Substrate and Bedding for Russian Tortoise

People who own pets like cats and dogs are not usually keen on their substrates and beddings. Simple substrates like magazines that cut the cost are usually easy to use on animals like puppies. However, there is a profound biological difference between tortoises and other pets like cats and dogs. There is much need for a substrate and bedding for Russian tortoise which makes its situation different from that of the common pets.

A few people have attempted to make use of rabbit pellets as a substitute for tortoise substrates. These pellets are associated with the growth of moulds and they can also cause dehydration to the tortoise. Newspapers are sometimes used as substrates but they are not the best. Alfalfa hay is also another form of the substrate that many people attempt to use. However, the tortoise always indulges in chewing such hay which brings about digestion complications or too many proteins in the system.

Bedding for Russian Tortoise outsite

The most ideal environment of a tortoise must have a substrate. With the use of their substrates, they indulge in the building of pellets that help in ensuring good health in diverse ways. They provide the tortoise with comfort especially during the night and also prevent the loss of fluids especially in the process of building the pellets. It has been discovered that Russian tortoise that is not provided with substrates eventually develop bladder calculi and kidney complications. Substrates ensure the wellbeing of your Russian tortoise hence they should always be provided in plenty.


Russian tortoise requires a relatively dry outdoor substrate. It is not a must for the substrate to be completely dry but the area where it resides should be having some degree of dampness. You can always combine garden loam and play sand which makes one of the most ideal substrates to be used indoors or outside. However, the levels of the moisture should always be checked especially if the tortoise has some outdoor residence. Maintenance of moisture in an outdoor substrate is not easy. It, therefore, calls for the pet owner to monitor the moisture and the quality of the substrate especially in such cases as outdoor tortoise residence. Covering the ground on which your pet will be staying with the most ideal substrates is highly recommended. The pet owner is required to invest in a substrate the will correctly interact with the environment in which it will be introduced.


Some of the best indoor substrates for Russian tortoise is a mixture of play sand and garden loam. Unfortunately, such a substrate is not easily found because the constituent is not available in all corners of the world. Instead, you can thoroughly mix sand with coconut coir to come up with an ideal indoors substrate. Play sand alone should not be used because it is excessively dry and can pose health threats to your pet. Make sure that you purchase the ingredients for making an indoor substrate rather than gathering them from the field. It is common for many people to imagine that collecting ingredients from the field is better because it will result in a natural environment.

However, substrate collected from the field might expose the tortoise to pests, diseases and chemicals. Russian tortoise is very prone to chemicals hence they should not be exposed to them. Moreover, you should not expose them to other animal’s excretion because they might cause diseases to your pet tortoise. Tortoise is naturally able to control its moisture when in their natural habitats. Therefore, the substrate that is provided to them should be relatively moist. The ideal moisture levels should also be maintained especially when dealing with Russian tortoise that is highly sensitive to excessive moisture.

Level of Elevation

When providing a substrate for tortoise, you should ensure that it is not completely flat. Make sure that the substrate has a height of between 7 and 20 centimetres. You can provide such an elevation with mounds of dirt, especially in an external residence. However, the elevation required in an indoors residence should be provided with the substrate. Russian tortoise love climbing hence makes sure that you provide an elevation difference. A slope using that reaches the ideal height can be provided using the substrate mounds.

Tortoise survives well in a place with a good substrate. Russian tortoise is particularly sensitive to the substrates used. In an indoor or outdoor residence, the pet owner should ensure that they provide a substrate with an elevation of between 7 to 2 centimetres. Moreover, the substrate should be damp and not excessively soiled. A mixture of play sand and garden loam or coconut coir is an ideal substrate for a Russian tortoise.