Tortoises are one of the most popular pets, and as more households welcome them into their homes, the demand for these charming creatures is rising. Tortoises are not only cuddly, but they are also quite delicate. Why you might want to acquire a tortoise as a pet is quite varied.
In terms of size and shape, tortoises come in a wide range of variations. The Galapagos giant tortoise, for example, grows to almost 6 feet in length. Several are tiny, growing no more than a foot in height.
A list of the tiny pet tortoise breeds that you may add to your family will be provided in this article. Little tortoise breeds may be kept indoors all year and don’t need a lot of room, which is a benefit.
The breeds’ characteristics, including how much care they need, can be found here.
What Are Small Pet Tortoise Breeds?
It is difficult, if not impossible, to keep a tortoise as a beginner. However, it does not have to be difficult if you choose a smaller breed. Fortunately, there are many small tortoise breeds available that would not be difficult to care for.
These small breeds have a range of traits that make them unique. Temperament, form, size, look, and degree of attention needed vary between them. When you’re deciding on the proper breed for your dog, there are a few things to consider.
Tortoise sizes range from 5 to 15 inches in size. Several breeds, including the following, reach this size:
Indian Star Tortoise
The Indian star tortoise, found in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, is a medium-sized tortoise.
Their carapace has a stunning star-like pattern, so they’re called after it. They are one of the MOST popular species kept in captivity, thanks to their appearance and popularity as tortoise pets.
Males are smaller and animals from mainland India usually grow to be under 8 inches in length, while Indian star tortoises may reach a length of 5 to 10 inches. 3 to 5 pounds is the weight of adult star tortoises.
A humid hot season and a dry cold season are ideal for these pet tortoises. Indian star tortoises, unlike many other tortoise species, can live in large groups of both male and female without any hostility.
The relative inability of this lovely tortoise to climb or dig is another advantage: all they need is an 8-inch tall wall to provide a visual barrier.
Grasses, hay, and vegetables are a must-have for Indian star tortoises.
Russian Tortoise (Agrionemys Horsfieldii)
For a variety of reasons, the Russian tortoise is one of the most popular pet tortoise species. Because of their low upkeep needs and tendency to be inquisitive and energetic, these reptiles are wonderful.
For first-time tortoise owners who have little or no experience, Russian tortoises are ideal. When they search for food and explore their enclosure, they’re fascinating to watch. Beginners may also benefit from them since they are small enough to care for and feed a huge tortoise.
The domed shell of this species is covered in olive or black lines and has a light tan background. It measures 5 to 10 inches long. The claws on their feet are utilized for digging and climbing, which is an intriguing fact about their appearance.
Depending on where you live, these reptiles may be kept indoors or outdoors.
Housing them outdoors is a fantastic concept for anybody who lives in places where it stays warm all year. Temperatures should be 70°F to 80°F throughout the day, with lows of 65°F and highs of 90°F.
It is also an option to keep them indoors if your garden does not have the ideal climate.
Indoor cages for small tortoises should be at least 4 feet square. With the use of heating lamps and basking lights, the enclosure should approximate the outdoor temperatures.
The diet of Russian tortoises consists of both vegetables and root veggies. Any meats, fruits, or grains should be avoided. iceberg lettuce, for example, should be avoided because it is low in nutrients.
Among tortoise enthusiasts, the Egyptian tortoise is a very popular species. Males reach a length of 4 inches and females reach a length of 5 inches, making this species one of the world’s tiniest tortoises.
The wild population is on the verge of extinction, while captive breeders like them. The Egyptian tortoise is on the verge of extinction.
The Egyptian tortoise’s low reproduction rate means that the species is edging closer and closer to complete extinction in the wild, despite habitat destruction and illegal collection for folk medicine.
A breeder in your nation is the sole legal way to get an Egyptian tortoise. While gravid females only lay one or two eggs per clutch, Egyptian tortoises have been successfully bred all over the globe.
A 2 cubic foot tortoise table is sufficient for an Egyptian tortoise. Make sure that the needed heat and UVB lighting are provided. Because they have a limited comfort zone, housing them outside is next to impossible.
A small Mediterranean species, the Hermann’s tortoise. It comes in two varieties, one of which is bigger and the other of which is different.
Albania, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey are among the countries where Eastern Hermann’s may be found.
Corsica, Italy, and Spain are home to Western Hermann’s.
For males, the Eastern Hermann’s will reach a maximum length of 7 inches, while for females, it will reach a maximum length of 9 inches. Males may grow to be 5 inches long, while ladies may grow to be 6 inches long.
