The Russian Tortoise comes from Uzbekistan and is the smallest tortoise species we know of, which is why it is also one of the most desired types of turtles people want as pets.
You can usually find these types of tortoises in the wild close to the deserts or the edges of the rocky hills of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, or Russia.
How much does a Russian tortoise cost?
The average Russian tortoise costs somewhere between $100 and $250, depending on several very important factors like the seller you’re buying it from, its size, age, and general health. Expect a baby tortoise to cost around twice the price of an older specimen.
Websites like Pet Smart, for example, sell baby Russians for $150 and up.
BackwaterReptiles, on the other hand, which is another popular pet supplier with an online store, has Russian tortoise hatchlings available for $90 to $300, with sizes of up to five inches in length.
You can also find Russian tortoises for sale at Tortoise Supply for anywhere between $150 and $300.
Breakdown of the Factors That Influence the Cost
Depending on where you buy the Russian tortoise from, you will have a considerable range of prices. Your local pet stores will likely sell tortoises at a higher price than local breeders. You will also find higher prices when you look for a Russian tortoise in online stores than you would at a reptile show. Looking for these pets at reptile expos will also help you avoid shipping fees, as you’ll receive it in person.
You will also want to look for breeders that have a surplus of Russian tortoises, as they are more likely to sell one on the lower end of the price range. This might prove to be hard, as the average Russian tortoise will only be able to lay between 3 and 5 eggs per hatch and the demand is an impressive one.
When it comes to purchasing a reptile, you should try to avoid larger chain pet stores and opt for reputable breeders. There are some good parts about shopping at big stores as well, however, like finding the cheapest possible price. Also, larger stores also have discounts and sales available quite often.
Gender of the Tortoise
You will spend less on a male Russian tortoise than on a female specimen.
For example, you are likely to pay around $150 for a male Russian tortoise, while a female Russian tortoise with the same characteristics will cost $200.
Age of the Tortoise
You will likely spend around $400 or more on a yearling Russian tortoise, while baby Russian tortoises would cost a maximum of $300.
You will spend less on even older tortoises, somewhere around $200.
Tortoise Shell and Appearance
When shopping for older adult tortoises, is not uncommon to find a lot of specimens that have a lot of damage and wear on their shells. Most sellers will sell these types of tortoises for a discount to account for the imperfection.
Russian tortoises that have split scutes are also known to be slightly cheaper than the rest. If they don’t have other health issues, Tortoises with split scutes are still considered healthy. They will just have extra scutes or they will be missing a scute, which is nothing to be mindful of.
Russian tortoise overview
The Russian tortoise’s shell is light-brown and olive with dark brown bands wrapping it all around.
They are known to live past their 30th birthday, sometimes reaching even the age of 50 in captivity, when healthy.
Male Russian tortoises are known to reach eight inches in length, while females will be longer by about two inches than males.
These types of turtles are very active, tame, and friendly, as long as you handle them gently.
What are the extra costs?
You should look for housing that is at least 12 inches wide by 36 inches long. If you’re able to get an even bigger cage, then even better, as the tortoise will have a lot of room to move around, which will keep it happy. You can also get an outdoor enclosure aside from the indoor cage, so you can take the turtle outside when the temperature is just right so that it can move around and receive some needed UV rays. This should be at least four by four feet, if not bigger. Expect a decent cage to cost anywhere between $150 and $250.
The indoor cage should have several accessories inside, like a UV light to give the turtle the needed heat, which should stay on for 12 to 14 hours daily, a dehumidifier if you live in a more humid area, and a hiding area for the pet to crawl inside. Keep the temperature inside the cage somewhere around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The cage should have a substrate at its bottom. Use alfalfa pellets that are at least two inches thick.
When it comes to the diet of the Russian turtle, it can be anything from vegetables to fruits and other plants, although experts recommend food that is rich in calcium and has a lot of fiber, with not a lot of protein, so that the digestive tract can do its job properly. These tortoises are known to eat hibiscus, certain flowers, collards, kale, chicory, radicchio, endive, and romaine lettuce. You shouldn’t need more than $2 per day for food.
Check out the table below for an easier-to-read list of additional costs:
|Tortoise enclosure||$30 – $120+|
|UVB lamp||$24 – $120|
|Ceramic heat emitter||$12 – $24|
It is also a good idea to perform a detailed vet check-up on your new pet tortoise the first time you get it. This is to make sure that the specimen is healthy or to detect any issues and ensure the right treatment right from the start. You are likely to spend about $50 for a standard check-up of your Russian tortoise, though this cost will vary depending on your location.
After the initial check-up, your Russian tortoise care should include getting a vet appointment at least once per year, to ensure you keep the pet in its best health.
Russian tortoise care tips
This is a great animal for a beginner as it will be easy to maintain while also being very social and friendly. Keep in mind though that this pet is likely to live past its 30-year birthday, a lot more than most pets, which makes it a very long-term commitment.
If you find this type of turtle in the wild, don’t take it home before getting it to the vet, just so you’re sure it doesn’t have any health issues. A new tortoise will also need time to adapt to its new environment and surroundings as being taken to a new home in captivity is never an easy change.
Although you can keep more than one pet Russian tortoise in the same cage, never keep them with other species of turtles.
As for the most common health problems, we should mention vitamin deficiency due to an improper diet or insufficient UVB lighting, gastrointestinal disease, ticks, respiratory disease, and others, according to PetCo.
How can I save money?
You might be able to find this an older Russian tortoise in a rescue center around you, as pets that have such a long lifespan are very often given away at some point in their lifetime.