Our Hermann's Tortoise care sheet has all the expert guidance you need to ensure you know how to look after your tortoise.
Hermann's Tortoises (Testudo hermanni) originate in the the Mediterranean and are protected in the wild meaning that they must only ever be sold with a Cities Article 10 certificate confirming they are captive bred.
They can live over 80 years and reach an adult size of around 25cm, are extremely active so require plenty of space to explore and have specialist temperature, lighting and dietary requirements that must be understood if your tortoise is to thrive.
Tortoises need space and in most cases a vivarium is simply not enough. The current RSPCA guidelines state that an indoor enclosure measuring 180cm x 120cm plus an outdoor enclosure of around 10m2 is adequate for an adult... in practice that means an outdoor heated shed, custom indoor enclosure plus a secure grazing area for warm days will need to be supplied
In our experience tortoises make the most of all the space they are afforded so although they are relatively slow growing you should always plan ahead and never purchase a baby tortoise without being aware of future requirements.
Baby or Juvenile Tortoises can be kept in either table or vivarium setups - although tables are only really suitable in homes or rooms that maintain a fairly consistent and warm background temperature.
We would recommend purchasing as large an enclosure as possible from the outset such as the Monkfield Tortoise Table which will promote natural behaviour, allow for a good temperature gradient and save you money by extending the useful life of the tortoises home for as long as possible.
Tables vs Vivariums
Tortoise tables allow for good airflow and are often marketed as the budget option as they allow for the use of unregulated (none thermostatted) all in one (MVB) light bulbs as a sole source of heat and UV.
A vivarium will allow for much better regulation of heat and the easier installation of good quality equipment such as T5 lighting and a separate basking bulb controlled by a thermostat.
You can find out more about the benefits and disadvantages of both type of enclosure here.
A temperature gradient including a basking spot sitting at around 32C (30-35C) and background temps in their low to mid 20s will replicate the temperatures your Hermann's tortoise would experience in the wild.
This is relatively easily accomplished by using a basking spot bulb installed in a quality heat proof ceramic fitting and controlled by a dimming thermostat. You will be able to precisely control the temperature using the the thermostat and monitor it with a good quality digital thermometer. If using a vivarium there are a number of fittings which securely screw into the roof of the vivarium, if using an open setup a reflective dome fitting will help ensure that the heat is projected to the basking area
If using a table is is common practice to use an all in one Mercury Vapour Bulb (MVB) installed in a dome to provide heat and UV. It should be noted that these can NOT be used in conjunction with a thermostat so must be carefully monitored and adjusted up and down to maintain the ideal basking temperature for your tortoise.
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