The Horsfield and Russian Tortoise
The Horsfield and the Russian tortoise make wonderful pets and are often lumped together with other mediterranean species when it comes to their care. In truth the Russian tortoise does need additional care when kept in this country and it is vital that you do plenty of research before you become the proud owner of one of these tortoises.
Although they are often labeled as a ‘beginners tortoise’ in pet shops they still need plenty of care and attention if they are to thrive. One of the reason that this tortoise has become so popular in this country is not because they are easy to care for but instead because they do not require and paperwork or licenses to sell or own them.
One of the biggest mistakes that new owners commit is keeping them in vivariums or shallow tortoise tables, this tortoise loves to burrow and in fact will spend a lot of the day underground. As mentioned previously many owners do not give their tortoises the opportunity to burrow which makes for a very unhappy tortoise. Although generally they are an relatively ‘easy to care for’ species you must still ensure that you can provide the necessary habitat that they require.
The Horsfield is a fairly plane looking tortoise but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in personality. Owners of this little tortoise quickly find that their pet has a personality of their own and will spend hours being entertained by its quirky behavior.
If you are intending to keep a Horsfield then you should be aware that it does have a slightly more swollen/ puffy body when compared to other tortoise species, this is nothing to worry about and shouldn’t put you off buying a particular tortoise nor does it require a trip to the vet.
Horsfield like Russian Tortoises ar a burrowing species and should not be kept indoors indefinitely, if kept confined they will quickly become stressed and begin scratching at their enclosure trying to escape. This scratching behavior is also commonly seen at night and occurs because in the wild the tortoise would sleep in the earth. If your horsfield digs a burrow in their enclosure they a likely to use it permanently not only to sleep but also to rest during the day time hours.
It goes without saying you must do plenty of research before buying one of these tortoises, all to often they end up in totally unsuitable environments where they develop health issues and die too young.
Librarys are a great place to start researching these animals as is the internet as there are many forums full of experienced owners ready to give you some advise. Keeping a tortoise is incredibly rewarding but you must do it right.