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Horsefield Tortoise For Sale Russian tortoise, diet, ideas, Care Guide 2022

Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

Horsefield Tortoise For Sale Russian tortoise, diet, ideas, Care Guide 2022

This small reptile is very popular as a pet, although it must be borne in mind that they are so aggressive towards specimens of their species that it is not recommended to put them together in the same terrarium The Russian tortoise can be found throughout Russia, the Middle East, and Western Asia. They love to dig, climb, and eat leafy greens.

Russian tortoises are one of the most popular pet tortoise breeds due to their small size, unique personalities, and ease of care in captivity. When buying it is important to realize that they can live more than 40 years. Buying one is a long-term commitment. If you’re ready for this compromise, read our care guide to learn how to properly enclose your Russian tortoise, what to feed them, and what behaviors to expect …

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The Horsfield’s tortoise ( Testudo horsfieldii ) is a species of chelonian or land tortoise, found throughout much of Europe and Asia , including countries such as Russia. Given their wide distribution, there are multiple names for these animals, such as Russian tortoise, steppe tortoise or Afghan tortoise.

Characteristics of the Horsfield’s tortoise

The Horsfield’s tortoise is a small species, which does not exceed 22 centimeters in length in the case of females.  This species presents sexual dimorphism and the males are smaller, as they do not exceed 18 centimeters.

These turtles have a slightly oval carapace with different shades of brown , yellow and olive green, while the plastron is black .

Their skin is a much lighter brown on both the head and legs.  The forelimbs are more robust and have four large nails, like the hindquarters.

This is one of the main differences with the rest of the turtles of the genus  Testudo , since tortoises such as the Moorish or Mediterranean tortoise have five nails on each limb instead of four, like the Horsfield tortoise. 

Regarding  sexual dimorphism , it is not exclusively reduced to size: males have a longer and thicker tail at the base, where the hemipenis are housed . In the case of females, the distance between the cloaca and the base of the tail is greater in males.

In addition, males have a concavity in the plastron, which allows them to fit into the female’s back , on top of her carapace. In the case of females and young males, the plastron is flat.

Horsfield’s tortoise behavior – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

Like most tortoises, the Horsfield’s tortoise has good eyesight that allows it to recognize colors and, it is believed, even faces. They are also very sensitive to vibrations, similar to  the senses of snakes;  and they have a great sense of smell, vital for feeding and reproducing.Land turtles are usually solitary animals, unlike water turtles. 

In addition, in the particular case of the Horsfield’s tortoise, this animal is especially aggressive, so special care must be taken in captivity and it is not recommended to keep several individuals as pets in the same terrarium.Being cold-blooded animals , they tend to sunbathe frequently. 

In addition to regulating temperature, ultraviolet rays allow them to synthesize vitamin D, while warmth helps activate digestive enzymes.However, the Horsfield’s tortoise comes from a colder climate than most chelonians, so at temperatures above 27ºC the Horsfield’s tortoise tends to bury itself in the ground to cool off.As for their diet, they are herbivorous animals, although in extreme conditions they feed on arthropods and even excrement. That is why it is vital to remember that they do not consume meat in captivity.

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Reproduction of the Horsfield’s tortoise

Regarding their reproduction, after hibernation courtship begins, in which the male is especially aggressive towards the female. A curious fact is that most turtles only make sounds during copulation. In addition, these turtles can retain semen within the oviduct, so there are turtles that take several years to conceive.

Females lay approximately four eggs a year, between May and June they bury them, and the birth of males and females depends on the temperature. At temperatures above 31.5ºC, more females are born than males, and at lower temperatures the opposite.

This is one of the reasons why many species of turtle, such as  the loggerhead turtle , are in danger of extinction. In addition to plastics, climate change is skyrocketing single-sex specimens. At birth they measure three centimeters and weigh about 10 grams; they open the egg thanks to a horn that disappears after a few days.

Russian tortoise overview – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

The Russian tortoise is one of the most popular species in the United States.

They are found in the desert and grasslands of Russia, the Middle East, and Asia. These harsh climates make them very hardy as they thrive in some of the harshest climates on the planet.

