Can you keep a greek tortoise outside?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Keeping Greek tortoises outside in a naturalistic pen is the best way to provide them with a suitable living environment. These tortoises thrive when they have access to fresh air, natural sunlight, and a variety of edible vegetation to graze on. By housing them outdoors, you can create a habitat that closely resembles their natural habitat, allowing them to exhibit natural behaviors and receive the proper environmental stimuli.

One important aspect to consider when keeping Greek tortoises outside is the size of the enclosure. These tortoises require ample space to move around and explore. A spacious pen will allow them to engage in natural behaviors such as foraging, basking, and burrowing. A minimum size for a single tortoise is typically around 8 square feet, but the more space you can provide, the better.

Another crucial factor is the vegetation in the enclosure. Greek tortoises are herbivores and require a diet primarily composed of various plant materials. Planting the pen with a variety of edible vegetation will not only provide them with a nutritious diet but also stimulate their natural foraging instincts. Some suitable plants for Greek tortoises include dandelions, clover, plantain, and various grasses. It is important to ensure that the plants you choose are safe and free from pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

Additionally, providing natural sunlight is vital for the health of Greek tortoises. These tortoises require exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light in order to synthesize vitamin D3, which is essential for calcium absorption. By housing them outdoors, they will have access to natural sunlight, which is the best source of UV light. However, it is crucial to ensure that there are both sunny and shaded areas in the enclosure so that the tortoises can regulate their exposure to the sun and prevent overheating.

In terms of temperature, Greek tortoises are adapted to Mediterranean climates and prefer warm temperatures. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but it is important to provide them with a temperature gradient within the enclosure so they can choose their preferred temperature. This can be achieved by providing both sunny and shaded areas, as well as hiding spots or burrows where they can escape the heat if necessary.

It is important to note that during colder months or in regions with harsh winters, it may be necessary to provide a heated shelter or bring the tortoises indoors to protect them from extreme cold temperatures. Greek tortoises are not able to handle freezing temperatures and can suffer from health issues if exposed to prolonged cold.

Housing Greek tortoises outdoors in a naturalistic pen is the best way to provide them with a suitable living environment. By creating a spacious enclosure with plenty of edible vegetation and access to natural sunlight, you can replicate their natural habitat and allow them to exhibit natural behaviors. However, it is important to consider the specific needs of the tortoises, such as temperature regulation and protection from extreme weather conditions.