Dramatic makeover for our tortoise enclosure
As part of our ongoing commitment to upgrade our older zoo exhibits, it was our Sulcata tortoises’ turn to get the makeover treatment. And we’re sure you’ll agree it’s a dramatic improvement! We’ve got eight Sulcata tortoises here at Folly Farm, they’re the third largest tortoise species in the world and one of ours weighs a whopping 80 kilos! They’re very popular with our visitors so we were delighted to be able to extend their housing and give them an enclosure which meets all their needs.
The new, much larger, house is heated to between 25-30 degrees as reptiles need warmth to be able to move and they cannot generate their own. The house also has full spectrum UV lighting which replicates sunshine indoors so the tortoises can stay inside all the time. However, we do get the odd sunny day in Wales so we’ve also extended their paddock so they can spend time outside when the weather is nice.
Here’s our zoo curator, Tim Morphew, to explain the upgrade and the husbandry considerations that went into the build.
Here’s keeper Jack and keeper Rosie with a tour of the new exhibit.
All our tortoises joined us as a result of being seized at airports as part of the clampdown on the illegal pet trade or have been given to as pets the owners were no longer able to care for. Tim hopes that through this exhibit we can educate the public about the responsibility of tortoise ownership as they live for a very long time – up to 60 years – and can be quite costly due to some of their care requirements such as heating and UV light.