The olive and brown Russian tortoise shell with dark markings makes them very distinct.

Docile and sociable, they are excellent for first-time reptile keepers, as long as they understand the long life of the tortoise. They are especially good pets for people with young children as they have a very calm temperament.

The Russian tortoise is easy to care for and does not have the complicated breeding requirements of many snakes, tortoises, and lizards.

Its diet is quite simple and it is strictly herbivorous.

In the wild, they graze on a variety of grasses and other plants. In captivity, their diet can consist of many different types of leafy greens and vegetables.

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What we like about Russian tortoises


  • Long lifespan (over 40 years) due to its tough and durable nature.
  • Small size, easy to care for and low requirements for captive breeding.
  • Ability to live healthily both indoors and outdoors.


  • They need a hot place of 90 degrees or more.
  • For their size they need a large outdoor enclosure (5 square feet).

Appearance of the species – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

The Russian tortoise has a tan to olive colored upper carapace with dark brown and black markings. The underside of their shell is usually much darker and can even be solid black.

There is a variation known as the “Russian Black Tortoise” that has black shields with their typical olive-tan color outlining each scallop.

Their skin is a uniform tan color.

They are a well-built species, they are relatively robust, and the females are larger than the males. A male can be identified by his pointed tail.

There are five other species of tortoises from the same family tree (genus Testudo) that may appear similar:

  1. Field turtle
  2. Hermann’s tortoise
  3. Greek tortoise
  4. Marginalized Turtle
  5. Egyptian tortoise

However, Russian tortoises can be distinguished because they only have four claws on each leg.

How big are Russian tortoises?

Russian tortoises are smaller than most other pet species, ranging in size from six to ten inches . Males grow to about six inches and females grow slightly to about eight inches. Ten inches is considered large for this breed.

Russian tortoise care – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

Russian tortoise diet

Russian tortoises are vigorous eaters and will eat continuously in the months leading up to summer to prepare for hibernation.

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In nature they are herbivores and eat grass, leafy vegetables, weeds, and flowers. So in captivity they should be fed a diet consisting mainly of vegetables :

  • Cabbages (type of cabbage)
  • Green dandelion
  • Kale
  • Mustard leaves
  • Turnip greens

If they don’t eat their food within a few hours, they should remove it from their enclosure to make sure it doesn’t spoil.

Russian tortoises should not be fed meat or insects, as they are herbivorous. Instead, they can use calcium powder to supplement their food twice a week. If they are housed outside, then powdered calcium is generally not necessary.

They should have access to clean, fresh water. Their water container should be large enough to allow them to soak in, as they use soaking to regulate their body temperature.

The water must be shallow as the turtles cannot swim.

Russian tortoise life – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

The Russian tortoise is a hardy reptile and will normally live more than 40 years in captivity.

They can live long and healthy lives as long as a consistent parenting routine is followed and a good enclosure is given.

Russian tortoises are susceptible to many of the same health problems as other reptiles kept in captivity, caused by inadequate enclosures, unsanitary habitats, or a lack of nutrients.

  • Respiratory infections are seen in captive tortoises, especially those kept indoors with poor ventilation or incorrect temperatures. These infections can be caused by a variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites.
  • Gastrointestinal parasitic infections are also common in Russian tortoises. These infections are usually caused by unsanitary living conditions, expired food, or exposure to another sick pet. Your vet can prescribe a dewormer to treat these infections.
  • Metabolic bone disease is another health concern that can arise if your tortoises are not getting a proper diet or sufficient exposure to specific light waves. Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D are required by a number of different body systems for normal daily function and are especially important for the strength of bones and the shell.

If you suspect any of these health conditions, see your veterinarian, as many acquired infections can be zoonotic and can be transferred to people.

Signs that are healthyHorsefield Tortoise For Sale

  • A smooth and uniform upper carapace, free of irregularities.
  • Active and exhibiting normal behaviors such as soaking and sunbathing.
  • A healthy and constant appetite.
  • The urates that are white and semi-liquid in shape.

