Which Russian Subspecies??

MichaelL

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Hello everyone and thank you in advance for any help. So I was just browsing through the tortoise forum because I was bored and I always learn random new facts, and I came across a thread about Russian tortoise subspecies. Someone had asked if you can breed russians of a different subspecies. The reply was, "Yes but the fertility will be low." This worried me because it is hard enough to get success with russians as is, and now I might have to worry if they are the same subspecies.

- I am planning on breeding my male and female (kept separate except for breeding, female is too young right now) and am just wondering if anyone has a clue on what subspecies they each appear to be. Here are the pictures.

Female day of being bought
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Female about a year later
IMG_6211.JPG

Male, day of being bought IMG_5908.JPG
IMG_5914.JPG



Quick shot of both male and female together only for the picture. By the way, they were just kept on sand for a week until I changed the soil, this was in december when I brought them indoors.
IMG_5961.PNG
 

SweetGreekTorts

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There are different locales of Russians since they are from south central Asia, but they are all the same species and can be bred. I've never heard about "fertility issues."

But if you want to breed the Russian Tortoise responsibly, you will need at least 2 more females. The males are extremely aggressive toward females. They will ram, bite, and mount...EXCESSIVELY. A single female will easily be stressed and her health will begin to suffer (she will stop eating and hide more to avoid the male). A ratio of 3+ females for 1 male is best to avoid female stress, and it provides more successful breeding.
 

MichaelL

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There are different locales of Russians since they are from south central Asia, but they are all the same species and can be bred. I've never heard about "fertility issues."

But if you want to breed the Russian Tortoise responsibly, you will need at least 2 more females. The males are extremely aggressive toward females. They will ram, bite, and mount...EXCESSIVELY. A single female will easily be stressed and her health will begin to suffer (she will stop eating and hide more to avoid the male). A ratio of 3+ females for 1 male is best to avoid female stress, and it provides more successful breeding.
Ok thank you for clearing it up. And yes, I am trying to get more females soon. Thanks!
 

Yvonne G

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The only member I know of who was able to determine the different locales the Russians came from was Egyptian Dan, and he is no longer on this Forum. He made this thread for us: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-subspecies.63800/ , but I have never been able to use it to determine the sub-species (they all look the same to me). At the time of the thread being made I asked Egyptian Dan to tell me the sub-species of all my Russians (I had about 8 or 10 of them), and I only kept the Kasbekistan (??? spelling) sub species, and adopted out all the rest of them. I now have 1.3, but my russian yard is so overgrown it's hard for me to find nests before the red ants find them.
 

MichaelL

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The only member I know of who was able to determine the different locales the Russians came from was Egyptian Dan, and he is no longer on this Forum. He made this thread for us: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-subspecies.63800/ , but I have never been able to use it to determine the sub-species (they all look the same to me). At the time of the thread being made I asked Egyptian Dan to tell me the sub-species of all my Russians (I had about 8 or 10 of them), and I only kept the Kasbekistan (??? spelling) sub species, and adopted out all the rest of them. I now have 1.3, but my russian yard is so overgrown it's hard for me to find nests before the red ants find them.

Thanks :) I checked that out and they look too similar, don't want to make a guess because I probably will be wrong. guess I just won't worry right now. That sucks with the red ants, they always make little hills in my tortoise pens, I have to always worry about them hurting my tortoise. Good luck!
 

SweetGreekTorts

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The Russian tortoise and its different locales is not as important as other Testudo species, like the Hermann's and Greeks. Their locales have obvious differences in size and coloring, and it's not recommended to mix subspecies.

But any Russian tortoise is a Russian tortoise. You won't find specific listings for them based on locale.
 

Michael231

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I'd assume due to how vigorously these animals were bred in the 80's and 90's for the commercial pet trade, most individuals in the United States (or anywhere else you can find them) are mixes of the "subspecies" down to one or two generations at this point (proof they can be fertile if subspecies are mixed). @SweetGreekTorts can you confirm this suspicion?
 

SweetGreekTorts

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I'd assume due to how vigorously these animals were bred in the 80's and 90's for the commercial pet trade, most individuals in the United States (or anywhere else you can find them) are mixes of the "subspecies" down to one or two generations at this point (proof they can be fertile if subspecies are mixed). @SweetGreekTorts can you confirm this suspicion?
I do know they are imported in huge numbers, collected from all over their wild habitat boundary and nobody keeps track of which specific locales the tortoises are obtained from. So you are correct that their locales have been mixed for decades and it hasn't caused any fertility issues. Pet stores and private breeders all sell them as simply Testudo horsfieldii.

This photo from the internet shows Russian Tortoises that were obtained from the wild to be exported around the world for sale. They are not separated or marked by subspecies or locale. 9404680_orig.jpeg
 

The-Great-Stash

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Hello everyone and thank you in advance for any help. So I was just browsing through the tortoise forum because I was bored and I always learn random new facts, and I came across a thread about Russian tortoise subspecies. Someone had asked if you can breed russians of a different subspecies. The reply was, "Yes but the fertility will be low." This worried me because it is hard enough to get success with russians as is, and now I might have to worry if they are the same subspecies.

- I am planning on breeding my male and female (kept separate except for breeding, female is too young right now) and am just wondering if anyone has a clue on what subspecies they each appear to be. Here are the pictures.

Female day of being bought
View attachment 275892
Female about a year later
View attachment 275893

Male, day of being bought View attachment 275894
View attachment 275895



Quick shot of both male and female together only for the picture. By the way, they were just kept on sand for a week until I changed the soil, this was in december when I brought them indoors.
View attachment 275896
Nice looking tortoise! I keep a ratio of 1:5 and they live outdoors mostly as the weather is favorable. I, too, am hoping to breed my own little herd one day. For now, I'm just enjoying them.
20210607_095753.jpg
20210613_113708.jpg
 

MichaelL

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Nice looking tortoise! I keep a ratio of 1:5 and they live outdoors mostly as the weather is favorable. I, too, am hoping to breed my own little herd one day. For now, I'm just enjoying them.
View attachment 328737
View attachment 328738
Wow! Beautiful tortoises and enclosure!! And guess what, this year i ended up hatching two babies. :)
Good luck with your breeding endeavors!
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