Russian Tortoise Care Sheet, Diet, Habitat & Enclosure - Everything Reptiles (2023)

Russian Tortoises can be found all over Russia, the Middle East, and Western Asia. They love to dig, climb and eat leafy greens.

This species is also known as the Horsfield’s Tortoise, named after naturalist Thomas Horsfield, who also gives his name to its classification, Agrionemys horsfieldii.

Other names you may also see for this tortoise species are Afghan Tortoise, Central Asian Tortoise, Four-clawed Tortoise, and Steppe Tortoise. And the previous classification for Russian Tortoise – Testudo horsfieldii.

Russian Tortoises are one of the most popular pet tortoise breeds because of their small size, unique personalities, and ease of care in captivity.

When purchasing it is important to realize they can live for over 40 years. Buying one is a long-term commitment.

If you are ready for this commitment to one of the most popular pet reptiles, read our care guide to learn how to properly set up your Russian Tortoise’s enclosure, what to feed them, and what behaviors you should expect…

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Table of Contents

  • Russian Tortoise Overview
  • What We Like About Russian Tortoises
  • Species Appearance
    • How Big Do Russian Tortoises Get?
  • Russian Tortoise Care
    • Russian Tortoise Diet
    • Russian Tortoise Lifespan
  • Russian Tortoise Habitat
    • Russian Tortoise Enclosure
  • Typical Behavior
    • Russian Tortoise Hibernation
    • Handling Advice and Tips
  • Baby Russian Tortoises
    • How Much Does A Russian Tortoise Cost?
  • Summary

Russian Tortoise Overview

Russian Tortoises are one of the most popular species in the United States.

However, they are relatively new to the pet industry and were first discovered in 1966 by Khozatsky and Mlynarski.

They are found in the desert and grasslands of Russia, the Middle East and Asia. These harsh climates make them very hardy as they thrive in some of the toughest climates on the planet.

The Russian Tortoise’s olive and tan shell with dark markings make them very distinct.

(Video) EASIEST REPTILE ! ,🐢🦎RUSSIAN TORTOISE - CARE GUIDE

They areheavy-built and round in shape, however, they are surprisingly agile and enjoy climbing and exploring. They have long claws that help with climbing and are known to be avid diggers too. They are known for burying themselves to avoid extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Docile and sociable, they are great for first-time reptile keepers, as long as they are understanding of the tortoise’s extensive lifespan. They are especially great pets for people with young children as they have a very calm temperament.

Russian Tortoises are easy to care for and don’t have the complicated husbandry requirements of many snakes, turtles, and lizards.

Their diet is pretty simple and is strictly herbivorous.

In the wild, they graze on a variety of grasses and other plants. In captivity, their diet can consist of many different types of leafy greens and vegetables.

What We Like About Russian Tortoises

Pros

  • Long lifespan (over 40 years) because of their hardy and durable nature.
  • Small size, ease-of-care, and low husbandry requirements in captivity.
  • Ability to live healthily both indoors and outdoors.

Cons

  • They need a hot basking spot of 90 degrees or more.
  • For their size, they need a large outdoor enclosure (5 square feet).

Species Appearance

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The Russian tortoise’s carapace, or shell, is tan to olive-colored with dark brown and black splotches. The bottom of its shell is usually much darker and can even be solid black.

There is a variation known as the “Black Russian Tortoise” that has black scutes with their typical tan to olive color outlining each scute.

Their skin is a uniform tannish color.

A well-built specieis, they are relatively stocky and females are larger than males. You can identify a male by their pointed tails.

There are five other specieis of tortoises from the same family tree (Testudo genus) which can appear similar:

  1. Horsefield Tortoise
  2. Hermann’s Tortoise
  3. Greek Tortoise
  4. Marginated Tortoise
  5. Egyptian Tortoise

However, you can distinguish the Russian tortoises because they only have four claws on each foot.

How Big Do Russian Tortoises Get?

