Estimating Russian Tortoise age? (Spoiler: he wasn't a year old!)

LeahK

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I only just realized that when I bought Tywin, I fell for the classic "He's about a year old" scam (lol). The only reason I even questioned this was because they said they got him as a hatchling, and had him for a year. But, they had him in a 20 gallon fish tank with half the bottom covered in hay and with nothing else, so there is no way they would have grown a healthy tortoise like that!

The picture of him in his water bath was when I first got him, March 2020, and the other one is from today. He has been exactly 5 inches the whole time, and hasn't grown at all.

Do you have any idea how old he could be? Based on my googling skills, I assume he has to be older than 5. I am just wondering at this point, since I always thought he'd be around for 30-40 years.
 

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method89

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The growth lines "white band" looks to be bigger in the second picture... it may just be the angle of the picture though
 

MichaelL

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I personally think around 10-20 years old. He's wild caught, and they grow pretty slowly in the wild. And, considering he is 5 inches, and male (I assume he's male), then he is almost full grown. He still is growing some though because of the yellow band of growth seen in the second pic. Nice tortoise!
 

LeahK

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I personally think around 10-20 years old. He's wild caught, and they grow pretty slowly in the wild. And, considering he is 5 inches, and male (I assume he's male), then he is almost full grown. He still is growing some though because of the yellow band of growth seen in the second pic. Nice tortoise!
Wow, that's surprising, I didn't even realize he was wild caught. I somehow thought his coloring meant he was bred or something. Thank you for the information!
 

Cathie G

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Hello and welcome to TFO. This thread should prove really interesting so thank you ☺️ my little Russian is still little after having him 14 years. He's still a little 5" tortoise but I know he's around 19 years old give or take. You could have yours for a good 30 years or more even if he is 20. You are at the right place to make that happen. Best wishes hopes and prayers.
 

Armadillogroomer

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I like his "chillin in the tub" pic.

I used to groom for a chain store and helped take care of the reptiles in the morning. Since other reptiles like snakes and beardies came with a "hatch date," the store that I worked alongside would blatantly make up hatch dates for the tortoises too.

All chain stores use the same live animal vendors depending on region. Our Russians were all wild caught, often so fresh that they'd have huge parasite loads once they started eating kibble (which had fruit in it because it's also used for the red foots). The vendors used the term "juvenile" very loosely, ours seemed to generally be around 5ish. Yours definitely looks older!
 

Cathie G

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Well... this thread is really interesting to me because every year my little Russian has the lines that I thought are new growth. I always figured it was because he's a living creature and keeps growing. Much like the growth rings of a tree. When he gets sunshine in the spring, summer and fall the lines darken. If I'm wrong someone please tell me. I've always thought of this as normal.
 
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