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New owner
Posted: 14/09/2015 by CMartin


Here are some adorable tortoises on this forum 😁

My partner and I have 2 tortoises Alfie (Herman) Archie. (Spur thighed) both hatched in 2014. We have had Alfie for a couple of months and brought Archie last week, they are both adorable. We have just ordered a new double tortoise table with a middle divide so they can live separately. They are together at the moment but from doing a lot of research we have decided it's best to separate them so they can both live happily 😁

I just have a few questions if someone wouldn't mind helping us out-

1 diet- at the moment we feed them a mixture of lettuce, clover from the garden, butternut squash, cucumber, carrot, mixed salad which we buy from the supermarket. However we would like to feed them more natural things from the garden but from looking on various websites some say certain things are ok and others say they aren't so was just wondering if any one could tell us what they feed their tortoises? Would anyone recommend the balance diet pellets? 

2 lighting- the new table comes with a white heat bulb and separate UVB bulb which hang over the middle of the table so they can share. The table is 48inches by 18 inches so they still have room for a cooler area too. Are Single UVB bulbs sufficient enough for them both to get what they need from it as the table is divided into 2 separate living areas? 

3 heat bulb and UVB timings- how many hours a day should the heat and UVB bulb be on for? At the moment we have a red heat bulb that was recommended by the pet shop, we have since read that the white ones are better but have read conflicting articles about how many hours a day these should be on for- the new table comes with a white bulb so we will be getting a timer for it. 

4 lighting- does the White heat bulb produce enough light for the tortoises or would it be advisable to get a desk top lamp for extra lighting? 

I appreciate any advise as I want our tortoises to be as happy and settled in their home as possible 😁

Many thanks 

Re: New owner
Posted: 15/09/2015 by Tom


Are they from a breeder or pet dealer ? 
You were ill advised to buy 2 species.

1. All but clover are unsuitable. 
Go to for a massive list of plants, many domestic as well as wild.
Pellets - no. 
Dried flowers (for torts) - yes.

2. Lights which come with 'full setups' are usually inferior, let me know what arrives.

3. Heat/light for 8 - 12hrs a day. My preference is 8hrs max. (That is not conflicting advice, 8 to 12 is subjective). 
No heat/light for remaining hours, ambient temp. is fine.

4. As above.


Re: New owner
Posted: 18/09/2015 by CMartin

Hello Tom,

Thank you for  your reply. 

Yes they were brought from a reptile centre and they told us we could keep them together. However, from reading through this site I realise that we shouldn't keep them together. I have brought a new table which is a large one and is designed so the tortoises are separated, it is due to arrive tomorrow so I will be separating them asap. 

I will have a look through site and get food/flowers according to what they recommend on there then.  I will stop feeding them pellets from now then as well as the other things that you have said  are unsuitable. So thank you for that. 

Re lighting- I have decided to buy a 100w mega Ray bulb and stand as I understand these are one of the best bulbs to get?  It's  good for UVB and uva. I've also brought a zoo med deep dome to hold it. 

I will make sure I have the heat lamp/light on for 8 hours then as you've advised. 

The reptile centre advised me to use wood chipping as substrate- from researching on line I have seen found out that this is no good for them. People have been recommending top soil from a garden centre mixed with play sand, do you agree this is the best substrate for them as I will be changing their substrate this weekend and throwing out the wood chipping?

Thank you for your help I really appreciate it, I am so keen to get this right and ensure that my tortoises are happy and healthy.

Re: New owner
Posted: 19/09/2015 by Tom

A  pleasure,

If they are well in 3 or 4  months, I would see how they get on together. Given their age they are hopefully carrying less 'bugs' than adults, which certainly shouldn't be put together, esp. if one has lived singly for many years.

Which name is in Box 1 on the A10 Cert & what is the "Country of Origin" in Box 10 ?

Yes a "Megaray" is an excellent choice. They should be ok with a shared bulb, 'though a wider dome may be necessary in 12mths - perhaps you can change it, give them a ring.

Topsoil from the garden is fine, you can sterilise it in an oven, if you wish.

Best wishes,

Re: New owner
Posted: 21/09/2015 by CMartin

Hello Tom,

Thanks for your reply and great advice :) 

Do I need to worm the tortoise at this stage or is worming only necessary if they have been living outside? 

I will dig out their paper work and let you know what it says about their country of origin etc 

I have been in contact with mega Ray they have been very helpful - excellent service :) 

Ok I'll try out top soil, see how they get on :) 

Kind regards


Re: New owner
Posted: 21/09/2015 by Tom

Hello Claire,

They only need worming if worms or worm eggs are found in faeces. I would discuss with reception at a vets & arrange to take samples in, avoiding stress to your torts. Ask for a price as a very small %age of vets are rather greedy.

If you have a good microscope, you could DIY, after reading what to look for.

I look forward to the details of your A10 Certs.


Re: New owner
Posted: 26/09/2015 by CMartin

Hello Tom,

Sorry for the delay. Box 1 says :

Holder- Zoological international LTD 
ID: 115680

Is this the info you mean?

Kind regards



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