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Tortoises

by Neil Spiteri

One can see tortoises as slow animals lacking fun or energy. However if you take care of tortoises and observe them closely, you will see how they have a sort of positive attitude towards life, even though munching time slowly, sometimes they can be obstinate and flex their muscles! In other words they can be fun!

Turtles have been around for a very long time. In fact they appeared on our planet circa 250 million years ago. Tortoises eat a wide range of vegetables. Lettuce is a favourite for them even though lettuce lacks vitamins. So it is better if you try to be original in feeding tortoises and do not rely only on lettuce. Tortoises eat tomatoes, cabbage, hibiscus flowers, bananas and other “greenies” and fruit.

Tortoises go into hibernation in winter so in summer, tortoises eat a lot and gain weight. Many carers keep a log-book of how their tortoises are faring, particularly mentioning the weight of the animal at various intervals. If you see that your tortoise did not gain weight in summer, then my advice will be that you keep it indoors in winter in heated conditions so that it will not hibernate.

Keeping your tortoises in a clean place is very important if you want success. Make sure you removing any food not eaten by your tortoises, and try to remove also the fecal pellets that your animals leave around, especially if they are constrained to not so big place.

Breeding is also an exciting part of the hobby. To breed successfully you should first have a female and a male. The best way of how to recognise a male from a female and vice-versa is that of looking at the shell. The female has a flatter plastron whilst the male’s is more rounded (to accommodate the female during copulation). Finally I am attaching some photos of my tortoises in my garden. I have three of them at the moment. Hope you like these photos!

Also don’t forget that tortoises can really stay with you for years and years as they have a really impressive and long stay on earth if taken care of!!!


Donated by Neil Spiteri



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