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The Russian tortoise is found primarily in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, southeastern Russia, and China. Its native environment is harsh and arid, and includes sandy steppes, as well as grassy areas close to springs in arid, rocky, hilly terrain. It is found at elevations as high as 5,000 to 7,000 feet.
Russians are great digger and hibernates in deep burrows during the winter, and in the southern parts of its range it aestivates during the summer. In its native environment, this tortoise is active for only about three months of the year, March, April and May.
They averages five to eight inches long with a rather flat, roundish, yellow-green or olive carapace Males are usually smaller than the females and are most easily sexed. They are hardy species which needs a very dry, well-drained land area in a secure outdoor enclosure. The enclosure should have appropriate landscaping, with a covered or indoor area for use in wet and cold weather.
The tortoises natural diet consists of herbaceous and succulent vegetation including grasses, twigs, flowers and some fruits. Ideally, the tortoise should graze on edible plants in its enclosure. However, you will find that they will eat many plants down to the roots. Also, lightly sprinkle their food with calcium carbonate to provide a good source of calcium needed to help prevent bone problems.