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Top 6 Small Pet Tortoise Breeds that stay small

Tortoises are some of the most popular pets and more and more households are introducing these adorable animals to their families. Not only are tortoises friendly, but also very gentle and adorable. There are very many reasons why you would consider getting a tortoise as a pet.

You will find that there are very many different variations of tortoise in regards to size and shape. Some are giant, for instance, the Galapagos giant tortoise that grows to more than 6 ft. while some are small, growing to less than one foot.

In this post, we will provide you with a list of six of the small pet tortoise breeds that you should consider introducing to your family. The good thing about small tortoise breeds is that they do not need much space and can be indoors all year round.

You will find every important information about the breeds including the type of care they require.

Let’s get to it.

What are Small Pet Tortoise Breeds?

Keeping a tortoise can be a challenging task, especially for beginners. But if you choose a smaller breed, it does not have to be that hard. Luckily, there is a wide range of small tortoise breeds out there that would not give you much trouble.

There are different aspects or characteristics of these small breeds. They differ in temperament, shape, size, appearance, and level of care required. These are some of the things that you have to take into consideration when you are choosing the perfect breed for your pet.

Small tortoise breeds grow to as small as 5 inches and as large as 15 inches. Some of the breeds that grow to this size range include:

  • Kleinmann’s tortoise
  • Hermann’s tortoise
  • Geek tortoise
  • Russian tortoise
  • Indian star tortoise
  • Pancake tortoise

Top 6 Small Tortoise Breeds that stay small you can keep as Pets

In this section, we are going to look into the most popular and adorable small pet breeds for your consideration.

Tortoise BreedSizeAppearanceCost
Kleinmann’s tortoise5 InchesGray, Ivory, Rich Gold$1000 – $1500
Pancake Tortoise7 InchesYellow, Dark Brown$500 – $600
Greek Tortoise8 InchesBlack to Golden$200 – $400
Hermann’s Tortoise8 InchesYellow, Brown$20 – $40
Russian Tortoise8 InchesBlack, Brown, Tan, Olive Green$200 – $300
Indian Star Tortoise15 InchesDark Brown, Yellow, Black$300 – $600
Size, appearance and price comparison table of small pet tortoise breeds

1.      Kleinmann’s Tortoise

Small Pet Tortoise Breeds
Kleinmann’s Tortoise

You will love that this tortoise is gentle, happy, and affectionate.

This tortoise is native to Libya, Egypt, and Israel. Its habitat is normally deserts and semi-deserts. However, you can find the species in sandy gravel plains, salt marsh margins, and rocky escarpments. In the past, the tortoise had a wider range of habitats that extended to Southern Palestine.

The Kleinmann’s tortoise is among the smallest with females growing to 5 inches long. The males, which are much smaller, will only grow to around 4 inches.

The color of the shell ranges from gray, ivory, to rich gold. The tortoise itself has a dull yellow color.

Keeping this tortoise happy is not always easy. They are not very comfortable if things are not right. You have to make sure that they are in the right state to make sure that they remain happy. However, they are calm and collected and are simply adorable.

Unfortunately, this breed is not easy to come across, mainly because it is highly protected on an international level. But several legit breeders have this breed. You have to make sure that they have the appropriate environment.

You can get a Kleinmann’s tortoise for anything between $1000 and $1500.

2.      Hermann’s Tortoise

Hermann’s Tortoise
A Hermann’s Tortoise in its cage

This tortoise breed is not shy and is very active.

The breed is native to parts of the Mediterranean, even though certain subspecies are more widespread.

In regards to size, there are two subspecies. There is the western Hermann’s tortoise, which will only grow to around 8 inches, while the Eastern tortoise, which is larger, will grow to around 11 inches.

You can recognize this breed easily because it has a brown and yellow shell that has some beautiful patterns. Its color combination is one of the reasons why people like it so much.

If your kids would be gentle with this breed, it is very easy to care for. It is very gentle and docile, making it perfect for a beginner. At the same time, it is active and you should be careful about that because it can move around and even try climbing walls.

You need to house the pet in a warm environment. It is also important that you enclose the tortoise using high walls since climbing is one of its favorite activities. To prevent the pet’s boredom, consider some décor and nontoxic plants in the habitat. Spread food around so that the tortoise can be more active.

You can find Hermann’s tortoise for $20 to $40.

3.      Greek Tortoise

Greek Tortoise
A Greek Tortoise in its terrarium

The Greek tortoise is even-tempered.

