Animal Stories - People Talking About Tortoises


Animal-World info on Red-footed Tortoise
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carina - 2011-03-02
I had just got a red foot. I got him off my friend who told me to give him 2 cherry tomatoes every other day. That too many are bad for him, and I shouldn't give him anything else besides the tortoise food. And the big container of water was just there because that's what he poops in. But I have found that he likes to kinda sit in the water, and dunks his head. So I try to keep it warm for him and clean. I also had to give him a little bath when I got him because he had what looked like brown scum on his shell. My kids love to watch him eat. He does great with the tomatoes! But, I want to give him more, he is 5 yrs old and hasn't grown any for the past 3 yrs, so I want to know what I can give him, how much, how often and hopefully he will start to grow again and become more healthy. He is very active but I have noticed that he will go into his shell for a few hrs at a time. I'm guessing he is sleeping, but how long should he be doing that? I am so very new at this whole tortoise thing, I need all the help I can get, from caring, bathing, caging, handling, and feeding. Please help answer some of my questions so I can better help my red-foot, and take care of him properly. Thank you very much!

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  • John - 2011-03-17
    Well what I have found out that dandelion greens are good for the red foot, I give mine a variety of different greens, dandelion, mustard greens, turnip green, I also give him cucumber, and zucchini. I give him protien every two months, I give him a small amount of a boiled egg. I also give mine a little of the banana, strawberries and mango. They love their fruit so make sure they have their greens that day first. Their diet is about 85% greens 10% fruit and 5% protein. I just make sure he has as much food as he can eat for that day. You will eventually know how much to give to him. Just make sure you remove the old and replace with fresh food every day.Mine has grown so much. I know when I first got him he was sick with diarrea for a couple of days and would not eat. He was used to the pellets they feed him at the pet store and also needed a good wash to get rid of the fungus that was growing on his shell. I constantly give him fresh warm water to soak in and drink and I keep him clean, I also clean his area once a week. His happy and seems very healthy. I hope this will helps.
  • Kathy - 2014-07-01
    The pellets are not good for him my buster eats kale, collard greens, raspberries, blueberries, all lettuce except iceberg (no iceberg). Throw seeds in the ground, get the kids into having a garden then let him graze. Enjoy them they are cool pets.
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Susan B - 2012-05-08
I have a new red foot (about 6 days) he's a yearling. He hides in his log all the time unless I pull him out for his soak. That wakes him up and he will wander around the house a little and eats only a tiny amount (one small piece of greens or a 1/4 a strawberry or a 1/2 grape tomato). He has eaten only very small amounts. As soon as he is back in his enclosure, he returns to the log. How long will this behavior last? He is in a 4 x 2 small animal pen. Wire top. I have a basking area at 90* and a cool end about 70*. A UVB light, water pond and humidity about 60%. Is it conditions or bashfulness? Help or advice from those more experienced appreciated!

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-05-08
    Yeah, I'd be worried about his not eating. Try some different greenstuffs to see if you can find something that attracts him. Check with the previous owner about his diet, maybe he has a favorite food. If all else fails, get him a checkup with a veterinarian to make sure he doesn't have internal parasites or other illness. A vet will want a stool sample. He needs to be eating more...
  • Susan B - 2012-05-09
    He came from a Petsmart. They had him on freeze-dried pellets. I want him to eat fresh foods. I turned off his UVB yesterday for awhile and he wandered around his pen for a longer period. Last night, he burrowed in next to his log instead of under it. I read on this site that many ppl have experience with their red foots when they are rehomed, but they do come around. I will keep my eye on him...
  • sheena - 2012-06-06
    I've also read that when transfered to a new home the may fast and can go long periods of time without food or water. I just got one myself she is so funny. She has no fear and loves to run outside in the grass! Petco and petsmart really couldnt give me much info on the breed! lol Great help they where. Give him or her some time. Mine love cherry tomatoes those r her favorite!
  • Kathy - 2014-07-01
    No grapes. That is what I was told. I have a rf, at first he stayed in the log now he goes everywhere. He is a very interesting pet to have, enjoy yours.
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Animal-World info on Sulcata Tortoise
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Jeremy W. Sr - 2014-06-26
I live in Somersworth New Hampshire and I have two spurred tortoises, a male that I take care of and a female that's just a baby. The males name is Sully and he is 6 years old going on 7. I babysit him in the summertime from my friend because I have a fenced in yard. The other 1 I have I'm not sure on the age, I got it as a rescue that I've taken care of and brought it back to health. Someone just left her at an apartment and she was in there for almost two months before someone even noticed that she was there. I named her Glaedr after the gold dragon in the book Eragon. They are two of the few reptiles that my girlfriend and I have. I love taking Sully to the park and watching the kids enjoying seeing him and wanting to learn about them.

