Learn About Tortoise Health

young girl with her healthy turtleFirst, be sure your tortoise is living in good conditions. As your tortoise grows, it will need a larger terrarium. Clean out food scraps every day. Clean the terrarium completely every week.

Feed your tortoise only food that is good for a tortoise. Be sure your tortoise can always find fresh clean water to drink.

Be sure your female tortoise has a place to lay her eggs. She will do this even if the eggs are not fertilized. Tortoises lay eggs in sandy soil, so give her a good place to dig a nest.

Weigh your tortoise regularly and keep track of its weight. If it starts to lose weight, it is sick and should see a veterinarian.

A tortoise's shell should not be cracked or blistered. If you see unusual markings on your tortoise's shell, take your pet to the veterinarian.

If your tortoise stays inside, its claws might get too long. A veterinarian can trim them for you.

Tortoises hibernate. Before your tortoise hibernates, collect a stool sample and take it to the veterinarian. You will know whether your tortoise needs any special care to stay healthy during hibernation.

If your turtle has weepy or crusty eyes, take your pet to the veterinarian.

If your tortoise's breathing changes, take it to a veterinarian right away. Tortoises can get lung infections.

If your tortoise is pacing back and forth, it is not happy. Maybe it is too hot or cold or dry or damp. Maybe it is too noisy. If your tortoise does not settle down, talk with your veterinarian.

It's normal for a tortoise to bask. If it basks all day, your tortoise is probably sick. Take your tortoise to a veterinarian.

It is normal for your tortoise to hibernate in the fall. It will burrow into the ground. If it burrows at other times of the year, it may be sick. Take it to a veterinarian.

After handling any animal, it's a good idea to wash your hands. Human health is as important as tortoise health.

Sometimes people write to ask me if their tortoise is sick. Not even a veterinarian can tell if an animal is sick without seeing the animal. I can't tell you if your pet is healthy or sick. If you are worried, please take your pet to a veterinarian.

Keep it slow and steady.

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