One of the most popular and perfect pet is Russian Tortoise, which is also known as Horsfield’s Tortoise or Central Asian Tortoise, as they are very adaptable and fairly easy to care for. Testudo Horsfieldii is the binomial name gives to this species. It is named after the American naturalist Thomas Horsfield. They are found in Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, Iran, and North Western China and of course Russia. These tortoises are in small in size, ranging about 13 to 25 cm, hence they do require only limited space. They are very active and eat at a rapid speed. They are most active in early mornings and early evenings. They spend the hottest portion of the day in their burrows. The temperature between 20 and 32 degree Celsius suits Testudo Horsfieldii the most and they are most active during this range of temperature but they are active only for few months. They come out of hibernation in mid-March and mates until mid-June. Males can be easily distinguished from females as they tend to have longer tail which is usually tucked in the side. Males also lack flared scutes on their shells which females possess. Concave bump on the plastron of the males help them mount flat bottomed females during intercourse. The carapace is brown or black in color. Their life span is more than 40 years. The Russian Tortoises are little weak when it comes to immunity and suffer mostly from parasites and respiratory infections. They are very calm and gentle but can be easily spooked while you hold them as they get frightened easily if their toes remain off the surface for a long period of time.
The Russian Tortoise Habitat
These tortoises have the highest tolerances for temperature extremes but they do prefer warm climate where temperature is never below 40 degree Fahrenheit. They are good climbers and diggers so the terrarium or pens should be 6 to 12 inches into the ground and 12 inches higher above the ground. Also placing rocks under the soil will prevent tortoises from digging up. The Russian tortoise should be provided with hiding places so planting rocks, plants and logs in the pen becomes important. A pool of water should also be provided to allow them to soak in but it should be shallow which will keep them from drowning. Temperature should vary between 75 and 85 degree Fahrenheit. They also require 12 to 14 hours of light a day so give them a full spectrum of light. The humidity level of the enclosure should not be more than 60%.
The Russian Tortoise Diet
This species of tortoise is herbivorous and should only be fed plant matter. Big leafy greens, wide leafed plants, grasses, weeds are some of their favorites. They also like romaine lettuce, endive, escarole etc. fruits should be avoided as TestudoHorsfieldii has difficulty in digesting them. Dog or cat food, meat and grains should also be eliminated from their diet. Their food can be sprinkled with calcium and vitamin supplements which are essential for their growth and development.