Russian Tortoise (aka Horsfield) Guide

The Russian or Horsfield’s Tortoise, scientific name Agrionemys horsfieldii or Testudo horsfieldii also commonly known as Central Asian Tortoise is popularly considered as a pet. The name Horsfield’s Tortoise came from the American naturalist Thomas Horsfield. Other names of this tortoise include: Afghan tortoise,Afghanistan tortoise, steppe tortoise, and four-toed tortoise.

Size:This specie of tortoise is described to be of smaller size compared to most of the species. Its size only ranges from 15 to 25 cm (6-8 inches for males and 8-10 inches for females).

Life Span: They usually live about 75 years and even longer sometimes.

Feeding: The diet of Russian tortoises include: vegetables, grasses, and flowers of non-poisonous plants and weeds, and as well as leafy greens. Avoid feeding them with fruits for it may cause an upset stomach and also avoid grains, and animal proteins.

Supplement: Provide calcium and vitamin D3 powder as its supplements.

Housing (Outdoors): Russian tortoises are fond of retreating to their burrows in the heat of day and night. This means that the enclosure that you are going to set up must be sunk into the ground. Though this specie of tortoise can tolerate a wide range of temperature, it does not do well in damp weather conditions. A temperature range in the low to mid 80s°F (higher 20s°C) during the daytime is fine and also take note to provide an abundant water supply for your pet.

Housing (Indoors):  This specie does not do well if it is placed indoors all the time. If inevitable to place indoors, make sure to provide an enclosure of at least 2 feet by 4 feet filled with sand/soil as a substrate. The sand or soil should be deep enough for burrowing. The basking spot should be about 90-95°F (32-35°C) down to approximately 70°F (21°C). The shelter that you are going to provide should be located at the cooler end of the temperature gradient and the use of UVA/UVB lamp is required.

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