If you’ve decided to add a tortoise to your family, it’s important that you understand the basics of how to take care of them.
Becoming a tortoise parent can be a blessing. However, if you do not research the species it can be a nightmare! Here we will give you some tips to make sure your tortoise is healthy and happy.
If you have finally decided to give in and adopt or purchase, the first step is to research since different species of tortoises require different levels of care.
Research Tortoise Types
There are a lot of different types of tortoise out there and each one has different needs. If you are thinking about getting a tortoise, research the different types and find the species that would be the best fit for you and your family.
Tortoises come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s crucial to know them before you bring them home. For example, the African spurred tortoise is a large species that can weigh up to 100 pounds!
Hermann’s tortoise, on the other hand, is a small species that only weighs about two pounds.
Tortoise can live from 40 to 80 years with the oldest being around 115 years old! So before you make the commitment to take care of a tortoise, be sure that you are prepared for the long haul.
Common pet tortoise average life spans:
|Box Turtle||Between 25 and 35 years but can live more than that|
|Hermann Tortoise||They can live around 30 years but some people reported that they may live up to 100 years|
|Red & Yellow Foot Tortoise||Can live well over 50 years with adequate care|
|Leopard Tortoise||In captivity they can live anywhere from 30 to 75 years|
|Sulcata Tortoise||Around 70 years|
|Russian Tortoise||Up to 50 years plus with proper care|
Tortoise can be either small or large, so you need to research the size of the tortoise that you are getting.
As we stated before, the African spurred tortoise is a large tortoise and can get up to 100 pounds. If you are not prepared to house a large tortoise, make sure that you research the size of the tortoise that you are getting.
Common pet tortoise average sizes:
|Box Turtle||Roughly 5-7 inches with females being a bit smaller than males|
|Hermann Tortoise||Around 5-8 inches with females on average 12% larger than a male|
|Red & Yellow Foot Tortoise||Males can grow an average of 13 inches and females around 12 inches|
|Leopard Tortoise||Adult leopards can grow from 9 to 18 inches depending on where the tortoise is coming from|
|Sulcata Tortoise||Adults can average 18 inches in shell length but can be larger than that|
|Russian Tortoise||Adult can reach about 8 to 10 inches|
The diet also differs from tortoise to tortoise. Some tortoises, like the Greek tortoise, are vegetarian and require a diet of mostly greens.
Other tortoises, like the Rainforest tortoises, do eat meat in their natural environment in form of carrion
Make sure to research the diet of the tortoise that you are getting to make sure that you can provide the appropriate food.
Housing Requirements/ Indoor or Outdoor
Just like with the diet, the housing needs of a tortoise also vary depending on the species. Some tortoises, like the Russian tortoise, can live indoors in a well-lit room with a heated substrate. Other tortoises, like the leopard tortoise, require a warmer environment and should be kept outside in a yard or in a greenhouse.
Make sure to research the housing needs of the tortoise you are getting to make sure that you can provide the appropriate environment.
RELATED READ: Types of Pet Turtles
Is a Pet Tortoise For You?
Besides knowing what type of tortoise you are dealing with before bringing it home, it is also important to know if a tortoise is the right pet for you, and for that, you need to ask yourself some questions:
Do I Have the Space for a Tortoise?
Tortoise needs a lot of room to roam. If you are not prepared to house a large tortoise, then a tortoise might not be the right pet for you.
Do I Have Enough Time to Take Care of a Tortoise?
Tortoises need to be handled and checked on often. If you don’t have enough time to properly care for a tortoise. They might also outlive you and that would be a huge responsibility to leave to someone else.
Can I Afford to Take Care of a Tortoise?
Besides the initial price of buying the tortoise, there are also some necessary items to keep the tortoise healthy, this can include:
- Medical Care
All of these things can add up, so if you are not prepared to financially take care of a tortoise, maybe a tortoise is not the right pet for you.
Do I Have the Knowledge to Take Care of a Tortoise?
Luckily there are websites like ours that will happily share all the information you need to keep a tortoise happy and healthy, but if the time to do the research is limited you really need to consider if bringing a tortoise home it’s a good idea in the first place.
RELATED READ: How To Take Care Of A Baby Box Turtle
Check Out your Breeder!
Most of the time buying from a pet store can be a heartbreaking experience! The animals are often cramped, unhealthy, and sometimes dying.