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Animal-World info on Red-footed Tortoise
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tom - 2014-05-29
Hello I have a red footed tortoise, I just wanted to know if I bought an exo terra water fall and pump, would it benefit him and the humidity of the vivarium, seeing as it would be a great feature?

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Animal-World info on Sulcata Tortoise
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Crystal Galvan - 2014-04-19
Hi I live in phoenix az. I got two African spurrs, I have had them since they were quarter size about 5 or 6 years now. One is bigger than the other and I do see them either mating or practicing. They have a big hole that they both live in. I feed them trimmings from my grocery store I work at and water them every day. I really never knew much about them but they always seemed happy. Lately the smaller turttle has not been coming out every day and I have noticed she dug a little tunnel on the other side of their hole away from the male. She would normally be directly behind him. Is it possible for her to be laying eggs or is she too young? When they were babies I always had a heat lamp but once they dug their hole they didn't come to their little house anymore so I have not had a heat lamp for about 4 years. They seem very healthy no signs of any sickness and shells are perfect. Just worried about her not coming out, she is too deep for me to try and pull her out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Animal-World info on Leopard Tortoise
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Anonymous - 2008-10-05
Hi Doug,

I'm wondering where I can get the Vit. E for my tortoise?

-Thanks!

" If you want to really perk up your Tortoise, apply vitaman E on the entire Tortoise and rub in with your fingers. This keeps their shells beautiful and healthy. It also relieves any discomforts they are having from shedding of their skin. Doug Wolkow, Highlands Ranch, CO." - Doug Wolkow

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  • Patty - 2010-06-25
    Really don't rub any oil or waxy material onto your tortoise's shell! They need to have a clean surface to exchange heat with their environment. Do not paint them with polish/paint. Do not rub oils on them. Do not apply any oils, period. Vitamin E, do not use either. What do I need to do to get this through to you people?
  • Pam Lane - 2013-03-03
    Spend time researching please!
  • Dr. Ray - 2013-05-03
    Vitamin E is really good for tortoise shells....you don't use it all the time but it does not hurt tortoise heating issues. You do not paint tortoises either! Vitamin e and paint are two different things. Whoever said put vitamin e on shell is 100 percent correct..
  • mallorys12 - 2014-03-10
    As long as they have a heat lamp and and uv lamp that's all they need, and a good dust for their shells, should stay nice anyway.
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Animal-World info on Sulcata Tortoise
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Wendy - 2007-11-12
we live in Arizona which is a great climate for Sulcatas. Currently we house two very large Sulcatas outside in a specially built enclosure. We used railroad ties stacked 4 high and they make a very sturdy and inexpensive wall. We paid about $8.00 each for the railroad ties and we found that they really didn't need to be secured in any way. The size and weight alone make them stack nicely. Our torts are about 50 lbs each so we really needed the enclosure to be strong. We use a double dog house with heat lamps for night time. Its easy to clean out and we replace the dirt inside when it gets soiled or wet. We made an eating platform out of 6-12" flat concrete pavers. It keeps the food off the dirt and we are able to hose it off when it gets dirty. I bought the biggest clay drainage dish I could find at a plant nursery. It's about 24" across. It makes a great water dish. It's shallow but heavy and they love to sit in it. I dug a shallow hole about 3 feet across that on occasion I fill with water and they love to wallow in it and flip mud on their backs. hope this is helpful information!