Symptoms of the diseaseHorsefield Tortoise For Sale

  • Skin irregularities, including bleeding from your shell.
  • Weight loss, listlessness, lethargy, or inability to walk.
  • Discharge from the mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing.

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Habitat of the Russian tortoise

The Russian tortoise is native to more countries than just Russia.

Its natural habitat includes the desert and arid regions of these countries. They are known to survive in the harshest conditions.

Russian tortoise enclosure – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

There are many options when it comes to your Russian tortoise enclosure.

You must first choose whether you want to house them indoors or outdoors.

An outdoor enclosure is best if you live in a warm climate because it will mimic their natural environment and provide them with space to graze and roam:

  • For indoor enclosures, a plastic bathtub, glass tank, or wooden terrarium are good options. The indoor enclosure should be at least 5 square feet, but larger tanks are always better.
  • For outdoor enclosures they must have at least a 3 foot by 3 foot pen with walls 1 foot high and 6 inches deep. It is extremely important to ensure that a part of their enclosure is in the shade so that they have the ability to properly regulate their body temperature.

Whether they are kept indoors or outdoors, their enclosure must be safe as they are known to leak.

  • Tank type: glass.
  • Tank size: 5 square feet with 12-inch walls.
  • Lighting: UVB lighting for at least 12 hours a day.
  • Litter: mixture of soil, hay, pebbles, sand.

If kept indoors, the Russian tortoise requires a warmer and cooler unheated side in its tank. The cooler side should be at room temperature, between 70 and 72 degrees, and the warmer side should be above 90 degrees. They will also need a UVB light to process the calcium. They can use a UV light and a sun lamp or a mercury vapor bulb for both.

Horsefield Tortoise For Sale Russian tortoise, diet, ideas, Care Guide 2022

There is no best substrate for Russian tortoises, but instead a mixture of different substrates must be provided. Dirt, sand, wood chips, hay, and pebbles can be included in your enclosure.

The substrate must be dry and non-compact to allow its natural burial behaviors.

Prepackaged turtle substrates can be purchased from a store. If you are looking for a substrate in nature, make sure it is not contaminated with fertilizers, parasites, or animal feces.

Russian tortoises should have plenty of logs and rocks to climb on as well.

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Tank cleaningHorsefield Tortoise For Sale

Cleaning your enclosure is vital to your health.

The water should be changed twice a day, as they tend to defecate while soaking. The substrate should be changed weekly, and the entire enclosure should be scrubbed with soap and water on a monthly basis.

If they are housed outside, it is important to regularly remove logs and rocks and scrub them.

When you clean your stool, inspect it. It should have semi-liquid white urate and darker components. If it is firm, watery, or contains blood, check with your vet.

Typical behavior – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

The Russian tortoise is very friendly and makes an excellent pet. Many people compare his behavior to that of a dog because he can recognize his owner and enjoy spending time with him.

Head banging, gasping, hissing, and squeaking are common:

  • Head tapping is usually how they show dominance and how they begin to mate. Egg-bearing females also use head blows as a mechanism to scare off threats.
  • Chirp is typically associated as a mating noise, however some use chirp as a form of general communication.
  • Panting and hissing are associated with turtles about to eat.

Captive turtles will spend most of the day buried, sunbathing or soaking in order to thermoregulate. However, other expected behaviors may include climbing and grazing.

Although they are sociable with humans, they should not be housed together in captivity due to their territorial nature. Two males especially should not be kept together. If a male and female are housed together, the male can become overly sexual and harass the female.

Hibernation of the Russian tortoise

Their behavior in nature is very basic.

They spend the milder spring months foraging and mating, being relatively asleep (i.e., aestivated) during the hot hospitality months, before foraging for food again in the fall to hibernate for the winter.

This cycle continues every year.

Although hibernation is a natural behavior in the wild, hibernation is not healthy for turtles in captivity. So the temperature and lighting of your enclosure must remain constant throughout the year.

Driving tips and advice – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

The Russian tortoise is docile in captivity and can be routinely kept as long as it is done properly.

Since turtles are prey animals, handling should be gradually introduced into their routine.