If you’re looking to get a tortoise, be sure to inspect your breeder and buy from a reputable source.
There are many people who breed tortoises responsibly and with the animal’s best interest in mind, so be sure to ask around and do your research before making a purchase.
If you buy from a pet shop, be sure you know what your pet’s specific needs are. Pet shops are notorious for providing incorrect information as well as selling unneeded, overpriced, and even poisonous items.
When purchasing a tortoise, be sure to look for the following signs of illness:
- Runny noses or eyes
- Overcrowded pens
- Black spots on shell or head
- Red or cloudy eyes
- White patches on plastron or edges of carapace where the top and bottom meet
You can always ask around for breeder if it’s either online or in person. You should be able to find some kinds of ratings about each kind of breeder by asking on Facebook groups.
This is a huge commitment so take your time and ask the right questions.
Questions to ask about the breeder:
- How did you acquire your tortoise?
- What were the difficulties you encountered?
- Was the breeder accessible for additional inquiries?
- Would you do business with this breeder again?
Things to ask the breeder:
- Ask about prices
- How is the appetite?
- How is the activity level?
- Care advise comparing with what you already know
- Is it possible for you to provide follow-up care?
- Is there a veterinarian you suggest?
- Was there any post-hatching difficulties for this tortoise?
RELATED READ: How Much Does a Russian Tortoise Cost?
Housing for Tortoise
There are two ways of housing your tortoise and that’s either indoors or outdoors.
We’ve never been able to achieve success with an open-topped enclosure. Tortoise tables and sweater boxes are the worst low-sided open-topped enclosures we’ve seen.
No amount of coverage, or attempts to slow heat and humidity loss can help. There’s no way to keep the warm humid air within a certain radius.
Closed enclosures are the only way to go.
In a closed enclosure, maintaining whatever temperature and humidity you choose is simple and efficient. Because all of your heat and humidity is trapped without a way to escape, they require less power.
It also makes keeping your enclosure at a constant temperature simple. All of the warm humid air inside your enclosure escapes up and out through the open tops. Even if you hide most of the top, the heat lamps create a chimney effect and draw heat and humidity upward, away from your tortoises.
The majority of the electricity-generated heat you produce floats up and away if the heat lamps are positioned outside or on top of the enclosure. A closed container retains all of the heat and humidity.
It’s best if the tortoise and all of its heating and lighting equipment are within the enclosure.
In a normal-sized space that is 70 degrees and 20% humidity, maintaining a tiny open-topped box at 80 degrees with 80% humidity is difficult, if not impossible.
Indoor Housing Types:
|Glass Aquariums||This is not really good since they are designed to hold water and the only way to access the inside of the aquarium.|
|Glass Terrariums||These can work if you manage to hold the temperatures and humidity at the right levels, the difference from aquariums is that you can access the enclosure from the side which works great for tortoises.|
|Tortoise Tables||A popular enclosure but a hard one to manage when it comes to temperatures and humidity. If you are keen on having a tortoise table the room where the table is located needs to have the appropriate temperature and humidity.|
|Wooden Tortoise House||This is a popular indoor housing for tortoises, it has a lot of ventilation and is made out of hardwood. It also comes with a front door and a roof that opens.|
|Rubbermaid Tubs||These work if you can manage the temperatures and humidity levels, a lot of people use these for hibernation.|
|Totes||A lot of people are using this as indoor housing, it’s a big tote that comes with a carrying handle and is waterproof. It also comes with a lid.|
This is mostly a must since tortoises are solar-powered, require a lot of walking space, and benefit enormously from some time outside.
When it comes to hatchlings, it’s a good idea to make excursions of only an hour each day, with a bath on the way in.
As they grow larger, you can leave them out longer and longer each day, weather permitting until they are fully outside permanently with a heated night box of some sort, when the climate conditions allow it.
There are several hazards when it comes to outside time. They can overheat, be eaten, or be mauled by other animals. Here’s one simple option. A huge middle pool or horse watering trough might also perform the trick.
If you don’t have a grassy surface, you may attach a plywood bottom with wheels and legs to it and move it about. Don’t let your baby out of your sight. You will eventually lose track of it, and you’ll be unable to explain how it happened so quickly when you were watching so carefully. It’s a disturbing sensation.
