Russian Tortoise


Date: June 22nd, 2011

Russian tortoises are a great choice for intermediate to advanced tortoise keepers. This species stays small and are very tolerant of cooler temperatures. These personable tortoises are friendly and do well in small groups. As with all turtles and tortoises, purchasing this species is a long-term commitment.




  • Common Name: Russian Tortoise
  • Scientific Name: Testudo horsfieldii
  • Distribution: Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan and Western China
  • Size: 6-10"
  • Life Span: up to 40+ years




  • Russian tortoises will do best if kept outdoors in temperatures that do not fall below 40°F in winter.
  • If being kept indoors an adult Russian tortoise will need at least a 30 gallon terrarium.




    • Daytime Terrarium Temperature: 70-80° F

    • Basking Spot: 85-87°F

    • Nighttime Temperature: 65-75°F




  • UVB Lighting is essential for Russian Tortoises to process calcium in captivity.
  • Without UVB lighting tortoises will develop serious health problems such as abnormal shell growth and deformities.
  • UVB Lighting should be left on for 10-12 hours per day and turned off at night.




  • Russian tortoises live in arid places in the wild and will do well on a variety of dry substrates in captivity.
  • We recommend providing a deep 3+" of substrate to allow your tortoise to burrow.
  • Do not keep Russian Tortoises on damp substrate! (Substrate must be kept dry)




  • Russian Tortoises require a high fiber, low protein diet.
  • It is essential to supplement your tortoise's diet with ReptiCalcium® and ReptiVite™ as directed to provide balanced nutrition.
  • Fruits should not be offered because natural fruit sugars can cause health problems.
  • Other quality foods for your tortoise: grasses, kale, clover, hibiscus leaves and flowers, alfalfa, hay, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, rose petals, and sow thistle to name a few.
  • Warning: Be sure that any natural grasses or plants offered have not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.






If you have any further questions, email them to, or visit your local CountryMax store today!

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