How to Care for Your New Russian Tortoise

Aqualand's inside scoop on Agrionemys horsfieldii

 
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Russian Tortoise Factoids

Origin

Uzbekistan and its neighbors

Temperature

70 to 90
Size Females 8 to 10 inches.  Males 6 to 8.
Sexing Longer tails on males
Age  Full grown at 20 to 30 years

Substrate

Sandy soil in the wild
Lighting Fluorescent reptile bulb or half hour in sun

Security

Needs a "cave" or burrow

Foods

Variety of yard weeds like plantains and dandelions
Supplements Weekly very light calcium/D3 dusting on food
Water Provide a low water dish

Breeding

Mating occurs in the spring

Threats

Dehydration and too much food

 

 

LA
New guys don't trust you.  They're a bit shy at first.

LA
Once they get used to you, they "come out of their shell."

LA
Older specimens have less "colorful" shells.

LA
Provide a low food dish and low water dish.

LA
At one time
Russian tortoises cost much more than USA box turtles. 

LA
Male tails longer.   Little "hook" on the end.

LA
Female tails shorter.

LA
Enjoying a lazy soak in warm water.  They like a weekly warm (not hot) bath.

LA
Most turtles/tortoises evacuate their bowels during a warm bath.

LA
Incoming shipment of Russian tortoises (plus one Greek).

LA
Newbies always get a good soaking.

LA
Flowers are irresistible.  

LA

LA
Yard weeds make an excellent basic diet.
 

LA
Keep an eye on them in your backyard.   They eat all this "tasty" foliage.

LA
Of course, they prefer flowers.

LA
Severely limit their consumption of grains -- too nutritious.  Occasional treats, okay.

LA
Make sure you give them a variety.

LA
Give your Russian tortoises a great deal of room to roam (and browse).

LA
Beware, they can disappear in the tall grass.

LA
Dried weeds work fine.

LA
Feed fruits very sparingly -- too much sugar.

LA
Russian tortoise on timothy.  Good substrate.  Good diet.

LA
Two "friendly" Russian tortoises preparing to continue the species.

LA
Mucho older specimen (trade in).

LA
Younger guys look less "road weary."

LA
Trade in March 30, 2006.  Nasty beak.  He needs a vet visit.

LA
Russian tortoises love to dig.  These toenails work great.

LA
They hate being on their backs.

LA
Muskmelon buffet -- too nutritious.

LA
Your backyard buffet is much healthier and provides much needed exercise.

LA
They love to roam.

Last Words:  Because our native box turtles have become less available, you'll likely see more Russian tortoises these days.  They need room to roam.  If you keep yours in an aquarium, you need to let him "run" in your backyard.  The alternative -- give him free run of your house.  Keep your eyes open, you don't want to step on him or inadvertently kick him (like a hockey puck on a linoleum kitchen floor).  LA

 

© 2005, © 2008  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

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