The Central Asian tortoise is named after the famous US biologist Thomas Horsfield. Its habitat covers Central Asia, steppe from China to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. These turtles prefer sandy soil, although they are often found on loams. Most often, they settle on rocky or hilly terrain, where there is access to water, and grass grows in abundance.
These small creatures live in burrows that dig themselves, but there are times when other people's homes are inhabited. They live in arid areas, but choose places with the highest humidity so that they can dig holes. If the soil is very hard and dry, the Central Asian land turtle cannot dig and remains without shelter. Listed as an endangered species in the Red Book due to uncontrolled catch.
The sizes of Central Asian turtles are small. They do not grow more than 25 cm. Males are noticeably smaller than females (13–20 cm). At home, do not grow more than 18 cm. A female who has reached 16 cm is capable of carrying eggs. Strong, well-developed shell, which covers the whole body, is not only an excellent protection against predators, but also reliably shelters from overheating under hot sunshine, and in cold weather it protects from overcooling.
The shell is convex. It reaches its limiting size in very old turtles. Horn flaps adorn the complex pattern, which consists of darker on the outer edge of the rings of irregular shape. Usually, the upper part of the carapace (carapax) is olive-brown in color with dark spots or greenish. Paws and head brownish yellow. The only turtles belonging to the genus Testudo, which have four and not three fingers on their paws.
Life expectancy of this animal in natural conditions is more than forty years. By creating comfortable conditions for a tortoise in captivity (high-quality food, no stress), you can extend this period.
Central Asian tortoise: maintenance and care in the summer aviary
Despite their small size, these turtles show activity uncharacteristic for power animals. Your pet will be happy if you give him space and the ability to dig. They are well tolerated by significant temperature fluctuations, so they can be almost all summer outside. If there is such an opportunity, then in the warm season, move your pet to the aviary to the country or to the garden.
Such a house should be spacious, not less than 2x2 meters. The fence is deepened into the ground by 30 cm, as turtles can podpapat it and escape. The height of the fence is at least 30 cm. Central Asian turtles at home often dig in the corners, so it is advisable to place large stones there - this will frustrate your pet's escape plan.
The owners of these turtles note that the activity of this species to dig increases when the difference between day and night temperatures increases. In this way, they are saved from hypothermia. For this reason, many owners in advance prepare them a hole in which to hide at night. In the aviary there must be a container with water.
Maintenance and care during the cold season
With the onset of autumn, you need to move your pet into the room. The Central Asian tortoise, the maintenance and care of which does not give you any special problems, feels great in an aquarium, terrarium and even a spacious plastic box. It is important that this house is strong, and your pet could not escape from it.
For one animal, a capacity of at least 60x130 cm is needed. When the dwelling is cramped, the turtles begin to overly actively dig in the corners of the terrarium. This animal needs to be given more space, only in this case the bug will be healthy, active, and, moreover, it is much more interesting to watch it in a large terrarium.
Some owners contain the Central Asian tortoise as a normal pet, allowing them to crawl where they want. Do not do this. First, you can just step on it and accidentally hurt. Secondly, in every house there are drafts, which the Central Asian tortoise is very afraid of. Keeping and caring for this animal involves creating the necessary conditions for digging in the terrarium. We have already said that this process is vital for her.
How to choose a primer?
In order to make life easier for a bug, you can make a layer of earth mixed with coconut chips in a terrarium, which loosens it. Concerning sand (for this purpose) opinions differ. Some people think that it can be used, while other experts consider this to be unacceptable - the Central Asian tortoise at home accidentally swallows it, it slaughters its internal organs and can lead to the death of the animal.
The soil should be slightly wet and its layer is deep enough for the turtle to dig into it. If the animal does not have the ability to dig a hole, then you will have to take care of shelter for it. A box, a half pot, etc. will do for this. The main thing is that the shelter does not have sharp edges and has sufficient area.
In the terrarium must be present flat large stones. This is not a decorative ornament. They help tortoises grind down claws and at the same time are a certain surface for food, the “table”. This species of turtles loves to climb somewhere, do not deny them this pleasure.
Do I need to bathe a turtle?
There is an erroneous opinion that a turtle is capable of receiving all the necessary moisture for life from the plants being eaten. Yes, under natural conditions, they live in a dry climate, so they remove water from the body very economically. But this does not mean that they do not drink. Moreover, they swim with pleasure.
