There are dozens of species of tortoise in the world, and in the pet trade, many species of tortoise are kept in private collections. The most common pet tortoise species are the Russian tortoise, Hermann's tortoise, the leopard tortoise, the red-footed tortoise and the sulcata tortoise. Each of these tortoise species has different care requirements, so a person looking to adopt one should carefully consider whether the particular species of tortoise will make a good pet.
One of the more common pet tortoise species is the Russian tortoise. This type of tortoise remains small, never growing larger than about 10 inches (25 cm). If properly fed and cared for, the Russian tortoise will live 100 years or more. Members of this species eat many different types of plants and should be fed a variety of fresh greens. These tortoises require housing that provides air circulation and controlled temperatures.
Another pet tortoise species is the Hermann's tortoise. These tortoises also remain small and do not get larger than 10 inches (25 cm). Like the Russian tortoise, the Hermann's tortoise requires warmth and humidity and eats green, leafy plants. This species of tortoise does well when kept outdoors in warm climates.
The leopard tortoise is a species known for its striking coloration, reminiscent of a leopard's spots. A large tortoise, the leopard tortoise often grows to a length of 1.5 feet (45.7 cm) and can weight 50 pounds (28.7 kg) or more. They do best when kept outdoors in large pens, though they can suffer from breathing problems in cool or humid climates. In the wild, these tortoises are found in grasslands, and the bulk of their diet in captivity usually consists of hay.
Red-footed tortoises are a pet tortoise species that grows to be about 14 inches (36 cm) long and is commonly kept in terrariums indoors. In the wild, these tortoises are omnivorous, and captive members of the species need to be given a protein source, such as dog food, regularly. They are a tropical species of tortoise and do well in tanks that are kept warm and moist.
The very large sulcata tortoise is another of the commonly kept pet tortoise species. These tortoises grow to be 1.5 feet long (45.7 cm) and often weigh about 80 pounds (36 kg). Native to desert regions, these tortoises have adapted to reach their full size rather quickly, so a person looking to keep one as a pet will need to be prepared to house a full-sized reptile within a few years. This species does best when allowed to graze outdoors for food.