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|Date:||12/6/2013 7:42:41 PM
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|RUSSIAN TORTOISE CARE
The Russian Tortoise Care Sheet
(click here for a printer friendly version)
This is a small species. Adult females are 8-10". Males 6-8". With proper care they should out live their owners. There is allot of conflicting information about the Russian Tortoise. I feel that this is due in part to the fact that they are very adaptable. This allows them to survive in many conditions. However the goal is to provide them with optimal environments. This is somewhat limited in captivity. The following should help.
When you get your tortoise, it is highly recommended that you take your pet for a check up. Most Russians are wild caught. And while yours may appear to be healthy (click here to learn how to select a "healthy" tortoise) the stress of being brought home and placed in strange surrounding may cause a hidden problem to surface. This is true even with long term wild caught and captive born animals. Make sure the Vet measures and weighs your tort. Also request a fecal to check for parasites. To see what may be hidden in your tortoise click here.
Russian Tortoises are grazers and enjoy broad leaf plants. The best diet is a variety of weeds (leaves and flowers). Dandelion is a favorite. For detailed diet information:http://www.russiantortoise. org/russiantortoisediet.htm for a list of edible plants: http://www.russiantortoise.org/edible_plants.htm and http://www.russiantortoise.org/plant_photos.htm
Unfortunately, many believe that tortoises naturally acquire almost all of their fluid requirements from its food and that therefore they do not require additional drinking water. Russians tortoises are indeed adapted to a semi-arid environment and its system of eliminating waste via uric acid rather than via urea is clear evidence of this. Uric acid can be eliminated using substantial lower levels of water wastage than can systems based on urea, such as those of mammals. Therefore, tortoises, such as Russians, eliminate nitrogenous waste products with far greater water conservation. Its behavior is also programmed to reflect this need not to waste precious water. The semi-solid, white deposits are expelled urates. Tortoises are programmed not to use water in the bladder and to eliminate urates only if replenishment is available. Depriving the tortoise of water will result in urates being accumulated and quite often to dangerous levels. During a rain tortoises will often drink and urinate simultaneously. This behavior can be stimulated in hot weather by lightly spraying the tortoise with a garden hose.
In the wild, during hot and rain-free summers, aestivation or semi-aestivation occurs. There are several factors that will lead to aestivation. Lack of food and environmental water are major factors, as is temperature. During aestivation periods tortoises maintain themselves below ground, in burrows which provide a stable microclimate. In these burrows temperatures are much lower than those above gro
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