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There are certain precautions that should be taken when handling a Russian tortoise. As a general rule, you should try to only handle your tortoise when absolutely necessary, such as when taking him to the vet or moving him to a new enclosure. While some Russian tortoises don't seem to mind being picked up and handled, it is generally safer for your pet to be kept in his cage. You should always wash your hands before and after any contact with your tortoise. Reptiles, including Russian tortoises, have been associated with the transmission of certain diseases, so make it a habit to thoroughly clean your hands.