How Much Does a Russian Tortoise Cost?

russian tortoise vectorThe Russian tortoise goes by several common names including Horsfield’s tortoise, Central Asian tortoise, Steppe tortoise, or four-toed tortoise.

The Russian tortoise makes a popular pet because of its small adult size. An adult tortoise measuring just six to nine inches is relatively easy to house even in a small living space!

Russian Tortoise Purchase Price

  • Backwater Reptiles lists Russian tortoises for sale at two prices: $200 for hatchlings and $80 for 4” to 5” tortoises
  • Snakes At Sunset has Russian tortoises of 5” in length listed for $120. It’s Baby Russian tortoises are listed for $200.
  • Tortoise Town lists baby Russian tortoises for $199 to $299. However, requesting your preferred gender would cost you an extra $10.
  • Reptile City has 3” to 4” Russian tortoises for $100. Choose your gender for no extra charge.
  • Tortoise Supply breeders have 2” Russian tortoises available for $200. It also offers “B-grade” 1” to 2” Russian tortoises for $180. Adult Russian tortoises are offered for $100 for males and $150 for females.

Factors Affecting Russian Tortoise Price

Captive bred vs wild caught – The demand for Russian tortoises in the pet trade fuels continued demand for captured wild-caught tortoises. This harms wild populations and local ecosystems.

Reptiles Magazine states that breeder or pet store cost to breed and raise a Russian tortoise to juvenile or full adult size means most larger Russian tortoises are likely wild-caught. Lower prices are often indicative of wild-caught tortoises.

Age/Size – The Russian tortoise can easily live up to 50 years in captivity. Hatchlings are typically more expensive. But it can make sense to choose an older tortoise if there is concern your pet may outlive you.

Here, rescuing a Russian tortoise in need of a new home is a great alternative. Adoption fees range from no-fee to $100+.

Gender – In most cases, gender is not a major determinant of cost differences. However, some breeders charge more for females because they represent a potential income stream to the buyer for future clutches.

Appearance – Some breeders may charge a premium for Russian tortoises with perfect shell markings.

agrionemys horsfieldii on land

One-Time Russian Tortoise Costs

These are the most commonly reported one-time care costs associated with owning a Russian tortoise.

  • Shipping

If you don’t have the option to acquire your Russian tortoise locally, the next best option is via mail. However, this can incur steep shipping costs to ensure your tortoise arrives healthy and safe. Backwater Reptiles ships overnight delivery for $49.99.

On the other hand, Reptile City ships overnight delivery for $29.95 while Tortoise Supply ships overnight delivery for $49.95 and adds an extra $17 for weekend deliveries.

  • Habitat

Minimum habitat size for one adult Russian tortoise is 4 feet by 4 feet. Younger tortoises can get by with a 30-gallon habitat. Rather than purchasing items piecemeal, it may be easier to invest in a starter kit. The Turtle Source has one suited to Russian tortoises for $450.

A hatchling or juvenile Russian tortoise would fit handily in the Penn Plax Tortoise Palace for around $300. A water dish costs $15 at least.

Ongoing Russian Tortoise Costs

These are the most commonly reported ongoing Russian tortoise care costs.

  • Food

Russian tortoises are predominantly herbivores. Plants, especially dark leafy greens, clover, leafy weeds and dandelion, are great to feed. Zoo Med’s Grassland Forest Diet is a good fibrous food supplement for around $7.

  • Substrate

Play sand plus coconut coir and/or unfertilized organic topsoil can all make excellent combination substrate. Russian tortoises need a relatively deep level to burrow.

Excavator burrowing sand ($16 for 10-lb bag) is good for a Russian tortoise. Coconut coir bedding is also a good option for around $12 per 24-qt pack. As a mix-in, Exo Terra Plantation Soil, 8 qt. 12 pack (4 x 3pk) is just $30.

  • UV bulbs

Full-spectrum ultraviolet-B light is essential along with white light to support circadian rhythm.  You will need to change out the UV-B bulb every six months.

A UV-B bulb costs around $50 for 100 watts. A sun spot 100-watt white light bulb costs less than $30. You will want a sun dome for each bulb – costs start around $23.

  • Heat source

A ceramic heat emitter or radiant heat panel can keep your tortoise warm at night. Fluker’s Ceramic Heat Emitter for Reptiles 100 Watt costs around $13 while a heat panel costs around $24.

  • Plants

Russian tortoises are active and love to dig and forage. They also require foliage for shade.

The easiest method to provide a wide variety of tortoise-safe green edibles is to purchase a plant mixture of seeds (approximately $5 per packet).

  • Supplements

Supplementing your tortoise’s diet is also ideal. A 2-pack cuttle bone costs around $6. Zoo Med Reptivite with D3 Reptile Vitamin, 2-oz bottle is also another good option which cost around $5.

  • Veterinary

An initial “well-tortoise” veterinary exam costs between $35 to $50 to ensure your pet’s overall well-being. Treatments may cost $100 to $200+ for any diseases it may have so be sure to include a budget for those as well.

 
Megan Kriss

Megan currently lives in Georgia with her husband, Matthew, their Border Collie, and Chow Chow mix, Ginger, and their two cats, a tabby named Pepper and a Birman named Misha, though she’s always hoping to add more animals.

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