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Anyone got a tortoise? What do they need?

(11 Posts)
Muchtoomuchtodo Thu 26-Oct-17 21:43:00

DS has been asking for a tortoise for a while and as I have a cat and dog hair allergy it seems like a reasonable idea.

He's been looking into how to look after them and it seems that they need a fairly hefty vivarium indoors and then an outdoor area that they cannot escape from (including burrowing out) with a variety of levels, surfaces, food sources etc). I thought they were pretty low maintanence but I'm I'm right then this little lot will cost loads before we even look at the price of the tortoise.

Can anyone help me out?

Muchtoomuchtodo Fri 27-Oct-17 09:08:03


fortifiedwithtea Fri 27-Oct-17 09:25:01

Visited a tortoise rescue years ago on the Isle of Wight. There is a lot to know to keep them healthy. Have a look at the Tortoise Protection Group website. Lots of information there.

averylongtimeago Fri 27-Oct-17 09:25:45

Lots of information here.

A family member has a couple of tortoises. In the summer they have an outdoor run next to the greenhouse: they can get from one to the other. Yes they like a variety of surfaces and yes they can dig surprisingly deep holes.
They also need an indoor home- not a vivarium as such, but again variety of surfaces. Theirs have a heat lamp on a timer.
You have to be quite careful about hibernation- checking weights and when they last ate and so on. Theirs hibernate in a small fridge in the garage.

They are also a bit picky about what and how much you feed them.

They have had them about 10 years and the tortoises have grown from Jaffa cake size to the size of a small saucer.
Personally I don't think they do very much, and are a bit boring, but each to their own!
They also cost £££ and you have to be careful to get one from a licensed breeder as it is illegal to trade in wild ones (endangered species)


Mustang27 Fri 27-Oct-17 11:26:33

I quite like the little musk turtles but iv not remotely looked into their care. Good luck looking into your potential new pet.

Mustang27 Fri 27-Oct-17 11:30:48

Oh if your looking for anti allergy pets you could consider rescuing a small snake breed. The shelters have loads that are desperate for a home that are often well handled and friendly. Don’t need as much up keep as tortoises by the sound of it.

CMOTDibbler Fri 27-Oct-17 11:35:12

The biggest thing with tortoises is that they are around for a very, very long time. A friend has one that they inherited from her partners father (died age 96), who got her from a lady who was in her 90's and going into care. She'd got the tortoise as a little girl. The vets think tortoise is well over 100 and it's still going strong so something to think about!

Nancy91 Fri 27-Oct-17 11:38:53

Do you know what type you want?

Remember that they can carry salmonella which doesn't harm them but will harm you and your child so don't be giving it kisses and wash your hands after contact.

TonicAndTonic Fri 27-Oct-17 12:00:47

Really depends on the age and species of the tortoise. We have a couple of tortoises in my family (though none currently living with me), one 30 ish and the other about 70 years old, both very low maintenance. He has an outdoor hutch and the run of a secure garden. In winter he hibernates in a box of straw in the garage. Never had an indoor home or heat lamps etc, but that's because they were both acquired with several years' hibernating experience already.

- the teeny tortoises you can buy are cheaper but need a vivarium and don't hibernate. I'm told they are much more prone to illness than older ones.

- If outdoors they are very good at escaping as the can dig and also climb higher than you'd expect. Plus they are not very bright so will literally spend all day trying!

- They are much less hassle if they are old enough to hibernate, but then they are pretty crap pets for a child as they can sleep up to 5 months of the year.

- You can't leave tortoises outdoors when the temp goes down enough to form a frost, the can go blind or die.

-they are cold blooded so if the weather is cool they don't do much. Once they warm up they can move much faster than you think.

- they aren't always massively friendly (the one we had growing up is a lone male and has a really painful bite)

Whichoneisit Fri 27-Oct-17 12:08:41

Honestly, I wouldn’t bother.

We have one. Had her for about theee years now. She was only a year or two old when we got her. The kids lost interest within a few weeks so inevitably, the care has fallen to me.
They’re not as low maintenance as you’d expect. You have to be careful about their body temperature, what they eat, give them regular soaks to help them toilet, learn lots about hibinaton and how to prepare them for it when they’re old enough, find a specialitist vet. Bulbs on the vivarium blow regularly and need replacing.... at the moment I have a day and night bulb going plus a uv light so the electricity costs stack up.
It’s a lot of work and I do like her, she’s a peculiar little thing, but she doesn’t provide a huge amount of entertainment and is very noisy when she’s indoors!

Muchtoomuchtodo Fri 27-Oct-17 22:21:51

Thanks all. This thread pretty much confirms what I was thinking.

I'm not up for having snakes in the house Mustang, harmless or otherwise!

Maybe a goldfish?!

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