Yes, the Central Asian tortoise needs bathing in a bath with warm water (once a week). Maintenance and care of your pet provides such a procedure for maintaining water balance.
During this process, which should last about thirty minutes, the turtles drink water and absorb it with their skin. Babies bathe even more often - up to three times a week.
Hibernating turtles at home
In their natural habitat, these reptiles hibernate early, early in summer, but before that the females have time to lay eggs. This is due to the fact that the dry period begins and the vegetation that feeds on this species of turtles simply burns out. But this is not the only period of torpor numbness. Central Asian turtles fall into a longer hibernation in winter.
Some owners say that their pet also hibernates: it starts to refuse food, it becomes lethargic and apathetic. This is due to the inconsistency of natural temperature regimes. Turtles living in captivity do not require hibernation and may even be harmful to their health.
Lighting and heating
The optimum temperature for keeping this species of turtles is the temperature in the terrarium - + 25-27 ° C. In addition, a place warmed by a lamp must be equipped. There should be a temperature - + 30-33 ° C. The turtle itself will move to where it is more comfortable.
As is known, in nature they live in a hot climate, but when the temperature rises too high or decreases sharply, they go to the holes, where it is stable. An incandescent lamp is quite suitable for heating, but it must be adjusted in height so that your pet does not get burned. Usually this distance varies from 20 to 30 cm.
Heating is very important for this species of turtles. Light day, taking into account the clarification should be at least twelve hours. In addition, you will need a UV lamp for the turtle. In the pet stores today, you can purchase such special devices for reptiles. They have an enhanced spectrum of UV rays. In nature, they get them naturally. But in captivity the owner is obliged to compensate for this deficiency.
UV lamp for the turtle is vital. The fact is that without these rays, animals do not produce vitamin D3, the formation of calcium, which is necessary for the growth of shell, is deteriorating.
And in conclusion, we will discuss a question that worries all owners, especially beginners, how to feed a Central Asian tortoise at home? Herbivorous turtles and in captivity require plant food, various herbs: dandelions, coltsfoot, plantain, clover, lettuce. Vegetables and fruits should be 10% of the diet. You can give bananas, berries, apples.
The basis of proper nutrition - plants containing coarse fiber and at the same time quite dry. Today, quite a lot of ready-made feeds have been developed specifically for land turtles, which are recommended for a variety of food. This will help you keep your pet healthy. In addition, the necessary vitamins and calcium are added to the finished feed.
However, there are products that are strictly contraindicated for these animals. This applies to all that people eat. The owners sometimes give turtles cottage cheese, bread, meat, fish. You can not do this. In this way, you slowly kill your silent denizen of the terrarium. Young turtles are fed once a day, and adults less often - once every three days.
Care in the summer
The Central Asian land turtle is well protected by the shell from weather conditions, so if you have the opportunity to build an aviary at the summer cottage for the summer season, this will be the best condition for your pet. The turtle will happily dig the ground in the aviary allotted to her, and with no mental speed move through the space allotted to her.
The aviary should be no less than 1.5x1.5 meters in size, remember - the more space, the happier your pet will be. Of course, you should not overdo it, but, within reasonable limits, you should allow as much space as possible for the aviary. The enclosure should be enclosed with a fence, and both in depth and in height the fence should be not less than 30 cm.
Be sure to have water in the aviary.
According to the observations of breeders, a favorite place for digging in turtles is located at the corners of the enclosure. Therefore, it is advisable to place large boulders in the corners, it will also save your pet from unintentional escape.
Digging becomes more active when the nights get colder. The turtles try to hide from the cold under the ground and begin to dig their shelter. To avoid this, you can dig up housing for your pet in advance.
The Central Asian tortoise, the maintenance and care of which is somewhat different in the winter season, must necessarily be in a heated room. Prepare for your pet an aquarium that is suitable in size, and if this is not possible, a plastic box will not do, but the turtle will be cramped in it.
The minimum size for keeping a Central Asian tortoise at home is 60x130 cm. If an animal finds itself in a cramped room, it starts actively digging the ground, becomes sluggish and can even get sick. Therefore, it is recommended to place the animal in a room of at least 1.5x1.5 m, in this case the little turtle will feel good, will not refuse food, and will please its owner every day.
There were cases when, due to the lack of space in the house, the Central Asian tortoise was kept completely without an aviary and could move freely around the apartment. Experts do not recommend this way of keeping this pet for two reasons:
- First of all, the turtle is not so large and in a hurry, the residents of the apartment may simply miss it and accidentally injure it.
