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Russian Tortoise (Yearlings): Testudo horsfieldi
Experience Level: Starter [?]
Care Sheet: Juvenile Tortoises
We have two hand raised yearling Russian Tortoises. They were originally held back because they hatched with particularly nice shell colors. They have grown very nicely with beautifully contrasting shells. Each is perfectly well started at 2.5 inches, and are as nice as they come. The middle photo shows a yearling with a hatchling for size comparison. Their care and behavior is the same as for hatchling Russian Tortoises, and follows:
Russian Tortoises (Testudo horsfieldi) are the smallest tortoise species commonly available to keepers. This makes them one of the most sought after...They are found in the green areas along the edges of rocky hillsides and deserts of south eastern Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because Russian Tortoises do best at the same temperatures and humidity levels that people prefer, they make ideal indoor, even“small apartment tortoises”for keepers. They have relentless, yet outgoing and friendly personalities. They learn to recognize their keepers, and stay quite small (males reach about 6 inches, and females just over 7 inches -after many years).
Juvenile Russian Tortoises do need extra moisture; we soak ours 3 times each week in warm shallow water for about 7 - 9 minutes . Russian Tortoises are a desert species and should never have a water bowl. Constant access to greens and short, shallow soakings (3 times a week for hatchlings, twice a week for yearlings and two year olds, and once each week for adults) is their source of hydration. We also keep their substrate moist. In the wild, Russian Tortoises eat grasses and leaves, flowers and some fruit. Ours are given tortoise diet, mixed with cut veggies and calcium supplement. Romaine, cactus pads, other greens and some fruit is also given. Russian Tortoises do not often drink, the get their moisture from the metabolic moisture produced from their food. Ours bask in the low to mid 90s, with a UVB source also provided.
A great species for keepers just starting out, Russian Tortoises are one the easiest to care for, and quickly win the favor of their keepers.
* Remember, each Tortoise order comes with a free starter sample of the same Tortoise diet your Tortoise has been raised on - to order larger quantities, see the lower left side of this page. *
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