Is a pet tortoise the right choice for you?

Tortoises make great family pets and are ideal for teaching children about responsibility. The small size of the tortoise means it doesn’t need an excessive amount of space, and its longevity means you will have a friend for many years. Just a few decades ago there was something of a trend for keeping tortoises as pets in the UK; however, they fell out of fashion. They are endlessly popular with children, however, and once you have their living space set up, tortoises can be highly-rewarding family pets.

The basics

The famous image of a tortoise munching on a lettuce leaf is an enduring one; however, tortoises require a varied diet. They must receive the correct amount of roughage in their diet, along with the right balance of phosphorous and calcium. If you have never owned a tortoise before, read up on and fully research the topic to ensure you can commit to the needs of this unique animal.

Tortoises should live outside the majority of the time; however, they don’t cope well in colder weather and you will need to be prepared to bring them indoors during cold spells and for the duration of the winter. The Tortoise Trust has a wealth of information relating to housing your tortoise, including ideas for outdoor and indoor homes. It provides important advice regarding the amount of space a tortoise needs and the temperature and environmental factors that need to be considered.

A Daily Mail article highlights some of the most common dangers to pet tortoises, including attacks by other animals and the risks posed by open water.

Before you buy

If you are thinking about buying a pet tortoise, it is important that you fully understand their requirements, as they can live for up to 100 years and are likely to be a lifelong commitment. It is illegal to import previously wild tortoises into the UK from a large number of countries; however, reputable sellers and breeders are free to sell the animal as pets.

Expert advice will help you to decide whether you have chosen the right pet for your lifestyle and will ensure that your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.