Horsefield Tortoise Substrate and Bedding


It’s very important to have well-drained substrates. In simpler terms, make sure the ground is dry and not damp or wet ground because this replicates their natural surroundings and ground with a lot of moisture causes shell problems (usually on the bottom/plastron) and respiratory issues.  There are certain types of substrates that are idea outside including:

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Substrate & Bedding List
Hay (such as timothy)
Pine Bark Mulch
Wood chips
Cypress mulch
Aspen bedding
Tortoise Table Starter Kit ULTIMATE

Tortoise Table Starter Kit ULTIMATE
#1 Best bet to get you started the fastest and correctly. Includes everything you need to start. Takes all the guess work out of it! For someone getting their first Horsefield, this saves the hassle of piecing everything together yourself and wondering if it's right! Save by bundling and getting all the correct supplies in one place.
Tortoise Starter Kit ADVANCED

Tortoise Starter Kit ADVANCED
Excellent. Includes UV-A / UV-B lighting, engraved pets name, furnishings, food, manual and vitamins.
Grassland Natural Tortoise Food

Grassland Zoo Med Natural Tortoise Food
#1 Best bet for food because it is specifically designed for the Horsefield tortoise and its Testudo Genus. It's formulated just for them with the correct vitamins, minerals and fiber. All natural with no artificial colors or preservatives and mainly consists of their favorite, Dandelion and Yucca.
uvb, uva, visual light and heat Bulb

Exo Terra PT2192 Solar Glo Mercury Vapour Lamp
Perfect all in one bulb that delivers all the lighting your Horsefield will need when kept inside.
Pro Rep Tortoise Life Substrate 25 litres

Pro Rep Tortoise Life Substrate 25 litres
Reliable pro-grade substrate perfect for his housing environment. Buying packaged substrate over wild dirt etc. prevents many possible contamination problems. This is best mixed with other substate sources like Timothy hay, wood chips and sand. Keep dry to prevent shell rot.
Horsefield Care Made Easy

Advanced guide. This is the only guide that is made just for the Horsefield Tortoise. Includes everything on buying, housing, food, breeding, hibernation and health issues. All of the information you need to know specifically about your one type of pet, the Horsefield tortoise, is in this care guide.

Horsefield Tortoise Substrate and BeddingThe best set-up for their substrate is to mix a few of these together. Do not only pick one. Buying the substrate from a pet store, landscaping or home improvement store is your best bet to get the highest quality. If you collect your substrate out in nature there is a chance that it is contaminated with animal droppings, pesticides etc. If you choose to do this examine the substrate closely and wash thoroughly for any possible hazardous contaminants.

Outdoor housing requires less cleaning of Horsefield droppings and dirty substrate than indoor. On an as-needed basis, scoop out droppings and replace substrate.


Substrate is important for indoor housing and provides your tortoise with a good footing and temperature regulation just like it does for outdoor housing. Refer to the previous list on substrate in the outdoor section with the exception of grass since it will not be growing in your indoor housing. In addition, for indoors you can use shredded newspaper and remember to mix a few together.

With an indoor housing, Horsefield droppings and dirty substrate will need to be cleaned more often than outdoor. Expect to maintain, replace substrate and scoop out droppings everyday to every other day. Also be sure to clean the enclosure, water dish, and food area with a disinfectant several times a week.

Elevation Change


For outdoor housing it can be formed from dirt mounds if there are currently none. Using a shovel you can redistribute the dirt to make elevation changes. The mounds should be 7-20 cm high and sloped gradually enough for your pet to get to the top and down with ease. When making dirt mounds make sure to not leave ditches where you gather dirt. For that reason, a rake also works well.

Horsefield tortoises love to climb and so for another type of elevation change rocks (or anything else they can climb onto) are a great idea. Scatter a few of these items around the housing so your pet can climb around on them. Make sure they are not too extreme that your tortoise will easily get rolled onto his back or injure himself.


This will provide a change in elevation to simulate the wild life and temperature differences that your Horsefield would experience outdoors. Simply use your hands to push together substrate to make elevation changes. Make 1-3 mounds. Make one mound next to the lamp, as this will be your basking spot.