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Tortoise enrichment

Wally&Eva

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Anybody have any items that their tortoise likes? I adopted a full grown Russian tortoise. She is pretty big and heavy, about 7” Anybody have any enrichment ideas? She is so curious and active.

This is her routine. She soaks outside once a week. Gets sun for about an hour, 2x a week. Goes for walks for a few minutes where she eats from our hands. She’s obsessed with food. I’m a chef so I’m lucky to have access to a variety of fresh whole foods. She has a really good diet, although it’s not the exact stuff they eat in nature, which would be the best. I don’t let her free roam my lawn because I don’t know if there is pesticides so she just walks on the sidewalk (coaxed with food of course.) I will give her more exercise. What can I give her in her tank to keep her preoccupied? Is that rolly ball thing worth it? It’s pricey for a toy. I’ve given her rocks and put things around the outside of her cage and move it around often as they suggest. This old gal notices everything!!! Any recs or advice? I haven’t had a tortoise in 20 years
 

MommyBird

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My avian/exotics vet has a large tortise, Henry. He is so cool. He has a tall flag attached to his back so people not used to looking down will see him and not walk into him. He greets all the people and pushes the office chairs all over.
And the sculptor I bought my Raven bronzes/statues from had the most friendly tortise named Rabbit who loved to greet and follow new people. I loved it too.
Since yours (name?) is food motivated and a smart girl have you tried clicker training? I bet you could teach her to push a small, light ball (small beachball?) into a goal, for a food reward. Starting with a really short distance.
Is there a place you could take her where there are people to watch? Both the ones I met loved to people watch.
 

Wally&Eva

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Her name is Rex. She belonged to a college student, who didn’t have much background as to where she came from besides that she was an adult. I didn’t expect her to be so big. Obviously she had been around a while, as it takes Russian tortoises a long time to get to 7” The students, studying to be doctors, didn’t have the time to keep her occupied so they donated Rexy and all her stuff to me. She did come with basic but all the necessary stuff; mulch, food and calcium (albeit both expired), 20 gallon tank, large area to soak, water and food bowls, extra UVB lights and also the lamp. The 20 gallon tank is what she will continue to stay in for now, it’s not particular large but she can turn and move in there. I don’t have the funds to buy a new tank and I promised my husband in order to adopt her, that we wouldn’t be spending any extra money but I just quietly ordered new food and calcium, and a hut to hide in from Amazon shhhh :D maybe next July or 2 years, when Petco does the tank sale, weight upgrade.

She is soooo food motivated. They say skip one or two days of feeding and I can’t bring myself too. She genuinely is the most excited girl, the moment she sees food. I can try training her but her patience is low. She wants it and she wants it now. We have been exercising her by putting her down and calling her over with a treat and she will RUN. Then my husband will do it from another spot and so on. She is pretty tame, she will let you handle her, pet her head but she has gotten used to me hand feeding her so she will nip your fingers if it’s in the way. (bad habit I’m now realizing). She does make friends everywhere she goes. She shows off by eating an endive and everyone awwws and ooohs haha. The students said that she likes to roam around so I replaced that with outside so we can get that sun.

Anytime she hears my voice, she goes nuts. Even after she ate. So it makes me think she is curious and bored.

I heard about the flag thing for outdoor tortoises! It’s funny and clever!
 

WikiWaz

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My cousin has a tortoise; I'm not sure what breed. They bought a wire puppy play pen so their tortoise be outside a few hours a day without worrying about her.

Trixie makes great cat and dog foraging boards. Do you think Rex could benefit from any of these?
 

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Wally&Eva

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I'm sure you can google as well as I can, but I googled this and had to smile reading it so I thought I'd link for other curious readers.
Lots of ideas and I had to laugh they like to push shoeboxes around!
21 Pet Tortoise Enrichment Ideas [Budget Friendly] - 903Pets
Thanks! She is a very curious, active hungry sweetheart! The first pic is of her eating a piece of frisée. The second are pics from the student. She’s been a joy to have, I love saving her food from my job and making her breakfast. And I love how she will run to me for a dandelion leaf meanwhile, she sees all this grass around her. She’s “trained” in that way haha :D
 

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Mizzely

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WikiWaz

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I've heard tortoises can eat spineless prickly pear cactus.
 

