Sunday, January 17, 2010

How Do You Say "Tortoise" in Russian?

Three months ago we became the proud owners of a Russian Tortoise, who we named Darwin. We thought the name was appropriate since Charles Darwin brought a tortoise back from his trip to the Galapagos Islands.

After doing research, I determined that Darwin was in fact a male, not a female as we had been told. He appeared healthy and was very active the minute we put him in his new enclosure.

Seeing pictures of that first enclosure we put him in, it looks so small and pathetic. But, coming from where he'd been living, it was a huge improvement.


1st enclosure - very basic

1st enclosure - a few improvements

2nd enclosure - with platform

2nd enclosure - without platform

more improvements
And more improvements - current look of enclosure. I moved the lamps closer together to increase the temperature on that end. One is a heat/UV-B lamp and the other is just a ceramic heat emitter.
I've been working on making the humidity higher on this end. Added more plants, some moss, rocks and a hygrometer.

My husband built the larger enclosure for Darwin and we were very happy with how it turned out. I liked the idea of the platform for both feeding purposes and extra exercise. It just didn't work out. Once we removed the platform, Darwin seemed much happier.

I am not an expert on these wonderful creatures, but I have tried to do as much research as possible to find how best to keep Darwin happy and healthy. I think I'm definitely on my way to becoming a herpetoculturist! Besides books, I have relied heavily on two websites:

Darwin has turned out to have such a wonderful personality. We have all enjoyed having him be a member of our family. I'm looking forward to creating some sort of outdoor space for him once the weather warms up. However, my next project is to grow some food for Darwin myself. I have ordered the seeds and will embark on that journey soon. And, once we finally own a home, I hope to make a permanent outdoor structure for him.

Oh - and how do you say tortoise in Russian? Well, I could only find the word for turtle -- черепаха (chiе-reh-pa-kha).


  1. Oh my gosh, I love Darwin!! He is so cute! How big is he actually?

  2. Hi Kristen :)

    Darwin is about 5 inches long.


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