Although here at Well Animal Clinic we aren’t specialists in reptiles we are happy to see them for routine health checks and minor procedures such as worming, microchipping, beak trimming, xrays, and supportive care. Where required we can refer you to Village Vet Hampstead where they have an exotics specialists.
We have a tortoise table to hospitalise sick tortoises. It is important for a tortoise to have a source of uvB light and a heat lamp for basking. The uv source should be of high quality and within 30cm of the tortoise. They should be changed every 6 months as the uv B light emitted deteriorates over time.
They should be wormed regularly and receive a daily bath to allow drinking and urination/defecation. A diet of herbs, grasses and weeds should form the bulk of the diet accompanied by cabbage, kale, spinach and other greens.
Avoid toxic plants in your garden such as Ragwort, Yew, Rhubarb, Rhododendron and Laburnam
A pre hibernation check with your vet is very important to ensure that your tortoise is 100% fit and healthy before hibernation. This should be carried out no later than August/September.
The most commonly kept species of tortoise are the European species: Testudo hermanni (Hermann’s); Testudo marginata (Marginated); Testudo graeca (Spur thighed) and Testudo horsfieldi (Horsfield). All of these species require annual hibernation. However tropical species should not be hibernated, so it is important to check what species your tortoise is.
Hibernation conditions need to include a breathable; safe; rodent proof container with room for the tortoise to move around. A thermometer should be used to check the temperature which should be between 0-10 degrees C.
A tortoise should be hibernated for no more than 20 weeks over winter. They should eat within 1 week of waking up and should be given daily baths to ensure rehydration.
Important! If your tortoise urinates during hibernation you must wake them up, as they can dehydrate rapidly.