Wisdom From The Experts Pt 4 & 5 Two Turtle and Tort experts, two related pieces of wisdom to share about turtle and tortoise anatomy! Lori Neuman-Lee, PhD (@CheloniaGirl ), prof at Utah State University, says – “I wish people knew that turtles can’t come out of their shells…because their shells are part of their...
Words of Wisdom from the Experts Pt 3- “I wish people knew how smart turtles are. They learn quickly where their food comes from; if from a human then they learn that specific person” Is what Michelle Kelly (@MichelleKellyCW), public speaker about Reptiles and amphibians, wishes more people knew about turtles and tortoises. Those of...
Words of wisdom from the experts pt 2 Check out this INCREDIBLE photo by Amanda Hipps, @biophilamanda, one of the experts who responded to our #worldturtleday question. Amanda studies the animals that live in gopher tortoise burrows. In case you didn’t know, gopher tortoise burrows are home to hundreds of other animals. Their status as endangered directly...
This year, in honor of #WorldTurtleDay, we asked herpetologists, biologists, rescues, and rehabbers, to tell us what they wish more people knew about Turtles and Tortoises. Starting today we’ll be sharing a few responses a day! Let’s learn more about the animals we love from people who have devoted their lives to protecting them. Biologist...
I replaced all of the substrate in Harriet’s enclosure with fresh Eco Earth, and I think she noticed because she’s been digging around in it all day… as you can see from all that dirt stuck to her face lol. Here she is, filled with energy and ready to run around a bit!
It’s been almost seven years since I got this dork. He was so happy when we took him from a woodchip filled vivarium to a proper table with soil substrate, and he has enriched our lives so much. I got him a dandelion flower for his birthday. Can’t believe he’s turning ten already! They grow up so fast. ;’)
Happy birthday Fitzy!!!
Happy Birthday, Fitzy!!!
I’m so happy you found a forever home with humans willing ti give you the care you need to grow happy and healthy! It’s incredible what a difference proper husbandry makes. Heres to another 10 years!
Friends! Have you seen the adorable pancake tortoises@courtnashehas shared with us? Well, she has created an incredibly well-researched care sheet for those looking to care for Pancake tortoises!
Finding a quality care sheet based on well-researched information and experience is vital to raising a happy and healthy tort. Check this care sheet out and share it with anyone caring for or looking to care for pancake tortoises!
In related news:
We are starting a master list of quality care sheets! There’s an incredible amount of bad information out there on how to care for turtles and torts and sadly that information seems to be what’s most accessible and most frequently put in the hands of first-time owners. So, let’s band together and create a place where you can find quality care sheets on as many species of turtles and tortoises as possible!
If you know of a quality, thorough, and well-researched care sheet for a particular species of turtle or tortoise send them along! We’re trying to verify the quality of information of everything we put on the list so all input is helpful. If you’re interested in helping out with this project, please message as well!
Not snakes, but: this is what I spent my day doing: Building an enclosure for the Russian tortoise I’m adopting from a rescue.
Here’s the current state of the enclosure.
It’s set up on the back porch of our house.
It’s almost done – I’ll just shovel some more substrate in there, and throw in some straw, bark chips, etc.
To make sure no roaming animals (like raccoons) can harm the tortoise, every night I will be putting it inside the cage, where it will have some room to move about and bask in the morning until I let it out to the large corral when I get up. The cage has a heat mat on a thermostat to make sure that the tortie is warm on chilly nights.
Over time, I want to get some plants growing in there too, like plantago and dandelion. See if they have a chance to grow with a tortoise roaming the corral.
Regardless, I will be growing plantago, dandies, and chicory, as well as prickly pear in my back yard to feed the tort, so it can demolish the plants in its enclosure all it wants!
HOLY AMAZING!!! you’ve built a kingdom any tortoise would be proud to dominate!
