This is one of the most crucial parts of taking care of your pet.
Successful housing and hibernation will ensure a happy heathy tortoise.
With the proper care you can spend more time enjoying your active and friendly pet and much less time running into problems.
Horsefield Tortoise Setup & Enclosure
The bigger the area the better. An adult needs a minimum of 1 square meter (10.7 square feet) of housing.
Separate enclosures may be required for each sex.
Hiding spot: A hiding spot can be made out of anything like a container turned upside down with cut out entrance or a small dog house. It needs to have visible barriers, meaning you cannot see through the walls. This is important because they need a private area to feel secure, shade, rain, hibernation and egg laying. Also, for the females and subordinate males to get away from aggressive males if there area multiple tortoises in the same pen. The bedding inside needs to be at least 6 inches of sandy soil to burrow during hibernation (if outside) and egg laying with grass and hay on top.
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"Horsefield Care Cheat Sheet"
100% FREE easy care guide, works for any Horsefield Tortoise. Enter your email below to get your free Horsefield care guide.
Water dish: They need a water dish at all times, even though they get a good amount from the food they eat.
Elevation Change: It is a nice option to have a change in elevation to simulate the wild life and temperature differences.
Border: A border height of 40 centimeters (15.7 inches) is good. They can be very good escape artists so good materials are concrete block, wood, or brick. A solid color that they can not see out of helps them from walking along the perimeters and trying to go through.
Basking: You need a spot that is the warmest temperature so that they can bask in the light when they want to and go where its cooler too. Be conscious of where you put the heat lamp because directly under it is where the basking spot will be.
Outdoor: Housing outdoors is recommended. If you live in an area with extreme climate it would be best to house outdoors possible and then bring indoors when there is a lot of rain, wind, or temperatures reach below freezing or hotter than 40.5 Celsius (105 Fahrenheit).
Indoor: This is ideal for new baby hatchlings for the first 1-2 years as you can control their habitat the most.
Horsefield Tortoise Hibernation
In the wild and outdoors they hibernate roughly about October to March. They burrow themselves a bit below the surface.
As a pet 2-3 months of hibernation is adequate.
For indoor hibernation you need to:
1. Slow down the food supply for several weeks before
2. Start hibernating process during the fall season so that the temperature is dropping several weeks before hibernation, so there is no extreme temperature change
3. Put in chin deep water to hydrate and release waist to not have excess waist during hibernation
4. Record each week what his/her weight is durring hibernation, there are health risks if they drop a lot of weight
5. Hibernate in a container filled with peat moss, grass clippings and hay at a temperature between 4-10 Celsius (40-50 Fahrenheit) for 2-3 months
Keep the container out of harms way with predators etc. You need to keep the temperature the same so wine coolers, refrigerators or a cool garage or basement.
Temperature is the same as indicated above yet many people have successfully hibernated their Horsefield with temperatures outside the ideal number, for example as low as -7 Celsius (20 Fahrenheit) at night and 18.3 Celsius (65 Fahrenheit) in the day.
The material can be a dog house or similar construction to make a cave-like space. This hide box needs shelters from the rain, predators, and weather extremes and needs the same bedding material as the indoor.
After a 2-3 month hibernation period and once the temperatures exceeds 13 Celsius (55 Fahrenheit) the tortoise will come out of hibernation.
If you have extreme conditions such as snow, rain, wind it is best to have them hibernate indoors. It is possible for there to be no hibernation year round yet it is the more natural way and allows breeding to occur.
Horsefield Tortoise Bedding
Outdoor: Most surfaces work which include dirt, grass,plants and shrubs. Make sure no shrubs are poisonous there are actually some poisonous ones that they can eat and not be affected by it at all but lets stay on the safe side and remove any poisonous plants and shrubs.
Indoor: Hay such as bermuda timothy, or alfalfa mixed with sand at a 50/50 ratio.