If you had asked me if a land tortoise made for a good reptile pet five years ago I would have said no! Wild caught imported Burmese Mountain Tortoises were notoriously difficult to work with and keep alive. Ask any breeder and they will tell you that if you wanted to have 3-5 strong breeders you had to start with at least 20. This has changed dramatically over the years thanks to their hard work and today the Burmese Mountain Tortoise is one of the best reptile pets you can buy.
Burmese Mountain Tortoise
The Burmese Mountain Tortoise (Manouria emys) also known as the Asian Forest Tortoise is found throughout Thailand, Indonesia, Burma and India. It is dark and flattened as a baby but grows into a robust adult weighing as much as 100 pounds in captivity. It is comparable to the African Spurred, the African Leopard and the Yellow Footed Tortoise but in my opinion much better for the following reasons. First it is one of the fastest growing of the larger tortoises and can reach a very respectable size rather quickly. Second unlike the African Tortoise which has a bad habit of burrowing, these shy giants will use foliage as a hide and leave your yard mostly undisturbed. Finally due to their natural habitat that is more like a Yellow Foot than the other large tortoises, they will be easier to feed with a varied diet that includes fruits and vegetables as well as a higher amount of animal protein.
Taking proper care and ownership of an animal that can live a very long time is a major responsibility. This is something that you have to consider as well as the space needed for a large tortoise when making a purchase but if the first two issues are something you can handle then the rest is a very rewarding experience. Burmese Mountain Tortoises are normally shy animals but I can tell you from handling these little guys that they are letting their curiosity overcome any other emotion when they all hustle over to see what I’m doing on the other side of their enclosure. This is most likely a feeding response but I like to think that they like me for my effervescent personality.
I can safely recommend these beautiful animals as a long lasting reptile pet because they have met all the requirements for having that title. Even though they are not for everyone, people who have the right enclosures or a nice back yard should definitely look into having one as an alternative to African Spurred or Leopards. At xyzReptiles we have a dedicated section that has a very nice variety of land tortoises for sale and if you have the time to look we’ll make sure we make the time to answer any questions you may have about these fantastic animals.