The breed is not widespread. However, they can be found largely in parts of Africa and Europe, and other parts of the Mediterranean. They can be found in thorny scrubs and coastal dunes in the wild. The type of species is determined by the level of temperature changes that they can withstand.

You will find that the tortoise will grow to a length of eight inches, even though some will grow to around 11 inches, even though it is not the standard length.

Greek tortoise is easily identified because of the domed shell coupled with black to golden color patterns. You will also notice the unique spurs positioned on both sides of the tail.

One of the things people love about this breed is its mellow temperament. The tortoise is peaceful and will not cause any trouble for whatever reason. However, things might go south if you keep the tortoise in a cramped enclosure, which is not comfortable for it.

You do not need to provide a large enclosure to keep the tortoise happy. They do not have certain preferences and will withstand a wide range of conditions. If you have a well-decorated habitat, the pet will be perfectly fine. Consider providing a couple of hiding boxes and a natural-looking environment.

A Greek tortoise can be sold for anything between $200 and $400.

4.      Russian Tortoise

Russian Tortoise
Russian Tortoise

The breed is very beautiful and active.

You can find a Russian tortoise anywhere from the Middle East to Southeast Russia. It is very popular in the US. The pet is hardy. It can adapt to different conditions, which makes it very easy to care for; a perfect pet for a beginner. You can find them in Pakistan, Iran, as well as Afghanistan.

An adult Russian tortoise will normally grow to around 8 inches.

The shell of this adorable pet has brown, black, tan, and olive green. Most breeds have some dark scutes and light centers. But this breed is the exact opposite. Each of its feet has four sharp claws that help when it decides to burrow or climb.

Unlike most tortoise breeds, this one is very active, which makes it a great pet if you have kids. Its beautiful appearance is an addition that makes it very easy to decide to keep this pet.

You have to create a very secure environment for this pet. You can decide to keep them outside or inside a vivarium or terrarium of adequate size. When it gets cold, this pet might hibernate to protect itself from harsh environments.

There are many pet stores with this breed and they sell it at $200 to $300.

5.      Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise
The Indian Star Tortoise

The patterns on the shell of the Indian star are very beautiful.

You will find this breed spread out through Pakistan, Sri Lanka, as well as India. It lives in the brush forests where there are high levels of humidity. It loves the humidity. The availability of humidity in plants and other absorbent substrate material allows it to thrive properly.

This breed is almost the same size as the Greek tortoise. Normally, it will grow to a length of up to 15 inches.

As mentioned, it is a very beautiful tortoise with scutes having black or dark brown base colors. You will note that there are tan or yellow lines emanating from the scute’s center.

The tortoise is a very gentle and calm pet and does not harass the females as other breeds do. That means that they will live together with females without any trouble. Besides its beauty, you will love the affectionate side of this tortoise.

The Indian star does not try to escape. It does not burrow or climb, which means that you need a short barrier to keep it in its enclosure. They are also able to withstand humidity and prefer it. You need to provide a bowl of water in which it can soak.

Expect to pay anything between $300 and $600 for this breed. However, some breeders will sell it for more than $1000.

6.      Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise
Pancake Tortoise

This flat tortoise is very fun to play with.

The Pancake tortoise is native to parts of Tanzania and Southern Kenya. They love the heat, as well as rocky hills and scrub forests. There was a time when this breed was exported to other countries without a problem but after the population reduction, it has become rare and is closely monitored.

A pancake tortoise will grow to around 7 inches, making it one of the smallest on our list.

It is easy to identify the tortoise because of its shell that is similar to that of turtles. It is flat, which is different from the dome-shaped shells. They are mostly yellow with dark-brown color.

The tortoise avoids its predators with flexibility and speed and not the shell like most breeds. These aspects make it very fun to have as a pet. It is an active animal but is also gentle.

You have to protect the tortoise from the cold during winter and fall. It would be easier to house these amazing animals indoors in a terrarium or aquarium. They are herbivorous and should be fed grass, leafy greens, as well as vegetables.

Prepare anything between $500 and $600 for this tortoise.

What To Consider Before Picking a Tortoise As A Pet

It is better that you pick a tortoise that only requires the level of care that you can easily provide. If you live in an apartment, it would be better if you chose a smaller tortoise as opposed to the giant ones.

Make sure that you provide adequate housing and food for the tortoise. It is very necessary for their survival and comfort. Also, ensure that your husbandry is optimal as this will ensure good health.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have seen these adorable pets, it would be advisable to find one that is adorable and does not require much in regard to care and food. We advise that you follow all the necessary laws because some are prohibited in certain regions. Have fun!

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