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Leanne1986's avatar

How long can a year old tortoise be left alone?

Asked by Leanne1986 (24171 points ) June 21st, 2011

I have a year old Horsfield tortoise who is kept indoors. I am going to stay with my Grandmother for a few days (leaving tonight and coming back on Friday morning – 2.5 days) and I was planning on taking him with me. However, I am worried about transporting him incase the travelling causes him stress.

Although he is fed every day, he always has some left over when I go to feed him the next day which leads me to think that he probably doesn’t need fresh food every day. Because of this, I figured, if I leave enough food he’ll probably make it last.

He has a heat lamp and UV light which I would leave on to stop him getting cold (even though it is fairly warm in my house).

I don’t have a spare key to leave with someone to come and check on him so my choices are, take him or leave him. I am happy to do whichever is best for him.

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14 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If you leave Mr. T. behind, do you think that you might worry about him? It might spoil the trip. Could you leave him with a friend? What about loaning your key to a friend, or having a second key made? How are you traveling…by car or public transportation? How long is the trip?

Leanne1986's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I know I will worry about him and I will certainly be looking forward to getting back to make sure he is ok. I am thinking about asking my step sister to look after him but I don’t want to put her on the spot.

The trip is about an hour and twenty minutes by car.

Plucky's avatar

Your tortoise should be fine for that short of a trip. Would you be taking his house with him? Or did you plan on taking him in something else? He should travel in the dark, either way – that will minimize the stress. If you can, taking his house and covering it would work very well. Just make sure to keep him at a good temperature for the trip (and that he has lots of digging room to hide).

Or, if you trust your step sister in caring for him ..that will work too. All she would have to do is feed him and check on him really. You can always leave a list of tortoise chores and a “what to do if” list. Horsfield tortoises are very hardy.

I wouldn’t leave him alone for that long. Maybe a day and half at most. I’m sure you are aware of his needs so I won’t go into that.

Leanne1986's avatar

@PluckyDog I have looked online and checked my books on caring for tortoises and they all contradict each other on how long they can be left. Some say anything up to a week is fine and others say no more than a day.

I think taking him would make me happiest. I would take his house with me but it is quite big so I don’t know whether it is safe to transport him in that or if he needs a smaller box for the journey (I’m worried about him flipping over).

atlantis's avatar

Definitely take him with you! Even if you make all the arrangements, something unforeseen may happen. LIke a stray cat, or racoon, or even the neighbors dog could break a window or something.
My rule for teking care of pets is that they are like children. Don’t do anything which you would not do to your children.
i think i read that somewhere

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Hibernate's avatar

Ask a neighbour to look over him while you are gone.
Always helped others.

LostInParadise's avatar

People take dogs and cats with them when they travel and the pets do not suffer much stress. Your tortoise should be fine if you take it with you.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Does he flip over and need your assistance a lot?

Tortoises should be kept comfortable where they are accustomed to living. Less than 3 days? He’ll be fine at his home. Just give plenty of fresh food before you leave.

Also, it’s time to look into getting a timed hood lamp. Your tortoise friend would benefit from having a sun/night routine even when you are at home. If you can, before you go: Get a timer. The light for him should not be left on overnight.

For the future: If you are concerned, then it’s time to find a neighbor or friend that’s good with him and will be able to check in.
Owner of a 16yr old North American Desert Tortoise and life long animal keeper

Coloma's avatar

Since Tortoises are vegetarian, he needs fresh fruits and veggies daily. Wilted leftovers are not healthy for him. Do you have a neighbor that can Tortoise sit?

Send him over here, he’ll love, 100 degree day out west, and I have plenty of fresh produce on hand. :-)

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Coloma My tortoise decides to eat every other day in summer. She likes to not eat on the day she’s having a “movement’ ;P

Tootsie is wondering if she could come visit though. She’d love to see the home state

Mamradpivo's avatar

We’ve often left our tortoise (a Golden Greek) behind for a few days at a time. Put out some food, make sure he has some vegetable for the water content and maybe build him a pen on a stone or wooden floor. Then go have some fun.

Leanne1986's avatar

Thank you for your answers.

I managed to find someone who is able to pop in on him (after getting a key cut!) so I have left him at home. Usually when I am there I switch his light off at night @SpatzieLover but I went out and bought a timer so that his light will switch off at night while I am not there (this also made me feel better about any fire hazards).

It’s nice to hear from fellow tortoise owners.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Now you can enjoy your time at your grandma’s @Leanne1986 without any needed worry. Hope it’s a good visit!

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