Turtles as pets: Care and concerns – Part 12

Tortoises as apose to turtles. Like many people im sure I have always dreamed of owning a tortoise. And recently at the tender age of nearly 30! I was bought one as a gift. Now even though I did all the research into getting one of these lovely creatures I still didnt know enough, I will write a little explaining why.

Firstly we all have this idea of getting a tortoise and it will all be plain sailing! follow the instructions and you can’t go far wrong………….oh how naive!

I made sure my tortoise wasn’t wild but was bred in this country by asking if the tortoise was registered. I was informed yes it wasn’t till much later that I was told that the tortoise is licensed in my own country but nor bred here meaning that even though I didn’t want to buy an imported tortoise, as I didn’t wish to further this awful trade. Unintentionally I did just this by assuming the seller wasn’t telling his own personal version of the truth………

I get my little tortoise home only to find him extremely sleepy and his stool samples a funny white color, now nothing prepares you to know what on earth is going wrong. What if anything you are doing wrong etc? The books tell you all the questions like what to feed them, what certain illnesses to look out for etc. They do not tell you about what little concerns might worry you when you are completely new to an animal.

Now basically in the last few weeks Ive learnt about what bedding is best, pet shop said edible pellets but tortoise owners tell me 50/50 mix of sand and top soil and hemp. I am also learning about the various size and wattage of lamps etc and all the relevant information that shops fail to tell you. Basically its all the basics that you feel and idiot to ask but they just expect you to know.

So I’m not saying don’t get a tortoise, I’m saying get one but ask all the questions, e.g. little things like how big should my tank or table be in cm,mm or whatever measurement you want. what should i feed them. what should i definitely avoid! what temperature should i be trying to achieve? what temperature should be at night? what type of bulbs do i need and what wattage and how often should i replace them? and what minerals etc do i need to keep them healthy? etc, etc.

Like for instance nobody told me to turn everything off at night, e.g. all heat bulbs, UV-B etc. when i did do it when i got advice, then my tank dropped to 20 0c which i panicked about. but then was informed that this was OK, and that you have to allow the temperature to drop so a tortoise can sleep, otherwise it can get sick, and that even though it drops allot, that this doesn’t matter as they are used to it.

I was also told to buy a heat mat for under the tank but have since been told that this cooks their under bellies!

Basically everyone has differing opinions and everyone thinks they are an expert. So always seek professional advice and just try your best, enjoy your pet and always feel that you can ask for advice off your vet or where you bought it from as this is only doing what is right by the animal.

I just wanted people to realize that there are many pitfalls out there but just work around them and seek help when necessary and you should be OK.

By the way have been told temperature during the day should be about 30 oc and at night 20 oc is OK. just as long as there is a drop from day to night.

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