Russian Tortoise - B Grade

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Description

We bought some Russian tortoises locally that had been raised indoors the past several years and have overgrown beaks because of it. These males have been with us since the fall of 2016, and are very healthy, great eaters and look good (other than their overgrown beaks). With time in an outdoor setting their beaks will wear back to normal, or a vet can trim them up. Their price is reduced to reflect the overgrown beaks. Pictured is one of the available males, typical of the others. We have no other history on them.

Common Name: Russians Tortoise
Scientific Name: Agrionemys Horsfieldii
Current Size: 4-5"
Average Adult Size: 6-8" (females larger)
Area of Origin: Several countries between Eastern Europe and Western China

Description: Light brown and olive color with dark brown bands around each scute of the shell. These tortoises are probably the most "different" of the Testudo type tortoises. They are almost completely rounded when viewed from above, which probably is to help them spin around when underground in burrows. They tend to be somewhat flattened on top, without much of a "dome."

Habitat: Mediterranean tortoises, these animals live in grassy meadows and scrubland where they come and go from their burrows in order to maintain the ideal temperatures. They do hibernate naturally, and will hibernate in captivity if proper conditions are given. As adults, they can safely handle body temperatures as low as 35 degrees during hibernation, and on cold spring, summer or fall months, they will retreat underground to maintain some warmth. Summer highs up to 110 degrees can be tolerated as long as there is a cooler, underground retreat the tortoise can get into. In hot climates, they will spend much of the summer days in burrows or simply buried under an inch or two of earth. They can dig in and bury themselves in a matter of minutes, and will often do it several times a day in soft sandy substrates. 

Diet: This tortoise is naturally a browser, eating broadleaf weeds and low leaves from bushes and shrubs. In captivity, Russian tortoises will graze on leafy weeds, dandelion, clover, and most other leafy greens provided to them. Vegetables can be added to the diet for variety, but fruit should generally be avoided or given as no more than 5-10% of the diet. 

Adult Behavior: Adult Russian tortoises are active, busy tortoises when the temperatures are in their ideal ranges (55-90 degrees). They are usually un-aggressive towards eachother in most cases, and can be kept in small groups. The mating habits can create some problems as males will occasionally bite at the females to subdue them, and sometimes will ram at each other to establish dominance through the ranks. Most will eagerly come to their keepers looking for food once they are comfortable in their environments, and they will pile on top of each other in order to get at the food first. They are good climbers and will make attempts to escape, so perimeter fences should be buried at least 6-12" underground, and sidewalls 12-16" above ground will normally contain them.

For more detailed information, Click Here to see the article we prepared for Reptiles Magazine.