Horsefield Tortoise Facts

Facts Horsefield Tortoise That’s a Fact Jack!

With so much scattered information regarding the horsefield tortoise online, finding the right facts can feel quite overwhelming at times. 

The Horsefield tortoise is also known as the Russian tortoise or Central Asian tortoise.

It has been named after Thomas Horsefield, an American Naturalist. There are some very important Horsefield tortoise facts that you will read in the article below.

Size, color and Description

  • The Russian tortoise, also know as the Horsefield tortoise, is small in size and ranges from 13 to 25 cm in length which is equal to around 5 to 10 inches. Females Horsefield tortoise is only a bit larger in size. Females are slightly bigger in size because the species are sexually dimorphic. Male Horsefield tortoises have larger tales that are tucked towards the side. Female shells have scutes which are not present in males.
  • Horsefiedl tortoise is found in different colors. The outer shell is generally black or ruddy brown that fades to yellow between the scutes. The body is brown or straw yellow. Horsefield tortoises have four toes.


  • Male and females tortoise take around 10 to 12 hours for mating.

Horsefield tortoise as pets

  • Horsefield tortoise is social with human beings. They are the most easily available tortoise species which makes them very popular pets. Since they are not very large in size, they can be kept by people who have limited available space for pets. Moreover, Horsefield tortoises are much more attractive than other tortoise. They are also very active. They can survive extremely temperatures which also adds to their value as pets. They can be kept indoors in tanks, plastic tins and pools. Large space is needed for adults, however, babies can make do with little space.

Caring for Horsefield tortoise

  • Horsefield tortoise in not native to America and is generally imported into the country. The production of Horsefield tortoise in America is very low as compared to its import.
  • A Horsefield tortoise measures around 1 inch at the time of hatching and grows to about 8 to ten inches as it matures. Females grow lightly larger than their males counterparts. When a female tortoise is 6 inches in length, she can lay eggs.


  • The average lifespan of a Horsefield tortoise is around 40 years. It can live even longer if it is given proper diet and kept in soothing environment.

Raising the Horsefield tortoise

  • A Horsefield tortoise is preferably raised in an outdoor setting in warmer areas. A pair of adult tortoise should be kept in an 8 to 10 feet pen. The perimeters should be set around 1200 inches into the ground so that they cannot get out by digging the sides. The perimeter should also be higher than 12 inches.
  • Since they are burrowers, it is also advisable to place rocks under the soil so that they cannot dig their way out. When the temperatures become rather high or low, the Horsefield tortoise burrows into the ground for protection. If there are hide boxes built underground, it will prevent them from burrowing deep into the ground.
  • Horsefield tortoise does not eat grass. However, it tries and eats almost every other plant that is available inside its pen which makes it imperative to check every plant in the vicinity for safety.

Temperature and lighting

  • Horsefield tortoises that are allowed to live outdoor and burrow into the ground can take good care of themselves against weather. However, if they are unable to dig, the weather gets too hot for them if it crosses the 100 degree threshold. During the winter, they hibernate underground if they have had the opportunity to dig before the start of winter. It must, however, be noted that it is not essential for the tortoise to hibernate in order to maintain its health.
  • Horsefield tortoises can be kept at normal room temperature. It is much better to keep them in an area that is heated by an overheard light.


  • Horsefield tortoises are ravenous. They can eat anything that has green leaves. They also eat vegetables. It is advisable to keep their diet diverse with an abundance of green turnips and other lettuce types.
  • It is also important to always keep water available. It should be put in a dish which should be cleaned frequently. During hotter climates, water bowls can be used for convenience. If the tortoises are kept inside, it is not advisable to keep water always available.

Where to buy Horsefield tortoises

  • You should buy an active and alert tortoise from a reputable place. Make sure not to handle them too often since it may add to their stress. This can result in declining health of the pet. When handled, it must be done carefully. They should not be restricted or pinned down.