They are smaller than most other pet tortoise species.

Adult Russian Tortoises are between six to ten inches in size. Males grow to about six inches and adult females grow slightly larger to about eight inches. Ten inches is considered large for this breed.

Russian Tortoise Care

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Russian Tortoise Diet

Russian Tortoises are vigorous eaters and will eat continuously in the months leading up to summer to prepare for hibernation.

In the wild they are herbivores and eat grass, leafy vegetables, broadleaf weeds, edible plants and flowers. So in captivity they should be fed a high fiber diet mainly consisting of greens:

(Video) COMPLETE Russian Tortoise Care Tutorial | Indoors and Outdoors |

  • Collards (type of cabbage)
  • Dandelion greens
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens

If they don’t eat their food within a few hours, it should be removed from their enclosure to ensure it doesn’t spoil.

Their diet should also be supplemented with vegetables such as peppers, squash, carrots, corn, and sweet potatoes. Once or twice a week you can also feed a small amount of apples or berries as a treat.

Pelleted diets, like rabbit pellets, are available but should be avoided as most of them contain too many nutrient deficient grains. Iceberg lettuce should also be avoided as it lacks necessary nutrients.

Russian Tortoises should not be fed meat or insects, since they are herbivores. Instead, you can use a calcium supplement to ensure they have adequate calcium. Give them calcium powder with their food twice a week. If they are housed outside, then calcium powder is generally not necessary.

They should have access to clean, freshwater. Their water bowls must be large enough to allow them to soak because they use soaking to regulate their body temperature.

The water should be shallow as tortoises can’t swim.

Russian Tortoise Lifespan

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Russian Tortoises are hardy reptiles and typically will live for over 40 years in captivity.

They can live a long and healthy life provided you follow a consistent husbandry routine, proper care and give them a good enclosure.

Russian tortoises are susceptible to many of the same health issues as other reptiles kept in captivity that are caused by improper enclosures, unsanitary habitats or a lack of nutrients.

  • Respiratory infections are seen in captive tortoises, especially those kept in an indoor enclosure with poor ventilation or incorrect temperatures. These infections can be caused by a variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites.
  • Gastrointestinal parasitic infections are also common in Russian Tortoises. These infections are normally caused by unsanitary living conditions, expired food, or exposure to another ill pet. Antiparasitic can be prescribed by your veterinarian to treat these infections.
  • Metabolic bone disease is another health concern that can arise your tortoises don’t get a proper diet or enough exposure to specific light waves. Calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D are required by a number of different body systems for normal everyday function and are especially important to bone and shell strength.

If you suspect any of these health conditions then consult your veterinarian as many of the infections acquired can be zoonotic and transferred to people.

Signs They Are Healthy

  • A smooth and uniform upper shell free of irregularities.
  • Active and exhibiting normal behaviors such as soaking and basking.
  • A healthy and consistent appetite.
  • Urates that are white and semi-liquid in form.

Sickness Symptoms

  • Skin irregularities including bleeding from their shell.
  • Weight loss, listlessness, lethargy, or an inability to walk.
  • Discharge from the mouth, noses, or eyes.
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing.

Russian Tortoise Habitat

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Russian Tortoises are native to more countries than just Russia.

They thrive in numerous middle eastern countries including Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and even the western provinces of China.

Their natural habitat includes the desert and barren regions of these countries. They have been known to survive in the harshest of conditions.

Russian Tortoise Enclosure

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There are a lot of options when it comes to your Russian tortoise’s enclosure.

(Video) Russian Tortoise Care, Horsfield Tortoise Care

You must first choose if you are going to have them housed indoors or outdoors.

An outdoor enclosure is better if your climate permits because it will mimic their natural outdoor environment and provide them with space to graze and roam:

  • For indoor enclosures, a plastic tub, glass tank, or wooden terrarium are all good options. The indoor enclosure should be at least 5 square feet but larger tanks are always better.
  • For outdoor enclosures, they should have at least a 3 foot by 3 foot pen with walls 1 foot tall and 6 inches deep. It is extremely important to ensure that a portion of their enclosure is shaded so that they have the ability to adequately regulate their body temperature.

