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Caring For A Tortoise

Here at Creature Comforts Animal Hospital, we pride ourselves in caring for a variety of animals. The tortoise actually has a special place in our hearts. We are proud to serve as veterinarians for the Desert Tortoise Group, and work to help protect Desert tortoises. A NW Las Vegas, NV vet discusses tortoise care below.

Basics

Tortoises are quite easy to care for, and they’re also pretty cute. Of course, these guys are not exactly known for being playful or cuddly, and probably won’t learn any tricks. However, tortoises do all have their own personalities. Some are timid, while others are more outgoing.

Breeds

There are several types of tortoise that make suitable pets, including the Red-footed, Yellow-footed, Russian, Greek, and Leopard tortoises. Each type has their own specific care requirements. Some, such as the Desert Tortoise, require special permits in some areas. It’s very important to do some research, and determine exactly what your pet needs. It’s worth noting that tortoises are very long-lived, with some species living well over 100 years.

Diet

Your tortoise’s diet will vary depending on what type of tortoise you have. Red-footed and Yellow-footed tortoises are both omnivorous, while Sulcata and Leopard tortoises are vegetarians. All of these guys usually like colorful fruits and veggies, as well as dark, leafy greens, such as kale and dandelion. Your vet may also recommend dusting your pet’s food with calcium supplements.

Housing

Some tortoises require warm, dry environments, while others need more humid habitats. There are a few rules of thumb that apply to all of them, however. All tortoises need a little pond or pool to soak in and drink from. This should be cleaned daily. You’ll also want to keep the temperature at around 70 – 90 °F. Provide your pet with a basking area, a hide box, and a shaded area. You may also need to add special UVA/UVB lighting. Desert tortoises are often happiest in outdoor enclosures, where they can bask and graze. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Veterinary Care

Your shelled buddy will need regular veterinary care. Just like any other animal, tortoises are susceptible to illness and disease. Some common problems we see in tortoises include pneumonia, parasites, burns, and retained eggs. Make sure to find a vet that is experienced with tortoises.

Do you have questions about tortoise care? Call us, your NW Las Vegas, NV vet clinic!

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