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Russian Tortoise Care Sheet, Diet, Habitat & Enclosure

Russian Tortoise Food Chart is a table that shows what food Russian tortoises should be fed on.
Russian tortoise food chart

Russian Tortoises will be discovered throughout Russia, the Center East, and Western Asia. They like to dig, climb and eat leafy greens.

This species is often known as the Horsfield’s Tortoise, named after naturalist Thomas Horsfield, who additionally provides his title to its classification, Agrionemys horsfieldii.

Reading: Russian tortoise food chart

Different names you might also see for this tortoise species are Afghan Tortoise, Central Asian Tortoise, 4-clawed Tortoise, and Steppe Tortoise. And the earlier classification for Russian Tortoise – Testudo horsfieldii.

Russian Tortoises are probably the most well-liked pet tortoise breeds due to their small measurement, distinctive personalities, and ease of care in captivity.

When buying you will need to understand they will reside for over 40 years. Shopping for one is a long-term dedication.

In case you are prepared for this dedication to probably the most well-liked pet reptiles, learn our care information to learn to correctly arrange your Russian Tortoise’s enclosure, what to feed them, and what behaviors it is best to count on…

Russian Tortoise
These tortoises are cheap (costing between $100 and $200) when in comparison with different well-liked reptiles.

Russian Tortoise Overview

Russian Tortoises are probably the most well-liked species in america.

Nevertheless, they’re comparatively new to the pet business and had been first found in 1966 by Khozatsky and Mlynarski.

They’re discovered within the desert and grasslands of Russia, the Center East and Asia. These harsh climates make them very hardy as they thrive in a few of the hardest climates on the planet.

The Russian Tortoise’s olive and tan shell with darkish markings make them very distinct.

They’re heavy-built and spherical in form, nevertheless, they’re surprisingly agile and revel in climbing and exploring. They’ve lengthy claws that assist with climbing and are identified to be avid diggers too. They’re identified for burying themselves to keep away from excessive cold and warm temperatures.

Docile and sociable, they’re nice for first-time reptile keepers, so long as they’re understanding of the tortoise’s in depth lifespan. They’re particularly nice pets for folks with younger kids as they’ve a really calm temperament.

Russian Tortoises are straightforward to take care of and don’t have the sophisticated husbandry necessities of many snakes, turtles, and lizards.

Their weight loss program is fairly easy and is strictly herbivorous.

Within the wild, they graze on quite a lot of grasses and different crops. In captivity, their weight loss program can encompass many several types of leafy greens and greens.

What We Like About Russian Tortoises

Species Look

Russian Tortoise Appearance
A fast approach to establish this species is by their toes – they solely have 4 toes on their entrance legs.

The Russian tortoise’s carapace, or shell, is tan to olive-colored with darkish brown and black splotches. The underside of its shell is normally a lot darker and may even be stable black.

There’s a variation generally known as the “Black Russian Tortoise” that has black scutes with their typical tan to olive coloration outlining every scute.

Their pores and skin is a uniform tannish coloration.

A well-built specieis, they’re comparatively stocky and females are bigger than males. You may establish a male by their pointed tails.

There are 5 different specieis of tortoises from the identical household tree (Testudo genus) which may seem related:

  1. Horsefield Tortoise
  2. Hermann’s Tortoise
  3. Greek Tortoise
  4. Marginated Tortoise
  5. Egyptian Tortoise

Nevertheless, you possibly can distinguish the Russian tortoises as a result of they solely have 4 claws on every foot.

How Large Do Russian Tortoises Get?

They’re smaller than most different pet tortoise species.

Grownup Russian Tortoises are between six to 10 inches in measurement. Males develop to about six inches and grownup females develop barely bigger to about eight inches. Ten inches is taken into account massive for this breed.

Russian Tortoise Care

Russian Tortoise Eating Cucumbers

Russian Tortoise Weight loss plan

Russian Tortoises are vigorous eaters and can eat repeatedly within the months main as much as summer time to arrange for hibernation.

Within the wild they’re herbivores and eat grass, leafy greens, broadleaf weeds, edible crops and flowers. So in captivity they need to be fed a excessive fiber weight loss program primarily consisting of greens:

  • Collards (kind of cabbage)
  • Dandelion greens
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens

In the event that they don’t eat their meals inside a number of hours, it ought to be faraway from their enclosure to make sure it doesn’t spoil.

Their weight loss program also needs to be supplemented with greens resembling peppers, squash, carrots, corn, and candy potatoes. A few times every week it’s also possible to feed a small quantity of apples or berries as a deal with.

Pelleted diets, like rabbit pellets, can be found however ought to be averted as most of them comprise too many nutrient poor grains. Iceberg lettuce also needs to be averted because it lacks needed vitamins.

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Russian Tortoises shouldn’t be fed meat or bugs, since they’re herbivores. As a substitute, you should utilize a calcium complement to make sure they’ve ample calcium. Give them calcium powder with their meals twice every week. If they’re housed exterior, then calcium powder is usually not needed.

