From the outset, I’m more of a dog person really. We’ve had three Labrador/Retriever dogs which, although they take more looking after, return affection and bring lots of joy to a house. But, with my daughter being on holiday I’ve been a part time tortoise guardian for the past few weeks and I think he is an ideal pet for someone who wants to start small and slow.

Sheldon Shuffles was rehomed to my daughter after his teenage first owner grew bored with his routines and my daughter has had him now for a couple of years.

Sheldon likes mixed leaves with the occasional sliver of apple or tomato or cucumber with a little calcate powder sprinkled on top to keep his shell strong and it is important to give him access to shallow water and a heat mat and bulb on a timer. His bedding this time around is newspaper because it is very easy to change quickly after the inevitable puddles and poops but he has also enjoyed clean sand as he could burrow away to his heart’s content.  He also burrows under newspaper sheets or goes under his half log for shelter.

What surprises me is Sheldon’s enjoyment for interaction. He likes to get out and explore by crawling around examining crevasses and corners. He climbs up on his hind legs in his active moments although sometimes he basks the day away instead. He likes a warm bath with warm water gently dripped on his back and he also likes to sit on a lap for a while and look at life from a different angle.

I’ll be glad to hand him back as he is not mine but if you’re thinking of getting a pet for a household that doesn’t need hours of walking and your child won’t need to go through the trauma of them dying after a couple of years consider the  tortoise.

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