- Secondly, in the summer season it is necessary to fear a draft or cold air from the air conditioner, in winter it is worth protecting the pet from cold floors. The turtle can overcool, which will adversely affect its state of health in the future.
The best option for keeping a Central Asian tortoise at home in the winter season will be to have a larger terrarium filled with earth, so that the pet can enjoy digging.
As a substrate, it is best to use soil mixed with coconut chips. The latter component will make the soil looser and the turtle will be much easier to dig. Some breeders use sand or its mixture with other components as a filler. Experts do not recommend this, since the Central Asian tortoise can swallow grains of sand, which in turn clog the internal organs of the animal. This can lead to illness and even death of the animal.
The substrate in the turtle's terrarium should be slightly damp, for this, the walls of the terrarium and the ground itself should be sprayed daily. The substrate layer must be at least 10-15 cm. (Ideally, more than 30 cm). If this is not possible, and the pet can not dig a hole in the ground, the owner should take care of the house for the Turtle. As a shelter for the animal, you can use the available tools (cardboard box or 2/3 of the flowerpot), the main thing is that the size of the shelter matches the size of the pet, and does not have pointed elements. You can also purchase a house in specialized stores.
As a decor, be sure to place in the terrarium a few flat stones on which the turtle could climb. Such a decoration will help your pet to grind off claws, and will also be an excellent attraction for the turtle, which will climb onto the stones several times a day.
Bathing a bug should be at least once a week. To do this, you will need a bath, in which a turtle could easily fit. It is necessary to fill the bath with warm water and place the animal there. The process of swimming in an adult individual can take up to 30 minutes. When bathing, the turtle drinks water from the bath and also absorbs it from the entire surface of the body.
Young individuals are recommended to bathe about three times more often. Two to three times a week.
The Central Asian tortoise at home does not need to hibernate. Some breeders complain that their pets are preparing for such a natural process as hibernation, even while in captivity and with good conditions of detention. This is manifested in the refusal of the animal from food, sluggish condition and low mobility of the turtle.
It is not recommended to allow the tortoise to hibernate at home, as this may adversely affect its health in the future. Gradually increase the light day and the temperature in the cage of your pet and the little turtle will forget about the planned hibernation.
Conditions of detention
The maintenance of Central Asian turtles implies the creation of optimal temperature conditions for a comfortable life of the pet. To maintain the temperature in the terrarium, a heat lamp should be installed. In the area of this lamp, the temperature should be between +30 and + 33C. In the opposite corner of the terrarium, the temperature should not exceed + 25-27C. Thus, moving through the terrarium itself, the turtle will be able to choose the optimally comfortable place for it.
The length of daylight for the Central Asian tortoise is recommended to be at least 12 hours a day. To do this, keep the lighting / heating lamp on for 12 hours. In addition to the usual lamp, experts recommend purchasing an ultraviolet lamp and exposing the turtle to UV rays for 10-20 minutes a day. This is due to the natural need to obtain ultraviolet radiation, which is impossible in the home environment. As it is known, ultraviolet light contributes to the production of vitamin D3, which animals need for shell growth, as well as for the prevention of diseases such as rickets.
So how do you feed a Central Asian tortoise at home? The turtle is a herbivore, therefore the basic diet should be food of plant origin. In the summer it is:
- lettuce leaves
- leaves of young cabbage.
If you collect the grass yourself, do it away from the roads, and especially the busy highways. Be sure to thoroughly rinse under the pressure of running water and pour boiled water over the grass you have collected. Boiling water will kill most worms that may be on the leaves of the collected grass.
You can enter into the diet of the turtle fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, apples, plums, apricots.
If you do not have time to collect herbs and search for plant food, look at the pet shop. There you will definitely find a balanced feed for land turtles, which no doubt will suit your pet. But still, do not forget, at least occasionally to please your pet with fresh grass or vegetables.
Feeding an adult should be once every two to three days. Young turtles are fed more often - once twice a day.
Animal products such as meat, cottage cheese, milk, fish, etc. should not be given to the turtle. Помните, Ваш питомец должен есть то, чем питается в естественной природе и тогда он проживет долгую и счастливую жизнь Вам и себе на радость.
