Basic care of the tortoises | Pet care.

The various species of turtles also have very different requirements, so we must analyse them in detail when referring to each one in particular. However, all of them are vegetarian and eat fruit, lettuce, and vegetables; they need heat all year round and do not tolerate the currents of air. The species of Deserts and very dry plains, as Testudo horsfieldi, Gopherus polyphemus, and Psammobates geometricus, among others, do not withstand moisture. This means that if you live in a place with moist climate better forget these species or that it is willing to provide accommodation with controlled humidity. In these cases it is best decided by species typical of the Prairies or forests.
Among the turtles that best adapt to captivity include carbonaria Testudo, Geochelone sulcata, and Geochelone pardalis. While they tend to be quite expensive animals, grow quickly, are little demanding climate (as long as this is not extreme) and his great body volume allows them to maintain a more even temperature and be less prone to respiratory conditions (at least when they have already reached a certain size). The big turtles are extremely greedy, small may have problems when it comes to eating. The big turtles need an outside cabin with heating during much of the year.

Selection of species

If possible, try to acquire animals that were born in captivity. Currently many species of turtles are raised and it is easy to get them in any specialized store, although it may sometimes be necessary to order them in advance. There are also many species of turtles whose wilderness survival is seriously threatened by the progressive destruction of their habitat, or because it captures them as food, ornament, or for marketing. The captured turtles in their natural environment tend to be shy and sensitive, and may be carriers of various diseases and parasites, particularly intestinal worms. It also possible that they are accustomed to a diet and environmental conditions impossible to reproduce at home. Don't ever buy a turtle that is completely inactive, that look like cups to catch it with your hand, having sunken or bulging eyes, or to expel bubbles through the nose. In fact, if in a store they have a turtle that bubbles and other secretions by the nostrils most likely that the rest of copies also suffer from any serious illness of the respiratory tract. Any newly acquired turtle must pass a quarantine of at least six weeks. During that time, it is essential to make sure that it does not touch anything that might be within the reach of its other turtles and that do not share anything with them. Given that the turtles are expensive and long-lived animals it is very useful to always have a trusted veterinarian and which can examine them immediately after your purchase. There is no reason why a domestic turtle must die within a couple of years in captivity.


With rare exceptions, the turtles need to be outdoor udder during the warmer months. The small fish and some species of small size can be kept in large terrariums, but never grow properly and tend to have a little bright coloration. In many regions, it is necessary to keep the turtles inside during the cold months, and even during some cold and wet spring and fall nights. However, the majority of fans usually begin with small fish and which can keep for some time in a terrarium, and this should be as much as possible.
Despite not being nothing advisable, many fans leave their turtles wandering the House provided that there are no other pets or hazards such as openings in walls, doors that can be locked, insecticides or rodenticides that can poison. The turtles are very strong, and are able to make their way between furniture or badly closed doors. If you have them in a plastic or glass terrarium it is important to have a cover to prevent it from being accessible to cats or children (as well as to prevent any visitor encapriche of them and take them to your House). Newspaper is one of the best substrates, because it is inexpensive, absorbent, and the turtles do not show any interest in eating it. Many other substrates can be dangerous when they should be ingested, producing serious intestinal occlusions. These include straw bales of alfalfa and other plant material.
For the terrarium lighting, it is necessary to use full-spectrum fluorescent tubes. Purchase the best you find (there are special for reptiles), always keep them clean, and change them every six months. The turtles need 10 to 12 hours a day of light. You must also provide a lamp heating located at one end of the terrarium, so the turtles can come closer when they wish to do so and their bodies quickly reach a temperature that allows them to eat and move comfortably.
During the day, most of the turtles need to soil and air are at a temperature of 27 to 30 ° C. At night you must descend from five to ten degrees. These temperatures are maintained throughout the year, especially for the juveniles of all species. Heating lamp helps to maintain the correct temperature, but it is usually necessary to also use a mat heating placed under the terrarium, especially at night.
Turtles need water for drinking and bathing. Even the proper species of the desert areas drink large amounts of water, and this should be clean and without chlorine. Since it is likely that they use the same container for drinking and bathing, you must change the water daily or when you will see that it is dirty. Some turtles are able to expel a lot of droppings while they are soaking.


The turtles newly born grow very slowly, and most species need of one to two years before starting to acquire a consistency similar to the adult. During this time it must be treated with extreme delicacy and never allow that the environment is too cold, too hot, too wet or too dry. House species has a few requirements, so it must advise correctly to purchase juveniles. As a general rule, the small turtles need more heat and a photoperiod longer than adults. Some turtles, especially those belonging to the genus Testudo, need a cooler temperature during the winter. The problem is that the young sometimes poorly supported cold and do not survive, so it is not always easy to succeed with the reproduction of these species.


Most of the turtles well accept a mixture of chopped vegetables (spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, dandelion) and vegetables (carrots, green beans, squash, etc.), flower (dandelion), fruits (apples, pears, avocados, tomatoes, etc.) which will be given every two days. Naturally, the variety will be depending on the time of year and the availability of market, as well as the budget available. The important thing is to make sure that all of these foods are clean (without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fertilizers) and fresh (if you wouldn't eat a rotten apple, why will make it your turtle?). Many adult turtles eat also small amounts of dog food; but these foods can be very dangerous to the sub-adult, because its high protein content makes them grow too fast so that undergoes the shell and shortens their lives. Geochelone pardalis and various hinge-back tortoise species seem to tolerate the dog food much better than, for example, members of the genus Testudo.

Life outdoors

If possible, you should leave their turtles to stay abroad and take the Sun provided that the climate is not too wet or too cold. Build a kind of poultry with netting strong (the dimensions are not very important) and place it so that the turtles can graze freely and eat in the Sun if they wish, but may retire to shaded areas when they need it; Remember that direct sunlight can kill quickly even the turtles of the deserts. The juveniles have a tendency to eat stones, pieces of glass, hard seeds, and other elements capable of causing them serious intestinal problems. For this reason, many caregivers only leave them outdoors in areas where land has been previously sieved. In many regions, it is necessary that the turtles spend the night inside and not can them be left outdoors since the last hour of the afternoon until Middle tomorrow.
Large turtles , as the Geochelone pardalis and Geochelone sulcata, tend to prefer having a refuge he may retire at night. In these cases it is convenient to construct a cubicle with a base of 1 by 1, 5 m, and whose height allowed to enter inside to clean it.
A heating lamp is placed at one end and at the other you might want to have an electric mat. A bowl of water must not miss so that the turtles can swim. The turtles soon learn to go up the ramp to go to sleep every night to your new House. The doors it is best that they be closed at night to prevent air currents.
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