What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Pet Tortoise?

Photo of author

By Marilyn Royce

Are you considering getting a pet tortoise? Before you dive into this unique experience, it’s essential to understand the diverse needs of different tortoise species. Housing, climate, and diet requirements vary significantly between these seemingly similar tortoises for sale.

Whether you plan to keep your tortoise indoors or outdoors, creating the perfect habitat is crucial for their well-being and longevity. This blog will explore all the vital aspects you need to know before buying a pet tortoise.

Know Their Variable Species

While tortoises may look similar, they are completely different in housing and habitat requirements from each other. Before buying a tortoise, it is better to wrap your head around its living space requirements and climate properties. Besides, try to ensure you have every bit of knowledge about their appropriate diet. 

Even a small change in habitat can drastically affect your pet tortoise. For instance, the forest Red-foot tortoise is smaller when compared to the rainforest inhabiting the Red-foot tortoise. Despite its smaller size, the forest-inhabiting species require higher relative humidity for survival.

The best way to assess your tortoise’s habitat requirement is through professionals. The reptile pet stores have experienced staff well-versed in caring for different tortoise species. While buying a pet tortoise, it is important that you ask the experts what techniques will work best for you. 

Habitat Requirements of A Tortoise 

Tortoises need special treatment in terms of temperature and humidity. Besides, their housing requirements must be strictly met to ensure a healthy lifespan. The following guidelines will help you create a perfect artificial habitat for your pet tortoise:

  • If the conditions allow you, it is better to house your pet tortoise outdoors. If you have opted for an outdoor enclosure, ensure the walls are 1.5 times taller than the tortoise. 
  • Dogs often attack tortoises and chew on them. Therefore, use rugged material to prevent predator attacks and minimize chances of escape.
  • For indoor housing, scale your enclosure size by comparing it with your tortoise. Aquaria and plastic tubs work fine for young tortoises. On the contrary, adult tortoises need a special tortoise stable. 
  • Tortoises must regulate their body temperature. For that reason, you need to find a way to control the enclosure temperature. The best way is by using a UV bulb and keeping the temperature between 82°F to 88°F. 
  • The humidity keeps varying with the species. You should fill some parts of the enclosure with high levels of humidity at all times.

3 Things To Look Out For

It is always suggested to buy your tortoises from a reputable breeder. However, if you can’t find one, you must keep a keen eye on the general health and condition of the tortoise. Several factors collectively indicate if a tortoise is healthy or not. The following three are primary factors that must be carefully inspected before buying a tortoise:

  • The shell of an adult tortoise must be hard and have minimal pyramiding. Tortoises younger than a month may have a softer shell. Tortoises with cracks in the shells must never be bought.
  • The second important thing to inspect is the head. The eyes must not have any discharge and should be bright. The animal should open and close the beak with comfort. Lastly, check for bubbling around the nose that indicates respiratory infection. 
  • You should pay attention to the tortoise’s movement when they walk. A healthy tortoise must always lift the shell and walk with it instead of dragging it. 

The Cost of A Tortoise

The cost of a tortoise depends on the species and the animal’s age. Younger tortoises are relatively cheaper and can be bought from $100 to $300. As the tortoise keeps aging, its price keeps getting higher. Additionally, rarer species are even more costly. For instance, an Egyptian Tortoise has a cost ranging from $800 to $5000. 


Owning a tortoise can be a gratifying journey, but it requires dedication and attention to their specific needs. Each tortoise species demands tailored care in terms of habitat, temperature, humidity, and diet. It is crucial to consult professionals or experienced breeders to ensure you provide the best environment for your pet. 

Remember to inspect a tortoise’s shell, head, and movement before purchasing, as these factors indicate its overall health. While the cost of a tortoise varies based on species and age, investing in a healthy and well-cared-for tortoise is invaluable for what it can bring to your life. So, if you’re scrolling through the tortoises for sale, make sure to prioritize their well-being and happiness above all else.