Care Information for tortoises

There are three main species which many of us will remember in our back gardens years ago. These are Hermanns, Horsfields and Mediterranean Spur thigh.
The following is general care advice which can be followed for these species.

Tortoises are cold blooded reptiles. During the daytime they need to be warmed up to become active. Ideally this will be achieved, by placing them securely in the garden during dry warm sunny weather. They do not tolerate damp or wet weather. When they are active they will then seek out food and water.

If you purchase a tortoise during the autumn or winter months, you will need to either build or purchase suitable indoor housing, view Complete Set Up Packages on our Homepage. Suitable lighting including UVB and heating will be essential. Without the correct strength UVB lighting, (6%) for the above three species, tortoises are not able to absorb the Vitamin D3. This will lead to an irreversible condition known as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

We will provide you with the appropriate written Care Information, for the tortoise you choose to buy, when your tortoise is delivered.

Leopard and Sulcata tortoises need to be maintained at a minimum of 22 Celsius at night time. They also require a higher UV output we recommend 12 or 14%

Common Weeds Safe for your Tortoise

Dandelion, Nipplewort, Red Clover, White Clover, Hosta, Wild Rocket, Chickweed, Greater Plantain, Ribwort plantain, Sow Thistle’s (smooth, prickly, perennial) Red Dead Nettle, White Dead Nettle, Hawk’s Beard, Hawkweed, Cats Ear, Garlic mustard, Bindweeds, Trefoils, Vetch, Goose grass (sticky weed), Mallows, Lavatera, Honeysuckle, Shepherd’s purse, Soft comfrey, Speedwell, Sorrel, Cranesbill, Toadflax, Chicory, Hawksbit, Bittercress, Heartsease (viola’s), Campanula Garden plants: Hibiscus, Opuntia (prickly pear), Bramble leaves (young shoots), Mulberry leaves, Sedum, Rose petals & leaves.

The Law regarding Tortoises.

Currently both Hermanns and the Mediterranean Spur thigh are protected Annex A species. This means that when you buy them they must already be microchipped and must be accompanied by an ‘Article 10’ certificate. This document is commonly, incorrectly referred to as a license. A Specimen specific Article 10 Certificate, is only issued for specimens that have been microchiped.

The most common garden tortoise the Horsfield tortoise Annex B, does not currently require microchipping or an ‘Article 10’ certificate. Leopard tortoises are also not currently classed as endangered, so no microchipping or ‘Article 10’ certificates currently apply to this species.

The following list show the most common species being offered for sale in the U.K and their current legal status, as defined by CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Hermann tortoise
Spur-thighed tortoise
Marginated tortoise
Horsfield tortoise
Leopard tortoise
Sulcata tortoise
Indian star tortoise
Red footed tortoise
Testudo hermanni
Testudo graeca
Testudo marginata
Testudo horsfieldi
Geochelone pardalis
Geochelone sulcata
Geochelone elegans
Geochelone carbonaria
Annex A
Annex A
Annex A
Annex B
Annex B
Annex B
Annex A
Annex B
Certificate required
Certificate required
Certificate required
Not required
Not required
Not required
Certificate required
Not required

Where you have purchased an Annex A Species from us, the Article 10 Certificate does not need to be changed to your name, the Certificate does not expire. The Law simply states, when you sell or give away the tortoise, the Certificate must go with the tortoise. There is no requirement for us to keep copies. We suggest you keep photocopies.

The Microchip number indicated on the left side half way down the Article 10 Certificate, is not registered on any data base, apart from that of CITES. So microchipping of your tortoise, is not done on the same basis as it is done for dogs, with an ability to locate the owner.