How Old Is My Russian Tortoise?

How Old Is My Russian Tortoise?

Tortoises are known to be the longest-living animals on Earth. They can even live for over 200 years. Known as one of the most magnificent animals, they can outlast human beings, even when their approach toward life is steady and slow.

Tortoises are known to be the longest-living animals on Earth. They can even live for over 200 years. Known as one of the most magnificent animals, they can outlast human beings, even when their approach toward life is steady and slow.

The majority of these animals are usually found in the wild and in zoos, but you can also keep them as a pet.

As a pet owner, you need to take good care of the tortoise and make sure you provide all important things.

But how old can be a Russian tortoise? Well, they can be between 40 and 50 years if you take proper care of them.

In this post, you will gain some crucial insights about the Russian tortoise regarding their age, life cycle and development, and various other things.

How to Tell the Age of the Russian Tortoise?

how to tell the age of the russian tortoise?

When you buy a Russian tortoise from a breeder, they can tell you the actual age of your tortoise. But if you adopt one, you should contact the previous owners to learn about its age.

If you don’t want anyone’s help to know the age of your Russian tortoise, you can check its size. But remember, all tortoises grow at a different pace.

The male and female Russian tortoises do not grow the same way. It’s because the females are bigger when compared to the males.

This can help you figure out the actual age of your pet tortoise and will also let you know whether you have a male or a female tortoise. But there are several other ways to tell the age of the Russian tortoise. These are:

Count the Rise on Your Tortoise

count the rise on your pet

Many pet owners have said that when you count the rights of the tortoise, you might get an idea about their age. Here, the “RINGS” are the periods of growth in these beautiful animals.

Each ring is equivalent to a year. But the only problem with this counting method is that when there is a massive period of slow or fast growth, it can affect the ring’s size.

6-month growth period is not equivalent to a year of life. Moreover, many of the tortoises are said to grow slower compared to others.

Speak with An Experienced Reptile Veterinarian

Speaking to a reptile veterinarian will surely work when you want to know how old your Russian tortoise is. But there are certain aspects that might affect the growth, which can lead to variations in age.

For instance, when a tortoise is not properly fed or doesn’t have a proper diet, this can make the tortoise appear malformed and small.

Tortoises with shell-related problems, such as missing scutes, scarring, dents, and various other things, will look older.

It doesn’t matter how experienced or skilled the veterinarian is, he/she will age the Russian tortoise a lot older or younger than it is.

The appearance of a Russian tortoise is not the actual factor when it comes to age. If your tortoise has bad health, it will surely make it look worn out.

This is similar to humans who suffer from severe health-related conditions, and their bodies look a lot older compared to their age.

Why Do the Russian Tortoises Live Longer?

Experts have pointed out that tortoises live much longer compared to other animals because of their extremely slow metabolism.

One of the biggest instances is the Greenland Shark. This shark has a very slow metabolism and can live for over 500 years.

When living in the wild, the Russian tortoise hibernates for 9 months yearly during the cold season. But when held in captivity, they will hibernate for 2 months to 5 months.

The long lives of these tortoises are also linked to their genes, which help repair the DNA, suppress cancer, and help with the immune response.

The Life Cycle and Development of Russian Tortoise

the life cycle and development of russian tortoise

When these tortoises hatch out from the eggs, they are about 1 inch long. After that, they take around 2 years to 3 years to grow 8 to 10 inches long and might take around 15 years to 20 years to reach their adult size.

The female Russian tortoises will start to lay the eggs after they become 6 inches long. They can lay around 5 eggs at once.

Lifespan Russian Tortoises Compared to Other Tortoises

lifespan compared to other tortoises

There are some tortoises that can live between 150 years to 200 years. Russian tortoises do not get to live that long, but they do get to cross their 100th birthday.

As of 2021, Jonathan, the oldest living Seychelles Giant Tortoise, is 189 years old, and in 2023, Jonathan will be 191 years old. It hatched back in 1932 and resided in the Plantation House in Saint Helena, Seychelles.

Besides that, experts have estimated that the longest-living tortoise on Earth is more than 250 years old. But this was an Aldabra Giant Tortoise, not a Russian Tortoise.

Other reports have shown that many tortoises have reached 344 years of age, but these reports are incorrect.

Despite all that, Tortoises do have the potential to reach ages that are way beyond that of any other animal.

Food Products That are Ideal for Russian Tortoises

When you want your Russian tortoise to live a healthy life so that it can grow into its actual size, make sure to provide them with all the correct food products.

A tortoise’s diet should have food products that contain a high level of fiber and less fat and protein paired up with calcium so that their digestive tract functions normally.

Things to include in a Russian tortoise’s diet are:

Leafy and Dark Green Vegetables

Vegetables that you should provide your tortoise are dandelion greens, escarole, collard, kale, green and red lettuce, mustard, and turnip.

You should also add corn, spinach, peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, prickly pear cactus, and squash to their diet.

You can provide non-toxic flowers, such as Hibiscus and grass hay, to your Russian tortoise as well.

Besides that, when they’re housed outdoors, these tortoises can eat all the live grasses, such as rye, fescue, and even Bermuda grasses.

But you need to make sure that these grasses do not have any pesticides or other kinds of harmful chemicals.


When you want to give fruits to your Russian tortoise, make sure to provide berries, bananas, and even apples.

But don’t provide these fruits regularly to your tortoise. You just need to give them a treat.

Refrain from feeding your Russian tortoise with poor-nutrient vegetables, such as iceberg lettuce. High-protein products, such as cat or dog food, are a big no-no.

You can also provide them with commercially available pelleted diets. But make sure these diets are made specifically for the tortoises and should be over 25% of their overall food.

Things to Keep in Mind When Feeding the Tortoise

things to keep in mind when feeding the tortoise

Taking good care of your Russian tortoise and providing them with proper food will keep the tortoise in great condition. But there are specific things that you must remember while feeding your Russian tortoise.

  • Make sure their water bowl contains clean and fresh water all the time
  • Tortoises defecate on the water bowls. So, you must keep these bowls clean all the time.
  • Regularly feed your tortoise. Chop the vegetables properly so that the tortoise can eat them without many issues.
  • Sprinkle the food products along with the Calcium supplement. Make sure it does not contain Vitamin D because tortoises are sensitive to it. For juveniles, you should provide regular and for adults, provide the supplements alternatively.
  • Get rid of all the fruits and vegetables which the tortoise did not eat in 12 hours.

Russian Tortoises Live Longer Than Other Animals

Russian tortoises can live for over 50 years if you properly take care of them. You can speak with the breeder to learn its actual age when you purchase it.

Otherwise, the information provided in this post will give you a clear insight into these tortoises. Be sure to go through it when you’re planning to get a Russian tortoise.

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