How to care for and how to feed a land tortoise at home – the choice of a terrarium and diet

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Exotic pets are a popular trend. A land tortoise, when kept at home, will not bring owners any special worries if the proper conditions are initially created, and then nutrition is followed and animal care procedures are followed. From these reptiles there is practically no noise and smell, and with proper care they live for several decades.

Who is a land tortoise

The animal received its name for a strong shell, it came from the Latin Testudinidae – brick, tile. The hard shell covers the back (carapace) and belly (plastron). It serves as a carapace for protection, withstands a load that is 200 times the weight of a turtle. The size of an individual depends on the species. There are both very small representatives up to 10 cm long, and giants up to 900 kg. The limbs are shaped to compactly hide inside the shell. Almost all species have a tail, and at its end there is a spur. Reptiles have well-developed hearing and color vision, which helps them get food..

The main types of land turtles:

  1. Leopard – reaches 50 kg in weight, the high shell is spotted.
  2. The Central Asian tortoise is a small reptile reaching a length of up to 20 cm. Its shell has a rounded shape of yellow-brown tones. The most common option for home maintenance due to the unpretentiousness of care. It is also called – steppe turtle..
  3. Asian – has two subspecies: depressed and brown tortoise.
  4. Mediterranean – distributed in Europe, up to 35 cm long.
  5. Radiant – was named for the characteristic geometrically regular yellow lines on the coal shell, a rare view from the Madagascar islands.

Where does he live

Land species prefer the steppe, desert and semi-desert terrain. They can be found in such geographical areas:

  • savannah and desert Africa;
  • in the territory of North and South America;
  • Asian and European countries: India, Greece, Uzbekistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and others;
  • in Australia and the nearest islands.

How many lives

The life span of a reptile depends on the living conditions and species. Answering the question of how many land turtles live, it is worth mentioning that under natural conditions some individuals reached the age of over 100 years. At home, it all depends on the conditions of detention. The more varied the diet and the more competent the care, the longer the pet will live. Age is able to reach more than 30 years.

Photo of a tortoise

Land tortoise

Land tortoise at home

For apartment reptile maintenance it is important to create a comfortable environment by organizing a terrarium. It is worth considering the features of the life of turtles:

  • animals molt, exfoliation of the old cover occurs in small quantities on the skin;
  • can hibernate. Under natural conditions, this is due to a change in temperature and lack of food;
  • do not like drafts, can easily catch a cold.

What to feed

In wild conditions, the steppe tortoise eats plant foods, supplementing the diet with protein elements: snails, worms, slugs. Feeding in an unnatural environment should be as close as possible to a regular menu. Considering how to feed a land tortoise at home, make a diet so that it includes not only grass, vegetables and fruits, but also feeding protein food – small insects and meat.

The summer menu may include fresh seasonal products: clover, mushrooms, zucchini, dandelions, cucumbers, radishes, berries, sorrel, pumpkin. For the winter period, steamed straw becomes the basis of nutrition, available vegetables: cabbage, carrots, beets. Pets also need to give fruits so that the body receives a sufficient amount of vitamins. The menu should contain special foods with calcium. It can be bone meal or ground eggshell. Land pets satisfy the need for water from succulent food. Feeding is carried out 1 time per day.

How to care

It does not require much effort. Taking care of a land tortoise at home is simple. For a comfortable living, it is necessary to equip a terrarium where it will be located most of the time. Periodically release your pet for a walk around the apartment. Turtles became famous for their slow ground movement, so it will be easy for you to monitor its movement.

When considering how to care for a land tortoise, keep in mind that reptiles molt. For the period of the change of cover it is necessary to bathe the animal with a weak soda solution. It is worth trimming the claws using a special clipper. In winter, turtles may not be enough ultraviolet, for this they are irradiated with quartz lamps, avoiding the rays in the eyes.

Terrapin Terrarium

Terrarium for turtles

Permanent presence of reptiles on ordinary flooring is not allowed. You can organize an aviary for walks, protecting the zone. Terrarium for a turtle is an aquarium with a special substrate. The ratio of the length and width of the base must be selected based on the size of the largest individual. Dimensions should be 2-3 times greater than reptile. The minimum length of an adult steppe turtle is 20 cm, so the sizes start from 100x50x30 cm.

The pallet is filled with gravel, sawdust or sand, which will have to be changed as it becomes dirty. On the territory of the terrarium, it is important to arrange a bathing area so that the pet can take a bath. Observe an acceptable temperature range of 25-35 degrees and adequate lighting with a fluorescent lamp. With a lack of heat, the reptile can go into hibernation. Humidity in the aquarium should be low, and the turtles themselves need to be sprayed once a day from the spray gun.

Turtle house

It is necessary to organize a shelter for the pet in the terrarium. It is intended for overnight stays. To do this, you can:

  • cut a hole in a plastic non-toxic box;
  • build a house from the boards;
  • use half of the flower pot.

Land Turtle Disease

Mostly sick pets due to improper care or maintenance errors. The most common diseases, manifestations and how to treat them:

1. Worms and parasites start from the use of unwashed foods. For prevention, it is better to give Albendazole once every 3-6 months.
2. If the temperature regime is not observed and drafts can get a cold and even pneumonia. Keep track of this, towel dry your pet after bathing.
3. A lack of calcium and vitamin D in the body leads to rickets. Include foods rich in these elements in your diet or use glycerophosphate.

4. Conjunctivitis is manifested by tearfulness and redness of the eyes. Avoid drafts, and apply drops in case of illness.

The turtle is walking along the track


Reproduction in turtles requires special conditions. Mating is carried out in the spring, when the reptile has completed wintering. Successful breeding involves keeping one male and several females. They are kept separately, for reproduction, it is necessary to add individuals of two sexes to each other so that they get used to the companion. Reptiles lay eggs from which offspring are made. The incubation period is from 2 to 6 months, depending on the type.


It will be possible to find out how much a land tortoise costs by deciding on a view. The cheapest way to buy a Central Asian reptile. Exotic species of turtles will cost more. The price of such a pet ranges from 500 to 2000 rubles. Sale is offered by both specialized stores and private individuals engaged in breeding.


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How to choose a land tortoise

For home breeding, choose Central Asian (steppe) individuals. They are small in size – up to 20 cm long. The color of the shell of a young individual is in yellow tones with round brown spots. Pay attention to activity. The turtle is awake in the morning and evening, and rests in the shelter day and night. The animal should look healthy, not have skin defects.

How to determine the gender

The main gender differences:

  1. The shape of the shell is in a male of a more elongated shape.
  2. Plastron (lower part of the shell) – in the male near the tail, it has a concave shape, which ensures mating. In females, the plastron is straight, so it is necessary for bearing eggs.
  3. The male gender of the turtles has a V-shaped recess on the top of the tail shell.
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