Wally&Eva

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I've heard tortoises can eat spineless prickly pear cactus.
Yes, I hear it’s a fave! Russians like lots of grass, weeds, and flowers. I haven’t been able to quite mimic their natural food but I try to stay within the chicory family, like endive and frisee. Today she had pea shoots, dandelion greens, frisee, endive, baby gem romaine, watermelon radish, peppers, zucchini, shaved carrots, one blueberry and a smidgen of strawberry (I do minimal pieces as fruit isn’t great for them). I’m a chef and they gladly give me a few items a week for free. The girls were giving her bagged salad which isn’t bad but could get boring, especially for her.

I have baby lovebirds too so they will eventually eat similar things
 

Wally&Eva

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Rexy got a new log hut today!! It’s huge! Keeps trying to climb it haha. Hope she is happy. So random but anyone know of a dried flower mix that I could add that is tortoise and bird safe? May not go that route but it’s nice to have options.
 

MommyBird

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Rexy got a new log hut today!! It’s huge! Keeps trying to climb it haha. Hope she is happy. So random but anyone know of a dried flower mix that I could add that is tortoise and bird safe? May not go that route but it’s nice to have options.
China Prairie has a "prarie blossom" mix that contains:
Ingredients: *Raspberry Leaf, *Rose Buds, *Rose Hips,*Hibiscus Flowers, *Milk Thistle Seed, *Lemon Grass, Ceylon Cinnamon, Cornflowers, Calendula Flowers, *Lavender, *Chamomile Flowers, Golden Spray Millet, *Rosemary, *Freeze Dried Amaranth Microgreens, Star Anise.
Prairie PLUS Prairie Blossom 2.5 oz.
 

Wally&Eva

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China Prairie has a "prarie blossom" mix that contains:
Ingredients: *Raspberry Leaf, *Rose Buds, *Rose Hips,*Hibiscus Flowers, *Milk Thistle Seed, *Lemon Grass, Ceylon Cinnamon, Cornflowers, Calendula Flowers, *Lavender, *Chamomile Flowers, Golden Spray Millet, *Rosemary, *Freeze Dried Amaranth Microgreens, Star Anise.
Prairie PLUS Prairie Blossom 2.5 oz.
Oh yum, thanks for that link!
 

Wally&Eva

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Wally&Eva

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Found out officially that we don’t spray for pesticides and insecticides on our lawn. Yay! Its sucked keeping Rexy off of the grass when we go outside. I still will keep an eye out, I don’t know the exact plants growing there. I’ve been putting his normal foods such as red endive, frisée, peppers, shaved carrots, radish on the taller grass so that he has to “forage.” She eats a little grass this way and some wild dandelion.

Only fertilizer, could this affect the tortoise if she eats the grass?
 

Wally&Eva

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They bought a wire puppy play pen so their tortoise be outside a few hours a day without worrying about her.
Got a small animal pen for the front yard! Today will be Rexy’s first day using it. Still can’t leave her unsupervised yet until I know how strong it is because she is a big heavy girl (full grown Russian, about 7”) and has a lot of push strength. I’ll leave a bath, her hideaway log, her snack rolly ball and hope she gets her exercise.
 

Winn

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Ok.. so I'm luving the crocheted "tortoise cozie"!
No tortoise here, but a roommate has 4 large red ear slider turtles. They were "rescues" when they got bigger than the original owner expected they would.
 

Wally&Eva

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Ok.. so I'm luving the crocheted "tortoise cozie"!
No tortoise here, but a roommate has 4 large red ear slider turtles. They were "rescues" when they got bigger than the original owner expected they would.
Red eared sliders can get big! My brother’s wife has 2 of them and they are almost as big as my Russian tortoise, although obviously their shell isn’t as tall. It’s kind of sad how they are disposable in the animal trade.

Her teenage mutant ninja turtles outfit is quite cute. And she is so curious. Even with other animals. She just stares at my birds and the neighborhood dogs.
 
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