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russian tortoise fitness and health

22 16:48:42

My russian tortoise is very inactive. he rarely eats and hasn't pooed for a week now. i take him outside when it's warm and he walks around and eats but does not poo. when i put him in his indoor habitat he is very inactive. i feed him lettuce, zuchinni, carrots, and sometimes apples. my vet says he is semihibernating, but do they do that in spring?  

A helpful article on Russians can be found here:

It claims that the Russians are only active for about three months a year, so yes- this would still be their winter. Many turtles use daylight length as the key indicator of seasons.

I am unsure whether to advise you to let it hibernate, or to try to 'force' it into an active mode. If your vet suggested one course, I'd follow it.

Hibernate by giving it a nice long soak and letting it drink and rehydrate up, then putting it in a coolish place- but not a cold one. It is generally not safe to really 'hibernate' a turtle after it has been active for a bit. Aim for some activity but not enough to require a lot of food.

Forcing it would require providing artificially high temps (about 5-10 hotter than usual) and high-quality light with about 10 hours of light. The idea here is to trick it into thinking it is spring.

This is a tough time of year for most tortoise keepers- our tropical species are getting respiratory illnesses that we cannot cure with good, warm sunshine, and our temperate species are caught between 'spring' and winter activities since our houses are generally so warm.

Some other helpful links would include: