You're in > TPG Members Forum > Tortoise General Questions > complete newbie

complete newbie
Posted: 20/07/2014 by lucylou


Thank you for a great website. I'm still finding my way round.

I'm old enough to remember when every pet shop sold tortoises very cheaply and we had a tortoise living in our garden until I was 5. We moved house around then and soon after hibernation, Crusty (yes I know, appalling name) disappeared. Presumably escaped the new garden never to be seen again :(

Since then I've had something of a soft spot for tortoises and recently began to wonder if I might be able to offer one (or 2) a home. I didn't like the idea of tortoises living out their time in a vivarium but am I reading this right? A tortoise would be happy spending a fair amount of time in the garden? 

I work from home and have a large secure back garden (lawn and fruit trees) and a large secure front garden (lawn and various plants) and room inside the house for a table or other 'cage'. The family is me, my husband who works away and my almost ten year old son who is animal mad. We also have a spaniel. 

I'm working my way through the care sheets and other info on here .

I'd be grateful for any advice and info about potential pitfalls. If I'm going to do this I want to do it right and be a lovely home 

Thanks for reading xx

Re: complete newbie
Posted: 24/07/2014 by Don

You did not say where you are. I will assume you are in the UK, but note that the far north and far south can make slight differences.

Most tortoises are better off by far kept in a secure garden, though they will need to be taken in onto a tortoise table during the colder months when they are still active.

Your dog could prove to be an obstacle. One of my rehomed torts was bitten by a dog when with its original owners. You will find it necessary to keep the dog and tortoise separated.

Bare in mind that tortoises are herbivores, your prize pansies would become lunch for your tort. On the point of your garden, you will not be able to spread the usual pesticides to deal with slugs, blackfly, thrips etc. and you will need to supply wild plants as food. Those dandelions, sow thistles and clover (among many others) can no longer be regarded as weeds. They are tortoise food.

Keep doing your research on this site. Beware of sites which give poor, inaccurate and even wholly wrong information. Fortunately, you have stumbled upon one of the few trusted sites.

While researching, do not just consider which species might be best suited to you, but, of equal, if not greater importance, consider your suitability to keeping a tortoise.

Should you decide to go ahead, please DO NOT BUY from pet shops or garden centres and under NO CIRCUMSTANCES buy from an on-line trader. The best move you can make is to give a new home to a needy tortoise and the TPG can help you on that. Sadly there are only too many tortoises in need of rehoming when the novelty wares off or owners discover that keeping a tortoise is not quite as simple as they thought.


web designer: