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Tropical Tortoise

Includes redfoot, yellowfoot, and bell's hingeback

Tropical tortoises are terrestrial (land) reptiles so they don't spend time in ponds. They do like a humid, tropical climate. Shell patterns vary among the species. Males can be more colorful than females and both have elephantine hind legs. Is a tropical tortoise the right companion animal for you? Yes No Check "Yes" or "No" after reading the following statements:

1. I know that choosing this pet can be a lifelong commitment. 2. I will be able to let the tortoise spend time outdoors in a secure habitat. 3. I can keep this tortoise safe from dogs, cats, ferrets, and wild animals. 4. I can commit to providing proper care for this tortoise. 5. A mature person will provide responsible and primary care for this companion animal.

If you answered "Yes" to these statements, a tropical tortoise may be the right choice for you! Continue reading about how to care for a tropical tortoise and consult with a PETCO associate to learn more. PETCO is committed to responsible companion animal care. Average Size Diet 6 to 15 inches long Life Span Up to 50+ years with proper care

A varied diet high in fiber and calcium and low in fat and protein; feed about 80% plant matter, including green leafy vegetables like kale, grasses, timothy hay, carrots, squash, and tomatoes; 20% animal foods such as earthworms, waxworms, butterworms, mealworms; no more than 10% fruit; commercial canned and pelleted tortoise food, no more than 50% Vegetables should be chopped into small pieces and offered daily Dust food daily with a pure calcium supplement and once or twice weekly with a vitamin/mineral supplement.



Size ­ Appropriate size habitat to accommodate normal behavior and exercise; as the tortoise grows, a larger habitat will be needed; should be able to freely move around in the habitat Substrate ­ Use pelleted, mulch, or moss-type; tortoises may eat their substrate; if they do, switch to something they cannot eat, like paper or cage carpet Habitat ­ Provide a shaded hiding area, such as a cave or hide box; in humid climates, tortoises may be kept outdoors in a secure, covered habitat; like other reptiles, tortoises need their privacy; humidity range from 70 to 90%; in dry climates use a mist spray or humidifier Temperature ­ Daytime of 82° to 88° F., basking up to 95° F., nighttime of 70° to 76° F. Lighting ­ Provide UV rays with full spectrum fluorescent lighting for 12 to 14 hours a day Water ­ Provide constant access to a shallow container large enough for the tortoise to soak in and drink from; the tortoise must be able to easily enter an exit the water bowl; replace with clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water daily Do not house different species of reptiles together

Recommended Supplies

Appropriate size habitat Appropriate substrate Full spectrum (UVB)

fluorescent light Book about tortoises

Humidity gauge Shallow water bowl Incandescent light or

ceramic heat emitter Undertank heater

Food bowl Thermometer Calcium and vitamin/mineral

supplement Hiding area and furnishings

© 2004, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. All rights reserved. (0315)

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Tropical Tortoise

Includes redfoot, yellowfoot, and bell's hingeback

Normal Behavior and Interaction

Active, friendly, and outgoing; will become tame with gentle handling; move slowly and respectfully around tortoises; never shake, or hold upside down Hide in objects and burrow into substrate; adept at digging to escape Over time and with proper handling, can learn to recognize you as you approach them Some tropical tortoise species hibernate; check with your exotic animal veterinarian to learn about the hibernation needs of your tortoise (duration and housing changes)

Habitat Maintenance

Pick up leftover food and water daily and scoop feces out of the substrate every other day Thoroughly clean the tank at least once a week: set tortoise aside in a secure habitat; scrub the habitat and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution; rinse thoroughly with water, removing all smell of bleach; dry the tank and furnishings; add clean substrate Weekly water soaks with water level no deeper than the mid-point between the bottom and the top of the tortoise's shell Always wash your hands before and after touching your tropical tortoise or habitat contents to help prevent Salmonella and other infectious diseases

Grooming and Hygiene

Signs of a Healthy Animal

· · ·

Active and responsive Hard shell with out lesions Skin free of injury or discoloration

· · ·

Eats regularly Clear, bright eyes Clear nose and vent Suggested Action Provide ample UVB lighting and consult your exotic animal veterinarian.

Common Health Issues

Health Issue (alpha) Metabolic Bone/Vitamin Deficiency

Symptoms or Causes Inability to absorb calcium due to insufficient UVB light. If untreated, can lead to a disorder characterized by deformities and softened bones. Swollen limbs and lethargy. Labored breathing or runny nose. Can be caused by cold, damp habitat. Parasites on the skin. Can transmit disease.

Respiratory Disease

Ensure habitat is warm and consult your exotic animal veterinarian. Consult your exotic animal veterinarian.

Ticks and Mites

Red Flags

· · ·

Eye, nose, or mouth discharge Lethargic Abnormal feces

· · ·

Soft, discolored, or rough spots on shell Abnormal spots or swelling on skin Sneezing, open mouth breathing

If you notice any of these signs, please contact your exotic animal veterinarian.


The ASPCA Complete Guide to Pet Care by David L. Carroll The Guide to Owning a Tortoise by Jerry G. Wallis Turtles and Tortoises for Dummies by Liz Palika

Note: The information on this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the above sources or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

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SKU 942979 © 2004, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. All rights reserved. (0315)


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