit and happy new member of the family! 

We'll keep a good close eye on him, and will keep up the baths etc.  Thanks again for all the advice so far.  Please let me know if it's definitely a Russian. Thanks a gain,

Click and drag me down to the editorClick and drag me down to the editorClick and drag me down to the editor Jackie Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 01/05/2009 by tpgadmin

It's a Russian Jackie

He looks as if he hasn't been fed on the best of diets previously; so it's real good for him that he has found you.  Have you found the Horsfield care sheet from the Tortoise section on the left hand side of this page?

Just one question - I notice a whitish banding underneath his nares (nostrils) and I'm wondering if he is blowing any bubbles from his nose?  When he has his head out just squeeze together gently with your thumb on the soft spot under his chin and at the same time with your next finger on top of his beak and look and see if there are any bubbles as you squeeze.

Let us know.  Helen

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Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 01/05/2009 by jackie.penny@yahoo.co.uk

Hi Helen, yes I noticed the whitish marking too.  I've not noticed any bubbles, other than some watery ones when getting him to drink.  I'll try your test out tomorrow when I visit again. We have downloaded the fact sheet - plenty of tips in there on food types, so hopefully we can get his condition up a bit now.

Many thanks. Jackie Click and drag me down to the editor

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 01/05/2009 by ElaineTPG

Hi Jackie, Click and drag me down to the editor to the TPG! I'm sure your dad might end up being a tad overwealmed by all the advice in the care sheets but do tell him we are here to help and once he gets it all correct then he will have endless hours of enjoyment from this little guy. It is so good of you to be helping him get this little guy up and running. Just ask away Click and drag me down to the editor.

TC

Elaine

Re: New Russian Tort - advice needed please
Posted: 05/05/2009 by beckyzazou

Click and drag me down to the editor Hi Jackie,

I keep quite a few Russians. 2 of which have been rehomers from this site.

It's a good sign that your tort is trying a little dandie leaf. They do notice change and often will not eat for the first few days since a change.

The three most important things to help a new tort settle and be happy are:

a good substrate.... I use 50%organic compost, soil or top soil, mixed with 50% play sand. Russian love to dig.

A basking lamp with suitable temps. Remember that they come from much warmer climates than here. The radiator has probably not provided the right temps for him/her.

nice warm baths .... the more the merrier..... They can keep a good hydration level from this. It also encourages them to drink and go to the toilet.

I don;t fuss mine too much when they arrive. I leave them to it and spectate from a distance.

There are many plants around that they can eat at the mo...so best to try to use these. They love pansies and petunias, honeysuckle, dandies, clover (must not be allowed to dry out). Also becareful for shop bought plants as they often spray them with nasties. I grow all my torts diets from seed.

Lots of info but I've tried to stick to the most important bits. TPG has already given you plenty of excellent advice. These are just a few of my tips as I have spent so many hours worrying about torts that don't eat.... You only need to ask Jo ;)

 

If you post some photos of underneath the belly, showing the tail, we will be able to tell you weather you have a girl or a boy.

Best Wishes

Bex

 

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