Описание среднеазиатской черепахи
Среднеазиатская черепаха, или степная черепаха (Testudo (Agrionemys) horsfieldii) — черепаха семейства сухопутных черепах (Testudinidae). Среднеазиатская – это неприхотливая земноводная рептилия, не требующая трудозатратного ухода. It is listed in the Red Book due to a sharp decline in the population in recent years.
Cases of detection of a turtle in the territory of Russia were noticed. For example, in the Chelyabinsk region. Nevertheless, the chance to find a thermophilic reptile in the harsh climatic conditions of our country is extremely small. They settle on clay and sandy plains, in river valleys, on mountains and in foothills.
In English-speaking countries, Central Asian turtles are called Russian (Russian tortoise)
The reptile has a flat, rounded shell. He has a yellow-brown color with dark spots without clear outlines. This painting makes it invisible in natural conditions.
The front legs are powerful, have four large claws. They animal digs his burrow. The reptile can reach 20-25 cm in length. Females are usually larger than males.
This is due to the inability of man to recreate absolutely identical to the natural habitat of the animal. In room conditions Central Asian will live 13 to 15 years. But if you try to create a comfortable environment, the reptile can reach the age of 25 - 30 years.
Turtles appeared on Earth 200 million years ago, that is, long before the dinosaurs
Arrangement of the place
A spacious glass, wooden or plastic terrarium with the possibility of free movement is suitable for an animal. The size of the terrarium is at least half a meter long and half a meter wide, or more. The bottom should be covered with large pebbles or special soil for reptiles (it consists of hard clay and coarse sand with small stones), which can be purchased at the pet store.
Ground Turtle Terrarium
In addition, you can lay out the bottom of dry sawdust, hay and slivers. In the terrarium is required to place a house, UV lamp, incandescent lamp, feeder, thermometer. An ultraviolet lamp provides the light they receive in nature from sunlight.
Place it at a height of 30 cm from the animal.
The main incandescent lamp is the main source of heat in the terrarium. With a lack of heat, the animal may have problems with the work of the gastrointestinal tract, the food inside rots and the pet may get sick. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain the optimum temperature - 25 - 30 ° C.
The temperature can be adjusted by replacing light bulbs (from more powerful to weaker and vice versa).
You can not keep on the floor without a pen or aviary, it is an extremely negative impact on her health
Diet and feeding
Central Asian should be fed a variety of plant foods. Fresh or dry herbs.
Putting food on the ground is not recommended - use a feeder
- Timothy grass.
In addition, you can give your pet germinated wheat grains, barley, millet, peas, corn, sunflower. You can give the animal and branches of fruit plants: pears, cherries, apples. Also reptiles will not give up hay.
It is enough to feed your pet with a vitamin complex once a week. What food is not suitable for feeding?
Any human food:
- A fish.
- Milk products.
- Feed intended for other pets (cats, dogs, parrots).
Older turtles feed once every two to three days.
Reptile bathing should be done once a week. Water should be warm, but not hot, approximately 30 - 40 ° C. You do not need to rub the shell with a brush, as this can injure horny plates or even deform the shell. If you use soap for bathing your pet, then it must be hypoallergenic.
Before swimming, stock up with a basin and a brush, foam sponge or rag.
Again, do not abuse it - twice a month is enough.
After bathing, wipe your pet with a dry paper towel or soft cloth. It is worth noting that while bathing, the pet replenishes its water-salt balance.
At home, Central Asian people are able to reproduce at the age of six years.
From early spring to July, females lay eggs in the ground. Turtles hatch on average after 12 weeks. They remain in the hole until the next season. Egg laying occurs two to three times per season.
The maximum incubation period is 65 days at a temperature of + 28 ° to + 30 °
Interaction with other pets
You can safely start Central Asian if you have cats and dogs in your home. Usually they get along quite well. The dog, as a rule, sniffs an individual unknown to it, and realizing that the reptile is not of interest to him, he will leave it alone.
Cats are usually indifferent to them, but sometimes afraid of them.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the turtle is a pet that does not require special care from the owners, so it will be an excellent option for the first pet for your child.
The Central Asian turtle is a rather interesting, though not a social pet.
Also, the reptile is suitable for busy people who want a pet. But do not have enough time to take care of the animal. Which requires more care.
Lifestyle and behavior
In natural, natural habitats, Central Asian turtles, as a rule, hibernate twice a year - during the winter period and in the summer heat. Before hibernating, the turtle digs a hole for itself, the depth of which can easily reach two meters. In conditions of captivity, such reptiles extremely rarely can hibernate.