Whether kept indoors or outdoors their enclosure must be secure as they have been known to escape.

  • Tank Type: glass.
  • Tank Size: 5 square feet with 12-inch walls.
  • Lighting: UVB lighting for at least 12 hours a day.
  • Bedding: mix of soil, hay, pebbles, sand.

If kept indoors they require a warmer and cooler non-heated side in their tank. The cool end should be around room temperature at 70-72 degrees and the warmer side should be no more than 90 degrees.

They will also need UVB rays to process calcium. Either use a UV light and basking light, or a mercury vapor bulb can be used for both.

At night, all lights and heaters should be turned off provided the enclosure remains above 60 degrees.

Tortoises need at least 12 hours of light per day.

There isn’t one best substrate for Russian Tortoises but instead a mixture of different substrates should be provided. Sand mixed with soil, coconut fiber, cypress mulch, peat moss, wood chips, hay, and pebbles can all be included in their enclosure.

The substrate should be dry and non-compact to allow for their natural burying behaviors.

Pre-packaged substrates can be bought from a store. If scavenging a substrate from the wild ensure that it is not contaminated with fertilizers, parasites, or animal feces.

Russian tortoises should have plenty of logs and rocks to climb on too. Large rocks can prevent them from digging under the borders and provide shade, and flat rocks are a good surface for them to eat from.

Tank Cleaning
Cleaning their enclosure is vital for their health.

Their water should be changed twice a day, as they tend to defecate while soaking. Their substrate should be changed weekly, and the entire enclosure should be scrubbed with soap and water on a monthly basis.

If housed outside, it is important to regularly remove logs and rocks and scrub them.

When cleaning their feces inspect it. It should have semi-liquid white urate and darker components. If it is firm, watery, or contains blood then consult with your veterinarian.

Typical Behavior

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Russian Tortoises are very personable and make an excellent pet. A lot of reptile enthusiasts compare their behavior to that of a dog because they can recognize their owner and enjoy spending time with them.

These tortoise’s interact with each other and humans through a variety of behaviors.

Head banging, panting, hissing, and squeaking are all common:

  • Head banging is usually how they show dominance and how they start mating. Females carrying eggs also use head banging as a mechanism to scare off threats.
  • Squeaking is typically associated as a mating noise, however some will use squeaking as a form of general communication.
  • Panting and hissing are associated with tortoises that are about to eat.

Tortoises in captivity will spend most of their day buried, basking, or soaking in order to thermoregulate. However, other expected behaviors can include climbing and grazing.

Although sociable with humans, they shouldn’t be housed with other tortoises in captivity because of their territorial nature. Two males should especially not be kept together. If one male and one female are housed together then the male may become overly sexual and harass the female.

(Video) Part 1 russian tortoise care guide

Russian Tortoise Hibernation

Their behavior in the wild is very basic.

They spend the milder months of spring searching for food and mating, are relatively dormant (i.e. aestivate) during the hot hospitable months, before looking for food again in the fall to hibernate for the winter.

This cycle continues every year.

Do Wild Russian Tortoises Hibernate?

Yes in the wild they do hibernate, but hibernation is unhealthy for tortoises in captivity. So their enclosure temperature and lighting should remain constant year-round.

Handling Advice and Tips

Russian Tortoises are docile in captivity and can be routinely held as long as it is done so appropriately.

With tortoises being prey animals, handling should be gradually introduced into their routine.

You should support them from underneath their shell, and keep them low to the ground. Avoid grabbing its legs, tail, or neck. If they show signs of fear or hesitation when trying to handle them then they should be placed back into their enclosure to relax for a few hours.

Every one is different and some do better with handling than others.