This is one of the best aquatic turtle enclosures I have ever seen. While it seems over the top, everything present is necessary for happy, healthy turtles. At least 100 gallons of water, filter, heater, basking lamp, UV light, haul out area, and dry land. If all aquatic turtles were kept this way I’d never see any because they would rarely get sick.
is a tortoise table like this a good idea for a ~2-yr-old russian tortoise, or is it too small? my poor guy is living in a tank right now and im trying to find a better alternative
I’m in a studio apartment right now so an outdoor pen isn’t an option, and there’s not really room for a 50-gal tub.
Hmm.. I can’t be sure looking at it there.. it looks a bit small. What kind of tortoise? More space will surely be necessary in a year or two if it isn’t now. Try levels? Zoya and I live in a studio and twell she’s lucky she’s so cute cause she gets a good 3rd of the place to herself hah.
ETA: I’m the worst (and super tired sorry!) you said russian tortoise. That might be ok for a very temporary situation but your little one will surely climb out of that when you’re not looking. Don’t underestimate shell skills hah
That is super tiny and really isn’t suited to any size torty. A tip for a hatchling is to look at xl indoor rabbit cages as they’re usually sold 2nd hand very cheaply. You really don’t need the hide most tortoise tables have built in. With the right bedding (top soil all the way!) your tortoise should dig down at night anyway and you can provide hides if you want without it taking up a ton of room. Honestly 4x2ft is really the minimum i’d recommend for any healthy hatchling. They need lots of exercise to be able to even digest their food and keep healthy. An hour outside their table really isn’t a substitute. This rabbit cage is the same price, bigger and would be suitable for a good couple of years. Another alternative is a C&C style cage, provided you can block off the see-through pannel bottoms with plastic after you fill it with soil. They’re also great for adding lofts!
For an adult russian torty an indoor enclosure size should really be 6ft x 2ft at a minimum. If you don’t have the square footage for that then go up! A safe, boxed in gentle ramp they can’t climb out of/over means you can have an enclosure that’s huge for relatively little actual floor space. If you don’t want the C&C style one, you’d either need to build it yourself or work with a local handyman.
Pro-tip sterilized top soil makes great natural bedding for all of the above plus its super cheap and you can grow them plants in it. Remember though: If the enclosure is wooden you need to protect and waterproof the wood by lining it with plastic, an old shower curtain from the pound/dollar store is a great robust cheap choice 🙂
Awesome info, presented in a far more coherent manner than this human is currently capable of!
I took my Russian to the vet yesterday and among other things that the weird vet said, she suggested feeding our tortoise spinach pasta and egg yolk. I have never seen either of those things suggested for a tortoise to eat…what do you think about that?
Well I’m not a Vet but I think my eyes popped out of my head reading this! There may be some differences on the best weeds, greens, etc to feed your tortoise, but I have never ever encountered a single reputable source that would suggest spinach pasta or egg yolk! Spinach itself is not a great food for your Russian tortoise. Its high in calcium, so tolerable in small amounts, but contains a high amount of Oxalic Acid. That messes with kidneys of the tort and in high amounts can cause kidney stones. Its not terrible, it has a lot of calcium, but it shouldn’t be fed in large amounts. This is where the whole “feed a varied diet” comes in.
Pasta and Egg yolk?! I don’t even know what to say about that. Neither of those are things a tortoise would eat in nature… or in any situation! Russian tortoises are herbivores.. they require very little protein that they should get from the greens they eat (like hibiscus leaves etc). No animal protein should be consumed, they’re vegetarians! Egg whites are animal protein and not natural or recommend from what I read. They include other stuff that messes with your tortoise’s ability to metabolize nutrients.
Its awesome that you are trying to take good care of your tort and getting check ups! I would guess your vet doesn’t specialize in Exotics and specifically not tortoises. You may want to consider finding a new vet that does. Its important to have that number on hand. So glad you asked and clearly you know enough about torts to look out for the not so great information. #HighFive
TortoiseForum.org – Have a tortoise or other calcium-needing critter that doesn’t like the traditional cuttlebone or powdered offerings? Try this homemade option, shown here with awesome pictures and clear, detailed instructions.