Home » How Big Does A Russian Tortoise Get? (Adult Male + Female Size)
do Russian tortoises stay small?

How Big Does A Russian Tortoise Get? (Adult Male + Female Size)

Last Updated on October 8, 2023 by Samantha Harris

Russian tortoises are popular pets due to their diminutive size. However, you must prepare for their full-grown size, not just their current length, width, height, and weight.

Adult Russian tortoises grow to a maximum length of 5-10 inches and weigh 2-4 pounds. Male Russian tortoises average 5-6 inches, while female Russian tortoises average 8-10 inches.

While all Russian tortoises are small compared to other species, the size of individual tortoises varies based on their gender, enclosure setup, diet, and exposure to UV light.

Are Female Russian Tortoises Bigger Than Males?

According to the Journal of Zoology, female tortoises are bigger than male tortoises.

This size difference between genders isn’t always easy to identify in Russian tortoises as in other species because they’re so small.

However, when a male and female Russian tortoise are raised in the same environment, the female will always be much larger than the male.

Female tortoises are larger than males due to the biological design of their bodies. When gravid, her belly doesn’t expand to accommodate the eggs, as it does in most animals.

Consequently, female tortoises became bigger than males to carry their eggs.

Why Are Some Russian Tortoises Smaller Than Others?

The size and weight of individual Russian torts may vary drastically due to the following factors:


As discussed, if you have two tortoises roughly the same age and one is noticeably larger than the other, the smaller one is male, and the larger one is female.

The size disparity between genders is typical for most animal species, not just tortoises. Females tend to be larger than males since they need to carry offspring.

So, even though wild female Russian tortoises don’t care for their young, they need larger bodies to have sufficient space to accommodate their eggs.

how big does a male Russian tortoise get?


The diet that a tortoise receives is among the main factors influencing its growth. In other words, the healthier the diet and the more it eats, the larger the tortoise will grow.

So, if a tortoise isn’t fed a nutritious diet, it won’t grow to its full size. Overfeeding a tortoise can allow it to reach its full size but may lead to obesity and shell pyramiding.

Strike a balance between how much you feed a tortoise and the nutritional value of the food. Since Russian tortoises are herbivorous, the bulk of their diet should include the following:

  • Leafy greens.
  • Fresh vegetables.
  • Grasses.
  • Fruits.
  • Non-toxic flowers and weeds.

UVB Light

UVB light is a light spectrum that plays a pivotal role in the growth and development of tortoises. This light gradient is necessary for synthesizing Vitamin D3, which is essential for calcium absorption.

According to The Veterinary Record, tortoises that receive ample calcium have faster growth rates and better overall health. Conversely, tortoises deprived of calcium experience abnormal bone and shell formation and a slowed-down growth rate.


Tortoises require space to roam around to develop healthily.

Movement encourages tortoises to exercise their limbs while promoting gastrointestinal motility, allowing for improved digestion and nutritional absorption.

Consequently, captive Russian tortoises confined in small enclosures with little opportunity for movement have poor gut motility and grow slower.

Do Russian Tortoises Stay Small?

Russian tortoises are naturally small species of tortoise. Regardless of how well they’re cared for, they rarely grow beyond 10 inches. Below is a size comparison chart:

Tortoise SpeciesAverage SizeAverage Weight
Russian tortoise5 – 10 inches2 – 4 lbs
Hermann’s tortoise7 – 10 inches7 – 8 lbs
Red-footed tortoise10 – 18 inches20 – 24 lbs
Leopard tortoise10 – 18 inches29 – 44 lbs
Horsefield tortoise5 – 8 inches1 – 2 lbs
Sulcata tortoise24 – 30 inches70 – 90 lbs

How Big Does A Male Russian Tortoise Get?

A mature male Russian tortoise can reach 5-8 inches. Male Russian tortoises are smaller than females, averaging 8-10 inches in size.

How Much Space Does A Russian Tortoise Need?

An indoor tortoise table size should be proportionate to the tortoise’s size.

Ideally, it should be at least 10 times the length of the tortoise, 5 times the breadth of the tortoise, and 3 times the height of the tortoise. A minimum dimension of 2 feet by 4 feet is recommended.

In most cases, a glass tank or wooden terrarium should suffice. If you start with a small-sized enclosure, you might have to replace it as the tortoise grows.

Outdoor enclosures should also be large enough to provide room for movement. The enclosure should be at least 6 feet by 10 feet and at least 16 inches high to prevent the tortoise from escaping.

Russian Tortoises are also prolific burrowers, so ensure the enclosure walls are 8-10 inches underground.

How Does It Take A Russian Tortoise To Grow To Full Size?

Captive Russian tortoises grow to their full size faster than their wild counterparts because wild tortoises are less likely to enjoy a balanced and dependable diet.

how much space does a Russian tortoise need?

How Can I Make My Russian Tortoise Grow Faster?

Slow or stunted growth in tortoises is usually caused by poor diet or enclosure problems.

If a Russian tortoise doesn’t have any inherent genetic conditions that prevent it from growing, there are ways to promote faster and healthier growth, including:

Spacious Enclosure

Tortoises need exercise and activity to thrive. Keeping your tortoise in a cramped space deprives them of movement and the workout they require to grow.

So, if you’ve been keeping a tortoise in a tiny enclosure, it may be time to revamp it to create more room. Housing your tortoise in a bigger enclosure promotes a more active lifestyle.

Nutritious Diet

Russian tortoises are primarily herbivores, so their diet comprises leafy greens, vegetables, and grasses.

Some of the best foods for Russian tortoises you can forage for in the wild include non-poisonous herbs and flowers, like cloves, dandelions, wild rosemary, lemon balm, and hibiscus.

Also, fresh vegetables like kale, collard greens, carrots, lettuce, and turnips are beneficial.

Give tortoises calcium and vitamin A supplements twice a month for healthy bone and shell development.

Basking Area

Russian tortoises need a UVB light spectrum to grow and develop healthily. Usually, tortoises absorb UVB by basking outdoors in the sun.

Wild tortoises meet their UVB light needs by sunbathing during the daytime. However, captive tortoises kept in indoor enclosures require artificial alternatives to satisfy their need for UVB light.