Marginated tortoises (Testudo marginata) are charming and personable reptiles that make wonderful pets for tortoise enthusiasts. These tortoises have specific care needs to ensure their well-being and longevity. Here's a care sheet to guide you in providing the best care for your Marginated Tortoise:
Enclosure: Marginated tortoises need plenty of space to roam. A tortoise PVC enclosure or outdoor enclosure is recommended. Indoor enclosures should be at least 8' x 4', and outdoor enclosures should be larger, weatherproof, and secure.
Substrate: Use a substrate mix of topsoil, sand, and coconut coir for digging and burrowing.
Hides: Provide hiding spots such as half logs or hide boxes to give your tortoise a sense of security.
Outdoor Exposure: Whenever possible, provide supervised outdoor time in a safe, sunny area. Ensure there's access to shade to prevent overheating.
Temperature and Lighting:
Temperature: Maintain a temperature gradient in the enclosure. The basking area should be around 90-95°F (32-35°C), while the cool side should be around 75-80°F (24-27°C).
Basking Lamp: Provide a basking lamp to create a warm spot for your tortoise to thermoregulate.
UVB Lighting: Use a high-quality UVB lamp to provide essential ultraviolet rays for proper calcium metabolism. Make sure the tortoise has access to UVB for 10-12 hours a day.
Feeding: Marginated tortoises are herbivores. Offer a variety of leafy greens such as dandelion greens, collard greens, and kale. Also, provide hay and appropriate vegetables.
Calcium: Dust the food with a calcium supplement to ensure proper shell and bone health.
Humidity and Hydration:
Humidity: Maintain a humidity level of around 50-70%. Soak your tortoise in warm water regularly to help with hydration and shedding.
Water: Provide a shallow water dish for soaking and drinking.
Health and Observation:
Health Checks: Regularly examine your tortoise for any signs of health issues, such as changes in appetite, weight loss, shell abnormalities, or unusual behavior.
Veterinary Care: Schedule regular visits to a veterinarian experienced with reptiles for health check-ups.
For an adult Marginated Tortoise, an outdoor enclosure is the best option due to their need for space and exposure to natural sunlight. For indoor setups, consider a large PVC enclosure that provides ample space for roaming and basking.
If you're considering an indoor enclosure, the appropriate size BlackBox enclosure would depend on the available space and the size of your tortoise. For an indoor enclosure, to start you might want to consider the BlackBox XT4 BIO48 4x2x2' to provide enough room for your tortoise to move around comfortably until they start growing. When they get to adult size, the BlackBox XT8 would be a suitable indoor enclosure size. Please contact us for 8x4 tortoise enclosures.
Remember that Marginated Tortoises are long-lived creatures that require a significant commitment. Educate yourself thoroughly on their care requirements and consult experienced tortoise keepers or veterinarians for guidance. With proper care, your Marginated Tortoise can lead a healthy and fulfilling life in captivity.