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  • Anonymous - 2014-03-04
    Can you send me a picture please? ChristieCrase@aol.com Thanks
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Lisa Woodward - 2012-09-09
I just bought a 90 lb Sulcata Tortoise. I have had her for 4 days and we are getting to know each other. She has an injury to the left side of her shell due to a heat lamp melting plastic on her. Apparently this happened many years ago. Is there anything I can use to treat this area to keep it healthy? I am noticing that red ants are attracted to it and I am concerned. Other than that, she seems happy and good appetite. Concerned Lisa

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-09-10
    Is the shell actually cracked?  I have seen sealants for shells if it is.  Give your local vet a call.
  • Renee Olive-Foster - 2014-01-28
    Hi wow sounds like a great new pet!! I heard Vets do seal the area with some type of surgical Glue, best to get it done asap to keep it from getting infected.. bless her heart! Best of luck..
  • Sandra Hildreth - 2014-02-16
    I also have a baby sucata. My dog found her when she was only 2 months old and the size of a 50 cent piece. She had a small cracked in her shell. I healed it with newsprint with pain men's and vita shell with calcium. It healed up great.
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Animal-World info on Red-footed Tortoise
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cathy - 2013-12-20
Have had a red foot tortoise for 2 years. During warm weather she is in an outside pen & always looking for bugs or worms. 'Ruby' will not eat veggies or fruits in what I feel is proper amounts & when I bring her in the house she heads straight for the dog food bowl. I have been using green veggie baby food w/ a piece of dog food in it and once started she scoops most all the baby food looking for more buried dog food. How long can I let her go without feeding? She has gone a couple of days refusing a proper diet, holding out for the dog food/baby food soup.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2013-12-26
    These tortoises are omnivores, so will eat both veggies and protein. There may be something in the dog food she is craving. They usually need food every couple of days. See the care and feeding section above for a more complete description.
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Animal-World info on Russian Tortoise
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Hannah Thompson - 2011-01-05
Hi, I've just got a russian horsfieldi tortoise from my boyfriend for xmas!
I've named him Turk and I adore him!
I have just ordered a vivarium with lamp uv lite heater habistat thing to put him in.
I'm new to tortoises and doing as much research as I can.
Does anyone have any tips on heating, feeding handling in general?
He hasn't pooped for a couple of days either! :( ??
As many replies would be very grateful.

Thank you
Turks Mummy :) x

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  • chuck - 2011-01-07
    ....as for heating your new purchase is fine. Iceberg lettuce offers no nutrition, other types such as Boston, Escarole , Romaine are fine. Avoid kales as it will constipate them . My guys (have two) also enjoy a banana and tomatoes from time to time. Place your tortoise in a small tub 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water above room temp. The warm water will entice him to poop as well as a drink. Naturally as soon he poops take him out.
    Had my guys for 7 years in a large plastic container and do very well. My opinion it's easy to clean and worry free of cracking glass.
    GOOD LUCK
  • Billy - 2011-02-04
    I've had my Russian tort a couple of months now and she is great. I was concerned about her not pooping for a while and found letting her soak in half an inch of water for ten minutes or so twice a week helped as they enjoy the water and tend to go when in it! She won't poop in her table though, she prefers the living room carpet. :)
  • Midge - 2011-05-03
    I have only just found this site and read your message. If you are still keeping your Russian in a vivarium you are actually being cruel to your beloved pet - sorry. It needs a table top, 50/50 sand/soil substrate, uvb and heat lamp. Please read the info on the Tortoise Trust site.
    Kind regards
  • Debbie - 2011-07-13
    I was told not to put a mat in ,because they need a place to cool off, so maybe you want to go with the lights..because the mat keeps it warm everywhere. I find that if I put the red light on he sleeps and with the uv light on, he is up and going,when I am but takes a nap often.
  • susan - 2013-03-23
    Soak him in baby temperature type water twice a week for about 20 minutes. Deepness of water just at his tail, this will relieve his bowels.These tortoises can handle 40 degree temperatures at night. I suggest turning heat off at night. They should have a temperature drop just like in their natural habitat.
  • Kenny - 2013-12-10
    I had my RT, Duckster for 20 years! he never had a cage he sleeps in a cat bed! He is so friendly that he runs at my feet when I get home! he is my best friend. I take him everywhere with me!
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