In comparison to their Western counterparts, Eastern Hermann’s tortoises seem flatter and broader. Yellow, light tan, and muddy brown are just a few of the colors available. Western Hermann’s, on the other hand, are more oval and rounded in shape, with yellow to golden and orange hues.
Hermann’s tortoises are popular for their calm and playful dispositions, in addition to their colorful patterns and small stature. As long as the habitat is broad and securely fenced, this species may live both indoors and out. To allow enough room to roam freely, it should be approximately 16 x 10 feet in size.
As much as possible, replicate Hermann’s native Mediterranean habitat. Temperatures of between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit must be maintained. UV lights and a basking area should be included in the enclosure.
The breed isn’t particularly popular. They can, however, be found across Africa and Europe, as well as the Mediterranean. In the wild, they can be found on thorny shrubs and coastal dunes. The degree of temperature fluctuations that a species can tolerate determines its type.
Even though some tortoises grow to 11 inches, the tortoise will reach a length of eight inches if you raise it correctly.
The domed shell, combined with black to golden color patterns, makes the Greek tortoise easily recognized. The tail’s unique spurs, which are positioned on both sides, will also catch your attention.
The calm demeanor of this breed is one of its favorite characteristics. For whatever reason, the tortoise is calm and will not cause any problems. However, if you keep the tortoise in a small cage that it does not like, things may go awry.
To keep the tortoise happy, all you have to do is provide a sufficiently large enclosure. They aren’t picky and can withstand a broad spectrum of circumstances. The pet will be just fine if you have a well-decorated habitat. Provide a few hiding spots and a natural-looking setting for your pet.
Mediterranean Spur-Thighed Tortoise (AKA Greek Tortoise)
The Greek tortoise prefers arid habitats such as meadows, woodlands, and rocky hillsides and can be found in northern Africa, southwest Asia, and southern Europe.
The scutes of the carapace are black or dark brown, and it varies from yellow to tan.
Scutes are said to be patterned in the same way as Greek mosaics.
The plastron is typically yellow to tan in color, with large black or dark brown streaking on the carapace and plastron.
The tortoise has a blunt head with large eyes and normally has 1-3 scales or spurs on each thigh.
The Greek tortoise has enough space to roam around and investigate since it needs a big enclosure.
A basking area should be arranged at the enclosure’s opposite end, and the temperature should be maintained between 95-100° F (38° C).
The temperature within the enclosure should be kept above 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C) at all times, and it should never fall below 80-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C).
The humidity level in your Greek tortoise’s habitat should be between 40% and 60%, with 65% and 75% recommended for hatchlings.
Cypress mulch, aspen shavings, or another reptile-friendly mulch are all good substrates for the enclosure.
It’s also a good idea to use a 50/50 combination of soil and sand.
Tortoises like to dig, but they aren’t very good at climbing.
During the day, you should provide UVB lighting for 12 hours.
Dark leafy greens and veggies, such as zucchini, broccoli, and shredded carrots, are recommended for a greek tortoise’s diet.
Treats may include raspberries, strawberries, or apples, and fruits should make up no more than 10% of the tortoise’s diet.
The saw-like scutes protruding from the back of the carapace of marginal tortoises are called marginated. The Sardinian subspecies has fewer pronounced scutes on the back of its carapace.
They grow up to 14 inches long and weigh 11 pounds, making them the biggest European tortoise.
These adult pet tortoises are generally dark or bordering on dark, with faint yellow marks.
When they emerge in the spring, marginated tortoises are ready to mate because they hibernated throughout the winter. Mimicking these seasonal conditions has worked for captive breeders.
Marginated tortoises may live outdoors in most parts of the United States thanks to their harsh conditions of origin. Climates may be defined as follows:
Natural weather changes, sunlight, food to forage for, and fresh air are all available to your pet in outdoor enclosures.
To avoid escape, walls should be at least 12 inches high and buried 6 inches deep into the ground.
One adult tortoise requires a minimum enclosure area of 2 feet square by 4 feet long.
Red-Footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis Carbonaria)
During the last 30 years, the red-footed tortoise has become a breed that is increasingly popular. The popular cherry-head morph (bright red markings on the face) and the albino morph (pale shell and legs) are two of the many variations of this tortoise that have become so common.
The red markings on the legs and feet of red-footed tortoises give them their name. These patterns may stretch across the shell and cover the neck in certain cases.
The fact that they are active throughout the day is one of the things that makes them such wonderful pets. Many owners like to watch them scatter around their enclosure.
Despite their size, they are a relatively simple pet tortoise to care for, as compared to other species.
