Collectively, turtles, terrapins and tortoises are known as chelonians. Type and species can be determined by what type of environment they live in and where they come from; the shape, color, number and scale arrangement of their shells; or other features on the body. Although people who keep pet turtles/tortoises usually refer to their group as a herd, a "bale of turtles" is actually the classic collective term. My "bale" was created in Juneau, Alaska, but we now live in Blue Ridge Summit, PA. It consists of tortoises that come from two different species - the Russian and the Redfoot. I currently have four female Russians, one male Russian, and two baby (sex unknown) Redfoots. A second male Russian mentioned on these pages actually isn't mine, but he was the first tortoise I cared for and so I still consider him to be part of my group.

Sasha, Zoya, and Pashka - Female Russians

Yuri - Male Russian, Kobe & Aesop - Baby Redfoots

Ella - Female Russian
Man'ka - Male Russian that started it all...

Russian tortoises (Testudo horsfieldii) are a small tortoise species that range from 6-10 inches in size. They are sexually dimorphic, with females usually growing larger than males. Males tails are longer and thinner and held to the side, while females are shorter and stubbier and typically are held out behind them. In the wild, Russians range from China to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in areas of dry arid habitat.

Redfoot tortoises (Geochelone carbonaria) are a medium-sized species that typically range from 10-14 inches. They are found throughout extreme southern Central America and central and northern South America including the countries of Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. They are sexually dimorphic, with males growing to a larger length and greater weight than females. Both sexes, however, develop a unique mid-body constriction that, from the top, gives the tortoise somewhat of an hourglass shape. The "hourglass" figure is much more developed in males, however. In the wild they are found in both dry grassland and humid forest habitats, although it is not known which is their preferred type.

For more information on these species please visit Joe Heinen's Russian and Redfoot tortoise sites. They contain invaluable information on hatchling care, edible/recommended plant species, indoor/outdoor habitat setups, and adult sex identification and breeding.

For a wide variety of quality foods and supplies for tortoises and other reptiles please visit Carolina Pet Supply.


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