Horsefield Tortoise Information and Facts


Horsefield Tortoise InformationHorsefield tortoise’s, Testudo horsfieldi, are from the Mediterranean region and are some of the most popular of tortoise pets. Over the last several decades millions have been exported to the US, UK and Asia mainly for the purpose of being a pet.

Because of heavy trade most countries now have laws in place to monitor capture and export activates. Many countries now, where the Horsefield is popular as a pet, do captive breading, which increases the health and survival or this tortoise as well as alleviating the natural capturing and exporting taking place in the Mediterranean.

They range in the wild living as far along their bordering territory as Iran, China, Russia and Pakistan. This tortoise is known for burrowing and hibernating for extreme climates.

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Tortoise Table Starter Kit ULTIMATE

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#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.

This tortoise is referred to as several other names including Russian tortoise, Central Asian tortoise, Afghan tortoise, Steppe tortoise or Four Clawed tortoise.

Their natural habitat consists of hot summers and very cold winters. The geography varies from dry steppes and deserts to more lush places where grass and vegetation is plentiful.

One useable bit of information from its history is the need for a drier climate than a tropical tortoise. We can basically break classify many of these similar tortoises into two useful categories; Mediterranean and tropical. Tropical tortoises are home to more humidity and moisture in both the air and grounds while Mediterranean tortoises are use to a more dry and humid climate and ground. Too much moisture in the air can affect out our Horsefields respiratory system and too wet of ground can affect the bottom of its shell. This will be covered in the next several chapters and these climate conditions are the reason for much of the directions ahead.

Horsefield Tortoise Facts


Horsefield Tortoise FactsThe Horsefield was named after the American naturalist Thomas Horsfield.    Horsefield’s are part of the Testudo genus. There are five tortoises total in the Testudo genus, which also include the Hermann’s, Greek, Kleinmann’s, Marginated tortoise.

  • Horsfield’s tortoise (also known as Russian), T. horsfieldii
  • Hermann’s tortoise, T. hermanni
  • Greek tortoise (also known as Spur-thighed), T. graeca

– “Maghreb tortoise”, T. (graeca) graeca

– Greek tortoise, Testudo (graeca) ibera

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– “Persian tortoise”, T. (graeca) zarudnyi

  • Kleinmann’s tortoise (also know as Egyptian), T. kleinmanni
  • Marginated tortoise, T. marginata

There have been many revisions to the Testudo genus and it is not rock solid. Some of the five tortoises within Testudo have been considered different taxonomists, but not all have been widely accepted. Most people now widely accept the Horsefield tortoise to be in the Agrionemys genus. Yet many still refer to Horsefields as Testudo.


Horsefield’s are usually flat and round with a variety of colors but they are usually greenish brown.

The horsfieldii Horsefield’s get up to 28 cm (11 inches) while the kazachstanica Horsfield only get up to 20 cm (20 inches).

Females grow larger than males. The way you can tell the difference between the sexes is that males have longer tails that usually curl and females have shorter wider tails.

Tortoise Parts

Carapace – The entire upper part of the shell, all of the scutes

Plastron – The bottom of the shell

Scutes – The individual plates

Marginals – The first layer of scutes at the base

Supracaudal – The scute right above the tail

Nuchal – The scute right above the neck

Horsefield Tortoise Parts, genus and biology

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