The tortoises available on our website are best suited to a tortoise table set-up. Tortoise tables allow excellent air flow and a low humidity level; which is ideal for Mediterranean, African and Russian tortoises.
The recommended layout of the tortoise table is to have the basking lamp at one end, creating a hotspot of 30/35°C. This allows a temperature gradient and in turn allows the tortoise to regulate its body temperature. The background temperature should be 20/25°C; this can easily be achieved by a centrally heated room. The tortoise is able to then move in and out of the hot spot when required.
A UVB lamp should be attached as close to the basking lamp as possible.A water dish should be left in the table at all times, and clean water available daily.
The size of the tortoise table will vary depending on the size of the tortoise;
Under 5 years approx..: 30 x 18 x 6 inches
Over 5 years approx.: 4ft x 2ft x 8 inches
Once the tortoise has settled in, you can add hides and plants to the enclosure. Adding these items beforehand can make the settling in period stressful for your tortoise. Do not place plants or hides close to the basking lamp as the tortoise may climb and fall onto its back. If you find the tortoise tipped over, turn to the correct position and place the tortoise in a warm bath to allow it to rehydrate itself.
(Not recommended for Mediterranean, African or Russian Breeds)
Vivariums and “fish tanks” are best suited to the tropical breeds such as Redfoot / Yellowfoot tortoises. This type of housing provides high heat and humidity which is perfect for tropical breeds of tortoise. These tortoises must have the same temperature day and night.
Before building an outdoor enclosure consider dividing your garden into sections and deciding what each section may offer.
It is imperative that the tortoise has adequate shade/shelter from the elements. The best place for the outdoor run/house is in an area with as much all day sun as possible, with well-drained soil. Tortoises love to dig and bury so a sand and soil mix is an excellent substrate. Hides, a water dish and other features such as wooden bridges and edible plants such as dandelions can be added to the enclosure.
Tortoises do, however, have predators such as large birds, foxes and other pets. This means that no matter what style of outdoor accommodation you choose, you need to ensure that a wire mesh lid is fitted for the safety of your tortoise.
Tortoises are cold blooded reptiles so they must have access to heat. For the breeds we have available, the optimum basking spot should be 30/35°c and the cool area should be 20/25°c. This temperature gradient allows the tortoise to regulate its own body temperature. Ideally the basking lamp should be on for around 8-10 hours a day.
*Always turn off all lighting overnight!*
UV is a necessity for any tortoise, regardless of age. If the tortoise does not have access to natural sunlight in an outdoor area, then we strongly recommend a UV lamp as well as the basking lamp.
There are three different types of UV lamps/bulbs:
- UV Compact (UV only – effective live 12 months)
- Combination (UV and Basking – effective 12 months)
- UV Strip ( UV only – effective life 3 months)
We would recommend either the compact or the combination lamps as they are the most efficient and best value for money.
UV lamps allow the tortoise to create vitamin D3 which helps prevent the tortoise from getting Metabolic Bone Disease.
There are numerous substrates available that are suitable for tortoises. We have tried and tested all of the bedding available on our website.
The following is a list of the substrates that we provide, all are totally organic, and are free from any chemicals or toxins, making them safe for your tortoise.
- TTS Crumble is made from coconut husk (coir) (previously known as Kritters Crumble)
- Pellet Bedding is made from compressed grass, pressed into pellets
- Aspen is a natural, odourless, dust free and absorbent product
For a young tortoise the depth of the substrate should be around 2”, as the tortoise gets older you should increase the depth of the bedding to allow the tortoise to be able to dig and bury.