Please do not put yourself through this ordeal. Make the enclosure larger by adding more fencing.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have a dog or visitors bring one, your tortoise is in serious danger.
Every dog will chew on a tortoise at some point, it does not matter how nice and loving a dog may be.
Dogs see tortoises as chew toys. Don’t let your tortoise become part of the chewing toy collection for other dogs.
Avoid it by fencing or correcting the habitat and don’t leave things to chance, it is an awful and sickening feeling to hold a mauled tortoise in your hands.
Outdoor Housing Types:
|Cold Frames||These can work great if the material used for the frame is non-toxic when exposed to sun temperatures.|
|Greenhouses||Also a great idea to make a tortoise enclosure out of.|
|Garden Bed with PVC Pipe Frame and Wire Mesh||This is a great way to make an outdoor tortoise enclosure and can be used with different types of materials.|
|Chicken Coop||A lot of people are using this as an outdoor tortoise enclosure, it provides a lot of space and is easy to clean.|
|Dog House||If you are using this as an outdoor tortoise enclosure make sure that it is predator proof.|
|Raised Garden||This can be a great way to make an outdoor tortoise enclosure, it is easy to access and comes with a lot of space depending on the garden used.|
RELATED READ: Can Tortoises Live Outside All Year Round?
Tortoise Enclosure Size
Simply said, the bigger the better.
Begin with a 4″ x 8″ closed container for a baby tortoise.
A tiny hatchling’s minimum enclosure size should be at least 48″ x 18″ in size. They require room to walk about.
After you’ve put in the food and water bowls, the humid hide, and any other decorations or potted plants, there’s little room left to walk around.
When tortoises are confined into little spaces, they do not enjoy it. Even 4″ x 8″ is only going to last a year or two for a sulcata. For a leopard, you could get three years out of it, or maybe less for a slower-growing sulcata.
Every enclosure and house is unique, and some customization will almost always be required to get things “just right”.
RELATED READ: The Best Tortoise Enclosure
Adding Substrates to the Enclosure
Substrate for tortoise plays an important role in the happiness of your tortoise. It is important to use a substrate that is safe, non-toxic, and absorbent.
At a large discount, all of these may be purchased in bulk at most hardware or garden supply stores.
Some safe substrate choices include:
|Play Sand||This is a great choice for an outdoor tortoise enclosure, it is non-toxic and helps to keep the enclosure clean.|
|Potting Soil||This is a good choice that can be mixed with different types of substrates like play sand.|
|Organic Topsoil||Same as the potting soil substrate.|
|Orchid Bark||It’s cheap, easy, holds moisture well, doesn’t stink, easy to clean, easy for baby tortoises to walk on and it’s not an ingestion hazard.|
|Newspaper||This can be good as a temporary substrate for the tortoise.|
|Coco coir||This is a good choice for an outdoor tortoise enclosure, it is non-toxic but sometimes can be messy.|
|Sphagnum Peat Moss||This is a good choice for an outdoor tortoise enclosure, it is non-toxic and helps to keep the enclosure clean.|
Some dangerous substrate choices include:
|Most Mulches Like Chips and Shavings||These are toxic especially when heated and not appropriate for burrowing species of tortoises.|
|Sand||This can be a dangerous choice because it can cause impaction in the tortoise’s gut if ingested.|
|Alfalfa Pellets||Pellets can be a dangerous choice because they are often made with toxic ingredients like phenol red and formaldehyde|
|Walnut Shells||Walnut shells can be dangerous for your tortoise|
|Cedar Bedding||They are toxic for the tortoise|
When adding a substrate to your tortoise’s enclosure, make sure to keep the area clean and dry. Be sure to replace the substrate as needed to ensure your tortoise’s health and well-being.
RELATED READ: The Best Tortoise Substrate
Lighting for Tortoises
Different species require varying lighting, temperatures, and humidity levels. These guys are poikilotherms with a significant reliance on their circadian cycle.
Poikilotherms are animals that can regulate their body temperature only through behavioral techniques such as basking or digging.
They need a 14-hour daily cycle of bright light. Poikilotherms rely on their circadian rhythm for survival; they must have a temperature drop at night to survive. To provide this, you’ll need to do the following:
A 45-65 watt incandescent flood bulb on a 12-hour timer may be used to create a basking area of approximately 95-100 inches directly below the bulb. In some cases, lower wattage bulbs are acceptable.
