Recent years have seen a great increase in the numbers of reptiles being kept as pets. While there has been some concern at protected species being found in homes, the Sulcata Tortoise is not one of them! This delightful and charming tortoise with its familiar hard shell and retracting head is the most popular breed of tortoise as a pet across the world. But does it really make a good pet?
That’s what we’re going to look at in the article that follows in which we will briefly talk about what you will get from owning a tortoise, how to care for it, and other interesting facts.
Tortoises as Pets
We’ll begin by suggesting you read further with this excellent sulcata tortoise guide which goes into far more detail than we have space for. So, tortoises as pets – are they really a great family pet? The answer is yes: a well-cared for sulcate tortoise is an enjoyable animal to have around, and one with a surprising amount of character and personality.
Native to Africa – it is also known as the African Spurred Tortoise – they have a wonderfully attractive pattern to their shell, making this a distinctive creature and also a talking point. You can keep a sulcata tortoise indoors or in warmer climates in a good-sized yard. Bear in mind the tortoise likes to dig and burrow and will also eat your flowers!
Children are naturally fascinated by an animal that is simply like nothing else. This is a creature that remains as it was in its prehistoric days, and one that will bring a great deal of pleasure to the family. Despite being a somewhat exotic pet the sulcata tortoise – while requiring some attention – is surprisingly low maintenance. Let’s talk about what you need to make sure your tortoise has to hand to keep it happy, what it eats and some other facts you need to know.
Caring for a Sulcata Tortoise
The popularity of reptiles has soared in recent years and tortoises plus small lizards are the most popular. What do you need to know to care for your sulcata tortoise? Here are a few important facts that should help you:
- The tortoises diet is entirely vegetable with spring greens being its favourite along with lawn grass. In the wild it would also take in items such as bones and snail shells as well as roots with calcium in, so should be treated to regular calcium supplements for good health.
- If kept outdoors, ensure the tortoise has a shady spot where it can rest out of the sun. Give it a sandy or soil area for it to enjoy digging and burrowing. Also ensure it has an area where it can bask in the sunlight as this is essential to its health
- Tortoises do not drink much water as it is a desert animal but soaking the greens of its diet before they eat will provide enough.
- The animal should be given a shallow dish of water to bathe in and should be stood in shallow warm water for 20 minutes twice a week to keep it suitably hydrated.
These are a few of the useful tips on keeping a sulcata tortoise and you’ll find many more in the comprehensive guide we gave a link to. Now all that remains is to answer one final question.
How Long Does a Tortoise Live?
If you are set on entering the fascinating world of reptile keeping you should know that a sulcate tortoise can grow to be three feet in length! But that will take a long time as this is an animal with a lifespan of at least 80 years when kept well, so it will probably still be around when you’re gone! Enjoy your sulcata tortoise!