You must support your turtle from under its shell, and keep it low to the ground. Avoid grabbing its legs, tail, or neck. If they show signs of fear or hesitation when trying to handle them, they should be placed back in their enclosure to relax for a few hours.

Each turtle is different and some are better handled than others.

When handling it, you should wash your hands before and after.

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Horsefield Tortoise For Sale
Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

Russian baby turtles

Russian tortoises lay eggs that eventually hatch into a baby tortoise after 60 to 75 days.

These young are born only one inch in size and will grow very slowly throughout their lives. They will not reach their adult size of 6 to 8 inches until around 20 to 30 years.

Russian tortoises reach sexual maturity around 15-20 months of age when they are around 4.5 inches in length.

Males initiate reproduction by circling the female and shaking their heads. The mating process will last between 10 and 20 minutes and the females will lay up to 5 eggs.

Lower incubation temperatures are associated with males. The opposite is more associated with females.

How much does a Russian tortoise cost?

These turtles are typically priced between $ 100 and $ 200 . If you want to avoid spending a lot of money, then try looking in your local rescue groups. There is a good chance that one is available due to its popularity and lifespan.

Species with unique patterns like the “Russian Black Tortoise” will cost more than typical colorations.

Captive-bred Russian tortoises make better pets than those caught in the wild. Captive-bred tortoises are typically more docile and friendly. If you buy one from a captive breeder, you should ask how the turtles were raised to ensure they are healthy and happy.

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The ideal Russian tortoise should:

  • Be bright and alert.
  • Free from any discharge from your eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
  • Have the skin and shell free of spots or irregularities.
  • They show no signs of aggression when handled.

All these conditions must be met when buying a Russian tortoise.

Russian Tortoise Facts Common Name Russian Tortoise, Horsfield Tortoise, or Afghan Tortoise Scientific Name Agionemys horsfieldii Price $ 100 + Size6 – 10 inches (females are slightly larger) Duration40 + yearsDietVegetables, vegetables and occasionally fruitTank sizeFive square feetHumidity and temperatureCutting temperature: 90 ° F

Cold side: 70-72 ° Popular alternatives Red-footed tortoise

Indian Star Tortoise

Mediterranean spur tortoise

Summary – Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

The Russian tortoise makes an excellent pet for almost everyone, from first-time reptile owners to seasoned enthusiasts.

This species is one of the most popular breeds due to its hardy nature, fun personality, small size, and low rearing requirements.

When purchasing this breed, consider their long life and expect them to live for more than four decades. If it’s too long, then consider the Indian Star Tortoise. It is a similarly sized tortoise that also makes a great pet.

If you are looking for a friend for life, the Russian tortoise is your pet.

Let us know what you think of this pet below.

Are Horsefield Tortoise For Sale good pets?

Image result for Horsefield Tortoise For Sale
Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

Despite the facts that Horsefield Tortoises aren’t very demanding as pets. … Horsefield Tortoises do make nice pets, but they aren’t for every one, and you do have to have the space to have one or more of them as pets. They also have very special needs from a food aspect and also the type of climate they live in.

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Do horsefield tortoises need company?

Image result for Horsefield Tortoise For Sale
Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

Do tortoises need other tortoise companions? Tortoises, like many other reptiles, didn’t evolve with a built-in need for companionship. They are perfectly happy on their own in the wild. Pet tortoises aren’t that far removed from their wild cousins, so they too are just fine alone.

How long do horsefield tortoises live for?

These tortoises are native to Central Asia including the Russian Steppes, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Iran and some parts of China. They are a burrowing tortoise and can burrow up to 3 foot in the ground. They should be expected to live over at least 50 years, if not reaching 80-100 years.

Do horsefield tortoises like to be handled?

Sufficiently strong to even break the grip of an unwary adult, a tortoise can suffer great trauma or broken limbs and shell from being dropped. A tortoise should only ever be handled with two hands, they hate being picked up, it is not natural to them.

Can a tortoise bite your finger off?

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Horsefield Tortoise For Sale

These bites are extremely painful, due to the fact that these tortoise species need to chew through more dense food on a daily basis. Additionally, these types of tortoises are more than likely to break the skin of a human, and could even take fingers off with the right amount of force.

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