hi, sorry to bug you! I have a russian tortoise I got when I was little and I’ve had him for 11 years now. I realize his care probably isn’t ideal after looking at your blog and I was wondering what I could do to improve his quality of life! he lives in a 20 gallon long tank with cypress mulch and eats mostly spinach and baby spring mix. he’s pretty lively for the most part and the vet says he seems pretty healthy would you @ ready-2-rumble if you reply?

First, ALL of the applause to you, @ready-2-rumble , for wanting to do the best for your tort. Some torts manage to be unexplainably resilient but good husbandry will ensure your shell friend is healthy for a long time to come. 

You’re right that your setup isn’t the best for your shell friend.  The first things you’ll wanna take care of :

No tanks: Tanks don’t allow for proper air flow so you can’t get a good temperature gradient ( which is important) in the enclosure. They aren’t large enough and Torts can’t comprehend glass. It keeps them nervous and often they’ll bang their heads on the glass trying to escape which can end very badly. A tortoise table is a must. This can be created out of all sorts of things… book shelves, super large bins that they sell around Christmas, wood, etc. 20 gallons isn’t really big enough for roaming or for the temperature gradient. 

Mulch is too harsh for Russian torts. It doesn’t hold any moisture, they can’t dig down like the would in nature, and can scratch them up. A good substrate is coconut coir. ITs cheap and you can get it online in bricks. You add water and it makes a nice slightly moist dirt that’s also digestible (if they end up getting some in their bellies).

Spinach should only be fed in moderation as part of a varied diet.  It contains oxalic acid which is not good for Russian tortoises. It does have some good vitamins but too much oxalic acid can be harmful so not too much and definitely not alone. You had the right idea with dark leafy greens. I also go for spring mix. For store bought salad it’s got the best variation of greens for your tort.  That said, you’ve got to mix it up to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need.  Radicchio is a favorite as are dandelion greens (the kind you get at the store … if only they sold real dandies we’d be set) and Chicory.  Cactus fruit is a great treat too and cactus pads are a favorite (if you can find them). I’m attaching a site with great info that lists diet options both store bought and plants. You want to get some sorta supplement for calcium. I use TNT which is a supplement made from dried greens and weeds. (you can get that here along with lots of other supplies too). There are other calcium supplements out there as well. 

-Make sure you have a powerful UVB lamp and your temperatures are 90-95 under the basking spot with a gradient down to 70 on the cool sides. 

-I’m guessing you do this but be sure to Soak your tortoise once a week or more to make sure they’re hydrated.   

Check out this site. It’s been a life saver for me. The author is a herpetologist and has worked with Russian torts for a long time.

Good luck!! I hope this helps! let me know if you have any questions or anything. 

~NFN and Zoya 


My poor Russian Tort escaped his outdoor inclosure and crawled off into the yard somewhere (I live in a heavily wooded area). It’s been almost 2 weeks, idk what to do 🙁 (it’s been raining for a week, so I’m hoping maybe he’ll show up when the sun comes out again)

I’m so so sorry to hear this! These guys are incredibly smart an agile and it sometimes seems they can get out of anywhere no matter how hard you try to keep them in. Don’t give up hope.  I’ve heard many stories of torts gone missing only to be found having dug down for the winter and then getting up and wandering for noms like nothing happened. I hope this works out for the best. Keep looking around for dug up spots etc.

Related to this, I’ve been hearing some interesting stuff on my mailing list about owners using the TILE to keep track of their torts. I’ve never used tile but its a pretty good idea if you think about. GPS locator so these little magicians can’t escape us.

Thinking all the good thoughts. keep us updated! I hope your shell friend comes home ❤️


Your tortoise’s carapace is jacked up because of the food you give her. The little lips at the edge are signs of a lack of calcium. Kale, lettuce, and other cruciferous veggies/brassicas are SO BAD. Feed dandelions and calcium. Please. For her.

Hi Anon,

Thanks for writing! I’m not sure which tortoise you’re talking about. Zoya pants gets a very healthy diet ( I follow that sites guide) and calcium through TNT supplement (A natural supplement designed for tortoises that you can purchase at Carolina Pet Supply.. its great! Tasty! and doesn’t risk the D3 overload that some of the calcium powders you buy at the pet store can)  She came to me with shell issues and worms but she’s been doing well. I keep a close eye on her all the time. I still worry all the time and appreciate the concern! Her wellbeing is my priority.

