This is an extremely important issue for all tortoise keepers.  Not only do we want to keep our tortoise safe from prying human eyes, but also large birds, domestic pets and wild animals. 

Handling by young children

A gentle word of caution here about small children:  it’s not a good idea to let them handle tortoises without parental supervision and by explaining just how careful they need to be with the tortoise.  Don’t carry a tortoise in your hand:  they wriggle, dig their claws in and can easily be dropped.  Always use a plastic dish or something similar as this is a much safer option. 

Children MUST wash their hands thoroughly after handling as tortoises can be carriers of salmonella.

Protection from Predators

A wire mesh lid is vital for small tortoises as larger birds such as Magpies, Jays, Crows and birds of prey WILL take them, so keep them covered and they will be safe.  For ultimate security, you can have a completely enclosed space that allows you to walk within the enclosure while still keeping any predators out.

Wild Animals

Wild animals such as foxes and rats will also attack and eat tortoises, so make sure they have a safe and secure sleeping quarter away from predators.

Domestic Cats

Domestic cats are normally fine around tortoises and they are usually much more interested in the tortoises' basking spots than they are in the tortoises.  In fact, it’s far more likely your tortoises will nip the cats to move them if they are pinching the most favourable sunbathing spots!

The main disadvantage of allowing cats access to your tortoise enclosure is that they often find the substrate a nice place to defecate, and it is well known that tortoises will often eat the faeces of other animals, with the risk of ingesting any ‘nasties’ that might be contained in the poo. 


The same, however, cannot be said for domestic dogs.  DOGS AND TORTOISES DO NOT MIX.  Dogs often look upon tortoises as chew toys and the most horrific injuries can, and are, caused by dogs.   The teeth of a dog will pierce a tortoise's shell, and the resulting injuries often prove fatal.                  

Garden Ponds

Please remember that tortoises don’t swim, so if you have a garden pond make extra sure your tortoise is safe within its enclosure and your pond is either covered with a strong mesh, raised or fenced all around.