When deciding for pets, the majority of us would stick at popular choices such as a dog or a cat. However, a few of us would consider smaller and slower animals, such as reptiles or fish. Reptiles can make a unique pet, and the idea of having an iguana or a snake sounds really cool for some. Reptiles also easy to take care of. Unlike dogs, they are low maintenance.
That’s why some of us would love to have a tortoise. There are some advantages to having a tortoise compared to other animals. For one, they can live longer than us. Tortoise is known to live up to 100 years. We can spare some grief and sadness unlike when we have a dog or a cat. These animals rarely live longer than a decade. Tortoise is one of the most favorite animals to pet in Russia.
Back to the tortoise, one of the species you can consider is Russian tortoise. Russian tortoise makes a great pet because they are small in size and easy to take care of. They are also very active in their natural habitat. Meaning, you can have fun and never bored playing with them. They are unlike worst pet animals to pet in Russia. Sadly, you can’t have endangered lynx since it’s one of the rare and exotic animals in Russia.
Before you adopt a Russian tortoise, it’s better to do some research beforehand. These are 8 interesting facts about Russian tortoise before you own it.
1. Russian Tortoises are from central Asia
We know that Russia is big, so we ask where exactly this cute species originated. It turns out they come from Central Asia. Its status is vulnerable, but it’s not the endemic animals that you can only find in Russia. Russian tortoise can be found in Southern Russia as well as these following countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and northwestern China.
Their natural habitat includes savannah, forests, and grassland. They often roam near a water source. Russian Tortoise prefers dry environment as their habitat. Little vegetation and an altitude of up to 2500 above the sea level.
2. Russian tortoises hibernate
In its natural habitat, Russian tortoises hibernate when the temperature goes extreme. They can go sleep for more than 6 months during cold winter or hot summer. Russians tortoise will dig burrows and make themselves comfortable for some months. Captive tortoises usually do not hibernate if they live in an area with moderate temperature throughout the year.
However, if you live in a place where the weather can be extreme, you need to provide your tortoise pets a chance to hibernate. In captivity, it’s recommended for Russian tortoises to hibernate for around 3 months.
3. Russian tortoises are territorial
You can keep several Russian tortoises at once on a cage, but they hate it if they’re mixed with other species of tortoises. Russian tortoises are territorial. Sometimes, the species even don’t mix well. Learn the behavior of your pets and if you see any conflict, you need to separate them.
4. Russian tortoises are a good digger
Russian tortoises can dig very deep burrows. It means that these little rascals can wander underground far without you’re knowing. A fence above the ground is not enough. You need to plant the fence deep into the ground as well. It prevents them from having too much adventure. And you won’t need to worry about your pet getting lost or run away.
5. It needs ten years for them to mature
If you want your Russian tortoise to breed some more little Russian tortoises, well, you’re gonna have to wait. For a Russian tortoise, it would take 10 years for them to reproductively mature. It means you will wait a long time especially if you buy a young one. If you are impatient, you can always buy the mature one at the pet store. A couple of female and male, and hope they will mate soon.
The tortoise lay eggs a few times a year. A female usually only lays two to four eggs. They mate at the start of the spring. They continue to mate until late August and early September. And it takes 60-65 days to hatch the eggs.
If you’re thinking about breeding Russian Tortoises, it’s relatively easy to do. All you need is a warm ground. Russian tortoise eggs can also stand the cold of winter. Eggs will hibernate, and resume their development once the temperature gets warm again.
6. Long lifespan
Tortoises are known to have a really long lifespan. It’s one of the things that make them convenient to have. Russian tortoises have 40 years lifespan. It is considered short for a tortoise which can live for a century. But it’s more than enough time to make plenty of good memories with them.
7. They are herbivores
Although they can eat little carcass and insects, Russian Tortoises are largely vegetarian. They need a lot of nutritious, rich in fiber, plant-based diet. Among their diet are spinach, lettuce, kale, turnip, and mustard. Do not feed them cabbage or grains because they can’t digest it.
You can also buy ready-made pellets from a pet store. It’s also recommended to plant some vegetation that are their favorites such as morning glory, grasses, or prickly pear. You can also plant little shrubs and grasses for their shade.
8. They need water to soak
It’s mentioned previously that Russian Tortoises live near water in their natural habitat. Russian Tortoises need to stay hydrated throughout the day. This is why they need to soak often. If you’re planning to own one as a pet, prepare a large bowl of water for them to soak daily. The water needs to be changed every day since Russian Tortoises also defecate in the water.