Lifespan of a Russian or Horsfield's Tortoise

Horsefields tortoise.

Scientific Name:

Agrionemys horsfieldii or Testudo horsfieldii (Recently given its own genus as Agrionemys horsfieldii, but still commonly referred to as Testudo horsfieldii).

Common Names:

Include Russian tortoise, Afghan tortoise, Afghanistan tortoise, steppe tortoise, central Asian tortoise, four-toed tortoise, and Horsfield's tortoise.


Around 50 years


Russian tortoises get anywhere from 4-8 inches long.


Grass, foliage, and blooms of non-poisonous plants and weeds, as well as leafy greens, should be fed to Russian tortoises. If natural grazing of grasses, weeds, and plants is not possible ( includes edible plants), feed a range of greens (dandelion greens, endive, escarole, mustard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, collards) as well as hay (timothy or bermuda). Fruits, cereals, and animal protein should be avoided. Calcium and vitamin D3 powder supplementation is advised.

Housing - Outdoors:

Burrowing is similar to that of a Russian tortoise, and they will retire to their burrows during the day and at night. This implies that their outside pet's fence needs to be buried. The species can withstand a broad variety of temperatures, but not damp weather, thus a dry, warm refuge is required. During the day, temperatures should be in the lower to mid-80s F (upper 20s C), with a decrease at night. There should be a little dish of water available.

Housing - Indoors:

Russian tortoises do not thrive when kept indoors all of the time. Provide a 2 by 4 foot enclosure with sand/soil as a substrate, preferably deep enough to facilitate burrowing. A basking location should be given with a temperature gradient of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) (21 C). At the colder end of the temperature gradient, a conceal box should be put. It is required to have a UVA/UVB generating light. You might also put out a small dish of water. The humidity level should be around 60%.


Russian tortoise naturally hibernate (but only allow to hibernate).

Care Sheets Online:

  • by Joe Heinen DC - Resource dedicated to the proper care of Russian Tortoises.
  • Russian Tortoise - by Darrell Senneke and Chris Tabaka DVM, a good discussion of the care of this species.

Species Information