Can you keep a Hermann tortoise inside?

Answered by Tom Adger

It is possible to keep a Hermann’s tortoise indoors. However, there are certain factors that need to be considered to ensure their well-being. One of the most important aspects is providing them with adequate heat and light.

Indoor enclosures for Hermann’s tortoises should have a basking area with a heat source, such as a heat lamp or a ceramic heat emitter. This will allow the tortoise to regulate its body temperature and mimic the natural basking behavior they would exhibit in the wild. The temperature in the basking area should be around 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit (32-35 degrees Celsius). It’s important to use a thermostat to monitor and maintain the correct temperature to avoid overheating the tortoise.

In addition to a basking area, the enclosure should also have a cooler zone where the temperature is around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius). This will provide the tortoise with a range of temperatures to choose from, allowing them to thermoregulate effectively.

Proper lighting is also crucial for indoor Hermann’s tortoise care. They require access to full-spectrum UVB lighting in order to synthesize vitamin D3, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Without sufficient UVB exposure, tortoises can develop metabolic bone disease, which can be debilitating and even fatal. UVB bulbs should be replaced every 6-12 months, as their output diminishes over time.

In terms of the enclosure itself, it should be spacious enough for the tortoise to move around comfortably. A minimum size for an indoor enclosure would be around 4 feet by 2 feet (1.2 meters by 0.6 meters) for a single adult tortoise. It’s important to provide hiding spots and enrichment items, such as rocks, logs, or plants, to create a stimulating environment for the tortoise.

Maintaining proper humidity levels is also important for the health of Hermann’s tortoises. They require a humid environment, but not overly wet conditions. A humidity level of around 50-60% is generally suitable. This can be achieved by misting the enclosure with water or using a humidifier, if necessary.

While keeping a Hermann’s tortoise indoors can be a viable option, it’s important to note that they are naturally outdoor animals. Given the opportunity, they should be provided with outdoor time whenever weather permits. Outdoor enclosures should be secure, predator-proof, and have access to both sunny and shaded areas.

It’s also worth mentioning that the tortoise’s diet needs to be carefully managed, regardless of whether they are kept indoors or outdoors. Hermann’s tortoises require a diet consisting of a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, and occasional fruits. It’s important to provide a calcium supplement, such as calcium powder or cuttlebone, to ensure proper shell and bone health.

Hermann’s tortoises can be kept indoors as long as their environmental needs are met. Adequate heat, lighting, humidity, and a suitable enclosure size are all important factors to consider. While indoor housing can be suitable for Hermann’s tortoises, they should still have access to outdoor time whenever possible to ensure their overall well-being.