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Which breed and how much?
Posted: 23/06/2011 by Becky

I have never owned a tortoise before, but have always wanted one and in a month or two will be in a position to have one (or two!) I want to be really well prepared and have been doing a lot of research. Obviously I'll be looking for a British-bred, preferably outdoor reared tortoise and a fairly hardy breed, suitable for a beginner (although I am a beginner who has had numerous other pets for nearly 30 years and used to work as a vet nurse, so I feel quite confident that with the right preparation and support I'll be able to provide a good home!)

I have found a local 'tortoise expert' who does sell them, but doesn't have a 'pet shop' - she does it as a hobby and her main insistence is that she provides lots of information, advice and aftercare. She recommends Horsefieldi or Spur-Thighed for beginners, and also has Hermanni and Leopard tortoises for sale. I would like one that is young and hers are 1-2 years, and all around 150-200. Is this a reasonable price, or would I be better looking for another British breeder?

Are there any other suggested breeds?

Re: Which breed and how much?
Posted: 23/06/2011 by DavidWYork

My advice, given before to newbies:

Yes to Btitish breeder, price seems on high side though.
I have never kept really young torts, and have used outside purpose-built pens, with cloched areas. My advice personally would be to opt for Testudo graeca ibera. These are also known as the Turkish Spur-thighed. My reason is that these often grow to be quite dark coloured adults. I have read that their natural range is higher and cooler than some species, so I reckon they have a head start over paler, more southern species. Being dark, they rapidly warm up on our warm days. They can spend a large part of the year outdoors in totally natural light with lots of UV light available. I know tortoise keepers who have had their testudo ibera for over 40 years. Once you provide for their precise needs they thrive as well as any european tortoise. As they hibernate for the winter, it is a huge annual excitement when they emerge in spring. I expect keepers of Hermann's and Horsefield's might not agree, but I am sharing my long term experience. Do let us know how you get on...and welcome to the world of tortoises!

Regards, David nr York.


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