Tortoise health

To ensure that your tortoise is fit and well, check the following every day:

The body: Look for signs of lumps, swelling, cuts or abrasions and any signs of pinkness under the shell. Check also for any damage to the shell, which could progress into shell rot if untreated.

The tail: Check for swellings, discharge, diarrhoea or any unusual smells. 

The eyes: Should be clear and bright with no sign of swelling or discharge. 

The mouth: Should be clear - look out particularly for a coating of a yellowish/white cheese-like substance, which is a symptom of mouth rot. 

The nose: Should be clear of discharge and your tortoise should be breathing easily without gaping. 

The ears: Check that there are no abscesses. 

Movement: Your tortoise should move freely and willingly, without dragging his legs behind him. When touched, the legs should retract easily. 

Eating: In the autumn when your tortoise is approaching hibernation he will naturally begin to refuse food, but at other times of the year this could be a sign of worms or another illness so monitor your tortoise's food intake carefully. Keeping a food diary may help you do this. 

Weight: By regularly weighing and measuring your tortoise you can accurately keep track of his health. Your tortoise's weight is also an important indicator of his fitness to be hibernated or not. The 'Jackson's Ratio Graph' is used to help determine the condition of Mediterranean tortoises by determining the optimum body weight for a tortoise in relation to its size. Speak to your specialist vet if you have any concerns about your tortoise's weight or any other health issues.