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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I keep my tortoise outside overnight?
This very much depends on where you live in the world and what species of tortoise you own. A Hermann's tortoise (Testudo Hermanni)or Turkish Spur-Thigh (Testudo Ibera) are the tortoises that are often referred to as, common or garden tortoises. They can both be kept outside overnight, with only a basic shelter to keep them dry, whenever the night-time temperature is above 15 degrees celsius (This is 10 degrees lower than a good daytime basking temperature). You can keep them outside for much more of the year, in the UK, if you provide them with an outdoor heatlamp under a larger waterproof shelter.
2. What is the best type of indoor enclosure?
An indoor enclosure for tortoises, needs to provide the conditions the tortoise would be in, where it is found in the wild. The major challenges are of course space, ventilation and sunlight. Space is often a problem with captive tortoises but there are recognised minimum space requirements detailed in our caresheets as they are species specific. Sunlight is especially important for reptiles as it provides the Infra-red heat to maintain their body temperature requirements and the UV light necessary to ensure ingestion of calcium. So a basking heatlamp and UV light provision are both essential elements to an effective indoor enclosure. Good ventilation is always important and easily acheived as long as the sides of the enclosure are kept to the minimum height which is the length of your tortoise so they cannot see over the sides and get stressed.
3. Why are heatlamps important?
Mammals generate heat when they break-down food within their bodies but most reptiles cannot rely on this to raise their body temperature. They require external sources of heat to raise their body temperature sufficiently to function properly.