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REPTILE / new pets

Greek, Russian and Hermann Tortoise Care Guide

Greek, Russian and Hermann Tortoise Care Guide


5 things to know about Greek, Russian or Hermann tortoises

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Size: Tortoises grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) long
  • Lifespan: They can live for more than 50 years
  • Origin: They originate from Europe or Africa, depending on the species
  • Did You Know: They can adapt to different environments

How do I set up a Greek, Russian or Hermann Tortoise habitat?

  • Choose a terrarium that’s at least 50 gallons (larger for more than one tortoise).
  • Designate an open area on one side of the tank as a basking spot.
  • Add a water dish on the other side of the tank.

Heat & light

  • Help your tortoise regulate its body temperature by keeping one side of the habitat cool and the other side warm. During the day, the cool area should be between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 27 Celsius), while the warm area should be between 90 and 95 F (32 to 35 C). At night, the entire tank should be between 70 and 80 F (18 to 27 C). Track the temperature on each side with a separate thermometer.
  • Provide heat with a high-wattage basking bulb directly above the basking spot. This should be the warmest spot in the tank during the day. Turn the basking bulb off for 12 hours at night.
  • Use a ceramic heat-emitter, under-tank heater or nighttime heat bulb as needed to maintain the nighttime temperature.
  • The humidity level for Greek and Hermann Tortoises should be 40-60%. The humidity level for Russian Tortoises should be 30-50%. Create and maintain humidity by keeping the water dish full and misting your tortoise and its habitat every other day, or as needed. Use a hygrometer (humidity gauge) to track moisture levels.
  • Every reptile requires a 12-hour light/dark cylce. A UVA/UVB fluroescent bulb will supply the rays your tortoise needs to absorb calcium properly.
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What do Greek, Russian or Hermann Tortoises eat?

  • Greek, Russian and Hermann Tortoises are herbivores whose main diet is fresh vegetables and fruit. Alternating among a variety of choices will keep your tortoise healthy.
  • Vegetables and greens such as kale, collards, mustard or dandelion greens, escarole, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, squash and shredded carrots should make up 90% of your tortoise’s diet. Offer 1 or 2 of these choices to your tortoise once a day.
  • Dust vegetables with calcium supplement twice a week and a reptile multivitamin once a week.
  • Offer your tortoise apples, banana, melon or red berries once or twice a week.
  • Place fruits and vegetables on a dish, and serve them during daylight hours. Remove anything the tortoise hasn’t eaten after 4 hours.
  • Supplement your tortoise’s diet with a pellet blend, refreshed daily.
  • Be sure your tortoise has a shallow bowl of fresh, clean water every day.
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How can I keep my Greek, Russian or Hermann Tortoise healthy?

Try not to handle tortoises for 3 to 4 days, while they adjust to their new home. If you notice any of the following signs during or after your tortoise’s settling-in period, contact a veterinarian or a PetSmart store associate:

  • Eating or drinking less; weight loss
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Discolored skin
  • Avoiding the basking area; more time spent hiding
  • Labored breathing


  • Thoroughly wash your hands before contact with your tortoise.
  • Use caution when handling pets, and remember they may bite or scratch, especially when stressed.
  • Supervise children around pets.
  • If you pick up your tortoise, ensure that its body is completely supported.
  • All animals can carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases that are contagious to humans. Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water after contact with any pet, its habitat, or aquarium water. Adults should assist children with hand-washing.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.

Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.


If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.