Land turtles as pets: what should you take into account?

If you decide turtles are the pet for you, you’re signing up for a lifelong relationship. Literally. After all, tortoises can live to be forty or fifty years old, and often even older. So that's something to consider if you choose to get this somewhat peculiar animal. Also think about the following to make sure your turtle stays healthy.

Ideally, your pet turtle should spend as much time outdoors as possible. But at the same time they need a safe home where they can rest and keep warm. The habitats you provide for them must be completely closed off: a hutch without a cover is not sufficient. In addition, your garden should be sufficiently shaded. After all, turtles love to sunbathe, but can also overheat quickly.

Land turtles food

A large part of land turtles’ nutritional needs can be met with kibble, from which they can get the proteins they need. But these animals also graze a lot and munch on plants they find in the garden, such as dandelions, tricolor violets and white clover.

You should also give your pet turtle their daily dose of vegetables: spinach, cabbage, green beans, carrots ... You can also plant nutritious grasses and safe-to-eat green food in the outdoor area of your turtle’s pad for it to nibble on. It is best to provide water in a shallow dish.

Did you know?

  • Contrary to popular belief, not all tortoises hibernate. Make sure to inquire in advance to find out if your desired pet turtle belongs to a species that sleeps through the winter.
  • With their hard shell, tortoises may look tough, but this shield does contain nerve endings. So when you rub or scratch their shell, they feel it. Some turtles like their underbellies tickled or their backs scratched, others don't. So don't just do this...
  • Have you heard of Jonathan? Jonathan is a Seychelles giant tortoise and the oldest living land animal in the world. He crawled out of his egg - are you ready for this? - in 1832. All this to say: tortoises are hardy creatures.

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