Choosing The Right Tortoise

Choosing The Right Tortoise

Many of us have made the decision to keep a tortoise as a pet. In some countries, it is very common for individuals to keep small tortoises as pets, but if you live in the United States, chances are good that you will be keeping a large species such as a Sulcata or a Red-Footed Tortoise, though the legality will vary by state. This article is written with the aim of giving you some helpful information and tips on how to care for your tortoise pet, because if you are reading this then chances are good that you are considering getting one as a pet.

What type of tortoise should you get?

The first step in caring for your new pet tortoise is choosing the right species for your climate/lifestyle. The most popular pet tortoises are probably Red Footed Tortoises, Sulcata Tortoises, and African Spurred Tortoises, but many others are often kept as pets too. When it comes to choosing a species of tortoise that will work best in your climate and lifestyle, there are a few things to consider:

1. How cold does it get in your area?

Some species of tortoises can tolerate colder climates than others. If you live in an area that gets extremely cold (below 30 degrees F), then you should choose a different species such as the Russian Tortoise or the Marginated Tortoise. Many of the Mediterranean species such as Spur Thighed and Greek Tortoises can tolerate cooler areas, but will not do well if temperatures drop below freezing (32 degrees F). Some species of tortoises do not hibernate at all and should not be kept where it gets colder than 40 degrees F.

2. How hot does it get in your area?

Some species of tortoises are very hardy and do not require a lot of heating, but some need hotter temperatures to stay active. A good rule for determining which species will be best for you is to look at the natural range where they live. Many of the Mediterranean tortoise species are adapted to very hot arid deserts, while some of the Indian species are adapted to cooler forests. Some of the African species can be kept outside year-round in almost any climate where it doesn’t get below freezing. Tortoises from South America are generally not kept as pets because they need too much heat to stay active.

3. How much humidity does it get where you live?

Tortoises that are adapted to forests or drier habitats cannot tolerate high humidity levels. If you live in an area that is constantly humid, then you may want to choose an Indian or African species since these tortoises can be found in areas with lower humidity.

4. How much space do you have for a tortoise?

Some species of tortoises are very small and can live happily in a 10-gallon enclosure. Other species require much larger enclosures to be kept healthy, so if you are limited on space, choose an area that is compatible with your living conditions.

5. What type of climate do you live in?

Do you get a lot of snow, rain, or very hot weather? This may affect the choices you have available for tortoises.

Once you have done some research on which species are native to your area, take some time to research each species so that you can get an idea of what type of care they require. Each species is different, so they all have different requirements. Look at the resources section below to find out which species are most common in your area, and what type of habitat they need to be healthy.