Russian tortoises grow to about 8 inches in length. Their natural range is from southeastern Russia down through the middle east, including Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Russian tortoises are adapted to extreme seasonal weather variations, and in the proper enclosure they can tolerate temperatures of over 100 and below freezing; they hibernate during the winter months. Read Mary Cohen’s great distillation of the natural ecology of the Russian tortoise for more information.

In the wild, they are natural burrowers, so any captive enclosure should include several shelter options and/or a hand-dug burrow or two. While part of the enclosure can be watered regularly to grow tortoise food, some areas of the enclosure should be allowed to dry completely in order to help prevent shell rot and to provide more options for thermoregulation. A clean water dish should always be provided – we really like to use heavy duty paint trays because they’re shallow enough to be safe and easy for the animals to get in and out of. Here are our Russian tortoise habitats and a few residents!


If you can provide an amazing forever-home to one of these Russian tortoises, please fill out the adoption application below. Your application will be reviewed after you e-mail photos of your outdoor habitat/enclosure to krista “at” texastortoiserescue “dot” com.