The ideal temperature depends on a number of things, and no one can tell you what wattage is required in your enclosure. Let your thermometer be your guide. To maintain your ambient temperature in the enclosure, use a ceramic heating element or a radiant heat panel set to 80 degrees using a reptile thermostat.
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Heat management is essential for success, and the right basking lamp can make all the difference. The ambient temperature should be in the high 80s or low 90s a day.
The thermostat will turn off your CHE or RHP when it is not needed, but it will turn back on after the basking lamp turns off and the room starts to cool down at night.
RELATED READ: The Best Heat Lamp for Tortoises
For viewing lights, you can use LED bulbs when you want to brighten up the whole enclosure and I run these on the same timer as the basking bulb. There are other ways to do some of this, but trial and error have shown time and time again, that the above is what works the best.
Don’t use “spot” bulbs, reptile specialty bulbs, halogen bulbs, any CFL, or mercury vapor bulbs.
You want a plain old, regular incandescent flood bulb from the hardware store.
We recommend that you buy them in six or twelve packs, so you’ll always have extras on hand. They always go out at the most inopportune times.
Vitamin D2 to D3 transformation requires regular exposure to the appropriate amount of UV radiation in order for dietary calcium to be utilized.
Sunlight is best, but keep in mind that shade should always be available since baby tortoises can overheat and die unexpectedly quickly.
If your tortoise receives sufficient regular sun exposure in a secure outside enclosure, even just a few times per week during the year, it doesn’t require any fake UV.
It’s fine if you have to skip two or three weeks of sunning time while it’s cold. If you reside in a region with lengthy winter freezes, artificial UV may be required for that period of time.
According to my UV meter, florescent HO (High Output) UV tubes perform very well. CFL-type UV bulbs are ineffective as UV sources and have been known to burn lizard eyes.
Also, get yourself a Solarmeter 6.5 UV meter. You’re guessing about the UV levels in your enclosure just as much as you would guess the temperature without a thermometer.
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At least with a thermometer, you can still feel the temperature with your hand. UV levels aren’t perceptible. Because these meters pay for themselves quickly because you won’t have to replace perfectly good functioning bulbs every six months, as sellers recommend, they are well worth their money.
Also, be cautious with baby tortoises since too much exposure to the sun is harmful. It significantly slows their development, resulting in pyramiding. The general rule is that an hour of sunshine per inch of tortoise should be provided outside.
You want to make sure that you have the appropriate amount of UVB for the species:
- 10% for desert species
- 5% for tropical or forest species
You could also use a timer to turn on or off the lights and heat lamp which will help greatly with managing the circadian rhythm.
RELATED READ: The Best UVB Bulbs for Tortoise
Humidity and Temperatures
Different species have varying needs for humidity.
It’s not ideal to have too much of a good thing: If your humidity is high and your temperatures are low, your tortoise might get respiratory infections.
There’s no room for thermoregulation if the entire enclosure is the same temperature; this can lead to disease:
- Loss of appetite
- Respiratory Infections
Humid Hide Boxes
Every species need a secure and safe haven. Hides of various types are readily available, or they may be constructed from scratch.
It’s as easy as going to Walmart and picking up a $2 black dishwashing tub, flipping it upside down, and cutting out a little door hole.
The humid hide is an essential aspect that must not be overlooked. Half logs and flower pots on their sides do not function. They are insufficiently enclosed.
RELATED READ: The Best Reptile Humidifier
Hydration and Soaking
There is no such thing as “it’s too early” to provide water and they don’t get all of their hydration from soaking.
Dehydration causes many ailments including stones.
We recommend all hatchlings of all species be soaked in 85-95 degree water for at least 20-30 minutes every day. You could use a tall-sided opaque tub and keep the water depth about a third to halfway up the body.
If you have a humid enclosure with a humid hide and a water bowl, it is totally fine to skip a day here and there.
Soaking only once a week and using a dry enclosure is not enough in my opinion, and I would not buy a hatchling that had been started that way.
Once the tortoise gets to about 100 grams, you can start skipping a day or two and gradually taper it down as they gain size.
How often you can soak older tortoises depends on a lot of factors, the current weather and season being two big ones.
