Russian Tortoise

Testudo horsfieldiRussian Tortoise

Description: Russian Tortoises are fairly small compared to other tortoise species; however they can still reach a carapace length of over 20 cm. They have a yellow-tan rounded carapace and a rigid plastron with the head and each 4 toed limb being light brown.

Range: Southern Russian and the northern Middle East.

Habitat: Grassy areas close to springs. They will also dig burrows which can sometimes measure over 2 meters long.

Reproduction: Russian Tortoises have an odd courtship display where the males become very aggressive and circle the females while biting at her head and legs. The males then extend their heads and swing it about, all the while staring directly into the eyes of the female. Males will often fight other males during this time.

Fun Fact: Is some areas, Russian Tortoises may be only active for a few months out of the year. After hibernating through winter, they become active in the spring, then disappear underground again for the hot summer months.