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Inherited a tortoise - help
Posted: 24/02/2016 by trobins23


I have inherited my grandmother's tortoise (she has Alzheimer's and is no longer able to care for him). 

I am a novice and would be so grateful for some help.

I believe (but do not know for sure) that he is at least 40 years old, has lived outside in a rabbit run with a wooden box for shelter and has always been hibernated when the time comes.

I would love (being an animal lover) to provide him with the appropriate housing. I plan to keep him inside in my utility room raised off the floor - so not too hot or cold - until the weather is warmer (I live in Wiltshire, UK) and then house him outside in a custom build area (perhaps bringing him in at night if not warm). 

What can I house him in indoors? I have done a lot of google searches and keep coming up with different results.  He is about 6/7 inches long.

He has never been provided with a lamp.

Does he need to be in a tortoise table (even though he is not young) or could he be happy in an indoor rabbit cage (wire ones with plastic bases) for his 'indoor time' as that would stop him climbing out - I have two cats.

I have read up on what he should and should not be fed. It is really the housing issue I would like some advice on.

Also - does anyone know from the photos what sort of tortoise he is?

Thanks so much

PS. I know he should not be fed tomato and lettuce frequently but that is what the poor mite has been living on so far and I don't want to change his diet too fast. He has just woken up from hibernation a week ago and has not yet eaten anyway.

Re: Inherited a tortoise - help
Posted: 24/02/2016 by Tom.p


It is a Hermann's tortoise. They normally come out of hibe' at the end of March, you can find a better place for the coming winter, click on "The Tortoise ...... " box.

A rabbit cage is too small (& too small for rabbits !! but the pet trade happily sell them). I suggest that you make a temporary open top box about 1m x 75cm x 30cm high, this will be useful every year for the period between hibe' ending & good weather. You could buy plywood cut to size, 'they' will advise on temporary fittings, so you can store it flat.

You will need a dome reflector with a ceramic fitting & a 100W reflector bulb, angled at 90deg. with the base of the light about 30cm above the shell of the tort.. The lamp goes towards one end of the enclosure, so the tort' can move from hot to cool areas. About 8hrs a day. Without a lamp it will not be warm enough to feed.
Garden soil is fine as a substrate.

Put something the height of the tort below the lamp & place a thermometer on it to check the temp' - ideally 28-30C. Do this before putting the tort in the pen.

Place it in 2cms of tepid water for several minutes daily for a week & yearly after hibe..

You can read up on diet in "The Tortoise" box & print off a Caresheet.

Sadly many torts are kept in rabbit runs outside. It will need at least 15sqm, wood is the best material for the perimeter. For ideas click "Photo Gallery".
It will need a house about 70x70cms in the enclosure.


ps The holes in the shell are where it would have been tethered from at some stage. This is illegal nowadays.


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