Pet Tortoise FAQ


Which is best, hatchling or adult tortoise ?

Both hatchlings and older tortoises are as easy to keep as one another forgetting the obvious size difference a healthy tortoise requires the same care throughout its life

Is there a wrong time to obtain a tortoise ?

In short NO! There isn't a wrong time to obtain a tortoise providing you are seeking it from a reputable person, if the tortoise is in hibernation the owner will not let it go until such a time that it is ready for re-homing.

Many breeders use shorter hibernation techniques or over winter their hatchlings for the first year, this helps them to gain weight faster and allows new potential owners to obtain them. (Please refer to over wintering for more information)


Inside V's Outside care

Probably the most commonly asked question and another non-straight forward answer as every situation is different. When considering Inside or Outside there are pros and cons for both, consider all the elements in turn. Temperature, Basking, Security, Safety, Water, Food.

Possibly the best care would be a combination of indoor and outdoor care, this will allow the tortoise more area to explore and the owner greater control on its environment.

Housing tortoises together

Tortoises of the same species can be housed together as long as they are provided with enough space to roam and retreat.
Juvenile's, Approximately under 3 years of age and closely matched tend to be fine and tolerate one another easily, Although they will still develop a hierarchy.
Mature tortoises, Males will pester females constantly ramming and even biting, Males will fight with one another, Also females can show dominance towards one another.

The key is to have plenty of room, and watch them, If you have any trouble makers you can make provisions to keep them in another area.

Is it Dangerous not to hibernate a tortoise ?

In short NO! It is not dangerous to over winter (not hibernate) a tortoise, provided its cared for appropriately, as it would be in summer.. Heat, UV, Water, and Food.
The "over wintering" is more commonly seen if a tortoise is ill or for some (keepers) less than a year old.
There has always been an ongoing debate on tortoises less than a year old being hibernated, both methods of hibernating and over wintering of hatchlings are used year in year out and either way doesn't seem to prove a problem.

Which species is the easiest to keep ?

On the main the Marginated's, Herman's, Ibera's, and Horsefield's are all generally hardier and easier to maintain, thus recommended, compared to that of more tropical species where environmental conditions can be more difficult to replicate.

Will I need a License to be a tortoise keeper or breeder ? - DEFRA / CITES

Again in short No, but for more a more informed answer which is slightly longer and written below.

In the UK and much of the EC member states there is no such License, of the majority of cases seem to show the word "License" employed against a person seems to indicate its misleading or simply incorrect use, with no suggestion of the "Licensing Body" or accreditation obtained.

Some further confusion could also be the licensing of premises e.g. a "Pet Shop License" this is not the same thing and obviously is in regard to the premises not a keeper or breeder, the only other license that maybe confusing is a "DWA License" brought in for the "Dangerous Wild Animals Act" DWAA - and again this is of no use to a tortoise keeper or breeder and unless tortoises suddenly posse a danger to the public you're not likely to need a DWA License just yet... 

So lets try to simplify the certification and forget about the word 'License' for now...

Each specimen kept or born into captivity (of a species listed by DEFRA / CITES) will require its own certificate, this also includes product of, dead, etc... but lets just look at the keeper / breeder! - this certificate is only declaration that the specimen is allowed to be kept in captivity and possibly be traced back through its parentage - nothing else and needs to be updated at various stages, It is not a means of security to get your tortoise back if lost or stolen, it doesn't say you're in a VIP in a special club and important enough to keep or breed tortoise (although owning a tortoise is pretty special) it doesn't check the keeper or breeder is even capable of looking after a tortoise.

On the certificate could be stated the Holder Details, Certificate Number, Date, Country of Origin, Certificate Issuing Address, Specimen Details, Parent Details, Signature / Stamp, Some countries also include a photo ID and the Purpose of Issuing the Document - which is undoubtedly where some confusion lies... is the word "Breeding" if you intend to breed from the specimen you tick the box on the application form and send it in to apply for a certificate - that's it, This shows DEFRA your intent to breed from this animal and there could be (fingers crossed!) possible off spring - maybe a 'Licensed Keeper / Breeder' could show the persons ability to tick a box on the application form, hopefully that's helped but if you are still confused we can only suggest if you are told you need a license ask what exactly is the license you will need.


Notice Board: 

Offspring available to caring homes, please go here
To see some pictures please visit the
Tortoise Gallery


The Tortoise Diary - v1.8
Keep track of your tortoise(s)! - [here]

  • Help Diagnose Health and Condition
  • Security, Add Microchip and Photo ID
  • Gauge Hibernation Readiness
  • Generate Webpages for each Tortoise
  • Now for Unlimited Tortoises!
  • more ...

  Taking notes, a must for all tortoise keepers....

   ADDED - [here]  - Online Reptile Shop by powered by Amazon

   ADDED - [here]  - La tortuga mediterránea, Searching for the Herman's tortoise

    ADDED - [here]  - Kleinmanni Project, Accounts and Observations.

    ADDED - [here]  - Credits, To those who have helped... thank you.

UPDATED - [here]  - Tortoise Keepers Gallery, Pictures of your tortoises.

    ADDED - [here]  - Tortoise Puzzle, Bored ? Time for some fun.

    ADDED - [here]  - Weather Conditions, Temperatures, Humidity, Rainfall ...   

UPDATED - [here]  - Tortoise Diet, balanced feeding

UPDATED - [here]  - Hatchling Growth Rate, over a 4 year period

    ADDED - [here]  - The Pet Tortoise House, do you require a set-up?

    ADDED - [here]  - Tortoise Photo Gallery

    ADDED - [here] 
- Frequently Asked Questions... its a start!

    ADDED - [here]  - Story of "lonesome George" - G.elephantopus abingdoni

We are continually working on the site (time permitting).
All documentation either on site or awaiting publication is subject to work in progress, so please book mark us and keep visiting.


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Captive bred Mediterranean tortoises for sale, care, and advice from experienced breeders
~ Hermans, Marginated, Greek Spur-thighed, Horsefields ~

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