Know How’s

Tortoises have always been one of those pets that many would like but seldom see.
Captive breeding has made them more readily available in the pet trade and now they are even appearing on market stalls.
Are they a suitable pet?
That depends on your outlook. Consider a  creature that needs temperatures in the upper 20C’s a least the whole year round,a creature that needs sunshine to provide UV and Vitamin D.  A creature that in the case of the African Sulcata, could grow from a cute little guy the size of an egg,  to a 150kg 4ft bulldozer that will make a mess of your shrubbery!
They are not an ideal pet for a small child, as they quickly get bored with them because they don’t actually do very much apart from eat, march around the garden and sleep.
Realistically they are not suited to the UK climate and once the novelty has worn off they get passed on. A life in a “vivarium” is no life for a tortoise. They need good air circulation or they can develop respiratory problems. An adult tortoise can walk a surprisingly  long way in a day,  they are inquisitive and need to forage.. We have had torts with bleeding feet, that have been left in a crate and try digging their way out.
There are many stories of tortoises living to a ripe old age, having lived outside for most of the year, but they are a minority and are not the african or tropical species.
If the above hasn’t put you off then consider how you will look after your tortoise.
 Do you have a garden with secure fencing, plenty of grassed areas?
Is there direct sunshine for a good proportion of the day?
  1. Are they out of view?  Tortoises do get stolen even though they may be micro-chipped. People are still under the impression that tortoises are extremely valuable, when in fact they can now be bought for less than a hundred pounds.
Are you able to put it out in the morning and bring it in at night?
If you feel you can look after a tortoise than you will have a responsibility to pass it on to your children as many will live well into their 70’s and often past 100 years!!