The horsefield tortoise is named after the famous naturalist Thomas Horsfield. Egyptian Tortoise Thomas cataloged plants and animals on behalf of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles on the island of Java from 1810.
Forced to leave the island in 1819 because of ill health, Thomas Horsfield returned to London where he wrote Zoological Researches in Java and the Neighbouring Islands in 1824. As a result of his classification of animals, he named a tortoise after himself, and gave it the scientific name Testudo Horsefieldii..
This tortoise is usually very popular as a pet., and also comes under various common names. Variations of these are the Russian tortoise, the Russian steppe tortoise, the Central Asian tortoise, the Four-clawed tortoise and the Afghan tortoise.
This tortoise belongs to the Asian continent and is mainly found in South Eastern Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, India, Iran and some parts of China. It is related to the Mediterranean species of tortoises.
The horsefield tortoise is usually small in size with the average size of an adult male being 6 to 7 inches. The female horsefield tortoise can be about 9 inches long.
They are terrestrial species which are used to living in hot, dry places and are quite adaptive to extreme weather conditions. These tortoises need sunlight but when it gets too hot, they dig and burrow to avoid dehydration and high humidity.
When it is extremely cold, these tortoises go in to hibernation. These tortoises are physically stronger than other species of tortoises as they can tolerate extreme weather conditions.
The horsefield tortoises are mostly herbivorous, but they do not graze. They like to eat fresh vegetables, fruits and other vegetation. It is important to take care of their feed. They should not be allowed to eat too much lettuce and cabbage. The diet of these tortoises should be rich in calcium and vitamins.
These tortoises have relatively flat carapaces ranging in color from dark yellow to dark olive-green. Some interesting tortoise facts are that unlike the other Mediterranean species of tortoises, the horsefield tortoises have 4 claws on each foot. The other Mediterranean tortoises have 5 claws on each foot. This is perhaps the most striking feature of this tortoise in its physical appearance.
The female horsefield tortoises lay eggs three times a year and each time they lay about 3 eggs. These eggs hatch in approximately 3 months under high temperatures. These tortoises can be kept both outdoors and indoors in glass or wooden enclosures.
This specie of tortoises are perhaps the easiest of pets to keep. However, they need to be cared for. They live for a shorter span of time than the other tortoise species, about 50 to 60 years, but can easily outlive their owners.
All in all, a horsefield tortoise is a good pet to have in that they are resistant to climatic change, are low in maintenance and are long living creatures.