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Horsfield Tortoises are one of the most popular pet reptiles in the UK and across the world!

They are known for being great pet reptiles as their temperaments make them ideal for handling and are active during the day. They have an exceptionally long lifespan and are often inherited from one family member to another.

Horsfield, unlike some reptile species, are very successfully bred in captivity. These tortoises normally grow to 10cms in length and with proper care can live up to 60 years old (and sometimes longer!)

They are active in the daytime and need a large amount of space to explore, exercise and utilize the large temperature gradient. A 4 foot by 8 foot tortoise table is recommended as a minimum for horsfield tortoises. They are a territorial species and it is safer to keep them alone to prevent fighting, injury and stress.

Kept correctly Horsfield Tortoises make brilliant life long pets, but unfortunately a lot of these pets suffer due to a lack of correct care.

There is a lot of conflicting advise out there on how to care for your scaly friend. We have condensed some information around the main areas of tortoise care here, but for a more in-depth look at their husbandry you can download our free Bright Side Vets Horsfield Tortoise Care Sheet!

Horsfield Tortoise Facts


Some of the most common health issues for tortoises are directly related to an error in care. If one or a few of the basic requirements above are not met correctly your tortoise will begin to show signs of illness.

What does an ideal Horsfield Tortoise environment look like?

The basics are always needed to keep your pet happy and healthy but the general presentation of your tortoise table is very individual! The enrichment materials and look of your pets home is completely up to you.

Get creative using safe materials to create a mini wilderness for them in your home!

The Horsfield tortoise naturally inhabits dry hillside slopes from Russia through Afghanistan, Pakistan, India to China. Our basic environment is not suitable for their needs, so we need to create a ‘mini-wilderness’ for them. This means getting the temperatures, humidity, substrate and lighting as close to their wild habitat as possible. These factors make sure your pet is happy and healthy throughout their life with you.

Reptile enclosure


Reptile safe materials

Your pets home doesn’t have to by a mini masterpiece, but there are lots of very simple things you can add. Adding natural textures and additional levels in your vivarium creates the environmental enrichment you pet needs to stay happy. Remember your pet spends the majority of their life in their vivarium so making it as interesting as possible keeps them happy and healthy.

Reptile safe materials you can use are:

  • Drift wood – This come in all shapes and sizes. They often have interesting natural curves and bends making them great features to any vivarium!
  • Cork Bark – These pieces often come in long but curved shapes making them ideal for creating hides.
  • Synthetic vines – These man made vines are normally lined with wire, allowing your to position them exactly how you need them, while also bring strong enough to hold many different shapes and sizes of reptile. Being synthetic, they are easy to disinfect when needed.
  • Live plants – Live plants are a great addition to any vivarium, while you create your reptiles own personal environment there are also native plant species that thrive in the same environment.
  • Fake Plants – Fake plants are great for adding a pop of colour and interest. They do not require any maintenance, unlike live plants, and are easy to disinfect.
  • Tiles – These are great for a basking spot and they are flat spread heat evenly.
  • Stone Slate/Large River Pebbles – Like tiles these are great for basking areas and add smooth surfaces with climbable height.
  • Sphagnum Moss –  This natural material is ideal for your moist hide, most needed when shedding. This Moss holds humidity very well.

All of our further in depth care advise can be found here in our free downloadable REW Care Sheet!