Generally, you should soak more often when it’s hot and dry.
If you live in a warm, humid, rainy climate, and your tortoise is exposed to these conditions, soaking less often is probably fine, but it still won’t hurt anything to do it.
You cannot soak too much or for too long. Soaking does not do any harm whatsoever. It doesn’t make them poop too much and not digest their food, it doesn’t upset their “water balance”, whatever that is, it doesn’t give them shell rot or respiratory infections, and it is not unnatural in any way.
Do They Soak in Nature Every Day?
These babies’ tortoises hatch at the start of the rainy season in the wild. It’s raining on them frequently, and puddles from all over the place.
Keep the soak water warm for the entire soak. If you are in a hurry, 10 minutes is enough. If you are forgetful or get distracted, an hour will do no harm.
Make sure that your “daily soaking” is in an appropriate, monitored container/bowl.
RELATED READ: Can Box Turtles Swim?
A water dish made from plain old terra cotta plant saucers is ideal. They come in a variety of sizes to suit any tortoise, they have great traction for small wet tortoise feet, they have low sides which keeps your tortoise from drowning if it falls over and lands upside down in the water bowl, and they are shallow enough that your tortoise won’t drown if it flips over and falls into the water bowl.
Put the bowl in the substrate as soon as possible. You should give your tortoises two water bowls because it’s easier to keep track of them.
Do not use pet store-bought ramped cups, because they are unsuitable for tortoises. Snakes and lizards will benefit from these, but they can be deadly traps for tortoises.
Clean your dish as frequently as required. The more they track food and substrate into it, the better. This implies that they are comfortable using their bowl and that is fantastic news. Rinse and refill it as many times a day as you need to to keep it clean.
A clean, untouched water dish all day is a sign that it isn’t being used for some reason or another. This is a bad signal, suggesting that your tortoise is getting closer to dehydration.
Make sure that the water dishes are not directly under your heat lamp.
RELATED READ: Best Tortoise Water Dishes
There is so much conflicting information on the subject, but in reality, it’s really easy. What animals eat in the wild is what you should feed them, such as grass, weeds, leaves, flowers, and succulents.
Feed them a wide range of foods and you’ll have a healthy tortoise. All of these species are extremely adaptable to diets and there is a lot of wiggle room, so there are several options for doing it wrong.
What if you don’t have this kind of “natural” turtle food available for a portion of the year because you’re in the snow?
You’ll have to buy food from the supermarket. What’s the big deal about store-bought meals? It lacks fiber, has low calcium or phosphorus ratios, and contains harmful compounds.
All of these problems can be addressed with a few easy improvements. Once a week, add a pinch of calcium to the mix. You may also keep a cuttlebone in the enclosure so that your tortoise can regulate its own calcium intake on its own.
If you must use grocery-store produce, make endive and escarole your primary vegetables. Arugula, cilantro, kale, collard, mustard, and turnip greens should all be added in. Squash leaves, spring mix, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, watercress are some of the other greens that work well
If you add in some of the suggestions listed above, these grocery store foods will provide a range of plants and fibers and be enough to satisfy your tortoise’s nutritional requirements.
- Feeding the right food is as important as lighting.
- Too much or too little is a bad thing for tortoises.
- Provide a balanced diet.
- Do not over supplement the tortoise.
- Make sure you have a cuttlebone on hand.
- The word “treats,” which is a term used by people, is not applicable for tortoises.
- It should not be allowed for herbivores to consume animal matter.
RELATED READ: The Best Foods for Tortoise
I strongly advise that you keep cuttlebone on hand at all times. Some never use it, while others eat it frequently. My tortoises go months without eating it and then devour the whole thing in a few days or weeks.
Sulcatas and leopards tend to grow rapidly, necessitating substantial calcium assimilation over time. An excellent diet is critical, but adding extra calcium on a regular basis is still advised.
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There has been much speculation regarding whether or not D3 is necessary for their calcium supplement. Personally, I don’t think it makes a difference. Every tortoise should get enough UV exposure one way or another, so they should be able to produce their own D3.
It’s also a good idea to supplement your tortoises with a mineral diet. It seems to aid tortoises that want to eat pebbles and stones in swallowing them. A mineral insufficiency or imbalance has been linked to the consumption of rocks or substrates by certain tortoises.
