Russian Tortoise

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Russian Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of the Russian Tortoise is Agrionemys horsfieldii.
  • It was formerly known as Testudo horsfieldii.


  • It also has the generic name of Russian Tortoise, Central Asian Tortoise, Four-Toed Tortoise, Afghanistan Tortoise, Horsfield’s Tortoise, and Steppe Tortoise.
  • The Russian Tortoise, or Afghanistan Tortoise, is one of the most famous and popular tortoises in the world.


  • These tortoises are mostly found in Middle Eastern countries such as Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and some areas in North Western China.
  • Naturally can be found near hillsides, rocky deserts, and sandy or loamy steppes.


  • Mating is actively done during the summer season (mid of March to mid of June, naturally).


  • They lay 2 to 6 eggs per clutch.
  • There are up to 3 clutches per season.
  • Incubation takes 80 to 110 days at a constant 30.5ºC.
  • Hatchling happens in August or September in the natural habitat.
  • Russian babies are measured at around 32mm to 34mm in length.


  • Russian tortoises can grow up to 6 – 8 inches in size.

Life Span

  • Around 50 years old.


  • High fiber, low protein, and calcium-rich food are necessary.
  • Russian Tortoise loves leaves, grasses, weeds, vegetables, and flowers.
  • Since the tortoise hibernates during winter and tends to eat a lot during summer.
  • You’ll find out that if you keep them indoors, they’ll eat lots all year long.
  • This will create improper growth for the tortoise.
  • The recommendation is to feed them 30 minutes a day as to how much they can eat and stop feeding them.
  • Please be reminded that the food much be varied, do not feed them the same food everyday.
  • Mix up hoya plants and green plants (Endive, Romaine lettuce, etc).
  • Different mixing preferably everyday.
  • Try not to feed them with fruits, grains, or animal protein food.
  • Mixing the food with vitamin D3 power or calcium supplement is highly recommended.
  • A dish of water should be provided at all times.


  • This kind of tortoise prefers open dry landscaping.
  • The tortoise is an expert burrow digger.
  • Naturally, Russian Tortoises hibernate during winter or cold weather.
  • The tortoises are very active from mid of March to mid of June (summer season).
  • Estivation or aestivation does happen during the summer.
  • In summer, they forage.
  • At temperature of 21ºC to 31ºC, the tortoise is found most active.
  • Hibernation is from October to March in Uzbekistan.
  • Dry and sparse bushes or grasses.

Common Disease

  • Improper growth if diet is not controlled well.

Vivarium and Housing

  • Prevent damp if you keep them outdoor.
  • Indoor housing must be large enough for their movement, at least 3 feet by 4 feet enclosure.
  • Temperature should be controlled with basking spot at around 31ºC and a cooler spot with a hide box.