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What do I eat? Mediterranean Tortoises are herbivores, which means they eat only plant matter. It is important to give a varied, high‐fibre diet that is low in fat and protein. Commercial pellets are available and can be given as part of a varied, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Caring for your Tortoise Shopping List F Indoor and outdoor Enclosure F Heat mat or lamp F UVB Light F Thermostat F Thermometer(s) Vegetables: Mixed vegetables and as many weeds and herbs such as, dandelion, groundsel, clover, sowthistle, etc. as possible. Allowing your tortoise to graze naturally outdoors is ideal. Fruit: apples, berries, grapes, kiwi, pear. These should be fed sparingly due to the high sugar content present in these foods. A calcium and vitamin supplement in the form of a powder should be applied to all food provide. Fresh water should always be available. F Substrate F Food and Water Bowls F Calcium and Vitamin Supplement F Cage Furnishings F Pet Safe disinfectant F Book on Tortoise care for more information If within the first few days of purchasing your new pet you have any concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch. The Pet Stop, 135 New Road Side, Horsforth, LS18 4QD. Tel: 0113 258 3662 Email: [email protected] Web: www.thepetstopshop.co.uk Mediterranean Tortoises The species of Mediterranean Tortoises originate from those countries surrounding the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The most commonly kept species are the Hermann’s and the Horsfield’s Tortoise although others such as the Spur‐Thighed and Marginated are also available. Their natural habitat is the grassland and scrub where there is a lot of sun and light shade. Tortoises grow annually and their shell scutes grow somewhat like the rings of a tree. They typically reach a size of 20‐25cm. Tortoises are some of the longest lived creatures on the planet often living 80 years or more. Where should I live? Ideally your tortoise will have an indoor enclosure and access to outdoors. A purpose built ‘Tortoise Table’ is ideal but a suitably sized vivarium can work just as well. The minimum cage size should be 90x40x30cm for babies, rising to 2 square metres for adults although the bigger and more varied the better. Your tortoise will love being outside when the weather is suitable so an escape proof enclosure situated on nontoxic natural vegetation is ideal. Provide areas to bask in the sun and also to climb and explore. Tortoises, like all reptiles, are cold blooded and so need an external heat source in order to regulate their temperature. Each species will have differing heat requirements but all will need a thermal gradient so that they can move freely between the cooler and hotter ends of their enclosure. The usual heat source would be a UV heat lamp at one end providing a temperature of 30‐32c with the cooler end dropping to around 18c. The temperatures can be reduced at night as they would be in their natural habitat. Tortoises are diurnal and need strong UVB lighting in order to absorb and utilize the calcium in their diet. This should be on 12‐14 hours a day. The floor of the enclosure should be covered with a suitable substrate such as Aspen wood shavings, calci‐sand or artificial grass. Various hides and shelters will be appreciated as well as bark or branches on which to climb. The enclosure should be spot cleaned daily, removing any waste and also any uneaten food. Food and water bowls should be cleaned daily and the substrate completely replaced every month or so. Tortoises make great pets and are fairly easy to How should I be looked after? look after but do bear in mind that they are a long term commitment – they could well out live you! Most species of tortoise are protected by CITES regulations. This means they can only be legally sold with a DEFRA Article 10 Exemption Certificate. They must also be micro‐chipped when big enough if being sold. The exception is the Horsfield’s tortoise which is why this is one of the most common pet tortoises in the UK. A healthy tortoise should be bright and alert with shiny eyes. Its body should be carried above the ground and its head and limbs should be withdrawn into its shell if alarmed. The shell should be hard and you should check for signs of diarrhea, mouth rot and respiratory problems. If you have any concerns over the health of your tortoise you should contact a vet as soon as possible. Once a week you should bathe your tortoise to ensure proper hydration levels. Regular weighing is also recommended to ensure they are growing at a healthy rate. Hygiene is important both for you and your tortoise so always wash your hands before and after handling him.