There is no better pet than the humble tortoise and I’m going to tell you why.
Tortoise are great pets. They have a great temperament, often described as calm, quiet and shy and can be considered low maintenance when compared to other pets. They are also very affordable and inexpensive to both feed and home.
There is no better pet than the humble tortoise and I’m going to tell you why. They are cute, calm, quiet and have surprisingly have a strong personality. Perhaps most importantly to all the allergy suffers out here they don’t shed any fur. They do however have a considerable life span, so be prepared for a lifetime of care and consider the possibility your tortoise may out live you. So what exactly is it then that makes them such good pets?
The housing and care of a tortoise can be inexpensive when compared to other animals commonly kept as pets, although an initial investment and some careful research will be needed. A well-made and decent sized tortoise enclosure with high walls is recommended (tortoises are great climbers).
A heat lamp and a UV lamp to maintain a comfortable environment, as well as suitable substrate and some environmental objects to keep your tortoise entertain are all that is needed to get started. Your enclosure can be outdoors if your climate is suitable or indoors if a suitable temperature is maintained.
You can simply buy a tortoise enclosure ready made and ready to go if you want to but its important to check it is a decent size for your tortoise.
However, I highly recommended building your own. This can be a great experience and you can build your own unique, cool looking design, also it’s a great activity to share with your family. Furthermore, building your own tortoise enclosure can be far cheaper than buying one ready made. We have a full article on the best enclosure for a tortoise here.
Pet tortoises have a great temperament as they tend to be calm, shy and quite creatures, no laud barking or aggressive behaviour here. They will sleep at night and eat or bask under the headlamp in the day.
While tortoise may not be the most active of creatures, they are great climbers and love burrow so make sure your walls are tall enough so your tortoise can’t climb out of its enclosure. The only time a tortoise can become aggressive is if two male tortoises are placed in the same enclosure, in this situation they may try to attack each other.
Along with their temperament tortoise make for a great talking point and some great conversations. Whether it’s the ancient giant Galapagos Tortoises or Jonathon the ancient tortoise that lived until the age 255. Or that time your tortoise ran off in the garden and you had to spend two hours searching for him everyone with a pet tortoise will have at least one great story to tell.
A tortoise can be considered fairly low maintenance which makes them great pets for busy people. Once you have your enclosure set up with the correct temperature maintained for your tortoise it is only water, food and a regular bath are required. There is no concrete rule when deciding how often to feed your tortoise, but you should aim for once every two days.
It is however important to make sure that tortoise has fresh water every day, this is because your tortoise may bathe in the water provided. Lack of water can lead to articular gout and kidney failure.
After food and water your tortoise will need a bath in shallow warm water occasional, this is needed to keep your tortoise clean and high rated.
The only other maintenance that your tortoise will need is to make sure your tortoise encloser is kept clean, this is a simple as removing any droppings when they appear and replacing the substrate every two to three months.
No one ever talk about tortoises without mentioning hibernation. Depending on the age and type of tortoise for about two months in winter your tortoise will go for a long nap. Before its nap your tortoise will fast between two and six weeks before hibernation, however it will still require water and a bathe.
One ready for hibernation all that is required is two small boxes that fit inside each other with a small gap and some bedding. A constant temperature of between 3 and 5 degrees will need to be kept in order to keep your tortoise healthy. After a long sleep simply placing our tortoise in a warm room initially will begin the wakening process ready for spring.
As far as pets go a tortoise is one of the most affordable pets out there. It is important to note that laws surrounding tortoise are different from county to county so it important to research your local laws and always make sure you purchase your tortoise from a registered and reputable breeder. The other items you need apart from your tortoise are substitute, a way to control temperature, food and water
For your encloser it is important to buy a well made one that is of decent size for your tortoise as well as making sure your walls are high enough to stop your tortoise escaping. I do however recommend making your own encloser, they are easily constructed and at a far lower cost than buying a pre made one.
The encloser you use must have a way to control the temperature and this is normally done through a heat lamp, these are relatively inexpensive but will need replacing from time to time as with every bulb.
The substrate is the final item you will need, and this often depends on your breed of tortoise. However whatever substrate you decide to use it will only need to be completely changed when dirty, about every two to three months. If you want to know how much it costs to keep a pet tortoise check out out complete guide on how much does a pet tortoise cost?
For the reasons above and many more I’m sure you will agree that tortoises are fantastic pets. If you want to learn more check out all our articles on tortoise lab for everything you need to now about how to care and look after you tortoise.