As a kid, you remember dreading it whenever your teachers would make you spell the word “tortoise”. Growing up though, you have developed an unexpected affinity towards this huge and slow-moving animal. Big pets such as tortoises suddenly tickle your fancy, as you can’t help but daydream about having a tortoise right in your living room. If you seriously want to have a tortoise for a pet, do think about the following aspects of caring for it:

Diet

Tortoise

Different breeds of tortoises normally have different dietary needs. Your best bet would be to ask the pet store owner or breeder as to what staple food you should give your pet tortoise. As a general rule though, most baby tortoises thrive on a staple diet of mixed leafy greens. An example is the commercially available “Spring Mix”.

Supplements

Just like any bona-fide bodybuilder, tortoises need to be given supplements to cover any nutritional deficiencies in their diet. In particular, babies need to be given calcium supplements to help with the development of their shells and bones. The dosage, though, will vary depending on the tortoise’s species. In this case, it’s still best to err on the “less” side of things. It would put the tortoise’s health at a huge risk if we become too “supplement-happy”.

Indoor shelter

Once again, a tortoise’s environment varies from species to species. To keep your pet tortoise happy and healthy, give it both indoor and outdoor housing. For its indoor shelter, be sure to give it a vivarium. It has to be big enough to give your pet room to move. It likewise has to be warm enough. Inside the vivarium, install a UVA/UVB lamp to keep your tortoise nice and warm. Also set aside some space for sleeping and hiding.

Outdoor shelter

Since your pet tortoise might get a bit too depressed when indoors all the time, you do need to take it outdoors once in a while. For its outdoor housing, it also has to be roomy and warm. You should be sure your pet is protected from other animals. Make sure its pen is roofed, as tortoises are notorious climbers.

A doghouse could work. Inside the pen, provide your pet with a container with shallow water, and make sure there are no poisonous plants or tiny, sharp objects which your pet may accidentally ingest.

So to recap:

  • Most baby tortoises thrive on a staple diet of mixed leafy greens (“Spring Mix”) but do ask the pet store owner what your specific breed eats
  • Most baby tortoises need to be given calcium supplements to help with the development of their shells and bones
  • Tortoises need both indoor and outdoor housing (Keep them happy)
  • Make sure there’s always a container with shallow water in both of the shelters!

Having a tortoise for a pet is truly exciting, and it will sure be the hot topic among your friends. Give your pet the care it needs, and you will establish a meaningful relationship with it for quite a long time.

If you have any questions about the health of your tortoise please contact your vet.

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By Jessy Troy

Jessy Troy is the blogger at DIY Gadgets collecting craft ideas and upcycling projects