To start on the right foot when buying a Russian tortoise the most important thing you can do is set up the enclosure correctly.
Below are the best products for each type of item you will need:
At Russian-Tortoise.com we are really good at one thing... Russian Tortoises!
While the other guys are selling a million different types of pets we specialize in just this one type.
That means when it comes to buying the healthiest & highest quality Russian, we are the go-to place.
When you buy your tortoise from us we will give you our "Russian/Horsefield Care Made Easy" video/audio/text course for free so that you get started the right way.
This course will get you started correctly and includes:
Here are our additional benefits:
If you are not quite ready to buy one just yet and just gathering information at this point, we put together a guide on how to get started (the right way) to help make the buying and setup process easy if you decide that this is the pet for you.
Beginner Buying Guide
Russian Tortoises are a highly entertaining species. The information about these beautiful animals are important to remember when buying or selling one of these tortoise's.
They are incredibly outgoing which causes people to be very attracted to them as pets. They have a very long life span, which means they have the ability to live anywhere from 50 to even 100 years. Therefore, if you are considering to add them to your family as a pet, it is very important to make sure that you are ready and up for a lifelong commitment to these animals.
The Russian Tortoise does have other names that it is typically called such as Steppe Tortoise, Afghan Tortoise, and Horsefield Tortoise. It is also highly recommended that you do not mix this breed of tortoise with different species and breeds of tortoise's.
There are numerous amounts of health risks if you do so, but not only that, the behavior and structure of these creatures makes them very incompatible with most of tortoise breeds. There is also quite a bit of severe traumatic injuries when they are mixed with other species of tortoise's. In addition to all of these characteristics and issues, this species is incredibly aggressive to it's own kind.
Therefore, if you have the desire to home more than one of these Russian Tortoises, then it is prudent to remember to provide sightline breaks and also a very large habitat to keep the male's from damaging the female's and prevent them from harming other males and themselves as well. It is also pretty simple to distinguish the sex of these creatures. The male tortoise tend to have a much longer tail and it is tucked to the side, however, the female tortoise has a shorter tail and it is normal very fat.
The male also will have a slit shaped vent at the very tip of his tail, where as the female has an asterisk-shaped vent on her tail. The coloration of these tortoise's do vary, but the body of them are usually a straw-yellow and brown color, and their shells have a ruddy brown and black color that fades into yellow between the scutes.
It's Care For The Long Term
When caring for one of these creatures, there are many important guidelines to follow. Russian Tortoises are what you would call grazers, in which they will eat and enjoy broad leaf plants. The best diet for them would be to feed them weeds, such as flowers and leave, and dandelion's are their very favorite kind of weed.
There is an unfortunate fact in which many believe that tortoises just naturally acquire all of their water and fluid requirements through the food that they consume, and that they do not require any extra water for them to take in. There bodies, however, produce a larger amount of uric acid and only need a small amount of water to produce it through their waste.
Therefore, tortoises, along with the Russian tortoise, will benefit in make a greater amount of this acid to eject from their bodies with a higher amount of water intake into their systems. If you deprive the tortoise olong term russian tortoise buyer for salef water it will result in there bodies accumulating urates, and a large amount and often at very high and dangerous levels. So, it is prudent that in the hot weather months to lightly spray their shells with water to keep their bodies taking in the amount of water it needs to expel these levels from their bodies. Housing them is also a key ingredient.
There are many ways to house these animals, some being rather simple cages and some being a more elaborate approach. See our Russian tortoise enclosure page for our top 3 recommendations.
Many pet store employees recommend purchasing an aquarium for these tortoises. However, this way to go is actually not very beneficial to the tortoise because the shape of these aquariums are usually too small and narrow, and they do not allow circulation to travel properly through them. There are incredibly heavy and very hard to clean, and it is very hard to keep the proper temperature in these cages. Therefore, if you choose to go with an aquarium, the minimum size you should choose from is a 75 gallon sized one and it must be fitted for a visual barrier and also a circulation fan.
