Russian tortoises are charming reptiles that have become popular as pets. These tortoises are known for their hardy nature and endearing personalities, making them a favored choice for reptile enthusiasts. However, potential owners should know the costs of caring for a Russian tortoise.
So, the Russian tortoise cost: how much do you need to pay? Initially, it will take $350 to $650 to own this pet. This cost includes purchasing the tortoise and setting up the housing. Then, $500 to $800 ongoing yearly expenses for food, health checks, and other needs.
In this article, we’ll explore the various expenses you can expect when considering a Russian tortoise as a pet. Keep scrolling to learn about the cost of such creatures.
How Much Does a Russian Tortoise Cost?
The following table summarizes the overall cost of owning a Russian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii).
|Russian Tortoise Cost||$50-$300|
|Lighting and Heating||$50-$70|
The Initial Investment
Here’s a breakdown of the initial investment:
Purchasing the Tortoise
The first expense is acquiring the Russian tortoise itself. On average, you can expect to pay $50-$300 for a Russian tortoise. However, several factors may influence the price:
- Age: It is one of the principal factors that influence the price. The younger, the costlier it is. So, if you choose a Hatchling, which means a newborn tortoise, you have to pay $200 to $300.
However, the tortoise is an animal that lives too long, 40-60 years, with proper care. . So, purchasing an adult is not a bad decision, as you can buy at one-third of the cost.
- Gender: In general, female Russian tortoises have more demand. Unfortunately, they’re less available for sale. So, female tortoises cost almost double that of their male counterparts.
- Captive-bred vs. wild-caught: Captive-bred Russian tortoises are more expensive than wild-caught animals. And it is acceptable because breeders have to invest in growing and maintaining those reptiles. Again, wild-caught tortoises may have parasite infection, legal issues, and injuries from their natural habitat. But captive bred are healthier and more ethical to own. So, a wild-caught Russian tortoise price ranges from $50-$100, whereas a captive bred requires $200-$300.
- Source: Where you buy your tortoise matters. Reputable breeders tend to charge more, but they offer assurance of the tortoise’s health and legal status. Avoid purchasing from unverified sources, such as online marketplaces, to prevent potential health or legality issues.
Enclosure and Habitat Setup
The initial cost to set up the enclosure varies according to size, type, and the quality of the materials you choose. It will take about $400-$600 for an average. Now, let’s see what are the factors that influence this price.
- Enclosure: If you’re going to own a Russian tortoise, keep in mind that they’re very active and need enough space. Even newborn or baby tortoises need 2 feet by 4 feet gallon.
Opt for an indoor enclosure for hatchlings. Otherwise, you can choose outdoors too. In a nutshell: Put $125-$200 for a perfect enclosure.
- Lighting and Heating: These tortoises are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external sources to maintain their temperature. So, when it is cold outside, and you can’t give sunlight to your reptiles, a lamp is needed to maintain the temperature. The optimum temperature ranges from 75° to 85° F. You’ve to illuminate a UV lamp to maintain this temperature. It may cost about fifty to seventy bucks.
- Hides and Dehumidifiers: Next, secure the privacy of your pet by providing a space for hiding. Also, if you’re in a humid area, a dehumidifier is a must. This will cost 50 bucks again.
- Substrate: Now, the floor of the housing. The substrate should be enough for the pet to burrow. The most commonly used substrates are
- Coco-coir: $10-$20 per 25 quarts
- Sand and Soil Mix: $5-$10 per 20 pounds
- Cypress Mulch: $15-$25 per 10 quarts
We forbid you to use any dusty or sharp substances as they can injure the eyes or skin of your lovely pet.
- Accessories: Other costs depend on your choice. Whether you want to put decors, rocks, plants, etc., to entertain the little reptile.
Watch this video to learn how to set the enclosure initially.
Owning a Russian tortoise involves more than just the initial investment.
Food and Diet
- Monthly Diet: Russian tortoises primarily eat fresh vegetables, weeds, and fruits. In captivity, they prefer yellow and red color feed plants. A low protein, high calcium, and high fiber diet is ideal. Expect to spend around $20 to $30 per month on their diet, with costs varying based on availability and seasonality.
- Supplements: You may need calcium and vitamin supplements, costing about $5 to $10 per month, to ensure your tortoise’s health.
You must take your pet to a qualified vet for an annual health checkup. And it costs around $35 to $75. However, the cost may change according to location, medication, tests, surgeries, or emergency care.
- Heating and Lighting: Maintaining the correct temperature and UVB lighting in your tortoise’s enclosure requires electricity. Expect to see an increase of $10 to $20 in your monthly energy bill.
- Water: While not a significant expense, providing clean water for drinking and soaking is essential. Budget around $5 per month for water.
Total Ongoing Expenses
Considering these factors, the estimated yearly cost of caring for a Russian tortoise can range from $500 to $800.
Cost Saving Tips
You can minimize the cost by implementing the following tricks:
- Create DIY decor
- Buy food items in bulk
- Grow your greens
- Prevent vet bills by maintaining proper husbandry
Owning a Russian tortoise is a delightful venture, but it comes with financial responsibilities. The initial cost can range from $350 to $650 or more. Then, yearly expenses may cost approximately $500 to $800 or more.
Russian tortoises are known for their longevity, often living for more than half a century in captivity. This means you’ll bear these ongoing expenses for many years.