Russian Tortoises (Testudo horsfieldi) are the smallest tortoise species commonly available to keepers. This makes them one of the most sought after...They are found in the green areas along the edges of rocky hillsides and deserts of south eastern Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because Russian Tortoises do best at the same temperatures and humidity levels that people prefer, they make ideal indoor, even small apartment tortoises for keepers. They have relentless, yet outgoing and friendly personalities. They learn to recognize their keepers, and stay quite small (males reach about 6 inches, and females just over 7 inches -after many years).
Juvenile Russian Tortoises do need extra moisture; we soak ours 3 times each week in warm shallow water for about 8 minutes . We also keep their substrate moist. Russian Tortoises are a desert species and should never have a water bowl. Constant access to greens and short, shallow soakings (3 times a week for hatchlings, twice a week for yearlings and two year olds, and once each week for adults) is their source of hydration. In the wild, Russian Tortoises eat grasses and leaves, flowers and some fruit. Ours are given tortoise diet, mixed with cut veggies and calcium supplement. Romaine, cactus pads, other greens and some fruit is also given. Russian Tortoises do not often drink, the get their moisture from the metabolic moisture produced from their food. Ours bask in the low to mid 90s, with a UVB source also provided.
Our adult Russian Tortoises are 4 -5 inch, 360 -420 gram young adults with nice coloration. Originally from Uzbekistan, these long term captives are doing very well on a diet of dark leafy greens, cactus pads, mixed veggies and Tortoise diet. We add a calcium supplement to their food, give natural sun or UVB; and soak them weekly. These are excellent tortoises for air conditioned homes and for outdoor pens in cooler and drier climates. Fantastic diggers, Russian tortoises will make burrows very quickly. With a little set up planning, this size makes excellent pets; and are old enough to add to existing breeding projects.
A great species for keepers just starting out, Russian Tortoises are one the easiest to care for, and quickly win the favor of their keepers.
Pictured are a few typicaly colored Russian Tortoises - they can also be lighter or darker. We will be hatching and starting more Russian Tortoises soon.