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5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Russian Tortoise as a Pet

Are you considering getting a Russian tortoise as a pet? Russian tortoises are one of the most popular tortoise species kept as pets. They are small and easy to care for, but before you make the decision to bring one into your home, there are a few things you need to consider. In this article, we will discuss the 5 most important things to keep in mind before getting a Russian tortoise as a pet.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Russian Tortoise Basic Facts
  3. 5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Russian Tortoise as a Pet
    1. Space Requirements
    2. Diet and Nutrition
    3. Temperature and Humidity
    4. Socialization and Interaction
    5. Lifespan and Commitment
  4. Conclusion
  5. FAQs

Russian Tortoise Basic Facts

Russian tortoises are a small species of tortoise, growing to a maximum size of 8-10 inches in length. They are native to the arid regions of Central Asia and are well-suited to living in dry and arid conditions. Russian tortoises are known for their hardiness and adaptability, making them an ideal pet for beginner reptile keepers.

5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Russian Tortoise as a Pet

1. Space Requirements

While Russian tortoises may be small, they still require a significant amount of space to thrive. These tortoises need a minimum enclosure size of 36 x 18 inches, with additional space needed for any additional tortoises. Russian tortoises are also avid diggers, so their enclosure should have a substrate that allows for digging and burrowing.

2. Diet and Nutrition

Russian tortoises are herbivores and require a diet that is high in fiber and low in protein. A good diet for a Russian tortoise should consist of a variety of leafy greens, such as collard greens, dandelion greens, and kale. Additionally, they should be given a calcium supplement to ensure healthy bone growth.

3. Temperature and Humidity

Russian tortoises require a warm and dry environment, with a basking temperature of 90-100°F and an ambient temperature of 75-85°F. They also require a humidity level of around 50%, which can be achieved through regular misting or the use of a humidifier.

4. Socialization and Interaction

Russian tortoises are social creatures and require regular interaction with their owners. They enjoy being handled and require mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Additionally, if you plan to keep multiple Russian tortoises, they will require a large enclosure and plenty of socialization to avoid aggression.

5. Lifespan and Commitment

Russian tortoises have a lifespan of 50-60 years, so they require a significant commitment from their owners. They are also prone to health issues such as respiratory infections and shell rot, which can be costly to treat. Before getting a Russian tortoise, make sure you are prepared for a long-term commitment.


Russian tortoises are a popular and fascinating pet, but they require specific care and attention to thrive. By considering the 5 things we’ve discussed in this article – space requirements, diet and nutrition, temperature and humidity, socialization and interaction, and lifespan and commitment – you can ensure that you are ready to provide your new pet with the care it needs to live a long and healthy life.


Q: Are Russian tortoises good pets for beginners?

A: Yes, Russian tortoises are well-suited for beginner reptile keepers. They are hardy, easy to care for, and relatively low-maintenance compared to other reptile species.

Q: Do Russian tortoises need to be bathed?

A: Yes, Russian tortoises need regular baths to help keep their skin and shells healthy. They should be soaked in warm, shallow water for 10-15 minutes once or twice a week.

Q: Can Russian tortoises live outdoors?

A: Russian tortoises can live outdoors in warm and dry climates. However, they still require an enclosed and protected space to prevent escape and protect them from predators.

Q: How often do Russian tortoises need to be fed?

A: Russian tortoises should be fed daily, with a variety of leafy greens and a calcium supplement. They should be offered a small amount of food that they can consume in 30 minutes.

Q: Can Russian tortoises be housed with other reptile species?

A: Russian tortoises should not be housed with other reptile species, as they have specific temperature and humidity requirements that may not be compatible with other species. Additionally, they may be aggressive towards other tortoises or reptiles.

In summary, Russian tortoises can make great pets for those who are willing to provide them with the care and attention they need. By considering the 5 things discussed in this article, you can ensure that you are prepared to provide a happy and healthy home for your new pet.