Central Asian tortoise: maintenance and care at home, photos, video.
An amazing variety of land turtles. There are heavyweights - up to half a ton. And there are ordinary species and subspecies ... It is called the Central Asian, Stepnaya, Russian. She's the Horsefield Turtle.
Central Asian, Steppe tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii, Agrionemys horsfieldii) - semi-desert of Central Asia. It is found in southern Kazakhstan and in India. Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan are states where you can also see these reptiles. In Russia, the Central Asian or steppe tortoise is extremely rare and has been seen near the northeast coast of the Caspian Sea and in the south of the Orenburg region.
River valleys, sandy and clay deserts and semi-deserts, and even fields and agricultural land are the "home" for this type of turtles. She was also found in the foothills and mountains (up to 1200 m). This confirms the evidence that Central Asian turtles can move very well along steep steeps.
Description and behavior features
The Central Asian species of turtles is very interesting and quite unpretentious. A pet can easily be kept in an apartment or house. Externally, the animal has a round body, short stature, the color of the shell is yellow-brown, and dark blurry spots are clearly visible on it. The upper part of the carapace consists of 13 horny scutes with grooves and 16 plastrons, and the lower part consists of 25 scutes. Interestingly, the age of an individual can be determined by the number of grooves.
The length of the turtle averages 25 centimeters. Males are smaller in size compared to mature females. On the front legs there are 4 fingers. On the back there are tubercles. Females reach puberty at 10 years old, and males are already at the sixth year of life.
In the natural habitat, the reptile hibernates twice - in winter and summer. Before doing this, she rips out a hole. Sometimes the depth of the hole reaches two meters. At home, the Central Asian land turtle hibernates very rarely.
The steppe tortoise is by nature a loner, therefore, it needs only like itself during the mating season or during wintering. In the natural habitat at the beginning of spring, animals crawl out of the holes en masse and begin to breed.
Reptile has long become a popular pet. The peculiarity of the view is that it does not stop actively growing in apartment conditions. If you follow all the rules of its maintenance, then she will not have any health problems.
How much the Central Asian tortoise lives depends on the habitat. In nature - from 40 to 50 years. Unfortunately, at home, on average, a reptile survives to 15 years, but if it is flawlessly looked after, then it is able to live in captivity and twice as much.
The name of the reptile itself speaks of its range. It is found in semi-deserts and steppes, regions with arid conditions. Some representatives can be found near the mountains and even at an altitude of up to a thousand meters. Until recently, many turtles were found in river valleys and farmland.
Despite the fact that their range is quite wide, the number of Central Asian turtles is declining annually. That is why this species is listed in the Red Book.
The Central Asian tortoise is one of the most popular domestic animals in our country, living in natural and domestic conditions for about half a century. A species feature of such a turtle is the preservation of active growth processes throughout life. Subject to conditions of detention, health problems are extremely rare.
How to determine the age of the Central Asian tortoise?
It is the Central Asian turtle that can be called the classic representative of the family of land turtles. From childhood, we saw such turtles on the pages of our favorite books - with a rounded low shell of an olive-reddish color with dark spots. The dorsal shield or carpax is divided into 13 horn flaps, and the abdominal plastron is 16. On the side of the carpax there are 25 more small flaps, and on the central 13 plates there are grooves. It is by their number of mono that you can easily determine the age of the turtle that is in front of you.
When does the turtle hibernate?
The turtles go into hibernation early in the early summer, but before that the females have time to lay their eggs. Such an early departure is due to the fact that the most arid period begins and most of the vegetation that this species of turtles eats burns out. But this is not the only time of numbness in turtles. Central Asian turtles fall into longer hibernation.
When keeping Central Asian turtles at home, the following basic rules should be followed:
- The terrarium should have in itself soil, which consists of large pebbles, wood chips, hay or sawdust.
- The terrarium must have a house and a feeding trough.
- When arranging a terrarium, it is necessary to hold an incandescent lamp with a power of forty to sixty watts to maintain a reptile. An artificial light source is very important for the Central Asian tortoise, since heat contributes to the development of natural processes in the animal’s body. In the absence of external heating in the animal, the metabolism worsens, food begins to rot in the stomach, after which the reptile may have gastrointestinal problems. The temperature in the reptile house should be from twenty-four to twenty-six degrees in a cool corner, and warm (under the lamp) - from thirty to thirty-three.
- Any hypothermia caused by a cooling in the terrarium can trigger a cold in reptiles.
