Desert or Russian Tortoise?

by Marcia
(Long Beach, CA)


I live in Southern California and found a small tortoise walking down the middle of the street. I assumed it was a Desert Tortoise, but when I went to the pet store to buy a heat lamp and food, they had a Russian Tortoise for sale and I do not know what mine is. Can you explain the difference so that I can provide the proper care for whatever species it is? Looking forward to hearing from you.


Comments for Desert or Russian Tortoise?

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Jun 07, 2014
russian or desert
by: Anonymous

I looked at images of both and can't tell they look very similar any other way to tell the difference

May 16, 2010
can't tell by pictures
by: marcia

Hi Shelly,
Can't tell by pictures. My tortoise looks like she has had a rough life up to now. She has a worn shell on top (with some black markings still on the upper shell) and large cracked on her chest. So though she looks like a desert tortoise, she has green hues on her arms, legs, and neck. Since she probably just came out of hibernation, she could have been in a watery place or is a Russian. Are their any physiological differences between the two such as tail length, feet, shell, etc.? Looking forward to hearing from anyone that can help me figure out.


May 16, 2010
Which tortoise
by: Shelly

The best way to tell is to do a google image search for both kinds of tortoise and see which one looks most like yours.

Keep it slow and steady.

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