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Russian Tortoise...HELP


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#1 Guest_newtotortoises_*

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 05:49 PM

I am trying to make sure my habitat is correct before my new Russian comes home!! I am planning on play sand mixed with organic potting soil in 1/2 and then the organic potting soil in the other part with vegetation for him to eat. For the vegetation, do I have to plant the seeds? or can I get plants that have for CERTAIN not been sprayed with any pestides? HELP!!! ANY suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!



#2 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:55 AM

Hi,

Congratulations on getting your russian tortoise! They are great tortoises, with lots of personality. Your plans for the substrate are good, but use topsoil (available in bags from garden centres), as even organic compost will have fertilizers in it) and playsand. What sort of indoor and outdoor enclosures do you have planned, and what UVB light will you be using? Tortoises thrive on weeds and flowers (no fruit), and you can find these easily in your garden or in the countryside (but make sure no pesticides have been used on them. For good information on how to keep russians, try these three sites (they all have lists of edible plants for torts, as well as good advice on husbandry):
http://www.thetortoisehouse.com/
http://www.tlady.cla...Guide/index.htm (this is a downloadable guide and applies to russians as well as other mediterranean torts)
http://www.russiantortoise.org/
Do ask lots of questions and let us know how you get on.

Nina
http://pets.groups.y...rotectionGroup/
http://pets.groups.y...roup/Turtlesco/

#3 Guest_newtotortoises_*

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 12:04 PM

Thanks for the advice! I had been to the last website you listed and found it quite helpful. I appreciate the other links as well. Yes I got the topsoil. I just typed the wrong thing previously. Outdoors I have a 6'X6' enclosure made of fencing with a 18"board around so that my substrate won't come out, and he can't see through the fence and want/try to get out. I have a large rock, and a heavy plastic "house" for him, along with a drinking plate about 1/2"deep that I have sunk down level with the sand so that he has easy access. I have planted some grass, geraniums, poppy, morning glory, etc. seeds. I was afraid to buy plants already as I didn't want the chance that they had been sprayed with pesticides. I also have some seeds planted in pots so that they can grow and be transplanted to his enclosure. He will have sun at least 1/2 the day in his area. At night I have a rubbermaid tub to put him in indoors. I was told I don't need a light at night, and just a very simple tub. Does this all sound correct? or does anyone have further suggestions? I'd love to hear them! THANKS!!
:-)


#4 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 09:12 AM

Hi,
It sounds like you've got a nice set-up for him. The only thing I would say about your outdoor enclosure is that you should bury the fencing at least a foot deep into the ground as russians like to burrow and they can easily dig a tunnel in a short time to get under your fence and out. Mine can dig a 7" tunnel in less than 20 minutes. Some people dig out the enclosure to a depth of 18" or 2ft and line the whole bottom with mesh, and then bring that up the sides so it meets the bottom of the fence. Then fill it all back up with soil. Your russian will love digging but won't be able to escape.

Regaring your seeds - (the only kind of geraniums that are OK are the hardy geraniums (the kind that live in the garden all year long and die down in winter and come up again in the spring). The other plants we call geraniums (the ones we put in window boxes) are pelargoniums and are not good for tortoises. Poppies are also no good (except the welsh poppies - meconopsis cambrica), and morning glories are also not good for tortoises. Pansies are good, and evening primrose, and nasturtiums (there are lists of good plants on those links I gave). And of course weeds, weeds, and more weeds. I can't remember - are you in the States or the UK? As you said you have a rubbermaid I'll assume you're in the USA. You can buy weed seeds especially for russian tortoises from Carolina Pet Supply
http://www.carolinap...products_id=162
Or if you're in the UK you can get the TLady mix at
http://www.tlady.cla...t/herbiseed.htm

Nina
http://pets.groups.y...rotectionGroup/
http://pets.groups.y...roup/Turtlesco/

#5 Guest_newtotortoises_*

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 11:45 AM

Thanks for all that advice! I really appreciate it! I got all those plants off of a website for tortoises, but apparently it was mis-information. Thanks for your help!


#6 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:03 PM

Hi,

Can I ask which site you got the information off of? I'm sure all of my information (about geraniums, poppies, and morning glories) is correct, but I will double check it just to make sure.

Nina
http://pets.groups.y...rotectionGroup/
http://pets.groups.y...roup/Turtlesco/


#7 Guest_newtotortoises_*

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:10 PM

I got petunias as well, and petunia and poppy is on
http://www.russianto...ible_plants.htm
I'm looking up the others, and will let you know where I found them when I do. ;)


#8 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 07:44 PM

Hi,

Thanks for the reference. I've emailed Joe Heinen on the russian tortoise forum (it's his site) to ask for confirmation that they are OK, but even if he says yes, I think I'd still be wary, as I've just found this site that says they are toxic to mammals:
http://www.pfaf.org/...?Papaver rhoeas
Petunias are fine for torts.


Nina
http://pets.groups.y...rotectionGroup/
http://pets.groups.y...roup/Turtlesco/




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