You keep tortoises—and now you find that the eggs
they laid have hatched! What do you do next? This
brief care sheet will answer most of the questions
you may have, although you should carefully check
the rest of our website for detailed information on
your particular species.
The first thing is to place the babies in the right
housing. For desert species, this needs to be dry and
warm. For rainforest, tropical, species the environ-
ment needs to be moist and warm. Most species do
well if provided with a temperature gradient from
about 22°C to 29°C. In general, we prefer not to use
a “fish tank” type vivarium, especially for arid-
habitat species. Babies need exactly the same con-
ditions as adults of the same species. You will need
to provide a BASKING LIGHT (for heat) and a full-
spectrum fluorescent tube with UV-B output to pro-
mote normal behaviour and to permit vitamin D3
“Understanding Reptile Lighting Systems”.
Babies are at great risk from dogs, cats, rats or even
birds, so if you have them outside (which is gener-
ally good, as it provides access to natural sunlight,
the best source of UV-B), you MUST protect them
adequately. Use totally secure pens with a strong
wire-mesh top. Do not use glass as this blocks UV-
B and can also lead to fatal overheating.
Provide plenty of hiding places in the pen. We also
recommend using a mixture of soft earth and sand
as a surface layer. Change this regularly for hy-
giene's sake. Also provide a SHALLOW dish of
water that tortoises can easily get in and out of.
Drinking is important for good health. Feeding is a
major problem area, and the exact details of diet re-
quired will vary according to the species. Ask us if
you are not sure. One thing ALL baby tortoises
need is adequate CALCIUM and a source of vitamin
D3, provided as a supplement on the food, or from
sunlight or special lighting.
• Consult the relevant
species information on
this website for