You must always wash your hands before and after handling them to protect them and yourself from infections. They can carry salmonella bacteria, which is harmless to them, but the salmonella bacteria is harmful to humans.

Baby Russian Tortoises

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Russian Tortoises lay eggs that eventually hatch into a baby tortoise after 60 to 75 days.

These hatchlings are born just an inch in size and will grow very slowly over the course of their lifetime. They won’t reach their adult size of 6 to 8 inches until around 20 to 30 years.

Russian Tortoises reach sexual maturity around 15 to 20 months of age when they are around 4.5 inches in length.

Males initiate breeding by circling the female and bobbing their head. The mating process will last between 10 and 20 minutes and females will lay up to 5 eggs.

Lower incubation temperatures are associated with males. The reverse is more associated with females.

How Much Does A Russian Tortoise Cost?

These tortoises typically range in price from $100 to $200. If you want to avoid spending a lot of money then try browsing local rescue groups. There’s a good chance one will become available because of their popularity and lifespan.

Species with unique patterns such as “Black Russian Tortoises” will cost more than typical colorations.

Captive-bred Russian Tortoises make better pets than wild-caught. Captive-bred tortoises are typically more docile and personable. If purchasing one from a captive breeder, you should inquire about how the tortoises were bred and raised to ensure that they are healthy and happy.

The ideal Russian Tortoise should:

  • Be bright and alert.
  • Free of any discharge from its eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
  • Have skin and a shell free of blemishes or irregularities.
  • Show no signs of aggression when handled.

All of these conditions should be met when purchasing a Russian Tortoise.

Russian Tortoise Facts
Common NameRussian Tortoise, Horsfield’s Tortoise, or Afghan Tortoise
Scientific NameAgrionemys horsfieldii
Price$100+
Size6 – 10 inches (females are slightly bigger)
Lifespan40+ years
DietLeafy greens, vegetables, and occasionally fruit
Tank SizeFive square feet
Humidity & TemperatureBasking temperature: 90°F
Cool side: 70-72°F
Popular AlternativesRed-Footed Tortoise
Indian Star Tortoise
Mediterranean Spur-Thighed Tortoise

Summary

Russian Tortoises make excellent pets for just about anyone from first-time reptile owners to experienced enthusiasts.

This species is one of the most popular breeds because of its hardy nature, fun personality, small size, and low husbandry requirements.

(Video) Russian Tortoise, The Best Pet Turtle?

When purchasing this breed you should consider their long lifespan and expect them to live for more than four decades. If this is too long, then consider the Indian Star Tortoise. They are similar-sized and also make great pets.

If you’re looking for a lifelong friend then the Russian Tortoise is the pet for you.

Let us know what you think about this pet below.

FAQs

What is the best habitat for a Russian tortoise? ›

Russian tortoises requires a very dry, well-drained cage in an indoor enclosure. The enclosure should have appropriate landscaping, with an area for both hiding and excercise, and an easily cleaned substrate. Housing: Russian tortoises can be housed well indoors or outdoors in warm weather, depending on the climate.

What can Russian tortoises not eat? ›

Russian Tortoises should not be fed nutrient-deficient iceberg lettuce, grains, or meat. While commercially available pelleted diets exist for Russian Tortoises, many of them contain excess levels of starch and are not nutritionally balanced.

Do Russian tortoises drink? ›

In shallow water, the tortoises usually begin drinking immediately and flush their systems at the same time. They can be soaked outside the enclosure in shallow water once or twice a week for 15 to 30 minutes to get them fully hydrated.

Are Russian tortoises hard to take care of? ›

Russian tortoises make great pets as they're relatively easy to care for. You'll need an indoor enclosure that's at least 6 by 6 feet. Use a combi bulb in the enclosure to provide heat and UVB to keep your pet healthy.

Do Russian tortoise bites hurt? ›

What is this? So the herbivore tortoises have a pretty hard bite, but you will most likely only feel a right pressure similar to a pinching feeling. The area of the bite might display a red indented mark for several hours, but it will ultimately go away after some time.

