What Things Do You Need to Raise a Baby Tortoise?

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What Things Do You Need to Raise a Baby Tortoise?
Learn how to raise a baby tortoise. (Turtle image by Michael Bird from Fotolia.com)

Tortoises make very interesting pets, but they will need committed owners if they are to survive. With proper care, tortoises can live for more than 100 years. Fortunately, there are some simple tips on how to care for baby tortoises that you can use to help your tortoise reach its 100th birthday. This care involves providing the proper environment. You also need to wash your hands after handling your tortoise to minimise the risk of spreading salmonella.

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Housing

A baby tortoise should be sheltered in a well-ventilated wooden or glass tank, called a vivarium. The tank should measure approximately 90-by-45-by-45-cm. According to TortoiseCare.org, use a spotlight in which you can adjust the wattage in order to provide the reptile with a basking area of 35.0 to 40.0 degrees C during the day. In the wild, tortoises enjoy basking in the sun, which is also their way of regulating their body temperature. Aside from the heat, TortoiseCare reports that direct absorption of the light allows the biosynthesis of vitamin D3 which is required for the absorption of calcium, just like in us humans. Therefore, in an artificial environment, a tortoise will need a UV light that emits five UVB. Ten to 12 hours of light is recommended. Clean out tortoise faeces every other day. Do a complete clean-up of the enclosure every five to six weeks.

Thermometer and Water

Keep a thermometer to monitor the temperature. Be sure that the baby tortoise can move away from the heat source when needed. To prevent the baby tortoise from dehydrating, always provide it with a shallow bowl filled with clean water. Although the tortoise will receive most of it's nourishment from the food it takes in, it will never hurt to provide your pet with more comfort. Also give it 10- to 15-minute weekly or bi-weekly soaks in room-temperature water. This not only ensures sufficient hydration but it mimics their natural shelter in borrows that are found in the wild.

Food

Baby tortoises should be fed every day with fresh plants, leafy vegetables and flowers--such as spinach, cabbage and dandelions. Dust their meals with calcium and other vitamin supplements two or three times per week. There is a long list of flowers that can be toxic to tortoises--including aconite, anemone, boxwood, buttercup, Carolina jasmine, foxglove, horse nettle, ivy, hydrangea and lily, according to AfricanTortoise.com--so first ask your vet which flowers to avoid serving your pet tortoise. You may also include pieces of fruit in their meals.

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