When it comes to picking the ideal pet tortoise for them, many future tortoise owners struggle. There are so many fantastic breeds and species to choose from, after all!
But don’t be afraid, with a little bit of guidance it’ll be simple to pick the right one. There is a type for everyone, whether you’re a novice seeking a tiny pet tortoise or an expert looking for a tough challenge.
This is a list of our favorite tortoises that we keep at home. Pick one that appeals to you by simply scrolling through them!
Mediterranean Spur-thighed Tortoises
I can’t recommend the Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) highly enough. These will make the ideal pet for you if you are just starting to raise tortoises. They are relatively simple to maintain when they are in the right configuration.
It is simple to acquire a one-time set up for them that will last their whole lifetime because they are one of the smallest tortoise species (not to be confused with the African spur-thighed tortoise!).
Because they are more active during the day, these tortoises make a fantastic companion animal. They enjoy playing with their keeper, exploring their cages, and spending time outside on the warmer days of summer.
The Egyptian desert, as well as Libya and portions of Israel, are home to the Egyptian Tortoise.
They are very endangered in the wild, and one of the tiniest tortoise breeds known to mankind, reaching only 5 inches in length. They should only be bought from licensed breeders to preserve the endangered wild population.
For someone who doesn’t have enough room to house bigger tortoises, the Egyptian Tortoise is a good choice.
This little tortoise merely requires a 4 square foot tortoise table, similar to the Pancake (shown below).
This tortoise thrives indoors, where humidity and temperature can be controlled better – they are accustomed to the scorching, dry environment of Egyptian deserts.
They should receive UVB lighting, a UVA basking light, a 75°–85°F tank temperature, and 20%–30% humidity.
They can survive for up to 100 years in captivity if handled properly. They are, however, more costly than other tortoises on this list, which cost at least $1000 because to their restricted availability.
The Greek tortoise is a small, even-tempered, and adaptable creature that makes an excellent house pet. The Greek tortoise is quite simple to look after (which makes them ideal for novices). It is ideal for new tortoise owners and knowledgeable caretakers alike. Its popularity in the reptile trade is undoubtedly aided by this.
The carapace of this species is tall and sharply bent. Scutes of rich tan and dark black decorate the shell. The scutes are arranged in a pattern that resembles Greek mosaics, which is how these tortoises got their common name.
These pet tortoises don’t need a huge enclosure to be happy, since they only grow to be about five to eight inches as an adult. They also have little taste when it comes to design. These tortoises are common in the wild, and they don’t prefer one kind of habitat over another. As a consequence, they thrive in any well-decorated environment.
Tortoises can thrive in captivity as long as you have a natural-looking habitat with edible plants, a tortoise-safe substrate, and hide boxes.
The Greek tortoise has a relatively calm demeanor. They’re nice animals that don’t cause you any issues. Living in small cages is the only time they are exempted. Reptiles aren’t particularly fond of handling!
The Russian Tortoise
For first-time tortoise owners as well as those who have kept many other tortoises, this is a popular option. They’re inexpensive, tiny, and stunning to behold. These are a fantastic option because they are easy to take care of and quickly bond with.
Sadly, the vast majority of Russian tortoises are wild-caught, indicating they were removed from their natural environment. Wild-caught tortoises pose a danger to your health or wellbeing. However, you may locate several local Russian tortoise breeders.
Make sure you’re ready for a lifetime dedication because these tortoises can live up to forty years. They are, nonetheless, totally worth it.
These are small friends, with the male Russian tortoise reaching about five to six inches and the females reaching about nine to ten inches. Because of their tiny size, a Russian tortoise’s husbandry is pretty straightforward. It needs only a solid bin to keep it housed at full size, suitable foods, and a UVB lamp with a basking spot.
A shallow water dish is required for tortoises, who do not swim. They do still need to drink, and for some, a soak every now and again is welcome.
The Russian tortoise’s heating requirements are simple. The temperature should never fall below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and a basking spot of around 95 degrees is ideal. Excessive humidity or moisture should be avoided.
Indian Star Tortoise
The Indian star tortoise, which lives in dry scrub woods in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, is a medium-sized tortoise.
Their carapace has a stunning star-like pattern, therefore they’re named for it. They are one of the most popular species maintained in captivity due to their appearance, which attracts tortoise keepers from all corners of the globe.
Males are smaller than females, and Indian star tortoises grow to be 5 to 10 inches long in captivity. They come from mainland India and are normally under 8 inches in length. Adult star tortoises average 3 to 5 pounds in weight.
With a humid hot season and a dry cold season, these pet tortoises thrive. Indian star tortoises, unlike many other tortoise species, may coexist with numerous males and females without conflict.
The relative inability of this gorgeous tortoise to climb or dig is also a benefit: all they need is an 8-inch tall wall to provide a visual barrier.
A high-fiber, high-calcium diet of grasses, hay, and veggies is required by Indian star tortoises.
The Marginated Tortoise is one of the world’s biggest common pet tortoises, with adults reaching up to 14 inches in length. These guys are from Greece and are aficionados of sand and soil. They choose to dwell in warmer areas, where they have room to run, dig, and swim.
To ensure that they don’t get bored or depressed, they should be provided with an enclosed shelter of at least 16 square feet when kept indoors.
Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo Hermanni)
Both subspecies may be a terrific pet if you don’t mind the size difference. The western variety is recommended for owners seeking a vivid tortoise.
These turtles are excellent diggers and like digging into the earth. The enclosure must be able to keep the animals from escaping, according to the owners.
The risk of your tortoise escaping will be reduced if the outdoor enclosures include a fence or border that extends two feet below ground. Since you can provide a few inches of substrate for burrowing indoors, it is significantly simpler.