I’m guessing you’re worried about another tortoise you’ve seen here.  We do see a lot of poor care or visible health issues on tumblr. we try not to share those pics unless there’s a reason. When we do, we don’t keep quiet. I promise. We definitely contact the owner and share proper care info. We always try to do it in a kind way, not assuming they’re neglect, as a lot of torts on here are rescues.  We have found, over the years, that starting a private conversation and sharing suggestions in the kindest way possible is the most impactful. If you start attacking someone, especially in public, telling them they’re abusers etc,  you’re far more likely to get blown off and ignored. That’s no good for the shell in question, which defeats the purpose of all this, right?  I’ve gotten good responses from folks that way and received messages with pics of new enclosures, torts eating new food, etc.

So, I’d guess I’ve messaged or communicated with the owner of that tort and expressed my concern. I’m also sure many of my awesome followers, like you!, have also commented/shared. Folks around here are very good about that. If you want to come off Anon and talk to me specifically I’d love to chat! Thanks for caring about our shell friends! it means a lot to me and to all the torts out there!



I wish i had pics but I don’t, But… I literally put the tortoise down for half a second, and he decides “Hmmm this carpet looks edible even though it’s really ugly and I just ate my weight in kale.” The joys of taking care of a tortoise.

We shells like to make decisions based on science. This means we have to examine every item, conduct a taste testing, and then decide if its a tasty treat. Sometimes we have to repeat our studies to make sure they are accurate. Its a very long detailed process, but that’s science. we can’t help it if we’re super smart scientists. Now, about your shoe laces… 


Do you know if Zoya is going to marry Jeff Musk? We want wedding buffet & cake! ❤️

*blush* well I’m only 8 and humom says that’s still young… but maybe?? He is very handsome and always a gentleman.Don’t worry! It will obviously be ab open noms wedding!! Thats the only way to wedding!  


just FYI, box turtles are not tortoises. their closest relative is the wood turtle. they are true terrapins.

Hey Anon! 

Thanks so much for writing. You are absolutely right. I generally use quick tags in my posts and I realize it completely leaves out the terrapins! I’ve fixed that. 

We do use quick tags for posts we share for cute value, silly behavior, and other people’s comments. We try to identify the type of turtle, tortoise, or terrapin but sometimes we fail. Like our earlier post. We love getting messages from followers with more info so I’m very glad you wrote!

Here at torttime, despite the name, we share turtles and terrapins as well as tortoises. We tend to focus on tortoises some because the other half of our ‘staff’ is a Russian tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii… not actually Russian at all). The title for our blog was inspired by our friend who was taking the bar at the time and we thought it was funny to take back Torts for the shells haha! Our motto is “Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins 24/7″ so we haven’t forgotten. 

Thanks for reading and writing us! 


I just wated to say thank you… This blog made me so happy, when I was abot to do something stupid… thank you…

Hey Anon,

First of all, SUPER GIANT SHELL HUGS TO YOU!!! It’s funny how these small (and large) wonders make the world seem like a better place, isn’t it? Sharing these posts every day makes me happy too.

I don’t know what you’re going through but I can guarantee you that  there’s an army of shells (of all sizes) that have your back. You can stop by this blog for a reminder anytime you need one.

Zoya says she’ll make sure she has an extra dandelion saved for you. 



hey! know some similar turtle/tortoise blogs? p.s-i want to start a blog for my turtle! 🙂

Well first I definitely recommend sharing your turtles adventures! its fun for everyone that reads AND its a great way to keep track of your shells growth, shenanigans, and generally fun (I’m a little biased haha) 

As for similar blogs, I suggest checking out some of our tortie family here on tumblr…  @wafflesworld and his brothers @mangomusings and @tortellinitales and our tiniest tortie friend Kirby at @thewhimsyturtle 

I’d definitely check out the Turtle and Tortoise tags for more new friends but @the-awkward-turt has some curious turts with gorgeous side eyes and gives great reptile information too! @Thor-toise and @joeythetortoise are two new tortie friends! These are just a few tortoise and turtle adventure blogs! There are so many awesome shells here on tumblr! I know for sure I’m forgetting a bunch of shells 🙁 stupid human brain. We’ll share more when it’s not so late at night. Till then, watch the notes. I’m sure other shells will say hi! 

That’s all asks tonight! Human has to get to bed so she’s not late with noms in the morning. 😀 Sweet #turtpocalypse dreams everyone!