The Central Asian Tortoise, is one of the most sought out tortoises for pet keepers. They are, for one, the smallest of the pet tortoise selections, for two, one of the friendliest and three, get’s along well within a group. In addition, it is a very easy pet to care for and has the intelligence to recognize and respect its owner for its entire life expectancy.
The Central Asian Tortoise, also known as the Russian Tortoise (and Horsefield), is one of Central Asian’s friendliest tortoises. It can be found specifically in countries such as: Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, Northern and Eastern Ira, North Western China and the Soviet territory Kazakhstan. They are very great with interacting within small groups and have a life expectancy of 40+ years. This friendly Central Asian Tortoise’s final growth size is about 6 – 10″ . The females are known to grow larger in size because of their ability to reproduce, the male get’s no bigger that 8″.
Central Asian Tortoises can vary in price. A typical 4″-5″ adult Central Asian Tortoise can cost consumers about $120 a piece, whether for a male or female. If consumers are interested in a younger Central Asian Tortoise, they would be expected to pay more, typically, about $100 more – $229. Now, if a pair of Central Asian Tortoises, one male and one female, are both proven breeders, consumers are expected to pay about $690 a piece. Typically, consumers will not pay more than $690 for this type of Tortoise on the market.
Central Asian Tortoises are grazers that require a high fiber, low protein diet. When feeding the Central Asian Tortoise any plants or grass, it is important that such vegetation doesn’t contain any pesticide treatments or other growth chemicals, as this can be extremely harmful to its health. A fresh supply of water is required each day and a reasonable amount of food. The Central Asian Tortoise, should consume five or six healthy pieces of its consumption food type per day (see food for these types). Vegetables should be given to the tortoise only once a month and fruit should never be given to this tortoise, as it contains high sugar content, which they are prone to parasites from such diet. See “Food” for a detailed description of what a Central Asian Tortoise should eat.
Proper foods that are beneficial to the Central Asian Tortoise are but not limited to: grass, kale, clovers, flowers, hay, red leaf lettuce, carrots and romaine lettuce. There are supplements available to enhance the nutritional value of the Central Asian Tortoise and also foods that are similar to the wild life vegetation, sold right in local and online pet stores.
Central Asian Tortoises are most comfortable on the outdoors in warmer temperature climates. If kept as pets, the temperature of its home should not fall below 65 degrees and its home should have a space containment of at least 30 gallons. Because central Asian Tortoises live in arid environments, special requirements are to be carried out. See Substrate for a detailed explanation of this environment set-up – environment must be kept dry. Also, all housing for the Central Asian Tortoise should include 3+” of substrate, this way the tortoise can burrow, and hibernate, when it shall need to do so.
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During the winter, if the tortoise is living on the outside, it will hibernate underground. At times while they are hibernating, they suffer from freezing’s, flooring’s and the terrible occurrence of being eaten by wild mammals and birds. A typical healthy Central Asian Tortoise must hibernate at least 4-8 weeks a year.
Central Asian Tortoises that live on the outside, pretty much takes care of themselves. During hotter temperature situations, they dig below ground, where it is cooler and reside there until temperatures fall. Any temperatures that exceed 90 degrees or drops below 60 degrees are dissatisfactions for the Central Asian Tortoise. If kept indoors, in a home like environment as an aquarium, their home should consist of a heat light, which can create heat temperatures at about 90 degrees. These heating lights not only provide the proper temperature, but gives off UVB light, which helps the tortoise digest their calcium intake from their diets. Central Asian Tortoises should get 12-14 hours of UVB heat lighting per day, and not any, during the night.
It is recommended that the Central Asian Tortoise is not handled too often, as this will result in them being stressed out. Stress level increases in this tortoise, can limit their functioning and affect their health negatively. Never restrict their movements, let them move about naturally as they seem most fit.
The Central Asian Tortoise is one of the five known Mediterranean tortoises. The others are: the Testudo Graeca, T. Hermann’s Tortoise, T. Marginata Tortoise and the T. Kleinmanni Tortoise. The Central Asian Tortoises can be found in rocky desserts, hillsides and sandy steppes, which elevates at about 5,000 feet high. You will specifically find these guys in grassy and vegetated areas, near springs and brooks. Their colors varies. Their carapace may be of a light tan to a yellow-green or olive color, with brown or black marks on its scutes. Their skin fairly is a yellowish tan and in addition to its colors, they posses a unique quality about them in contrast to other Testudos. They are the only Testudo with four claws on each foot.
As indicated before, Central Asian Tortoises functions in 60 – 90 degree temperatures and during winter weathers that drop below 60 degrees, they hibernate below ground, where temperatures are 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Central Asian Tortoise, lives in places that doesn’t get very much rain, extremely dry and lacks the quality to produce a lot of vegetation. The best route to go, if keeping them as pets, is to keep the substrate dry. Substrate should include: Forest Floor, an Eco Earth and a Reptisand – 3+” deep in total, so that the Central Asian Tortoise can burrow whenever it should need to do so.
The Central Asian Tortoise is a great pet to have and not so difficult to maintain. With an arid environment, human like temperatures and a grazer’s diet, the Central Asian Tortoise should comfortably live out its life expectancy and be a joy for the owner to have in the process.