What is poisonous to tortoises? ›

Many common plants are toxic, and keepers must make sure that their herbivorous chelonians are kept away from them.
...
Common NameBotanical NameToxicity
Calla LilyZantedeschia species1
CandytuftIberis species3
Carolina JessamineGelsemium sempervirens2
Castor BeanRicinus communis2
56 more rows

Can tortoises have cucumber? ›

Cucumber can be offered to help with hydration, or prescribed medication can be hidden within it and offered to the tortoise as a tasty treat. The leaves and flowers of the Cucumber plant may be fed in small amounts to all species.

Can tortoises eat apple? ›

Are Apples Bad for Tortoises? No, apples are not bad for your pet tortoise. Moreover, they have many benefits for your pet reptile: it is a fruit rich in antioxidants, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. It has a relatively low content in sugars and calories compared to other more “fattening” fruits.

Should I spray my tortoise with water? ›

As well as bathing the tortoise regularly you can provide your tortoise with a suitable microclimate to prevent fluid loss from the body. You can do this by making the substrate deep enough so that the tortoise can dig down, and you can mist it daily using a water sprayer.

Can I give my tortoise tap water? ›

The best care for turtles and tortoises would be to use tap water directly, and to not worry about the presence of chlorine. Dechlorinators are absolutely unnecessary anyways, because chlorine will evaporate completely within 24 hours, and the majority evaporates if left to sit overnight.

Do tortoises like being sprayed with water? ›

Many tortoises enjoy being gently sprayed with a hose, mister, or sprinkler, and this is just the natural version of that. Many tortoises will stick their necks out when they are enjoying themselves in a variety of activities.

What do Russian tortoises like to play with? ›

Logs, rocks, bathing dishes, moist hides, and dirt mounds are good choices for toys and enrichment. In addition to providing a clean and safe enclosure for your tortoise, you should give plenty of thought to enrichment objects and activities—otherwise known as toys!

How often should I bathe my Russian tortoise? ›

Regular bathing is recommended to keep your Russian tortoise hydrated, clean, and healthy. Vets recommend bathing hatchlings daily, and adults once a week. To properly bathe your Russian tortoise, gather the appropriate supplies, soak and gently wash your tortoise, and clean up carefully when you are done.

How often do Russian tortoises poop? ›

Tortoises don't have fast digestion, with the temperature in their enclosure helping them with digestion. What is this? As a result, you can expect your Russian tortoise to poop every two to three days.

Is tortoise Pee toxic? ›

Urine from turtles often contains a lot of urea. Apparently, this is harmful to people, especially to those with compromised immunity, if absorbed or even comes into touch with the skin. Getting killed by turtle pee is unlikely unless it is somehow ingested in the body.

Can tortoises hear humans? ›

There is a common misconception that tortoises are completely deaf. This is not true. Your tortoise can certainly hear you but it's not how we are used to hearing. In fact, it is far more likely they can feel the vibrations when you talk and this is especially true for people with deeper voices.

Do tortoises like being stroked? ›

In the proper care, however, most tortoises appear to enjoy being touched by their caretakers. In some cases, they extend their necks out while being touched or massaged – a sign that the animal wants to be rubbed some more.

What's best for tortoise bedding? ›

Topsoil is the best bedding for tortoises as it's natural, retains moisture, and has good structural integrity. Coconut husk, sphagnum moss, and straw pellets are quality substrates. Tortoises need 2-3 inches of bedding for burrowing.

Should I line my tortoise table? ›

Do I need to line the floor of the tortoise table? It is best to line the table with a waterproof liner before adding the substrate. Cover the base of the table and several inches of the side walls with the liner which should be fixed at a higher level than the depth of the substrate.

How often do you change tortoise bedding? ›

It is good practice to do a full substrate change every few months and while the table is empty it is a good time to replace any damaged lining and to disinfect the table and any rocks and hides.