Many others use the regular rubber maid storage containers. These are indoor pens that are very inexpensive to come by. A size of 50 gallons is a highly ideal starting point for one tortoise. They are also incredibly light and very easy to clean these containers. It is important to always keep in mind though that the bigger the cage, the better for these tortoises. This type of set up for your tortoise keeps the humidity around about 60% and it is critical to add water as the substrate starts to dry. Do not ever let it get dusty or dry. Always keep humidity and water inside of it. Outdoor pens, however, are considered to be the very best option you could choose from. The tortoises have the benefit of enjoying the sunshine and they get plenty of exercise as well.
Russian Tortoises are amazing climbers so it is prudent to make the pen very tall, and they are incredible escape artists which means you would need to make sure and protect the barrier of the pen when it is outdoors. You will also need to pay attention to predators, such as raccoons, who will be a threat for your tortoises when in an outdoor pen. The substrate mix that is the best for these creatures when inside one of these pens, is a 50/50 mix of garden loam and sand. The temperature is critical as well for a healthy tortoise.
The pen should have a cooler end around 70 degrees, and then a basking end for them to rest in the warmth and the temperature here should be set around 90-95 degrees. Humidity is an extremely important situation for these tortoises and is often very misunderstood as well. If the humidity is too high and too damp in the pen, it can lead to health issues such as their shells to start rotting or some respiratory issues. Therefore, it is always important to remain alert on the temperature of the pen, and always make sure they are receiving the proper amount of temperature.
Veterinarian Checkup And Inspection
It is, of course, very important to know that it is always a good idea to see a veterinarian when you have a new pet, and that they should have yearly check ups if the pet is in good standing health.
However, these tortoises do have some common issues that you may have to take them to at other times for a check up.
The signs to watch out for are metabolic bone disease which is also known as soft shell syndrome, respiratory ailments which can be identified if the animal has a runny nose or a loss of appetite or even pneumonia type symptoms, shell rot, any kind of trauma which can be cause by them falling or if another animal attacks them, and the male tortoises can be aggressive and bite so it is important to watch for any damage caused by a bite mark.
Any of these things are common with these Russian Tortoises, and if you are aware that your tortoise may be experiencing any of these types of illnesses or issues, then it is prudent to make an appointment and see the veterinarian immediately to get these situations fixed and handled properly and safely.
What To Look For
When looking for a Russian Tortoise, their shell round in shape with dark brown and olive green coloring. Many of these tortoises differ from many other varieties of tortoises, because they have four claws on their front feet. They are an incredibly small sized species.
For these creatures to live up to 60 years are more are not uncommon for these animals. These tortoises are used to living in hot, dry climates such as in a desert or near deserts, and on the dry slopes of mountain regions.
Therefore, these creatures can withstand extreme heat in the summer time as well as them being used to severe winter weather. However, during the winter cold months, the Russian Tortoises usually hibernate. They are considered to be the simplest and easiest specie of tortoise to care for, and are often recommended for those individuals who are new at housing a tortoise as a pet.
The male tortoise is considered very aggressive to it's own kind and should not share a pen with another male, in fear of them hurting each other. They are also known to be aggressive to female tortoises as well, and they should only interact with the female tortoises for the purpose of mating them.
It is important to remember that when caring for these animals it takes a lot of time, effort, and a lot of care needs to be given to them, so it is best to make sure you are ready for a long term relationship with these tortoises when choosing to make one as your pet.
Where Should My Russian Come From?
Best: Captive Bred
When making the decision to purchase a Russian Tortoise, it is important to remember that the best way to do so is to buy when that has been captive bred. The importance of this is that there are many tortoises each and every year who are being threatened or endangered and has become an incredibly huge issue. By buying one of these animals from captive bred the buyer is not contributing to the rapid decline and decrease of these lovable and very gentle animals.
Great: Long-Term Captive
Another important thing when purchasing them captive bred, is that you will have a better chance at homing a healthier animal. Many of the wild tortoises harbor many parasites and a lot of diseases. On top of these, it is legal to buy these tortoises if they are captive bred. If they are caught in the wild to make as a pet, then you are committing an illegal act when doing so. Therefore, when you purchase one of these tortoises try to look for one that has been captive bred or long term captive, because these creatures have been well taken care of in these conditions and have a better chance of living a long and healthy life.
