When thinking of reptilian pets, images of snakes and bearded dragons likely come to mind, leaving the large and herbivorous tortoise somewhat left out of the discussion. Many are still unsure whether or not tortoises are good pets at all.
Acquiring a new pet is a big decision, after all. You want to have a better understanding of how tortoises make viable pets, and what kind of environment could accommodate them. With this guide, you should have a better understanding of how these non-amphibious reptiles would fit into your home.
Are Tortoises Good Pets: Size
As you have likely heard, certain species of tortoise can reach considerable size. This includes the sulcata tortoise, which can grow to an impressive 150 pounds (68 kg) as an adult. Of course, when asking “are tortoises good pets”, you are going to need to consider how much space it takes. After all, certain tortoises grow to be so massive that they should typically be kept in secure outdoor enclosures.
If you don’t have the space to accommodate that, however, you do have options. This includes the leopard tortoise, which reaches a much more manageable 16 inches in length (46 cm) and approximately 25 pounds (11 kg).
Are Tortoises Good Pets: Temperament
Although certain tortoises grow to be massive behemoths, they are known to be docile and friendly. In the wild, these gentle giants have few natural predators, making them relaxed, confident animals that are able to remain calm in most situations. However, it should be noted that your tortoise’s roommate/playmate should be selected carefully. Two male tortoises kept in the same enclosure may compete for dominance, and a smaller specimen kept with a larger one may be bullied. To ensure your pet grows up to be confident and docile, seek out tortoises for sale from reputable, experienced breeders. If you want to learn more about where you can actually purchase your new tortoise, check out “Where to Buy Reptiles Near Me“.
Handling a Tortoise
While tortoises are generally gentle animals, it is important to understand how to properly handle or interact with them. When attempting to pick them up for whatever reason, be sure to do so carefully and slowly so as not to startle them. A frightened tortoise may unfortunately urinate on your hands. Gently pick it up from the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, and keep it level to the ground, keeping it below your waistline. Try to keep physical interactions with your tortoises to a minimum, and only move it when necessary. Your tortoise will typically not have heavy social needs and will be happy to spend most of its time alone.
Remember, certain tortoises reach a considerable size. There may be a point where you are no longer able to pick up your pet tortoise on your own. If that happens, you may want to seek out alternative methods of transporting or carrying your tortoise, such as a small wagon.
Are Tortoises Good Pets: Diet
Understanding how to accommodate your tortoise’s diet will be an integral part to determine if they’re the right pet for you. Most tortoises are slightly omnivorous, with meals consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables occasionally supplemented with insects. However, different tortoises will have varying needs in terms of nutrition requirements. The balance of certain vitamins and nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus will change depending on which tortoise you keep. Be sure to conduct thorough research on your preferred pet tortoise and its optimal diet.
How To Feed Your Tortoise
Having the right tortoise food is only part of the equation. You are also going to need to know how to properly give it food so as not to over or under-feed it. As a general rule of thumb, feed your tortoise a meal that is around the size of its shell. These meals should come once a day 5 times a week. If your tortoise is overweight, you may notice fat deposits around its eyes, limbs, and neck.
Tortoises of all types can make excellent pets for those who have the proper know-how and resources. However, this group of animals is diverse, with differing needs and behaviors. Before seeking out tortoises for sale, it would be wise to fully immerse yourself in research. Especially for the species that you intend to acquire. There is no such thing as the perfect pet. If you have your expectations properly set, you should have a better idea of what owning a tortoise is truly like. From there, you will become better equipped to provide it with the life it deserves. Want to get a better idea of specific tortoise species that would make good pets? check out “5 Best Pet Tortoise Types“.