In comparison to the herbivorous species that topped this list, these tortoises have a unique diet. Tortoises are omnivores, with red feet. Leafy greens and veggies constitute the majority of their diet, however they also consume fruits and insects. This tortoise may not be the right one for you if you aren’t fond of insect handling.
The flat shape of the shell of pancake tortoises is what gives them their name. The tortoises are only an inch tall, in reality. Pancake tortoise shells are also extremely lightweight.
The pancake tortoise is able to move quickly and efficiently as a result of this. The scutes of this tortoise’s carapace are patterned with extended dark lines. This tortoise’s unusual look has led to its overexploitation, as it is a sought-after species.
These tortoises are native to Tanzania and Kenya and need a heated habitat. If the weather is warm enough, they may be kept outside.
You must bring them inside when temperatures fall and hibernate during the winter, since they do not. You may alternatively keep them in a tortoise table or terrarium indoors. Pancake tortoises can run and climb well. Take note of this, because it’s important.
A wide range of vegetables, grasses, and leafy greens may be offered to pancake tortoises. Bermuda, rye, and alfalfa grasses, as well as mustard, turnip, and collard greens; dandelion; hibiscus leaves; carrots; and endives are among the foods they can eat.
Commercial tortoise diets, calcium, and multivitamins should be supplemented to their diet.
Overutilization in the pet trade, as well as habitat destruction, have had a negative impact on wild populations, as previously mentioned.
The pancake tortoise is currently listed as endangered. Captive-bred pancake tortoises cost a lot of money, but it’s the only way to go.
Egyptian Tortoise (AKA Kleinmann’s Tortoise)
The Egyptian tortoise is a rapidly dwindling species whose habitat extends from North Africa to the Middle East coast.
With just a few marks on the scutes, the carapace has a high dome and is light tan or yellow in color.
The plastron is usually pale yellow in color and features two distinct black triangles as the tortoise grows older.
Despite its small size, the Egyptian tortoise requires a vast area to survive.
The enclosure should have a basking spot with a temperature of 90°F (32°C) and ambient temperatures should not fall below 70°F (21°C).
The enclosure’s optimum humidity should be between 20% and 30% for Egyptian tortoises, since they come from an arid environment.
Egyptian tortoises are more suited for an indoor enclosure since they need a temperature and humidity level that may be provided for occasional outbursts.
A good substrate should be made up of 2-3 inches (7.5 cm) of sand and soil.
You should bathe your Egyptian tortoise multiple times each week to avoid dehydration due to their low humidity requirements.
A variety of dark leafy greens, such as dandelion greens, Romaine lettuce, and arugula, should be included in an Egyptian tortoise’s diet.
Egyptian tortoises are particularly susceptible to kidney and bladder stones, which are sometimes fatal, so avoid greens high in oxalates like spinach, rhubarb, and parsley.
Treats should never account for more than 10% of the tortoise’s diet, and fruits like bananas, pears, and apples are acceptable.
African Sulcata Tortoises
The third-largest tortoise in the world, the Sulcata tortoise is also known as the African spurred tortoise.
They weigh between 70 and 100 pounds on average. It can grow to be as big as 200 pounds. That’s a bit of a surprise.
These pet tortoises are for persons who want a huge partner and are prepared to provide one a huge and roomy habitat.
The Sulcata must either dwell in a huge, dedicated area in the home (a tortoise table won’t suffice) or dwell with someone who resides in a dry, arid environment so that the tortoise may reside in an outdoor enclosure.
To put it another way, these guys are really entertaining to watch and chat with.
They’re really active and enjoy exploring, so give them as much room as you can.
They are lightweight and unlikely to bite, making them easier to handle than snapping turtles. If you are holding them from the sides of their shells, they may accidentally scratch you.
Tortoises like to dig, and Sulcata tortoises are no exception. They must dig since it enables them to regulate their temperature and feel secure in their habitat.
Since they can dig up to 30 inches down and 10 feet long, they’ll need both a substrate that enables them to dig and one that retains its form while they burrow. The substrate must make sure that they won’t be able to dig out of their cage.
These tortoises are constantly eating. They eat grass whenever they can get it throughout the warmer months and hay throughout the winter.
These owners regard them as lawn mowers since they prefer to just consume the top off the grass.
Sulcata’s feces are akin to cleaning out a horse stall full of fibrous, digested vegetation. The fecal situation with reptiles varies greatly. Right, hey? The more you know, the better.
It’s advised that anybody interested in owning a Sulcata tortoise should get one from a rescue since they are classified as a vulnerable species.
Since they grow up for around 15 years, obtaining a rescued tortoise that is still young is typically easy.