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What's a Russian Turtle?

Learn about the Russian turtle from veterinarian Alix Wilson in this Howcast video.


Russian tortoises are native to central Asia. They are a smaller tortoise, so they are common in the pet trade here in this country because they don't grow to large sizes. They still can live for quite a long time though, so again before you buy any type of tortoise, be sure you can provide a home for many, many years of its life.

They are plant eaters or herbivores. In their native environment, they would be eating grasses, flowers, leaves, leafy plants. They can also tolerate some temperature fluctuations, so again they are used to some pretty warm, daytime temperatures, and it can cool off quite a bit at night in their native environment. It is recommended that they have a basking area of 90, 95 degrees and that at night it cools off to around 70 degrees or even a little bit cooler than that.

Most of the Russian tortoises sold in pet stores in the U. S. are actually wild caught and imported. So even though they are quite hardy, and that is partly why they are so popular, it is recommended that when you first purchase one, you bring it to a reptile veterinarian and have it checked for things like intestinal parasites and other problems that could have occurred due to the fact that it was born in the wild.

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