A small pet, the Russian tortoise measures up to 8 inches in diameter and offers a long lifespan of approximately 50 years. The Russian tortoise behavior does not make it an ideal pet for small children because it is easily stressed out which can adversely effect its overall health. Young children are often rough and prone to dropping a tortoise. The Russian tortoise is not fond of being held and being dropped causes it to become scared quickly. They do not like to be disturbed, cornered, pinned down or teased.
The tortoise thrives on being left alone to go about its daily activities. They offer hours of enjoyment through observing them. In temperate regions, such as Las Vegas, the turtle can be housed outdoors year round but in cold regions it will require a cage inside. The tortoises cage can be elaborate or a simple aquarium or plastic tub. One adult will require an enclose that offers it at least 2 feet by 4 feet of space. The sides of the cage needs to be at least 12 inches high so the tortoise cannot climb out.
The Russian tortoise has a gentle and shy personality. It enjoys burrowing into soil or substrate to hide. The small tortoises adore food and appear to relish each bite to the fullest. Many owners enjoy watching them eat with such gusto. They enjoy leafy vegetables. They will graze on grass but only as a last resort. When keeping your tortoise outside make sure all the surrounding plants are safe to eat because the tortoise will take a nibble off each one to see what it tastes like.
Many owners enjoy placing their tortoise outdoors in portable cages that they move around the garden. Care should be taken to place the tortoise away from valuable or beloved plants and flowers because one hour left alone next to a tasty leaf covered plant is all the tortoise needs to destroy it.
The Russian tortoise kept as a pet does not need to hibernate. Maintaining a normal temperature and keeping the lights on for 12 hours per day will help keep the tortoise active year round so it does not enter a state of hibernation. During the winter months some pet owners notice their Russian tortoise behavior changes and it becomes more lethargic.
Russian tortoises are either domestically bred and sold in the pet trade or they are imported as wild caught adults. Wild caught adults have a more reserved and timid personality. Take care when first handling them. Remember that they are wild animals and it will take a great deal of time to establish trust and a bond. The domestic bred babies are more willing to accept their lives as pets.
A Russian tortoise may not be the ideal pet for everyone