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Considerations when Purchasing a Tortoise

Considerations when Purchasing a Tortoise


If you are looking at keeping a tortoise as a pet then be kind.  Select an indigenous variety that is familiar with your climate.  To choose an exotic tortoise will be unfair to them if you live in a cold climate and want to source a pet from a tropical climate, unless you have the means to imitate their natural environment.

Having said that it will still be preferable to house a tortoise outside and build an enclosure that imitates its usual environment unless the tortoise is not in optimal health or is laying eggs – in which case it is fine to provide more protection and move them inside. Tortoises need a lot of room to roam around so a big garden area is preferable. When housing them outside ensure that you build a safe fenced enclosure that is large enough to accommodate their wandering behavior. The size of this enclosure may need to be increased as it grows in size. Build a few shelters within the enclosure as most tortoises enjoy a space where they can sleep or escape the business of daily life. Some are also diggers so do not place them in an area with a concrete surface. If your enclosure contains a lot of grass be sure to provide them with dryer areas too as too much moisture may cause shell rot. They will also require a shaded area and protection from predators. Some need to hibernate and some burrow so be careful in selecting a tortoise as a pet and do sufficient research to ensure you are able to meet its needs. These pets are also a lifelong commitment as the can live anywhere from fifty to a hundred years.

Feeding your Tortoise

Tortoises usually enjoy a variety of vegetables, weeds and flowers.  Whatever vegetables, grasses or flowers are provided ensure that these are well cleaned so as not to risk chemical contaminants. They require a lot of roughage together with calcium and phosphorous but having said that, different breeds have different needs. 

A shallow container is suitable for water which needs to be cleaned and changed daily together with food bowls. The water bowl should be shallow and ideally not higher than their carapace as tortoises may drown. Make sure that if they do get into their water bowls that they are able to easily escape. Warnings for keeping Tortoises as Pets It is advisable to take any new tortoise to a vet as they may be carrying parasites and have other health issues that need to be dealt with by a professional. You will also need to consult your local animal societies to determine whether it is legal to keep a tortoise as a pet in your area as some of these species are protected. Some species are also particularly sensitive and will have completely different housing needs to others. Purchasing an exotic reptile or other animal is a huge responsibility and needs to be taken seriously.

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