Leafy greens, root veggies, grasses, and herbs should be offered to these reptiles, who are almost entirely herbivorous. Fruits should be avoided, but treats such as apples and tomatoes may be offered. Worms containing enhancements can be offered to them on occasion.
A Hermann’s tortoise may be a good choice for a beginner who doesn’t mind having one that can tunnel. These tortoises have a simple eating regimen and may be quite colorful. Just make sure you can erect a barrier to keep them in place!
The beautiful patterns and larger size of leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) make them highly sought-after in the reptile trade. These are definitely the species for you if you’re looking for a bigger (but not too big!) tortoise.
They are a species that grows to be too heavy to handle as adults, and they don’t like being handled too much! They may spend time outside of their arrangement on warmer days throughout the summer if they adore to communicate with their owners.
Leopard tortoises are ideal for individuals who want to avoid hibernation and may be handled all year. Leopard tortoises do not hibernate, so they are suitable for people who want to avoid it.
The flat, sea turtle-like shell of the Pancake Tortoise (most tortoises have rounded shells) is well-known in sub-Saharan Africa.
They avoid predators because their flat shells offer little defense against them. They are a very exciting pet tortoise that speeds past them!
They only grow to 7 inches long and require minimal space, making them a tiny species.
They’ll be content in a 40-gallon tank (or 4-square foot turtle table) with a basking spot, UVB lighting, a 70°F-75°F temperature gradient, and 60%-75% humidity if they have those things.
Since they can climb quite well for a tortoise, their enclosure should have a screen-top or high walls.
Pancake Tortoises have similarly easy-care requirements as other breeds on this list, and they eat leafy greens and grasses.
Due to the strict export regulations and difficulties in reproducing in captivity, they are not as popular as the others on this list.
Central and South America are home to the red-footed tortoise. In the reptile trade, it has become increasingly popular. This kind of tortoise is quite popular among collectors and beginning reptile enthusiasts alike because of its active nature and unique appearance.
The distinctive coloration of the skin of these tortoises gives them their common name. Several brightly colored scales cover the legs. The occasional crimson scales give the skin a speckled look. Tortoises with red on their faces and heads are also common.
The carapace is more subdued. Dark brown, black, or gray scutes are commonly raised. A splash of light tan is usually present in the elevated center.
Tortoises with red feet have a long lifespan. In captivity, most can live up to 50 years if they are treated carefully!
Creating the ideal home is a necessity given how long it can last! Luckily, these pet tortoises aren’t too fussy about décor. Edible plants, burrow-friendly substrate, and Hide Boxes are preferred by these hamsters. These reptiles can live happy lives without a care in the world as long as you provide them with those essentials.
Egyptian tortoise or, less frequently, Leith’s tortoise are two names for the same tortoise. This is a highly endangered species that is difficult to maintain in captivity and in the wild. As a result, finding one of these gorgeous tortoises would most likely cost you a pretty penny.
Only purchase this tortoise from a breeder or dealer who is located within your own nation since it is on the highest endangered species list. Make certain that all shipping paperwork and documents are correct and up to date before purchasing a tortoise from outside the nation; if found guilty, you may face jail time.
The tortoise Kleinmann can reach breeding maturity at five years or three hundred grams, and may live up to seventy to a hundred years. When breeding these tortoises, the most important thing to remember is that they can reach 300 grams when they are fully grown.
One of the world’s tiniest tortoise species is the Egyptian tortoise. Males are barely four inches long and weigh about 105 grams. Females may grow to be as large as five inches and 400 grams.
African Sulcata Tortoises
The third-largest tortoise in the world is the Sulcata tortoise, sometimes known as the African spurred tortoise.
They usually weigh between 70 and 100 pounds. But, it may reach a weight of 200 pounds. There’s a catch here!
For lovers of tortoises who want a giant buddy and are prepared to provide one, these pet tortoises are ideal.
This implies that the Sulcata must either reside in a huge, dedicated area in the home (a tortoise table is insufficient) or reside with someone who lives in a dry, arid environment.
To put it another way, these guys are loads of fun to watch and talk with!
They’re quite active and enjoy wandering, so give them as much room as you can.
Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo Elongata)
Southeastern Asia and portions of India are home to the Elongated tortoise. Their distinct look is exactly what their name denotes. They have a longer shell than a broad shell. Their shells are also more likely to be flattish, ranging in hue from yellow to brown.
Since there is limited information regarding the care of elongated tortoises, they aren’t particularly popular with novices.
Apart from their diet, many experienced keepers find these reptiles to be easy to care for. Omnivorous tortoises are found in elongated forms. Vegetables and animals are both eaten by them, according to this. Vegetables and fruits like melons and apples make up the majority of their diet.
They also need to eat a high-protein meal at least twice every week. Crickets, thawed mice, or snails should be offered to them.
Keepers who are serious about understanding how to properly care for elongated tortoises are likely to succeed. With a 50-year lifespan, they can be a big commitment.
Burmese Mountain Tortoise
Best left for expert herpetology enthusiasts, here’s a huge pet tortoise species. The Burmese mountain tortoise is a behemoth, reaching lengths of up to two feet. In captivity, they may grow to be over 100 pounds.
These tortoises can be found in Burma, Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra in the wild. The protection of wild specimens is assured. Nonetheless, many countries have a ready supply of captive-bred tortoises.
Burmese mountain tortoises are generally quite easy to look after. They’ll eat whatever they can get and are easygoing. The fact that they are so big, on the other hand, poses a unique challenge!
Burmese mountain tortoises may be kept inside if you have the space. They’ll need a whole room, though. As a consequence, most dogs will be provided with secure outdoor areas.
The ability to remain in groups or pairs is one nice feature about this species. You may house several tortoises in a big outdoor enclosure without running into any problems.