They need to have entry to scrub, freshwater. Their water bowls have to be massive sufficient to permit them to soak as a result of they use soaking to control their physique temperature.

The water ought to be shallow as tortoises can’t swim.

Russian Tortoise Lifespan

Horsfield’s Tortoise
They are often lifelong pets – they typically reside for over 40 years.

Russian Tortoises are hardy reptiles and usually will reside for over 40 years in captivity.

They will reside an extended and wholesome life supplied you observe a constant husbandry routine, correct care and provides them a great enclosure.

Russian tortoises are prone to most of the identical well being points as different reptiles saved in captivity which can be attributable to improper enclosures, unsanitary habitats or a scarcity of vitamins.

  • Respiratory infections are seen in captive tortoises, particularly these saved in an indoor enclosure with poor air flow or incorrect temperatures. These infections will be attributable to quite a lot of organisms together with micro organism, fungi, viruses, and parasites.
  • Gastrointestinal parasitic infections are additionally widespread in Russian Tortoises. These infections are usually attributable to unsanitary dwelling situations, expired meals, or publicity to a different in poor health pet. Antiparasitic will be prescribed by your veterinarian to deal with these infections.
  • Metabolic bone illness is one other well being concern that may come up your tortoises don’t get a correct weight loss program or sufficient publicity to particular gentle waves. Calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D are required by quite a lot of completely different physique techniques for regular on a regular basis perform and are particularly necessary to bone and shell power.

In the event you suspect any of those well being situations then seek the advice of your veterinarian as most of the infections acquired will be zoonotic and transferred to folks.

Russian Tortoise Habitat

Russian Tortoise Habitat

Russian Tortoises are native to extra nations than simply Russia.

They thrive in quite a few center jap nations together with Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and even the western provinces of China.

Their pure habitat consists of the desert and barren areas of those nations. They’ve been identified to outlive within the harshest of situations.

Russian Tortoise Enclosure

Russian Tortoise Bedding

There are a whole lot of choices in terms of your Russian tortoise’s enclosure.

You should first select if you will have them housed indoors or outside.

An out of doors enclosure is healthier in case your local weather permits as a result of it’s going to mimic their pure out of doors surroundings and supply them with house to graze and roam:

  • For indoor enclosures, a plastic tub, glass tank, or picket terrarium are all good choices. The indoor enclosure ought to be not less than 5 sq. ft however bigger tanks are at all times higher.
  • For out of doors enclosures, they need to have not less than a 3 foot by 3 foot pen with partitions 1 foot tall and 6 inches deep. This can be very necessary to make sure that a portion of their enclosure is shaded in order that they’ve the power to adequately regulate their physique temperature.

Whether or not saved indoors or outside their enclosure have to be safe as they’ve been identified to flee.

  • Tank Sort: glass.
  • Tank Measurement: 5 sq. ft with 12-inch partitions.
  • Lighting: UVB lighting for not less than 12 hours a day.
  • Bedding: mixture of soil, hay, pebbles, sand.

If saved indoors they require a hotter and cooler non-heated aspect of their tank. The cool finish ought to be round room temperature at 70-72 levels and the hotter aspect ought to be not more than 90 levels.

They may also want UVB rays to course of calcium. Both use a UV gentle and basking gentle, or a mercury vapor bulb can be utilized for each.

At evening, all lights and heaters ought to be turned off supplied the enclosure stays above 60 levels.

Tortoises want not less than 12 hours of sunshine per day.

There isn’t one greatest substrate for Russian Tortoises however as an alternative a combination of various substrates ought to be supplied. Sand combined with soil, coconut fiber, cypress mulch, peat moss, wooden chips, hay, and pebbles can all be included of their enclosure.

The substrate ought to be dry and non-compact to permit for his or her pure burying behaviors.

Pre-packaged substrates will be purchased from a retailer. If scavenging a substrate from the wild be certain that it isn’t contaminated with fertilizers, parasites, or animal feces.

Russian tortoises ought to have loads of logs and rocks to climb on too. Giant rocks can forestall them from digging underneath the borders and supply shade, and flat rocks are a great floor for them to eat from.

Tank Cleansing Cleansing their enclosure is important for his or her well being.

Their water ought to be modified twice a day, as they have a tendency to defecate whereas soaking. Their substrate ought to be modified weekly, and your complete enclosure ought to be scrubbed with cleaning soap and water on a month-to-month foundation.

If housed exterior, you will need to recurrently take away logs and rocks and scrub them.

When cleansing their feces examine it. It ought to have semi-liquid white urate and darker elements. Whether it is agency, watery, or accommodates blood then seek the advice of along with your veterinarian.

Typical Habits

Pet Russian Tortoise

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Russian Tortoises are very personable and make a wonderful pet. Numerous reptile fans examine their habits to that of a canine as a result of they will acknowledge their proprietor and revel in spending time with them.