Turtles belong to the category of reptiles, leading a solitary lifestyle, therefore, they are able to look for a society of their own kind exclusively during the mating season or during the wintering season. In nature, in March or April, land turtles massively go out of hibernation, and then begin the process of mating.
Distribution area, habitat
The name of the Central Asian tortoise is explained by the distribution range of this land reptile. A significant number of individuals are found in the southern regions of Kazakhstan, as well as in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The reptile is perfectly adapted to dwell in the climatic conditions of northeastern Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon, as well as in north-western India and Pakistan.
The habitat of the Central Asian tortoise is clay and sandy desert lands covered with wormwood, tamarisk or saxaul. Many individuals are found in the foothill areas and even at an altitude of up to 1.2 thousand meters above sea level. Also, a large number of adult and young Central Asian turtles, until recently, were found in river valleys and on agricultural lands.
It is interesting! Despite the wide area of distribution, the total number of the Central Asian tortoise is constantly decreasing, therefore this land species was, quite deservedly, listed in the Red Book.
Choice of aquarium, characteristics
At home, the land turtle must be kept in a special terrarium or aquarium, the minimum size of which is 70x60x20 cm. However, the larger the useful area of the terrarium or aquarium, the better and more comfortable an exotic pet will feel.
Organic matter represented by well-dried and high-quality hay, wood chips and large pebbles can be considered as bedding soil. The latter option is more preferable and allows the land reptile to naturally grind its claws.
It is important to remember that keeping a domestic land tortoise in a free-range area is unacceptable in the apartment, due to the presence of dust and drafts, which are very dangerous for an exotic reptile. If you wish, you can equip a special turtle pen in the room..
When preparing the terrarium for the Central Asian tortoise, it is very important to acquire and properly position a standard UV lamp with a UVB light spectrum at 10%. Ultraviolet is vital to the land tortoise. Such illumination ensures the normal functioning of the pet, promotes the absorption of calcium and vitamin “D3”, and also prevents the development of rickets in the exotic reptile.
It must be remembered that the UV lamp should be purchased exclusively at the pet store, and the temperature gradient can vary from 22-25 ° C to 32-35 ° C. As a rule, the turtle chooses for itself the optimal, most comfortable temperature regime at the moment. In order to heat the inside of the terrarium, it is desirable to install a traditional incandescent lamp with power ratings ranging from 40-60 watts. It is not recommended to use modern devices represented by thermal cords or heating stones for heating a terrarium or aquarium.
Care and hygiene
The Central Asian tortoise does not need any special care. Periodically it is necessary to carry out the cleaning of the terrarium, as well as the replacement of the damaged litter. Twice a month it is highly advisable to perform general cleaning in a terrarium or aquarium with the use of non-toxic detergents. In the process of such cleaning, it is required to disinfect all decorative fillers, as well as feeders and drinkers.
How to feed a turtle
Under natural conditions, Central Asian turtles feed exclusively on scanty desert vegetation, melons, fruit and berry crops, as well as seedlings of grassy and shrub perennials.
At home, reptiles should provide very high quality and varied feeding using a variety of food of plant origin. For feeding the domestic domestic turtle it is quite possible to use almost any green, as well as weed grass, represented by dandelion, plantain, lettuce, hay and carrot tops. In drawing up the ration of reptiles, you need to focus on the following proportions:
- green crops - about 80% of the total diet,
- vegetable crops - about 15% of the total diet,
- fruit crops and berries - about 5% of the total diet.
Categorically you can not feed the domestic turtle cabbage, as well as animal feed.. To make the food of the land reptile full, it is necessary to supplement the feed with special calcium supplements, including the crushed cuttlefish shell. The young turtle needs to be fed daily, and for adults, feed is usually given every other day. The rate of giving the feed is calculated individually, depending on the age characteristics of the home exotic.
Health, Disease and Prevention
A pet should be provided with systematic preventive check-ups at a veterinarian specializing in the treatment of reptiles and exotic animals. Urine and feces of tortoises are characterized by the presence of a large number of bacteria. Under natural conditions, land reptiles are able to cover a considerable distance, so the risk of infection from sewage is extremely small.
In the home maintenance, turtles often become ill if the hygiene of the terrarium or the aviary is not observed, so it is necessary to:
- replace water every day for drinking or bathing,
- regularly disinfect water tanks,
- monitor the dryness and cleanliness of the litter.
