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Care Sheet

Care of Mediterranean tortoises - (just the basics!)
Aspects of this document maybe contradictory to that of other keepers/breeders, it is an account of the authors, breeders, studies, findings, conversations, developments and trials that have generated the data found here which has proven successful for keepers/breeders over many years.

If your tortoise doesnt reach 60, it died at a young age

Housing
Here in the UK the weather is wetter and cooler than that of the Mediterranean and as tortoises need many hours of sunshine in order to function, you will need a heated
vivarium or preferable a tortoise table for use on cold days and when its inappropriate for your tortoise to be outside.

Inside
When designing/building a tortoise table it is important to bear in mind what a tortoise would have in the wild:

Overlooking any of these points could lead to your tortoise becoming stressed/ill or worse!  

Basic snag list for building your own indoor enclosure

           
Wood and screws - to construct the enclosurer
            ES Lamp
fitting and spot bulb - basking/heat
           
UV Tube and starter pack - UV radiation
            Rocks and logs -
stimulation and exercise

Diagram of construction format ...

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Outside
Before letting your tortoise outside, go through some simple checks to verify your garden is tortoise proof!

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For more information on "Climatic Requirements of Mediterranean Tortoises"
please visit the 'Articles' page, alternatively click [here]

 

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Temperature
As previously mentioned Mediterranean tortoises require warmth in order to survive, and on warm sunny days (especially if you have a south facing garden) your tortoises would like nothing more
than to be outside, suitable temperatures for inside and outside would consist of the background temperature around 20C with basking area approaching 40C, this will allow them to thermal regulate.

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For more information on "Temperature Requirements of Mediterranean Tortoises"
please visit the 'Articles' page, alternatively click [here]

 

Feeding
Years ago when little was known of the dietary requirements of Mediterranean tortoises it was all to common to hear stories of owners feeding their tortoises tinned vegetables, cat and dog food - the list goes on... but now after many years of collaborated work the natural diet of
Mediterranean tortoises is well documented even down to the quantity and elements required.

Now there is no excuse to be feeding a tortoise the incorrect food items, a diet of high fibre and calcium with low amounts of protein.

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For more information on "Dietary Requirements of Mediterranean Tortoises"
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Hibernating
There are many theories and methods on this subject so a
collaboration of points from various sources should be obtained before deciding on your approach.  

Important: Only ever hibernate healthy tortoises, hibernation puts an additional strain on an ill tortoise, tortoises that are not 100% should be over wintered (kept inside in a heated enclosure as you would in the summer months)

Mediterranean tortoises require a temperature of between 3C - 7C for safe hibernation, temperatures as low as 1C could prove dangerous in the case of freezing possibly blinding or even killing the tortoise, anywhere above 10C  and the tortoise starts to awaken eventually having to be removed from hibernation.
So before attempting to hibernate any tortoise you will need to find a suitable temperature in a safe place in which to carry this out. Sheds are not always ideal depending on location they could possibly warm up very quickly on sunny days.
 

Diagram showing hibernation set up below...

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Record Keeping
Often record keeping is an over looked routine and thought of initially as a chore, It doesn't have to be so, just a few minutes on a regular basis is a well worth while exercise, for not only will it help you monitor your tortoise(s) well being but it can also contribute to captive maintenance information for tortoise enthusiasts worldwide.

To show our commitment we have made things even easier by reworking our own record keeping package the Tortoise Diary for all to use, You'll also be pleased to know its Free! so now there's no excuse not to do your bit ... !

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For more information and to download "The Tortoise Diary"
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Obtaining your first tortoise

So you've read through the care sheet and your all set up to go!

Warning:    Never buy a tortoise that doesn't seem to have correct legal identification, paperwork, microchip etc.

If you are looking at purchasing a juvenile tortoise which is under ~ 3 years old and you have a specific sex in mind. I'm afraid you could be out of luck! It's very difficult if not impossible to be sure on the sex of a juvenile tortoise even for the very experienced, one way to achieve best results is if the breeder has incubated the eggs at a temperature to determine the sex, but this is very hard to prove either way, so if you're being told that the juvenile tortoise is a male or female then just ask the breeder to show you how they have arrived at that conclusion.

Looking out for signs of illness...
A healthy tortoise has bright shiny eyes, a dry nose, a relatively clean body, is active, inquisitive and strong.

Don't consider any tortoise that looks weak, injured, listless, has closed eyes when handled, has a runny nose, or unable to move properly.

And finally remember that a reputable breeder will have no problem answering all your queries and questions, this just verifies to the breeder that the new owners will be giving the tortoise the best possible care.

If you would like a pet tortoise please follow the link "Tortoises for sale" at the top of the page

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  The information given here only scratches the surface of the captive care on these interesting reptiles so my final recommendation is to purchase a quality book.  

 

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Captive bred Mediterranean tortoises for sale, care, and advice from experienced breeders
~ Hermans, Marginated, Greek Spur-thighed, Horsefields ~

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