- In order for the turtle to safely assimilate the vitamins, calcium and trace elements necessary for life, it is recommended to install a special ultraviolet lamp above the terrarium, which should be located at a distance of twenty-five centimeters from the turtle.
- In one of the free corners of the room in which the turtles is located, a special corral should be located. This is due to the fact that turtles prefer to find shelter and in order for the reptile to feel favorably, it is recommended to place a heating lamp near the walls of such a pen.
- Keeping a Central Asian tortoise on the floor is prohibited. This is allowed only in cases where the fenced pen for reptiles is on a warm floor, without a temperature drop and without even slight drafts.
- Bathing a reptile is necessary in warm water once every two weeks. The recommended temperature is from thirty to thirty-five degrees, and the height of the water is up to the level of the animal’s head (approximately two thirds of the height of the shell).
They are fed 1 time in 3 days at the same time with food of plant (90%) and animal origin. As the main food, turtles are given a fresh mixture with the following ingredients (not all at once):
- Carrots with tops, pumpkin, zucchini, bell pepper, eggplant;
- Lettuce, artichoke, chives;
- Unsweetened apples, wild strawberries;
- Dandelion, figs, clover, aloe, Kalanchoe, echinacea.
In winter, fed hay.
You can not give food of the same kind inbig quantity, it is better to offer these components in equal proportions!
They are gradually feeding:
- Larvae of bloodworms;
- Pieces of fish;
- Dry vitamin food allowed for turtles;
- Banana, orange, mandarin, melon, mango, any unsweetened fruit;
- Watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries;
- Sea and ordinary cabbage, cucumber, tomato;
- Parsley, celery, mushrooms, plantain;
- Fresh sunflower seeds, sprouted oats or barley, dry yeast.
Solid food is necessary for grinding beak: branches of fruit trees, willow, birch.
You can not give:
- Cherries, potatoes, garlic, spices, onions, spinach;
- Egg shells, crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, cockroaches, poisonous insects;
Young individuals are given only plant foods, gradually increasing the assortment of menus.
The Central Asian turtle does not need any special care. Periodically, it is necessary to carry out cleaning of the terrarium, as well as the replacement of litter soil that has become unusable. Twice a month, it is highly advisable to perform general cleaning in a terrarium or aquarium using non-toxic detergents. In the process of such cleaning, it is required to disinfect all decorative fillers, as well as feeders and drinking bowls.
Glass, wooden, plastic terrarium from 60x40 cm for a young turtle and up to 1-1.5 mx 50 cm for one or two adults.
Soil: large pebbles in a warm corner (preferably) + terrarium earth or coconut mulch moistened in a cool corner + wood chips / sawdust
Lighting: 40-60 W incandescent lamp and 10-12 UVB UV lamp for reptiles.
Optional: house, feeder, thermometer
The UV lamp should be located approximately 25 cm from the turtle (not lower than 20, not higher than 40). An ultraviolet lamp does not warm the terrarium, but gives the tortoise the ultraviolet necessary for the sun, which they receive in nature with the help of sun rays - the ultraviolet is vital for turtles for normal life, absorption of calcium and vitamin D3. A heating lamp (incandescent) plays the role of a heat source, creating the necessary temperature gradient at which the turtle can itself choose the optimum temperature for it.
Heat is also vital for reptiles because they can only be heated by external heat sources so that the body works properly. Without heat, low metabolism becomes even slower, food is not digested, but rots in the stomach, gastrointestinal problems are possible. The temperature is 24–26 ° C in the cold corner near the house and 30–33 in the warm corner under the lamp. The temperature under the lamp can be adjusted by changing the lamp itself in the lamp (set different in power), or lowering or raising the lamp. Turtles love to bury themselves in gravel, dig and seek refuge themselves. Any drafts and sudden changes in temperature even with terrarium content can cause colds in these animals.
The corral is made in one of the corners of the room, the heating lamp is located at one of the corral walls, and turtles can choose the temperature they need at the moment. In the summer, it is a good idea to arrange a corral in a summer cottage. In July – August, on the line south of Kiev – Voronezh, you can leave turtles in the pen and overnight; north of this line, it is better to bring animals into the house for the night. To make it easy to find the turtle at any time, you can fix a small balloon on a carapace with a small piece of duct tape or a noticeable flag on a fairly high pole.
Free maintenance in the house on the floornot allowed!!! Except when there is a corral on a warm, fenced corner of the floor, without drafts, with the necessary lamps, temperature differences and soil.
