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What's best for an old man?
Posted: 01/08/2016 by Socks


My 94 year old father wants a tortoise.  He's in great health and his mother lived until she was 101 so he could be around for a few years yet.  Obviously, if he's getting a tortoise then it's going to end up as my responsibility in a few years, but I have a large garden and various animals (dog, fish, chickens) so I am an animal lover can build suitable accommodation etc.  I am also prepared to buy a fridge to hibernate his tortoise or tortoises from now until then.  And I visit my father twice a week so I can keep an eye on the tortoises care until then.
The issue is whether he would be better off with an adult rescue tortoise or a younger one (or two) because then he would have the pleasure of looking after them in the winter too, if they were indoors.
He had a tortoise that lived from when he got it (before I was born), in 1965 to the late 80s.  I think it was a horsefield.  We had a really bad summer and he wasn't eating enough.  The vet gave him vitamin injections and we brought him inside, but he refused to eat so we were told to let him hibernate, but he didn't survive.  Perhaps it was his time, as we don't know how old he was when we got him, but these days I expect vets and are more knowledgeable and there are more options for keeping a tortoise inside, so I would like to think that kind of scenario could be avoided for modern-day tortoise owners.
I think my dad's idea of a tortoise is much as the one we had then i.e. Spending all summer in the garden free ranging and then going into hibernation.  However, I think he gets depressed in the winter, since my mother died, and having tortoises that needed looking after all year would be a boost for him.  On the other hand, when I inherit the tortoise my preference would be for it to live outdoors and only come in to hibernate (in a fridge).
So, what would people advise in terms of breed and age of tortoise so that my father can get the most pleasure out of them and so that they can have the best set up when it's my turn to look after them? 
Thank you

Re: What's best for an old man?
Posted: 03/08/2016 by


The difficulty is that you would want an adult, whereas your father would need a very young one if it's to  stay indoors in winter.

Hermanns or T.ibera are the best choice.
I'd click on "The Tortoise /..." box & have a good read.
Torts must not come into contact with your dog or poultry.



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