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Thread: Where to find a russian tortoise?

  1. #1
    aesed Guest

    Default Where to find a russian tortoise?

    Hi! I have loved turtles/torts all my life and I only just recently started thinking about having one as a pet because before I thought they were illegal in Alberta. I have been researching a bit and I think that the Russian tortoise is the best bet for me. I was wondering what info I should know about them, who the best vet in Edmonton for them is and where/when I could adopt one, maybe a price? Also what would be nice is a list of how to set up a home for one in Edmonton, since they obviously can't spend all year outside, and a price estimate for that too?

    Thanks

    Mitchell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Edmonton
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    1,489

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    if you search edmonton vet clinics, you should come up with a thread i made that lists all the vets in the city that see reptiles. i dont know much about torts.
    Always learning AHT Student.
    Believing in reptiles being a part of the family, not eye candy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Edmonton
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    10,163

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    A 4 x 8 tortoise table is perfect or 1-3 russians.

    www.chelonia.org is a good reference (and good link to more specific sites)

    Park Vet is probably the best one in the Edmonton area at the moment, but he'll even admit he's no Dr. Stahl.

    I'm a bit rushed at the moment, but will answer any more specific questions you have at a later date. Perhaps russians should be the next care sheet (?)
    Ian Kanda
    I'm happy to represent both the herp hobby and conservation.
    Please donate here to save gartersnakes! http://igg.me/p/725959/x/6825185

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Edmonton
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    10,163

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    To add, Just for Reptiles has an adult russian for about $400 I believe. The fall reptile shows should have some baby russians (or close relatives anyhow) for cheaper. I have two eggs cooking at the moment, but I don't think I could part with them if they hatch.
    Ian Kanda
    I'm happy to represent both the herp hobby and conservation.
    Please donate here to save gartersnakes! http://igg.me/p/725959/x/6825185

  5. #5
    aesed Guest

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    thanks a lot! i am not really looking for a pet yet, I want to have all necessary living space and supplements before I go out and buy one. How much of the year can they be outside? Also, I found a site that talked about calcium rich greens, what plants are these? I think I will go to the show though, to see the size for myself and meet an owner.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeysgreen View Post
    To add, Just for Reptiles has an adult russian for about $400 I believe. The fall reptile shows should have some baby russians (or close relatives anyhow) for cheaper. I have two eggs cooking at the moment, but I don't think I could part with them if they hatch.
    Best of luck with the eggs Ian.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    59

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    Quote Originally Posted by aesed View Post
    thanks a lot! i am not really looking for a pet yet, I want to have all necessary living space and supplements before I go out and buy one. How much of the year can they be outside? Also, I found a site that talked about calcium rich greens, what plants are these? I think I will go to the show though, to see the size for myself and meet an owner.
    Hi there!

    I no longer have Russians (just Hermanns now) but I kept and bred them for many years in the Uk.

    With regards to your question about how much of the year they can spend outside, I don't imagine it'd be drastically different from the UK, although for different reasons (too cold here, too wet in the UK, lol!) and I have some experience now with the Hermanns and our climate, so pretty relevant!

    Obviously you have to be concerned about the earlier Fall and later Spring frosts here, but that's primarily a night-time concern - I've not really noticed a particularly pronounced difference in day time temps in Spring, Summer & Fall since moving over... If anything the Summers are *way* better (and hotter!) and there's far less rain, which is great for the damp-intolerant Russians!

    Ours would be out most day-times (after warming up indoors in the morning) if it was around 18C or above, so generally from April (maybe May here?), and would be back to being housed indoors consistently from the start of October (but still put outside for shorter periods on particularly nice days outside of that range.)

    One of the advantages of Russians (assuming they're fit, healthy and parasite free) is that they've naturally evolved to hibernate for a longer period than say the Hermanns or Greeks, which is great for somewhere with a long Winter Have a look at my (ancient!) 'fridge hibernation article on Darrell Senneke's site: http://home.earthlink.net/~rednine/hibernation.htm (ignore the email link - it's a decade out of date, LOL!) and the far better one on the Tortoise Trust site (but published after mine ) :http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/Refrigerator.htm

    Finding foodstuffs with a good calcium to phosphorous ratio is a complicated subject. Many things that look ideal at first glance because they're highly "calcium positive" (Spinach being the prime example) are actually unsuitable because the amount of oxalic acid they contain not only binds the calcium in *them*, but also renders calcium from other foodstuffs, fed at the same time, insoluble and therefore unusable.

    In general, variety is the key. You should look at excluding stuff that's known to be particularly bad, but not to the extent of feeding any particularly good item (such as dandelions) in isolation.

    For Russians a zero fruit, high fibre, high calcium, low protein and low moisture diet is essential. There are lots of garden plants and weeds that are far better than any store bought greens (there's a good list to start from on the excellent russiantortoise.org website) and they should also be happy grazing on (non-chemically treated!) plain old grass...more than many other of the smaller species...although that does vary drastically from one individual specimen to another in my experience.

    I've had a hard time finding the ideal store bought greens over here because I live in a very remote place. I'm actually not sure what's readily available in a more "civilised" location , but in the UK watercress and rocket were always favourites; both with good calcium to phosphorous ratio.

    Over there we had the advantage of snow being a real rarity, and our minimum Winter temps being much higher, so weeds were available pretty much all of the (non-hibernation) time...

    Over here I hear of Romaine lettuce being used a lot, as a base, with additional calcium and multi-vit/mineral supplementation. From what I can gather it's Ok, but it contains far more moisture than is ideal for a Russian tortoise staple. Hay - if they will consume it - is great for them. Sadly most won't...LOL!

    Hope some of this helps?

  8. #8
    aesed Guest

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    thanks for all that info! As I was reaing through it I started to have questions which you answered later on in the post. What materials are suggested for building a tort table?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    Great info!

    With our little group of Russians I've found I can sort of trick them into eating grasses by mixing them into the salad mix. They still pick around them a bit but they do end up eating it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Sherwood Park
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    2,774

    Default Re: Where to find a russian tortoise?

    The easiest way is to get a cheap bookcase, take all the shelves out and lie it on its back. Line with linoleum or shelf liner for easy cleaning. I am currently using a rubbermaid container for my baby hermann's.

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