How to Care for Tortoises

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How to Care for Tortoises. Providing the right enclosure with the proper temperature, as well as the correct diet, is important for maintaining the health of a tortoise.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat Lamps
  • Water Troughs
  • Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Alfalfa Pellets For Tortoises
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Multivitamins
  • Glass Aquariums
  • Newspaper
  • Tortoise
  • Sturdy Pens

Provide a glass aquarium for small species, a galvanized stock water trough or a sturdy pen for large species.

Cover the floor of the tortoise's dwelling with alfalfa pellets or newspaper. Avoid using sand, ground corncob, artificial grass or resinous wood chips, all of which can cause intestinal problems if eaten.

Maintain an optimal temperature range of 26 to 38 degrees Celsius (78.8 to 100.4 degrees F). Use a radiant heat source such as a heat lamp.

Set up a full-spectrum, ultraviolet light source, which helps tortoises absorb vitamin D and prevents metabolic bone disease.

Offer a menu that consists of 85 percent vegetables, 10 percent fruit and less than 5 percent protein.

Feed adults three times a week; feed hatchlings daily.

Dust food with calcium carbonate, lactate or gluconate at every feeding and multivitamins every one to two weeks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Recommended vegetables include dark leafy greens such as mustard, collard, cabbage, dandelions (leaves, stems and flowers) and backyard grasses. Timothy hay, soaked alfalfa pellets and thawed frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, green beans and lima beans) can also be given.
  • Recommended fruits include grapes, apples, pears, oranges, peaches, plums, nectarines, all melons, berries and bananas.
  • Recommended protein sources are dry dog food, primate chow, pelleted parrot chow, tofu, various cereals (crisped rice, cornflakes), sardines with bones, whole mice, eggs and eggshells.
  • Avoid improper mineral balance, vitamin deficiencies and excessive protein levels by carefully monitoring the feeding of your tortoise.

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