The popularity of tortoises as pets has increased over time. This is because they are silent, they do not shed any far and they are cute. They are most cute when they are hatchlings. But these pets live for a very long time. Their life span is between 50 and 100 years. Hence, if you choose to keep one as a pet, be ready to give a lifetime of care.
Pet Tortoise Food
The size and dietary habits of a pet tortoise present a major challenge. Diets change with the species of tortoise that you keep. But all pet tortoises need roughage, calcium and phosphorous in their food. Some species eat quite large amounts of food. You should consider time and costs of food preparation prior to getting a tortoise as a pet.
Housing Pet Tortoises
Many species of tortoise are quite large and need a decent housing that is outdoors. Due to this, these pets are suitable for climate that is mild. It might be necessary to take the tortoise indoors at night or during cool weather.
Some tortoise species do hibernate and this needs special conditions of the environment. This can apply a lot of stress on the tortoise.
When making a tortoise pen, ensure it is strong and buried in case your tortoise is burrowing. Due to their strength, flimsy pens can’t hold them for long.
The pen might also need to be roofed in case your tortoise climbs. It is also vital to ensure that your pen keeps your predators off. This includes dogs. Also make sure that your pen is free from dangers like poisonous plants. The pen should not have sharp objects. It should also be free from small inedible objects that might be ingested. Provide only shallow water.
Some tortoises try to climb obstacles like steps and tip onto their backs. Avoid this. Some tortoises require an outdoor shelter like a dog house.
Buying the Right Pet Tortoise
It is necessary, just like all reptiles, to buy a tortoise that has been captive bred. This is hard for some species. Shipping and capture conditions can be appalling and stress the animals. They can then become susceptible to sicknesses. In some locations, you can find pet tortoises from rescues.
A new pet tortoise should be checked for parasites. It should also be quarantined and kept from other pet tortoises to make sure it is healthy. Some species are very aggressive. Hence if two males are kept in a small pen, the might injure each other in the legs and eyes.
Choosing a Pet
It is very important to pick the right tortoise species for you. This should be based on environmental needs, housing needs, and dietary requirements. Different species have different light and temperature requirements. They have different adult sizes, dietary needs, and others need hibernating while others don’t.
Ensure you conduct a good research on the individual species before you get a new pet tortoise. Common pet tortoises are red-footed (and cherry head varieties), Russian, Greek, sulcata, and radiated tortoises among others.
More on Pet Tortoise
Tortoises are fascinating. However, you cannot teach them tricks and they are not cuddly. More so, they are asleep for almost 6 months due to hibernation.
These pets are quite expensive since you can pay around $ 130 for a 5 cm (2in) juvenile. The equipment and housing should cost double the amount. Even wayfarer tortoise sunglasses are not that expensive.
Tortoises are not social animals. They are usually happy even without a mate. Since two males will always fight, it’s better to just keep one. But they enjoy contact with humans. They sometimes plod around your feet when you are near them. They usually hide their heads in their shells once they notice you around. But when you touch their shell just right, they will come out.
You need to feed your pet tortoise well during summer. This is because they need to gain a lot of weight for winter. During winter buy a hibernation box for the pet. Place the box in a garage, unheated shed or greenhouse. Use a thermometer to ensure that the temperature is between 7 and 3 degrees Celsius.
Check the tortoise weekly to ensure it has not woken up. If it wakes up, it cannot re-hibernate. Hence you will need to take it indoors and warm it up using a heat lamp. Also give it a lot of food and water.
If you like to give special care to animals, then this is your ideal pet. Get some wayfarer tortoise sunglasses while you are at it.