our animals

Horsefield Tortoise

Testudo horsfieldi

The horsefield tortoise sometimes known as the Russian tortoise or the four toed tortoise is a small species of tortoise that have rapidly become popular in the pet trade. On average, Russian tortoises will hibernate for about 8 weeks to 5 months throughout the year, if the conditions are right. The species can spend as much as 9 months of the year in dormancy.

Russian tortoises are sexually dimorphic. Males are usually smaller than the females, and the males tend to have longer tails generally tucked to the side, and longer claws; females have a short, fat tail, with shorter claws than the males. Russian tortoises have four toes. Coloration varies, but the shell is usually a ruddy brown or black, fading to yellow between the scutes, and the body is straw-yellow and brown depending on the subspecies.

The male Russian tortoise courts a female through head bobbing, circling, and biting her forelegs.

In September 1968 two Russian tortoises flew to the Moon, circled it, and returned safely to Earth on the Soviet Zond 5 mission. Accompanied by mealworms, plants, and other lifeforms, they were the first Earth creatures to travel to the Moon.

Horsefield Tortoise

fun facts

Conservation Status:



Central Asia


Semi arid plants


Grasses, flowers, twigs and leaves

Carapace length:




Incubation period:

80-110 days

Life Span:

40-60 yrs