Tortoises are turtles, which live on land and belong to the reptile family of the order Testudines. They too have shell like sea turtles. The top part of the shell is known as carapace and the bottom side is known as plastron. They have both exoskeleton and endoskeleton. They are active during the day and are very shy animals.
They are very fascinating animals, but their dietary habits are different than others. Different species have a different diet. They consume huge amounts of food and the calcium and phosphorous balance should be maintained in their diets. The tortoises are also temperature sensitive. Usually it is a good idea to bring the tortoise indoors at night. And when the weather is cold, they should be kept inside totally. But this can be a big problem if the tortoises are big in size. Some species also hibernate during winter. This can be really stressful for the animal as well as the owners. The owners should provide the pet with special provision for hibernation otherwise the pet will suffer with stress.
A pen can be constructed in the yard, where the tortoise can live. The pen should be really strong and the fences should be buried deep as some of the tortoises have fascination of digging. They are also very strong reptiles. They can easily break weaker walls. Also some tortoises are good climbers, so the pen should also be provided with a roof. The roof also saves the tortoise from other dangers such as dog bite, bird attack, etc. The owner must check out for possible threat to the pet, also within the pen itself. Some plants can be harmful if the tortoise feeds on them. So plants that are edible only should be planted or kept in the den.
They should also be provided with water, but the water body should be shallow, so that the tortoise won’t drown in it. Other things which are sharp or which can be chewed and not digested by animal shouldn’t be kept in the pen. Steps should also be avoided within the pen, because while they are climbing they can trip and fall over their back, which is very deadly for them.
Some species grow really big, so this factor should also be considered while building the pen. In fact, this factor should be considered when buying itself. Different species grow to different sizes; have different dietary habits, living conditions, and temperature adaptability. Beginners should certainly go for a captive bred, as they are less troublesome than the ones that come directly from the wild. Also when tortoises are captured from the wild and transported, there are chances that they can fall ill or even die because of high levels of stress. Also such types of animals carry a wide range of parasites, which can be harmful for the owner as well. When the potential owner thinks of buying a tortoise, it should get it thoroughly examined for parasites and other diseases from a vet.
Tortoises prefer to stay alone. They shouldn’t be mixed with other pets and no two male tortoises should be kept together as they can fight and injure each other very seriously. Tortoises have a very long lifespan. They can live up to hundred years. There can be possibility of the pet outliving the owner, so the owner should have everything planned and should make a lifetime commitment.