When you acquire a tortoise after it being imported, this is a mildly okay choice, it is considered to be a hit or miss choice to make. If you get one imported immediately after capture, then the tortoise will be in good shape. However, if you get one that has been placed in a pen, and maybe not put under the proper care and humidity was too high or too low, then you are taking the chance of this animal not being in the best of health and they will deteriorate very quickly. It is much more safe to find one captive bred.
Of course, purchasing a tortoise online is probably not the safest way to go. There is no idea in knowing if the seller has illegally got this tortoise, and if so, it probably carries many diseases, parasites, and could be incredibly stressed as well. Purchasing online is not the ideal way to get a Russian Tortoise as a pet. These animals could hurt themselves if under too much stress from the capture, they could bring parasites into your house and diseases as well. Also, these animals will probably not live very long either. With a mixtures of the anxiety they will be feeling and the illnesses it may carry, these tortoises could die at a very quick rate, and also you will be participating in the illegal capture of one of these animals and adding on to the endangerment of these species. It is highly recommended to purchase one of these beautiful and gently animals through a pet store in which these creatures have been captive bred and are more timid and healthier.
Worst: Wild Caught
It is never a good idea to capture a tortoise in the wild. These animals are not used to being locked inside of a box, they are used to living in the wild and natural environment that surrounds them. They will most likely have parasites and carry some harmful diseases on thim. These wild caught tortoises will not survive living in a home, they will eventually and slowly die. It is safer for the animal to be left in the wild, do not pick one up and carry it home for a new pet, this is not a good way to get a sweet, healthy, and long lasting Russian Tortoise.
What Is The Best Place To Buy From?
Best: Reptile Shop
So, when looking to purchase one of these Russian Tortoises, the absolute best way to go about this process is to search in pet stores. The best type of pet store to buy these tortoises from, would be a reptile store. These types of stores mostly carry all types of reptiles, therefore, it would be easier to find one of these tortoises there. There will be a variety of reptiles and tortoises to choose from, meaning it will be more than likely easier to find the Russian Tortoise. In addition, they also carry the perfect and specific needs of each of the reptiles that are for sale in these reptile stores, making it easier for you to find the proper items you will need to give these animals the proper care they require.
Good: Local Pet Shop
A local pet shop is another way of purchasing these animals. Most of these shops carry the Russian Tortoises, however, they may be a bit more rare to find, and they will have some of the necessities you will need to care for these creatures, but they may be limited to some the items you may want to purchase for these pets. However, knowing that most of the creatures you will find in a local pet shop have been bred in captivity, there is a lesser risk of the tortoise becoming unhealthy.
When deciding to purchase one from a breeder, there is a lot to take into consideration. These creatures have been thrown all together into a large cage, and there could be possible damage to them from fighting with other tortoises inside of the cage. This could cause stress as well and possible deterioration to the shell if it has become damaged as well. However, even though there are some flaws in buying from a breeder, there are also some positives to this choice. These animals have been bred in captivity, therefore, there shouldn't be any parasites to need to worry about, and after you place the tortoise into your home and out of the fighting arena, they should be able to feel a bit more relaxed and at ease. It may just take some time for them to adjust to the less stressful environment.
Good: Large Pet Shop
Purchasing these animals from large pet stores are considered as a decent option, seeing that there are many employees there that can offer advice and talk to you about the care of these animals. You will find some of the basic and necessary needs that are required to take care of your tortoise. You should be able to find out basic information on the whereabouts and the background in which the tortoise came from.
Good: Reptile Shows
Purchasing one from a reptile show is not always the best option because some people just randomly purchase a tortoise from a show because of how cute they are but end up not knowing how to properly take care of one. They are well taken care of animals in these shows and are considered a smart buy if you are serious about taking care of one.
In conclusion, the smartest thing to do when going to purchase one of these Russian Tortoises is to make sure and have all of the proper information before making a final decision to take care of one as a pet in your home.
These animals are beautiful and gently and deserve to have a wonderful environment and home to be cared for in. It is not in the best interest to take one in if you are not up for the long term commitment of the care.
Doing research on exactly how to purchase the right Russian Tortoise for your home pet, is the best way to give one of these animals a happy and healthy environment for them, and a safe pet for your family.