Horsfield / Leopard Tortoise as Exotic Pets - Care Sheet
Both tortoises are easy to look after. They are a great first time reptile but they require more care in terms of feeding every day unlike some other reptiles. Both Tortoises are diurnal which means they are awake in the day and sleep at night.
For beginners, Tortoises are a good choice as an Exotic Pet.
Horsefield Tortoise and Leopard Tortoise Size
Horsefield Tortoises grow to around 4.5 inches in length while the Leopard Tortoises grow to around 16 - 20 Inches.
Horsefield Tortoise and Leopard TortoiseTemperament
Excellent for a first reptile or for children to handle, they are friendly and active. They are diurnal so are awake and active during the day and sleep at night.
Horsefield Tortoise and Leopard Tortoise Vivarium Setup
Minimum size required is 36" x 18" x 15"
Tortoises are exothermic so their vivs require a hot end and a cool end to enable them to regulate their temperature. The hot end should be around 90˚F (32˚C) and the cool end around 80˚F (28˚C) during the day. The temperature at night should not drop lower than 70˚F (22˚C).
Heating / Lighting
Use a flat sided reflector bulb in the hot end of the viv to regulate the temperature – this is your main heat source in your viv so needs to be replaced as soon as the bulb goes – the bulb should be on 10 to 12 hours a day and switched off at night.
UV lighting is essential for the health and wellbeing of your tortoise – your viv should have a 5% UV tube along the length of the viv. The UV light should be on 10 to 12 hours a day and switched off at night. The UV light should be replaced every 10 months to ensure it is still emitting UV.
A calcium and multi-vitamin supplement (such as Nutrobol) should be used on their food every day to ensure the health and long life of your animal.
Tortoises require a dry substrate. Recommended substrate would be beech chippings but you could also use Ground Walnut Shells or Aspen.
Feeding / Water
Feed every day. Tortoises eat vegetables/salad and you can also supplement their food with tortoise pellets which come in a variety of flavours and already have added multi-vitamins and calcium. You should avoid iceberg lettuce and spinach and NEVER feed rhubarb, leek or onions as these are poisonous to your tortoise and could be deadly. The veg should be chopped up fine for baby’s to make sure they don’t struggle to eat it.
Tortoises should always have access to clean, fresh water although you may not see them drink very often. Keep their water in the cold end of the tank and change daily or every other day.
Spot clean every day and remove any mess, give them a full clean out every 3 weeks or more regularly if required. Do NOT use any household or domestic cleaners in or around the vivarium as they contain harmful and potentially lethal chemicals. Reptile disinfectant can be used in the tank and as a glass cleaner.
It is good practice to wash your hands before and after handling your animal and especially after cleaning your tank or removing waste.