Siuna Ann Reid
Synonym(s): Agrionemys horsfieldii, Russian tortoise, Afghan tortoise, Central Asian tortoise
- Kingdom: Animalia.
- Phylum: Chordata.
- Class: Reptilia.
- Order: Testudines.
- Suborder: Cryptodira.
- Family: Testudinidae.
- Genus: Agrionemys.
- Species: horsfieldii.
Distribution and habitat
- Native to many countries, including Russia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and others.
- Most commonly found in sand and clay deserts with sparse grasses and bushes.
- Generally prefers a dry climate with seasonal temperature variations.
- Usually found around water, including grasslands and savannahs.
- They are good diggers and will burrow if given the opportunity.
- They have one of the highest tolerances for extreme temperatures.
- They will sometimes hibernate through the cold temperatures and estivate through the hot season.
- In the wild they face many threats, including grazing competition, pet trade and habitat destruction.
- Listed under the IUCN as vulnerable.
- It is also listed on CITES Appendix II.
- Can live for >40 years.
- In captivity, individuals kept in low-stress conditions, raised on the correct diet, have higher life expectancies.
- Typically consists of leafy greens, flowers, grasses and leaves Chelonia nutrition.
- The diet should be varied.
- Sexual maturity is usually reached at about 10 years of age.
- Males court a female through head bobbing, circling and biting Chelonia reproduction.
- Reproductive efforts take place in early spring; usually March to April.
- Females can lay around 3 clutches of about 5 eggs.
- Hatchlings are usually incubated for between 56-84 days.
- Can be kept as pets.
- Sand is not a recommended substrate for indoor Horsefield tortoises as it can cause impaction if ingested Gastrointestinal obstruction.
- They do not need a heat source at night as long as they are heated properly during the day.
- Outdoor pens are preferred if possible.
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Other sources of information
- Reptiles magazine (2018) Russian Tortoise. Website: www.reptilesmagazine.com. Last accessed 30th January 2018.
- Reptiles magazine (2018) Russian Tortoise Care Tips. Website: www.reptilesmagazine.com. Last accessed 30th January 2018.
- Uetz P & Hošek J (2018) The Reptile Database (version Dec 2015). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 30th June 2018. Eds: Roskov Y et al. Website: www.catalogueoflife.org/col. Naturalis, Leiden, The Netherlands. ISSN 2405-8858.
- Wikipedia (2018) Russian Tortoise. Website: www.wikipedia.org. Last accessed 30th January 2018.
- Tortoise Protection Group (2014) Horsefield Care Sheet. Website: www.tortoise-protection-group.org.uk. Last accessed 15th July 2018.
- Pollock C (2015) Basic Information: Russian Tortoise Testudo Horsfieldii. Website: https://lafeber.com. Last accessed 15th July 2018.
- Chitty J & Raftery A (2013) Biology. In: Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 37-38.
- Mosier (2009) Horsfield (Russian) Tortoise (Testudo Horsfieldii). In: Unusual Pet Care Volume 3. 3rd edn. Zoological Education Network Limited, USA. pp 96-99.
- Marschang R & Chitty J (2004) Infectious Disease. In: BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. Eds: Girling S & Raiti P. BSAVA, UK. pp 331.
- Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (1996) Testudo horsfieldii. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Website: www.iucnredlist.org. Last accessed 15th July 2018.