The main, most dangerous for domestic reptiles and common diseases are as follows:
- colds accompanied by irregular or difficulty breathing, mucous discharge, frequent refusals of food, and apathy,
- rectal prolapse or prolapse of the rectum, requiring follow-up by a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles,
- severe diarrhea, resulting from the use of bad or stale food, and accompanied by the release of mushy, liquid or having a strong smell of feces,
- parasites in the stomach or intestines, with the appearance of which there is an abnormal appearance of the stool, a noticeable weight loss and severe apathy,
- intestinal obstruction, which occurs when the reptile uses in food inedible substances, including sand, as well as with a strong overcooling of a pet,
- paralysis due to various infections, poisoning or damage to the nervous system,
- food poisoning, accompanied by severe vomiting, apathy and staggering in the process of movement.
Damage to the shell in the form of a crack or fracture, which often results from an animal falling or biting, can be very dangerous. The process of recovery of exotic in this case directly depends on the severity of the injury. The damaged area of the shell must be thoroughly disinfected and qualitatively isolated from negative external influences. Accelerate the healing allow preparations containing significant amounts of calcium.
Important! Special attention is required for infection of the land reptile with the herpes virus, which very often becomes the main cause of death.
Buying a Central Asian tortoise
It is best to buy a Central Asian bug in a reptile specializing in a pet shop or nursery. It is extremely undesirable to buy animals caught under natural conditions and imported into the territory of our country illegally. As a rule, such reptiles do not undergo sufficient quarantine, therefore they are most often implemented with problems in health.
The maximum length of an adult turtle reaches a quarter of a meter, but for small pets you can purchase a small terrarium, which should be replaced with a larger housing area as the land reptile grows and develops. The average cost of a young individual in a pet store or nursery is 1.5-2.0 thousand rubles. Young individuals “with hands” are most often sold at a price of 500 rubles.
Despite the relatively weak development of brain cells, in the process of testing for intelligence, land turtles showed quite good results. As practice shows, the Central Asian tortoise easily learns and is even able to find a way out of a not too complicated maze, and also finds a place for its heating and feeding. In this regard, the land turtle exceeds the intelligence level of all tested snakes and lizards.
The conditions of the Central Asian tortoise are very simple, so this pet is perfect even for children. The reptile of this species loves to dig into the ground, so you need to provide in the terrarium or aquarium an underlay of sufficient height. Sand, peat or coconut chips can be used as bedding substrate.
As practice shows, the use of clean river sand as bedding is undesirable.. It is best to use for this purpose special mixtures represented by sand with peat chips or earth.
Inside the terrarium, several large and flat stones look very original, which very effectively help the Central Asian tortoise to cut down claws and can be used as a clean surface for giving food. Compliance with the regime of detention allows an exotic pet to live for several decades.
Central Asian, Steppe turtles (Testudo horsfieldii, Agrionemys horsfieldii) are semi-deserts of Central Asia. It is found in both South Kazakhstan and India. Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan are the states where you can also see these reptiles. In Russia, the Central Asian or steppe tortoise is extremely rare and was seen near the northeast coast of the Caspian Sea and in the south of the Orenburg region.
River valleys, sandy and clayey deserts and semi-deserts, and even fields and agricultural lands are the “home” for this species of turtles. It was also found in the foothills and mountains (up to 1200 m). This confirms the evidence that Central Asian turtles can also move beautifully along steep steep cliffs.
Low shell from 3 to 20-25 cm long. Rounded and slightly flattened at the very top, resembling a pie. The color of carapax is brown-yellow-olive with vague outlines of dark spots - the color of the soil where it is found. The plastron has a dark color and 16 horn flaps. Carapax also has 13 horn flaps, with grooves on each. Their number corresponds to the approximate age of the tortoise. 25 shields are located on the sides. On the front legs on 4 clawed fingers.
The male has 1 horny tubercle on the back of the thigh. The female has 3-5 of them. Females are always bigger than males. Hooked upper jaw. Under favorable conditions, the steppe turtle can live 40-50 years. Central Asian tortoise grows throughout life.
In its natural habitat, the Central Asian tortoise feeds mainly on vegetation: perennial grasses and shrub shoots, melons, berries, and occasionally fruit fruit.
At home, turtles benefit from a variety of plant foods. Greens, lettuce, coarse fiber (dry herbs and hay), leaves of edible plants should be about 80% of the total nutritional ration. About 15% vegetables. Fruit - 5%.
