Desert Tortoises in the UK!!! Help!!!

Geralt

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To chime in, those are in fact not desert tortoises. As already stated by a few, they are a Testudo graeca subspecies. Certainly not any other Testudo. They could be the Moroccan tortoise (Testudo graeca marokkensis), but given the faint dark central spot on each carapace scute that I believe I’m seeing, that would more than likely mean they are different subspecies like Testudo graeca terrestris. Terrestris are also more widely bred, which makes sense. If you wet the animals down and retake photos, a more positive ID will be possible.
Thank you for the response!

This is insightful and collaborates w the information I've read and what other members have suggested.

I've attached some more photos to make identification more clear.
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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> Would it harm their health in anyway if I soaked them daily? It's what I've done up till now.
> Also, the water bowl I have usually gets quite cold quickly, does it need to be warm and is it correct to assume they will hydrate enough themselves or should I encourage them to drink at any particular time i.e before/after basking, after waking etc.

As mentioned above, yes, daily soaking is a good thing.

Water should be warm at all times, 30-33C (86-92F). You can either use two bowls, moving them between them or put the water bowl in the enclosure close (but not under) the basking lamp or heater.

It's good to have a water dish (cheap shallow non-glazed terracotta saucer) in the enclosure, so they can soak themselves and drink any time they want. Forcing them to drink is not necessary. Also, if you take them outside for a sunbath, you can soak them before putting back in the enclosure.
 

Geralt

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> Would it harm their health in anyway if I soaked them daily? It's what I've done up till now.
> Also, the water bowl I have usually gets quite cold quickly, does it need to be warm and is it correct to assume they will hydrate enough themselves or should I encourage them to drink at any particular time i.e before/after basking, after waking etc.

As mentioned above, yes, daily soaking is a good thing.

Water should be warm at all times, 30-33C (86-92F). You can either use two bowls, moving them between them or put the water bowl in the enclosure close (but not under) the basking lamp or heater.

It's good to have a water dish (cheap shallow non-glazed terracotta saucer) in the enclosure, so they can soak themselves and drink any time they want. Forcing them to drink is not necessary. Also, if you take them outside for a sunbath, you can soak them before putting back in the enclosure.
Thank you!

Ah I see, I'll have to try keeping the water bowl heated. I'll try to move it around near the lamp, right now it's just a halogen heat lamp and I haven't yet got a heat gun or thermometer to measure temp.

That terracotta saucer definitely sounds better than this bowl I have, they slip and find it a little frustrating I think. Thanks for the suggestions
 

Sarah2020

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I took a pic of my soak set up today to help. I have 2 x washing up bowls , temp gun, toothbrush, cup and scales to weight . I use this cleaner to wash food and water dishes and the soak basins after use. Cold fresh water to be left in the enclosure. For soaks use warm shallow water and after 10 mins or when dirty I prep the next one and switch the tort over. I dispose of old water on the lawn or flower bed. Hope that helps?
 

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Geralt

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Looks like the ID of the species is wrong and believe me Yvonne, Tom and Zovick know exactly what their talking about. Yvonne said to use the Greek caresheet rather than the DT and you'll find that in the Mediterranean/Temperate section of the species specific thread - it's also included in the the other link.
If you post the other pics that have been requested they may be able to give a more definite ID.
As for space problems then I think you will have to rehome one of them. I suppose there are ways such as two stacked large vivs while they are small but you would still need 2 sets of lamps etc - depends on your budget really. Do you have outside space for the warmer months because as they grow, even the juvenile/adults of the smaller species need a minimum of about 1.25 x 1.5 m (4 x 8 feet) space.
You'll find www.thetortoisetable.org.uk useful because it's a good guide for tort safe plants/food and helps ID safe weeds.

Also I hope you don't mind me confirming if the underside of my tortoise is of any concern.

Nobody has mentioned anything of the pictures I've sent and so I've assumed it's fine but I'd rather just be certain.
 

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Sarah2020

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How old is the tortoise it looks like the egg sack is still in the black area. Or the tortoise is dirty underneath. Do I you soak your tortoise?
 

Lyn W

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Thank you!

Ah I see, I'll have to try keeping the water bowl heated. I'll try to move it around near the lamp, right now it's just a halogen heat lamp and I haven't yet got a heat gun or thermometer to measure temp.

That terracotta saucer definitely sounds better than this bowl I have, they slip and find it a little frustrating I think. Thanks for the suggestions
The water bowl doesn't need to be under the heat source, that needs to be a basking space for them - some people use a piece of slate under heat sources.

The water you soak them in should luke/baby warm and not allowed to cool - bail out cold and top up with warm.
It is important you get something to measure temps at tort height so that they don't get too cold or overheat. I bought my digital temp gun off Amazon -only about £10, To get the right height for the lamp I used an upturned bowl the same height as my tort under the lamp ( a rock would do as long as it's your tort's height) and then adjusted the height of the lamp accordingly. Halogen lamps could damage the shell.
 

Yvonne G

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The spot in the center is where the yolk was attached. It will start looking more 'shell-like' as he matures.
 

zovick

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Also I hope you don't mind me confirming if the underside of my tortoise is of any concern.

Nobody has mentioned anything of the pictures I've sent and so I've assumed it's fine but I'd rather just be certain.
The plastron looks 100% normal for the age of your tortoise.
 

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