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Pet Tortoise

(11 Posts)
Contraceptionismyfriend Thu 17-Oct-19 21:59:42

Please could somebody point me in the direction of books, websites etc where I can best read up on what to expect and how to care for a pet tortoise.

Main things i need to discover are ideal enclosures, diet, do they need company? And pretty much everything.

Contraceptionismyfriend Fri 18-Oct-19 10:51:23

Shameless boost.

I am looking at med spur thigh tortoises I've been researching online but one piece said the enclosure must open with appropriate heated and cooling points and that an enclosed space is no good.
Whereas another said the enclosure must be a vivarium

PopcornAndWine Fri 18-Oct-19 11:01:05

Hello! I have a Herman's tortoise, so different species to what you are looking for. I recommend the Tortoise Trust website: their book Keeping a Pet Tortoise is also great. There is loads of poor information out there about keeping tortoises and I found the TT to be the best and most reliable source. Good luck - tortoises are great pets smile

Contraceptionismyfriend Fri 18-Oct-19 11:04:42

Thank you so much.
I am months off actually getting one. I have been going back and forth for around 2 years. I am concerned about maintaining the right temperatures and the calcium intake. Do you find it difficult?

PopcornAndWine Fri 18-Oct-19 11:18:06

No, once they have the proper set up they are actually very low maintenance- at least the species I have is. Can I ask why you are considering spur thigh in particular? Herman's and Horsefields are generally considered the easiest species to care for and therefore the best for new keepers. I don't know much about spur thighs though so possibly they have similar requirements.

Mine lives in an open top table that my DH built - there are heat lamps and UV wired in. You can buy tables as well - TT should be able to advise from where. Shops tend to push vivariums - opinions on vivariums vary but TT do not recommend them as tortoises need to be able to regulate their own body temperature and they cannot do this in vivariums as they are just one temperature throughout.

Diet - mine eats weeds - dandelions, sow thistle, campanula etc there is an excellent website called the Tortoise Table which lists all common plants and weeds and whether they are safe to eat or not. He also needs supplementing with calcium powder which you can buy from decent pet shops. You just sprinkle it on the weeds.

Again basing this on the requirements for Herman's - spur thigh may be different.

Contraceptionismyfriend Fri 18-Oct-19 11:23:24

@PopcornAndWine I am open to any specie but when I started looking I discovered that the care needs differ between the breed so just had to whittle it down to get more specific answers. That was the one being sold locally. But I am willing to wait for the right breed or travel so if you advise a different one I'll look into it thank you.

Thank you so much. I think I panicked when reading one website where they stressed the importance of keeping everything to the exact temperature to a degree and how to monitor it. I'll have a look at that website and read the books and see where the breeders are.

PopcornAndWine Fri 18-Oct-19 11:29:57

To be honest I have never closely monitored the temp in my table, he has heat lamps & UV which be basks under when he needs to be warm and a cool end including a hideaway for when he wants to cool down. Sounds like you are doing your research thoroughly! Good luck and enjoy smile

MyRaGaiaStarFishPieA Fri 18-Oct-19 13:48:08

I am something of a shelled expert, I have kept them my whole life and have bred several species. I currently have Indian stars and Greek but have kept Herman's horsfields, pancakes, leopards, sulcattas and various fresh water turtles. Most important thing is to consider what you can offer, and then match the species.

How much indoor and outdoor space can you offer? Are you comfortable buying a fridge to hibernate your tortoise in? Or do you prefer a non hibernating species? Is weekly running costs for heat lamps etc an issue ?

IheartNiles Fri 18-Oct-19 15:42:23

Hello I am too researching buying a tortoise, the tortoise protection group website and Facebook page has been invaluable. I’m looking at getting a Hermann’s tortoise.

The best species for uk are Hermann’s, Marginated and Spur thighed (Ibera). They need outdoor enclosures with a small heated shed, greenhouse or cold frame, large secure run and a large indoor tortoise table with UV light, heat. On the table they need topsoil and playsand mix, rocks to climb, a humid hide for smooth shell growth, water dish and safe plants and slate to eat off.

They eat weeds and flowers, there are also some safe plants they can have. Their food needs calcium dusting and a vitamin supplement.

The set up is expensive but they are cheap to feed. It’s recommended to hibernate them so you need to think about that too.

I’m picking up quite a bit of info and Facebook has lots of helpful groups.

IheartNiles Fri 18-Oct-19 15:47:43

You can get a probe thermometer for your table. It’s important to keep the basking and ambient temps right or they slow down and stop eating and think hibernation is coming. They need good uv light and a strip uv is meant to be better than combination uv/heat. Light needs to be on for 12 hours. Basking spot temp should be 32c. At night room temp can drop to 15c and they just burrow into the soil. You can get a ceramic heat spot for night if your room temp is below this.

IheartNiles Fri 18-Oct-19 15:50:59

Op tortoise protection group has a list of approved breeders across the uk.

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