But the number of turtles was affected by the deliberate actions of people against these harmless animals. In Turkmenistan, among a certain part of the population, there is a belief that the turtle is the most rotten animal. This belief was previously accompanied by a ban on touching the turtle. Today, it is combined with the aggressiveness of adolescents destroying these slow creatures. In Uzbekistan, the origin of the turtle is associated in legend with one fraudster-merchant. He so shamelessly weighed shoppers that they were indignant and appealed to Allah. Allah was angry, took two thickets of scales, on which the merchant did not weigh the flour, and squeezed the fraudster with them. “You will always bear these shame of evidence on you,” Allah concluded. Between the scales of the merchant, only the head and limbs remained sticking out, and he turned into a turtle. It must be assumed that such a legend contributed little to the careful attitude of people to turtles. Also, a large number of turtles die from the legs of artiodactyl animals and birds of prey.
For successful breeding in captivity, you will need to purchase a pair of Central Asian turtles of the same age and approximately equal weight. The female differs from the male in the shape of the tail. The male has the presence of a longer and wider tail at the base, and the female of the Central Asian tortoise is characterized by a dent located on the plastron, near the tail. Males also differ from females by cesspool located further down the tail.
Land tortoises mate in the period from February to August, immediately after leaving the natural state of hibernation. The female has a couple of months of gestation, after which two to six eggs are laid by the pet. The egg incubation process lasts two months and is carried out at a temperature of 28-30 ° C.Newborn turtles that have just hatched from eggs have an armor about 2.5 cm long.
It is interesting! A low incubation temperature causes the birth of a large number of males, and at high temperatures, females are most often born.
Disease and Prevention
The pet should be examined by a veterinarian for the purpose of prevention. Typically, urine and feces reptiles have a lot of bacteria. At home, turtles can become ill if the hygiene of the terrarium is not followed.
The following rules must be followed:
- Every day, change the water - both drinking and bathing.
- Regularly disinfect all containers.
- Check bedding material for cleanliness and dryness, if necessary, change it.
Like all living things, a turtle can get sick.The most dangerous and common diseases for a pet are:
- A cold, which is accompanied by a refusal to eat, loss of appetite, irregular breathing, mucus discharge from the nose.
- Prolapse of the rectum.
- Intestinal parasites, when the turtle loses weight, becomes apathetic.
- Diarrhea due to poor feed intake. Feces have a pungent and unpleasant odor.
- Bowel obstruction. It occurs with hypothermia and the use of something inedible, for example, sand.
- Paralysis on the background of damage to the central nervous system, poisoning, infection.
- Poisoning. It is characterized by severe vomiting and staggering during movement.
Cracks or shell fractures are extremely dangerous for reptiles. They can occur when falling or from a bite, for example, a dog. The healing process depends on the severity of the injury. The damaged area of the carapace must be disinfected and sealed so that bacteria do not get there. Calcium supplementation will speed healing.
If the tortoise has herpes, it should be given special attention. Such infection most often leads to the death of the reptile.
If, nevertheless, there was a desire to acquire such a pet, then it is better to do this in specialized nurseries or pet stores. It is better not to buy animals that were caught in the natural environment and brought into the country illegally. Typically, such individuals have health problems.
Purchase of a Central Asian tortoise
It is best to buy a Central Asian turtle in a pet store specializing in reptiles or a nursery. It is extremely undesirable to buy animals caught in natural conditions and brought into the territory of our country illegally. As a rule, such reptiles do not pass sufficient quarantine, therefore, they are most often implemented with health problems.
The maximum length of an adult turtle reaches a quarter meter, but for small pets you can buy a small terrarium, which should be replaced by a large 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.
Interesting about turtles
The species of the Central Asian steppe turtle is listed in the International Red Book.
The Uzbek legend amusingly tells about the origin / appearance of the turtle. One swindler-merchant so unceremoniously and openly weighed his customers that, in the end, people were outraged by calling to Allah. Allah, angry, took the scales of the merchant and squeezed the fraudster with them: "You will always bear the evidence of your deception." So the head and limbs remained sticking out of the weight bowls, turning the merchant into a turtle.
In the heat, the turtle hibernates, not digging very deep into the ground. In autumn, the depth is 1 m.
Turtles can break through tunnels up to 2 m long with cameras up to half a meter in diameter.
The tortoise shell is the fused bones of the spine and ribs, and just as people cannot "crawl 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. It looks transparent, sometimes it contains white discharge of uric acid salts.