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The Tortoise Main Page

To view the articles on tortoise care, please visit the main page.  From there you can access links to articles on diet, nutrition, health and housing.

Safe Plants for Terrariums, Vivariums and Paludariums

Please access the above link to view an extensive list of plants that are safe to use in your naturalistic environments.  You will also find resources for identifying safe plants for environments and food items.


Northern Michigan Reptile and Amphibian Rescue

I strive to educate the public on the level of commitment that reptiles and amphibians require, to keep unwanted pets from being released into our environment, and to provide knowledgeable, responsible homes for unwanted pets. Please visit to learn more.


About the Author

But, the Pet Store said that my tortoise will receive all the water it needs from it's food...

The most disastrous statement I have ever heard in connection with ANY species of tortoise, Sulcatas and other arid species included, is that they do not need water. Pet stores repeatedly tell new owners that the tortoises receive all the water they need from the food that they eat.

This is a death sentence, and cruel to the extreme. All life needs water, no exceptions.

Hatchling tortoises are especially susceptible to death from dehydration. Severe dehydration leads to kidney failure, Metabolic Bone Disease, and eventually death. This condition is often known as Hatchling Failure Syndrome or Failure to Thrive. The tortoise eventually becomes so weak that it cannot move, the eyes film over, and the shell resorbs into the body. It is sad and horrifying to witness.

You will be able to find information on this site on how to properly house your tortoise to prevent dehydration, but in the meantime, please make sure that your tortoise has access to a clean, fresh water source at all times. The dish should be large enough for the tortoise to be able to enter it completely, with the water depth shallow enough for the tortoise to only be submerged to the bridge between it's upper and lower shell (carapace and plastron.) The dish should be easy to get into and out of.

I know that all of this information can be very difficult for a new or prospective tortoise owner to take in all at once. Getting a tortoise is a lifetime and very detailed commitment. If at any time I can be of any help, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me at and I will do my best to assist you. The only stupid question is the one that you don't ask, and in the end, compromises the life and health of your tortoise.

Kristina Duda © November 18th, 2010