Can tortoises have tomatoes? ›

The ripe fruit has a high sugar content, low level of calcium and high phosphorus content with almost no fibre, so it is not nourishing and we do not recommend feeding it. Tortoises do find tomatoes tasty though, and the one situation in which it might be acceptable to feed is when it is used to administer medication.

What can tortoise not eat? ›

Do not feed tortoises frozen vegetables or sodium-rich foods including canned vegetables, dairy products, breads and celery. Please exercise caution to ensure that captive tortoises cannot consume toxic plants such as oleander, chinaberry trees, tree tobacco and toadstools.

Do tortoises eat aloe vera? ›

Although this plant is said to be toxic to cats, dogs and some other mammals, the Aloe is fine to feed to tortoises in moderation but if too much is fed it can have a slight laxative effect.

Can tortoises eat bananas? ›

Bananas can be eaten, and cherries, in strict moderation. Always remember to remove the cherry stone beforehand. These fruits should only be offered in moderation as part of a mixed diet to rainforest species such as the Red footed tortoise and Yellow footed tortoise. Any excess can easily result in diarrhoea.

Can tortoises eat grapes? ›

Fruits are ideal treats for your tortoise. While you can feed them grapes, other great options include bananas, strawberries, apples, and pears. It's best to mix up the fruit that you give them so they can get different nutrients.

Are carrots good for tortoises? ›

Vegetables should be about 10-15% of the diet. These can include: grated raw carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, corn on the cob; greens such as collards, dandelions, escarole, romaine, kale.

What is the favorite food of tortoise? ›

Although these species are classed as omnivores, we suggest feeding your tortoise greens, flowers, vegetables and fruits as the main bulk of their diet. You can give them dandelions, mustard greens, or even hibiscus flowers, as well as other leafy greens.

Can tortoises eat bread? ›

You should NEVER feed your tortoise any of the following:

Processed food. Bread/cakes/biscuits.

Can tortoises eat peppers? ›

This plant comes from the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco and the nightshades, and although the pepper itself is not actually toxic to tortoises (and a small amount will not harm them), the leaves, stem and roots are toxic and should not be fed.

How do you clean tortoise poop? ›

How to Deal with Reptile & Tortoise Poop at Kamp Kenan! - YouTube

Can I soak my tortoise everyday? ›

Tortoises need to soak twice a week or so to help them stay hydrated and clean. This keeps them strong and healthy, avoiding getting sick from dehydration or bacteria that can build up on their body.

Can you give a tortoise a bath? ›

The short answer is yes, tortoises do need a bath every now and then. A lukewarm bath will help clean a tortoise from dust and dirt, reduce bacterias from shell and skin, helps with hydration, and help with passing waste.

Can tortoises drink milk? ›

Can a tortoise drink milk? No, tortoises should not drink milk. A tortoise simply doesn't have the right digestive system to get any nutrients from milk. While it wouldn't be dangerous for a tortoise to drink a little milk, it won't do them any good either.

Can tortoise drink dirty water? ›

Tortoises stay hydrated by eating food, soaking in water, during the digestive process, and through their skin. However, tortoises still need to drink fresh, unchlorinated water. Tortoises should be given water free from chlorine, additives, flavorings, sweeteners, and contaminants.

Should you oil a tortoise shell? ›

It needs oxygen and exposure to sunlight to keep healthy. The build-up of soils, waxes, oils, or other preparations, is actually harmful to a tortoise's shell. The keratin and bony layers contain millions of microscopic pores, and things such as the products mentioned actually clog the pores, causing problems.

How do I know if my tortoise is happy? ›

An excited tortoise will willingly move toward whatever has her attention. They often run, or move as fast as they can. You can tell they are excited by the speed and surety of their movements. Nothing can distract and excited, determined tortoise.

