Another baby picture from the few days after I got her. Here you can see I the COMPLETE WRONG way to house a russian tortoise! The pet store (DON’T GET YOUR TORTIES THERE!) told me this was right, told me pellets were good substrate, that a glass tank was ok, and that she was captive bread. None of that was true. Lucky for me I found The Russian Tortoise yahoo group and very quickly got rid of all that bad stuff.  

Quick rundown of what I learned in just a few days of reading the group:

1. Rabbit pellets are terrible substrate! – not only will they be bad for your tortie if eaten, they don’t effectively hold moisture. They are either soaked (bad) or too dry and will mold really quickly! no good. Instead a combination of coconut coir (sold in bricks) and play sand mixed together is safe and stays moist enough underneath and won’t mold over or be bad for your torties tummy! 

2. Just say no to glass, and tanks in general! – your torts don’t understand glass, they never will, they will continue to hit their heads on it trying to get out and ultimately injure themselves. More over, russian torts need a good temperature gradient. A nice warm basking spot of about 95 degrees while also having cooler areas of 70 degrees. Its pretty much impossible to get that in a tank. Go for something wider, with more air circulation. 

3. High in sugar = bad for russian torts – they may go crazy over the strawberry and red peppers you see being nom nomed in photos but just cause it tastes good doesn’t mean its good for you. Sugar activates bacteria in the tortoise’s stomach (to put it simply.. I’m not the expert but this is what I learned) and can make them sick. From what I read (from the experts) Apples have a bit of pectin which is actually helpful for them, so once a year (like on their birthdays) a little bite of apple won’t hurt. in the end, always best to stick with leafy greens, cactus pads, and some edible flowers. 

Lastly, and the most important thing I learned: 

Do your research! Check out http://www.russiantortoise.org for all you need to know on caring for your russian tortoise.. The experts are out there and they aren’t trying to sell you anything. 

Another baby picture from the few days after I got her. Here you can see I the COMPLETE WRONG way to house a russian tortoise! The pet store (DON’T GET YOUR TORTIES THERE!) told me this was right, told me pellets were good substrate, that a glass tank was ok, and that she was captive bread. None of that was true. Lucky for me I found The Russian Tortoise yahoo group and very quickly got rid of all that bad stuff.  

Quick rundown of what I learned in just a few days of reading the group:

1. Rabbit pellets are terrible substrate! – not only will they be bad for your tortie if eaten, they don’t effectively hold moisture. They are either soaked (bad) or too dry and will mold really quickly! no good. Instead a combination of coconut coir (sold in bricks) and play sand mixed together is safe and stays moist enough underneath and won’t mold over or be bad for your torties tummy! 

2. Just say no to glass, and tanks in general! – your torts don’t understand glass, they never will, they will continue to hit their heads on it trying to get out and ultimately injure themselves. More over, russian torts need a good temperature gradient. A nice warm basking spot of about 95 degrees while also having cooler areas of 70 degrees. Its pretty much impossible to get that in a tank. Go for something wider, with more air circulation. 

3. High in sugar = bad for russian torts – they may go crazy over the strawberry and red peppers you see being nom nomed in photos but just cause it tastes good doesn’t mean its good for you. Sugar activates bacteria in the tortoise’s stomach (to put it simply.. I’m not the expert but this is what I learned) and can make them sick. From what I read (from the experts) Apples have a bit of pectin which is actually helpful for them, so once a year (like on their birthdays) a little bite of apple won’t hurt. in the end, always best to stick with leafy greens, cactus pads, and some edible flowers. 

Lastly, and the most important thing I learned: 

Do your research! Check out http://www.russiantortoise.org for all you need to know on caring for your russian tortoise.. The experts are out there and they aren’t trying to sell you anything. 

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=109786

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZOYA!!!!!!!

Get ready for a day of Zoya spam everyone! Though I don’t know her official hatch date, or how old she really is, we celebrate her birthday on the day I adopted her. 3 years ago today! So we are going to post some never before posted pics and videos as well as review some of our favorites from the last few years. 

here is a video taken 2 days after she came into my life. SO little (though you can’t really tell from the angle of the crappy phone video). This was back before I figured out NOT to give her red peppers or house her in a tank :s but don’t worry by that time the next week I’d built her a giant castle. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZOYA!!!!!!!

Get ready for a day of Zoya spam everyone! Though I don’t know her official hatch date, or how old she really is, we celebrate her birthday on the day I adopted her. 3 years ago today! So we are going to post some never before posted pics and videos as well as review some of our favorites from the last few years. 

here is a video taken 2 days after she came into my life. SO little (though you can’t really tell from the angle of the crappy phone video). This was back before I figured out NOT to give her red peppers or house her in a tank :s but don’t worry by that time the next week I’d built her a giant castle.