Russian turtles for sale
By Tyler Stewart
Alert male Russian tortoise
Photo Credit: Tyler Stewart
Russian Tortoise (Testudo [Agrionemys] horsfieldii)
A popular pet tortoise, Russian tortoises are one of the most readily available tortoise species. They are small, making them easy for most people with limited space to keep. They are also feisty, eager to eat and more active than some other tortoises. When allowed to burrow, Russian tortoises also have one of the highest tolerances for temperature extremes. They are one of the few species that can be kept outdoors in Las Vegas, Nev., year round. These factors make Russian tortoises attractive for new tortoisekeepers and a fun tortoise for seasoned veterans.
Russian Tortoise Availability
Most Russian tortoises are imported into the United States. Compared to the number of imported tortoises, captive production of this species is relatively low. You should assume that most adult or subadult Russian tortoises for sale are wild-caught (imported). Captive-bred babies are rarely raised to adult size and sold at the low prices that these imported Russian tortoises sell for.
Photo Credit: Tyler Stewart
Russian tortoise hatchling.
Russian Tortoise Size
Russian tortoise hatchlings measure about 1 inch in carapace length. As they mature, they reach a maximum length of 8 to 10 inches. Females are normally a little larger than males at full size. When females are about 6 inches long, they are large enough to begin producing eggs. Russian tortoises are almost always imported as young adults between 4 and 5 inches in carapace length. These tortoises are large enough to handle subprime conditions during shipping but small enough to fit many in a fixed-size shipping crate. Russian tortoises larger than about 6 inches long can be difficult to find.
Russian Tortoise Life Span
Russian tortoises can live more than 40 years. Raised on a lean, high-fiber diet, captive-raised animals in low-stress environments have higher life expectancies.
Russian Tortoise Caging
The preferred method for raising Russian tortoises is an outdoor enclosure in a warmer climate. Pens for one or two adults should be at least 2 feet by 4 feet. Enclosure walls should be set into the ground 6 to 12 inches to prevent the tortoises from digging under the sides, and they should be 12 inches or higher aboveground.
Russian tortoises are burrowers. They tend to dig into corners and against objects. Placing large rocks under the soil in the corners helps prevent tortoises from digging out. In higher or lower temperatures, they attempt to go underground to insulate themselves from the extremes. Building Russian tortoises underground hide boxes that maintain more stable temperatures helps to keep them from burrowing too much. Shaded grassy areas that get regular water help to keep smaller tortoises cool.