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I am getting a tortoise. Either Redfoot or Russian.. Any and all tips would be h...

KaylaAnn

Question: 
I am getting a tortoise. Either Redfoot or Russian.. Any and all tips would be helpful.
Answer: 

Russian Tortoise
Traits & behavior

Herbivores
They eat only plant matter; mostly vegetables and some fruits.

Diurnal
This means that they are active during the day and sleep at night.

Burrowers
They like to dig and burrow into the sand.

Hardy
With proper care, your tortoise could live to be more than 50 years old.

Things to remember

Supervision
Always supervise children when they're interacting with your tortoise.

Handling
Wait 3-4 days for your pet to adjust to his new surroundings. Then try holding him for short amounts of time, and offering food by hand.

Environment
Russian tortoises need to live in a temperate, moderately humid environment.

Exercise
Allow your tortoise to roam in the yard or house under close, constant supervision a few times a week.

Food safety
Fresh fruits and vegetables require their own dish and should be removed from the habitat after four hours to prevent spoilage.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.

Nutrition

Vegetables
80% of the diet should be raw and cooked vegetables. Choose romaine or green leaf lettuce, yellow peppers and tomatoes; cooked sweet potatoes, squash and cauliflower.

Fruit
About 20% of the diet should be fruit like apples, melons, grapes, bananas and plums. Offer every third or fourth feeding.

Feeding frequency & amount
Start by feeding one cup of food per day. Then offer more or less based on feeding response.

Calcium dust
"Dust" the food with calcium supplement twice a week - ask an associate for details.

Color
A diet rich in red and yellow colored foods will help keep your tortoise's shell from fading.

Water
Provide a shallow dish with water for drinking and soaking and change it daily.

Health

Signs of a healthy Russian tortoise:

Clear, alert eyes
Solid, well-formed shell
Eats and drinks normally
Breathes easily
Well-formed droppings every 2-3 days
Things to watch for:

Runny droppings or red streaks in droppings for more than two days
Soft or cracking shell
Eating or drinking less; weight loss
Swollen joints
Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
If you notice any of the signs above, please consult an experienced Reptile Veterinarian as soon as possible.

Habitat

Housing
Use a 40-gallon or larger, glass terrarium with a screen top for ventilation, or, use a waterproof container, at least 2' x 4', with 1.5'- 2' high sides. Be sure to provide a hiding place large enough for your tortoise to be completely concealed.

Humidity
Keep the humidity level at or near 55%. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) will help you keep track.

Temperatures

Day - Maintain a daytime temperature between 70-85° F
Basking - Use an under tank heater to create a localized basking area of 95-100° F
Night - Maintain a nighttime temperature between 60-70° F
Place a thermometer at each end of the home to monitor temperatures
Lighting
Use a daytime UVA/UVB fluorescent bulb for approximately 12 hours of light per day to help maintain shell structure.

Substrate
Line the home with 2"-3" of coconut fiber or bark bedding and change it at least once a month. Remove waste weekly and change substrate at least once a month.

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