A Russian tortoise is one the smallest tortoise species native to Russia and Central Asia. In addition, it is one of the most readily available species with a very social personality. But how much is a Russian tortoise to buy and maintain?
Well, it costs between $100 and $400 to buy a Russian tortoise. The prices vary depending on the age and gender of the animal, your geographical location, and where you source the tortoise. Conversely, it costs several hundred dollars to maintain the tortoise, including housing, food, and vet care costs.
So then, where do you buy the tortoise? Stay here to find out as we explore all the costs of buying and maintaining a Russian tortoise.
Russian Tortoise Overview
Also known as the Afghan, Central Asian, four-clawed, or Horsfield’s tortoise, the Russian tortoise is a small tortoise species. It measures between 5 and 10 inches long and is native to Central Asia.
These species’ carapace is tan to olive colored with brown and black markings. The bottom shell has brown or black splotches but may also be solid black. On the other hand, the males have bigger tails.
Like other tortoise species, the Russian species is also an herbivore. Its diet comprises a variety of grasses, leafy greens, weeds, fruits, and vegetables. The best part? This tortoise has a lifespan of over 40 years.
How Much is a Russian Tortoise to Buy
On average, an Afghan tortoise costs between $100 and $400. However, this is only the price of the animal since there are other upfront or maintenance costs. Typically, the price of the Russian species varies based on various factors, such as:
Compared to their adult counterparts, the baby Russian tortoise price is nearly double. For example, adults may cost from $100 to $300, while hatchlings are $300 to $400. On the other hand, yearling Afghan tortoises may cost upwards of $400.
The price of the Central Asian tortoise also varies depending on where you buy the animal. Generally, the pet costs less at the pet store than from the breeder.
This is because pet stores usually buy tortoises from the breeders in bulk, acquiring them at lower prices. Also, most of their animals are wild-caught. Therefore, an adult Russian tortoise from the pet store could cost as low as $70 to $200.
Typically, female Russian tortoises are relatively more expensive than their male counterparts. This is because the females are usually in high demand by the breeders because of their reproductive capabilities.
4. Wild-caught vs. Captive-bred
Generally, wild-caught Russian tortoises are cheaper than their captive-bred counterparts. This is because it is cheaper to harvest the turtles from the wild and ship them across the globe than to breed them in captivity.
5. Geographical Location
Russian tortoises may be slightly cheaper in Central Asia, including Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and southern Russia. This is because they are endemic to these places. However, they cost more in other parts of the world because of shipping costs.
How Much is a Russian Tortoise To Maintain
It would cost you from a few hundred to several hundred dollars a month to maintain a Horsfield’s tortoise. These costs include:
1. Enclosure Setup
For starters, you must buy an enclosure for your tortoise, which can be outdoor or indoor. Depending on the size and brand, the enclosure may cost between $125 and $200.
Apart from the enclosure, there is also the cost of decor and substrate. The prices range from $7.99 to $35, depending on the quantity and brand of the substrate.
2. Lighting and Heating Equipment
The ideal temperature for your Afghan tortoise is 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you will need to buy a ceramic heat emitter or a heating lamp to maintain these temperatures.
The best heat lamp that emits UVA and UVB light costs between $25 and $50. Conversely, the price of a ceramic heat emitter ranges from $12.99 to $30.99.
Russian tortoises are primarily herbivorous species. Their diet comprises leafy greens, hay, flowers, dark lettuce, weeds, and various vegetables. Depending on your pet’s dietary needs, you could spend $20 to $30 per month or $5 to $10 per week on food.
4. Veterinary Care Costs
Central Asian tortoises need regular vet check-ups to ensure their well-being. These check-ups may cost between $35 and $50 per visit. However, the cost may increase to $250 or more if there are medications.
5. Lighting and Heating Costs
Lastly, you will use power to light and heat up your Russian tortoise’s enclosure. Depending on many factors, like the number of bulbs and their wattages, you could spend as little as $15. The electric bill may also be as high as $200, especially in winter.
Tips To Save on Russian Tortoise Buying and Maintenance Costs
Looking to buy an Afghan tortoise? Below are tips to help you save money without compromising on the pet’s well-being.
- Buy your Russian tortoise directly from the breeder or a tortoise rescue center if you can instead of from the pet store.
- Build the enclosure yourself instead of buying a pre-made one if you have basic DIY skills.
- Use natural materials for decor, like branches and rocks, instead of buying pricey artificial decorations.
- Instead of buying substrates from the store, use a mixture of sand and organic topsoil as substrate.
- Grow your food, including vegetables, flowers, and leafy greens, so you don’t have to buy.
- If you must buy food for your Afghan tortoise, buy in bulk and take advantage of clearance sales in pet stores.
- You can let your Russian tortoise live outdoors and hibernate to save on lighting and heating costs.
Where to Buy a Russian Tortoise
There are many places that offer Russian tortoises for sale at different price ranges. These include:
One of the best places to buy a Central Asian tortoise is from a reputable breeder. Breeders offer healthy and well-cared-for tortoises that are bred in captivity.
Additionally, you could buy from reptile specialty stores like PetSmart and Petco. Just be sure to assess the conditions the animals are kept in before buying one.
Adoption or Rescue Centers
If you are on a tight budget, you could buy a Russian tortoise from rescue or adoption centers. Adoption fees are relatively lower.
Local Reptile Expos
Alternatively, you could attend local reptile expos or events. These expos usually have vendors selling a variety of reptiles. If you are lucky, you could get a Russian tortoise.
Without further ado, let’s check out some frequently asked queries regarding how much is a Russian tortoise to buy and maintain.
No. Like other species, the Russian tortoise is a low-maintenance pet. You can leave it for long stretches of time without any issues. It only needs a healthy diet and enough space to roam.
Yes. This is because, unlike most pets, a Russian tortoise can live for up to 50 years or more. Even better, the tortoise is low-cost maintenance with a simple herbivorous diet.
The prices vary based on the animal’s age and whether it is captive-bred or wild-caught. But generally, Petco sells their Russian tortoises between $199.99 and $499.00.
Overall, a Russian tortoise is one of the most affordable tortoise species to keep as a pet. This cheapest tortoise costs between $100 and $400 on average. However, the prices may vary based on age, gender, source, and geographical location.
On the other hand, the cost of maintaining this tortoise may add up to several hundred dollars a month. This is because you have to incur the cost of setting up the enclosure, veterinary care, lighting, and heating. The good news is that there are several tips to help you save on maintenance costs.