Should tortoises be cold to touch? ›

A tortoise should feel noticeably warm to the touch when handled. It is therefore essential to provide a tortoise with a basking lamp for the spring and autumn when it is unlikely to warm enough outside and also for dull or wet days during the summer.

How can I tell if my tortoise is too hot? ›

Still, just like humans can get too hot, there is such a thing as “too much” for tortoises as well. The preferred environmental temperature for tortoises is 30 degrees Celsius (around 86 degrees F), so if their environment goes any higher than that, they might turn lethargic.

What do you put in a Russian tortoise enclosure? ›

Tortoise Enclosure Substrate

A mixture of garden soil & coconut fiber is of the most popular combinations used, but it should be laid out deep enough so that your tortoise can burrow into it. Yes, Russian tortoises tend to burrow when the environment around them is causing them to stress and dry out.

What is the best bedding for Russian tortoise? ›

As obligate burrowers, Russian tortoises should be provided with a fairly deep layer of appropriate bedding. Reptile (orchid) bark, shredded aspen, clean soil, and cypress mulch are all acceptable choices. The substrate used should be easy to clean, and suitable for digging.

What should I put in my tortoise cage? ›

These can take the form of just about anything you like, as long as they're safe for your pet. Large pieces of driftwood, faux rocks, and live plants all work well in such capacities. Just be sure that if you decide to include plants in your tortoise's enclosure, you select species that are non-toxic.

What do Russian tortoises like to play with? ›

Logs, rocks, bathing dishes, moist hides, and dirt mounds are good choices for toys and enrichment. In addition to providing a clean and safe enclosure for your tortoise, you should give plenty of thought to enrichment objects and activities—otherwise known as toys!

How often should I change my Russian tortoise bedding? ›

It is good practice to do a full substrate change every few months and while the table is empty it is a good time to replace any damaged lining and to disinfect the table and any rocks and hides.

How often should I bathe my Russian tortoise? ›

Regular bathing is recommended to keep your Russian tortoise hydrated, clean, and healthy. Vets recommend bathing hatchlings daily, and adults once a week. To properly bathe your Russian tortoise, gather the appropriate supplies, soak and gently wash your tortoise, and clean up carefully when you are done.

How do I bond with my Russian tortoise? ›

Q+A: How to bond with your tortoise! - YouTube

What is the best bedding for a tortoise? ›

Popular indoor substrates for tortoises include coconut coir, soil & coconut coir mix, organic soil, and peat moss. Popular chip type substrates include fir / orchid bark, cypress mulch, and coconut husk chips. Also shown is sphagnum moss which is very soft when damp.

Do Russian tortoises need light at night? ›

All heat and lights should be off at night, as a day/night light and temperature cycle is important for tortoises and helps them establish natural patterns. While Russian tortoises can be kept indoors, if you live in an area where the climate permits it, keep them outdoors in a proper tortoise pen.

Do tortoises like mirrors? ›

Results revealed also a preference in tortoises to spend significantly more time in peripheral positions and significantly more in the presence of mirrors.

Do tortoises like being touched? ›

In the proper care, however, most tortoises appear to enjoy being touched by their caretakers. In some cases, they extend their necks out while being touched or massaged – a sign that the animal wants to be rubbed some more.

What do you put on the bottom of a tortoise table? ›

Place flat stones around the edges of both the water bowl and feeding areas to help prevent the substrate from getting into the water and onto the food. Position these at the cooler end of the tortoise table. Feeding from, and walking on the slate or stone will also help to keep the tortoise's beak and nails trim.

Can tortoises hear you? ›

Can tortoises hear? Yes, very well. Their ears are covered by skin flaps. They sometimes follow your voice.

Do tortoises know their names? ›

Certain species of both turtles and tortoises make great pets. Tortoises are very smart and can actually learn their name. Turtles will also recognize their keepers, but mostly because they are excited you're bringing them food.

How do I play with my pet tortoise? ›

Keeping Tortoises Entertained - YouTube

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