From the hands of a turtle is better not to feed. A chopped food is desirable to put in a bowl or specially adapted "dining" surface to prevent ingestion of the soil.
Young turtles are fed daily. Черепах «в возрасте» – раз в 2-3 дня (особи, размер которых по пластрону составляет 10 см и более). Количество корма нужно давать в разумных пределах, обычно с ½ размера панциря, до насыщения черепахи.
In nature, the steppe or Central Asian tortoise lives in arid conditions with sparse vegetation. Therefore, making up the diet should be borne in mind that very sweet and overly juicy food is not natural for them and can cause fermentation in the stomach. A vegetable variety of feed should be moderate!
Do not give a cat or dog food to a turtle. "Human food" - meat and fish, bread and milk, cottage cheese, eggs and feed the animal is not recommended.
In a terrarium where a pet lives, it is desirable to have a source of calcium. It may be sepia. And powdered vitamin supplements. Many companies produce such drugs, there is plenty to choose from.
The turtle does not need regular drinking. A bowl of water in the terrarium is not necessary, as it can be trampled, poured, turned over. But excessive humidity in the "turtle house" is highly undesirable.
Arrangement of terrarium
There must be a soil consisting of large pebbles in a warm corner, sawdust / wood chips / hay. Feeding trough and house.
Incandescent lamp (40-60 W) is a source of heat, creating a necessary-sufficient temperature gradient at which the reptile itself can choose the ideal temperature for it. The vital importance of heat contributes to the development of processes in which a turtle is able to warm itself only thanks to external sources of heat and thereby ensure the normal functioning of the body. In the absence of heat, the reduced metabolism slows down even more. Food rots in the stomach without being digested, which may cause gastrointestinal disorders. Temperature conditions in a cold corner near the house are about 24–26 ° C and 30-33 o C - in a warm corner under the lamp. The temperature mode of the lamp can be adjusted by raising or lowering the luminaire, or it can be incandescent lamps of different power.
A special UV lamp for reptiles (10% UVB) should be located at a distance of 25 cm from the animal (not above 40 and not below 20). The UV lamp does not heat the terrarium, but provides the turtle with the necessary ultraviolet light, which is necessary for natural life activity - the assimilation of vitamin D3, calcium and all the necessary trace elements. In nature, the turtle gets it through sunlight.
Turtles prefer to "seek refuge" themselves, burrowing in the gravel. Any draft or sudden temperature drop, even in a terrarium, can cause colds in animals.
It is done in one of the free corners of the room. The heating lamp is located at one of the walls of the pen. The turtle itself is able to choose the temperature it needs at the moment. In the summer, the pen is good to equip at the dacha. To make it easy to find a “hidden” turtle, you can fasten a balloon on carapax with a scotch tape or a noticeable flag on a high pole. If temperature conditions allow, then you can leave the turtle in the pen and overnight.
Free content on the floor in the house is not allowed! The exceptions are cases if the pen is on a fenced and warm floor with a ground, without drafts and temperature drops, with the presence of the necessary lamps.
Care: It is desirable to bathe turtles in usual warm water once in 1-2 weeks. Water temperature is 31–35 ° С. Height - to the level of the head of a turtle (2/3 of the height of the shell). This bath replenishes the water-salt balance and moisture reserves in the body of a reptile, normalizes the bowels. No additives for water are required.
Interesting about turtles
The species of the Central Asian steppe tortoise is listed in the International Red Book.
The Uzbek legend funny tells about the origin / appearance of the tortoise. One swindler-merchant so unceremoniously and openly weighed his customers that, in the end, people were outraged, appealing to Allah. Allah, angry, took the scales of the merchant and squeezed the fraudster with them: "You will always carry the evidence of your deception." And so the head and limbs stuck out of the weight bowls, turning the merchant into a tortoise.
In the heat of a turtle hibernates, not very deeply buried in the ground. In the autumn, the depth is 1 m.
Turtles can break through tunnels up to 2 meters long with cameras up to half a meter in diameter.
The turtle shell is the accretion of the bones of the spine and ribs, and just as people cannot “get out” of their skeleton, so the tortoise cannot free itself from the shell.
The excrement of the Central Asian tortoise is brown in the form of oblong sausages and may appear 1-2 times a day. The amount of urine depends on the composition of the feed. In appearance, it is transparent, sometimes contains white secretions of uric acid salts.