These tortoise’s work together with one another and people by way of quite a lot of behaviors.

Head banging, panting, hissing, and squeaking are all widespread:

  • Head banging is normally how they present dominance and the way they begin mating. Females carrying eggs additionally use head banging as a mechanism to scare off threats.
  • Squeaking is usually related as a mating noise, nevertheless some will use squeaking as a type of basic communication.
  • Panting and hissing are related to tortoises which can be about to eat.

Tortoises in captivity will spend most of their day buried, basking, or soaking with a purpose to thermoregulate. Nevertheless, different anticipated behaviors can embody climbing and grazing.

Though sociable with people, they shouldn’t be housed with different tortoises in captivity due to their territorial nature. Two males ought to particularly not be saved collectively. If one male and one feminine are housed collectively then the male could turn out to be overly sexual and harass the feminine.

Russian Tortoise Hibernation

Their habits within the wild could be very primary.

They spend the milder months of spring trying to find meals and mating, are comparatively dormant (i.e. aestivate) throughout the sizzling hospitable months, earlier than in search of meals once more within the fall to hibernate for the winter.

This cycle continues yearly.

Do Wild Russian Tortoises Hibernate?

Sure within the wild they do hibernate, however hibernation is unhealthy for tortoises in captivity. So their enclosure temperature and lighting ought to stay fixed year-round.

Dealing with Recommendation and Suggestions

Russian Tortoises are docile in captivity and will be routinely held so long as it’s accomplished so appropriately.

With tortoises being prey animals, dealing with ought to be regularly launched into their routine.

It’s best to assist them from beneath their shell, and maintain them low to the bottom. Keep away from grabbing its legs, tail, or neck. In the event that they present indicators of worry or hesitation when making an attempt to deal with them then they need to be positioned again into their enclosure to chill out for a number of hours.

Each one is completely different and a few do higher with dealing with than others.

You should at all times wash your palms earlier than and after dealing with them to guard them and your self from infections. They will carry salmonella micro organism, which is innocent to them, however the salmonella micro organism is dangerous to people.

Child Russian Tortoises

Two Baby Russian Tortoises
As hatchlings this species measures only one inch in size.

Russian Tortoises lay eggs that finally hatch right into a child tortoise after 60 to 75 days.

These hatchlings are born simply an inch in measurement and can develop very slowly over the course of their lifetime. They gained’t attain their grownup measurement of 6 to eight inches till round 20 to 30 years.

Russian Tortoises attain sexual maturity round 15 to twenty months of age when they’re round 4.5 inches in size.

Males provoke breeding by circling the feminine and bobbing their head. The mating course of will final between 10 and 20 minutes and females will lay as much as 5 eggs.

Decrease incubation temperatures are related to males. The reverse is extra related to females.

How A lot Does A Russian Tortoise Price?

These tortoises usually vary in worth from $100 to $200. If you wish to keep away from spending some huge cash then strive shopping native rescue teams. There’s a great probability one will turn out to be out there due to their recognition and lifespan.

Species with distinctive patterns resembling “Black Russian Tortoises” will price greater than typical colorations.

Captive-bred Russian Tortoises make higher pets than wild-caught. Captive-bred tortoises are usually extra docile and personable. If buying one from a captive breeder, it is best to inquire about how the tortoises had been bred and raised to make sure that they’re wholesome and comfortable.

The perfect Russian Tortoise ought to:

  • Be vibrant and alert.
  • Freed from any discharge from its eyes, ears, nostril, and mouth.
  • Have pores and skin and a shell freed from blemishes or irregularities.
  • Present no indicators of aggression when dealt with.

All of those situations ought to be met when buying a Russian Tortoise.

Russian Tortoise Info Frequent Identify Russian Tortoise, Horsfield’s Tortoise, or Afghan Tortoise Scientific Identify Agrionemys horsfieldii Value $100+ Measurement 6 – 10 inches (females are barely larger) Lifespan 40+ years Weight loss plan Leafy greens, greens, and sometimes fruit Tank Measurement 5 sq. ft Humidity & Temperature Basking temperature: 90°F Cool aspect: 70-72°F Standard Options Purple-Footed Tortoise Indian Star Tortoise Mediterranean Spur-Thighed Tortoise


Russian Tortoises make wonderful pets for almost anybody from first-time reptile homeowners to skilled fans.

This species is probably the most well-liked breeds due to its hardy nature, enjoyable persona, small measurement, and low husbandry necessities.

When buying this breed it is best to take into account their lengthy lifespan and count on them to reside for greater than 4 many years. If that is too lengthy, then take into account the Indian Star Tortoise. They’re similar-sized and likewise make nice pets.

In the event you’re in search of a lifelong good friend then the Russian Tortoise is the pet for you.

Tell us what you consider this pet under.

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