Finally, you can supplement a tortoise’s diet with a reptile vitamin once a week to make up for any nutritional gaps that may develop over the course of a year.
Cohabitation In The Same Enclosure
This is a very touchy subject for many people! They do not need friends since tortoises are solitary creatures.
Adding a second tortoise to an existing habitat will do more harm than good and should not be done.
Many experts agree that the only time it is okay to add another tortoise to an enclosure is when you have a baby tortoise that needs a companion.
Most tortoises are competitive and territorial and can become aggressive which makes mixing species especially fatal for them.
Different species of tortoises can carry different types of bacteria.
Besides all the reasons not to mix tortoises is that the different types of pet tortoises have different environmental requirements, which can make it hard to satisfy the needs of the tortoises.
RELATED READ: Do Turtles Fight and Why?
Before considering brumation, it’s important that you are absolutely sure it’s in good health. Have it checked by a vet and be sure to check for parasites. If there are parasites, or the animal is too light then don’t attempt brumation.
Tortoises need to have stored enough body fat in order to survive hibernation; this keeps their bodies hydrated and energy.
Fat and water tortoises die of starvation or dehydration if they are unable to store fat and water. Tortoises require substantial reserves of body fat during hibernation; when they are sleeping, these stores sustain them, and if the reserves run out too soon, the creature’s body will begin to use up the fat stored within the muscles and internal organs, resulting in death. The tortoise will simply perish if this happens.
When you acquire a tortoise, it is strongly advised that you have your pet examined.
Most tortoises are caught in the wild, and while yours may appear to be in good health, the stress of being captured and transferred to strange surroundings might expose a hidden problem.
Even with long-term wild-caught and captive-bred specimens, this is true. Make sure the Veterinarian measures and weighs your tortoise. Also, ask for a fecal exam to find any parasites that may be hiding in your turtle.
There are a variety of reasons given for pyramiding. We can demolish each one with the evidence.
Lack of UV, lack of calcium, an overabundance of protein, food toxicity, nutritional imbalances (i.e., the wrong foods), rapid growth, incorrect temperatures, cramped confinement, lack of activity, and indoor housing are just a few examples. They aren’t the cause.
They may all be connected to it in some way, but they are not the source of the problem. Simply said: Pyramiding is caused by an increase in dryness conditions. This applies to all species of tortoise, including those that do not usually pyramid.
To avoid pyramiding, use a closed enclosure and maintain an ambient temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher at all times, keep humidity levels at 80 percent or above, bathe your gecko daily to guarantee adequate hydration, and spray the carapace with plain water several times a day.
Handling can be very distressing and, in extreme cases, even fatal. Hatchlings should not be handled frequently unless it is absolutely necessary during the first year or two.
The following are situations in which the handling of an issue is necessary:
- Health checks
- Before you bring a new tortoise home, make sure everything is in order. Babies are simple to care for if the setup is correct, and they aren’t delicate or difficult to handle. It’s when babies have not started correctly that people encounter difficulties. Because newborns have a lot less margin of error than adults due to their smaller body mass, you may suffer from mistakes or facilities and equipment that aren’t already set up and at the proper temperature.
- Most of what you’ll need to put a tortoise together at a pet shop is simply not available. What you will find, on the other hand, is costly products that are harmful to your tortoise and a lot of bad advice. This holds true even for specialists in reptiles. Where do you get tortoise supplies from? Hardware stores or department shops are the only options. There are some exceptions; for example, reptile thermostats, UV tubes, and heating elements. These items come from online vendors to my knowledge.
- If you go to the supermarket to get tortoise food, you are giving your tortoises the wrong thing. If you can’t avoid using grocery store food because of your region’s climate and weather for part of the year, it’ll need to be changed. More explained in the article.
- Too many tortoises are started dry, which causes stunting, pyramiding, and sometimes death weeks or months later. Get a baby tortoise from someone who starts them dry on a dry substrate outside all day and doesn’t soak them daily.
- Avoiding some common blunders, with more information in the post. Purchasing from an incorrect vendor, getting pet store advise and goods, free-roaming indoors or out, feeding a diet of mostly grocery store foods without additions, failing to soak daily, chilly temperatures, incorrect UV bulbs, wrong basking bulbs, allowing dogs to get near your tortoise are just a few of them.